Welcome to Miami

Greetings from South Beach, Miami.  I’m in the throes of writing two enormous grants, several overdue papers and creating a midterm exam.  It’s presently Reading Week at the University, and I figured I could produce more if I sequestered myself and made myself produce. So far it’s working.

I’m writing to you from an outdoor cafe, the Fox Cafe, on Ocean Drive.  There’s free wifi I’m stealing from the Pelican hotel next door; and I’m enjoying the warm weather, pretty girls, hilariously annoying conversation all around me, and the exquisite, fresh food.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think much of Miami is borderline retarded.  A friend described it best.  She said the city is populated by the spoiled and entitled brats of New York, the spoiled and entitled brats of Florida, the spoiled and entitled brats of all the surrounding Latin American and Caribbean nations… and a layer of poor, hardworking immigrants who must cater to the outrageous demands of the first three groups.

Weirdness just abounds.  More precisely, douchebaggery abounds.  This is, after all, the preferred destination of that genus of sub-human, the Guido.  I’ve seen many of them about.  I also saw a guy who looked a lot like Chuck Liddell, blasting along on an SUV-sized skateboard.

The adventure began as I arrived at the Miami airport.  (It’s not my first time here, but certainly my first time writing about this place.  I’ve been here many times before.)  The line up for the taxi wasn’t moving, so I asked the people in front of me what the hold-up was.  Guess what?  Most of them weren’t waiting for taxis; they were just hanging out… in a line.

So I pushed to the front of the line.  The dude who’s supposed to flag down the taxis was chatting with his friends, all the while taxis zipped by, and while travelers looked on impotently.

So I flagged down my own taxi and took it to the Clinton Hotel in South Beach.  We pulled up to the hotel, and another putative passenger waved to the taxi driver.  He leaped out of the taxi and started loading her bags into the trunk… before unloading mine or accepting my payment!

I had to get out of the taxi, tap him on the shoulder and ask, “So, do you want me to pay you, or what?”

“Uh yeah.  I guess,” he said.  Seriously.

Like I said: borderline retardedness.  Or maybe everyone is stoned.

The hotel is okay.  But the best part of my room is that the full-length mirror has laces in it.  Seriously.  Like it’s a bustier or something.  Here’s a pic:

Oh yeah, been here one day and have already seen someone arrested.  Welcome to the USA 🙂

Here’s a pic of me having my first margarita of the trip, courtesy of a friend who lives here:

Oh… even better.  Ordering breakfast at the outdoor cafe, I caused a near emergency by requesting that my fries be replaced with a salad.  The look of horror and incredulity on the faces of the staff was worthy of recording.  And we wonder why there’s an obesity epidemic?

Anyhoo… I need to get back to writing my grants.  See you later.