Visiting the USA after so many years again was a huge excitement for me. It was my first time in Miami, Florida though. The line for passport control was also huge and it kept us at the airport almost for two hours until we finally reached the exit.
My boyfriend and me were there to attend a conference that was taking place at the one of the most beautiful hotels of Miami, the famous Fontainebleau hotel, located on the Miami Beach.
Since the conference was at the Fontainebleau, we decided to stay there as well. Despise the fact that the hotel was very, very expensive, we made the best choice after all and I am glad we did. This is the most beautiful and luxurious hotel I have ever visited in my life. You can find out all about this hotel in my next blog post.
The good thing was that the weather was great, a lot of taxi drivers were in front of the airport entrance so at least there we did not have to wait.
Our taxi driver was a funny guy and he was joking with us all the way to our hotel. Actually he was trying to guess from where we were coming from. As usual first thing he asked me was if I was from Poland. I don’t know why, but people are asking me this all the time even though I am not related to Poland in any way. Actually I had never visited Poland in my life (but I would love to one day, mostly because I would like to find out why people are mistaking me for a Polish girl all the time). Or I have to sit and to have a serious conversation with my mother about her past, just joking.
First impression of the roads and bridges that we passed by was: wow, that’s cool. A lot of palm trees everywhere reminded us of our previous destination at Dominican Republic. If you like to find out all about our adventures there, please check out my previous blog posts.
I am also great fan of the big American cars, especially those that were not present in Europe very much like Dodge and GMC trucks.
American cars in general are big and wide, but this is totally logical, because they also have big and wide roads. I am wondering how somebody would manage such of big car in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general, where the roads are so narrow. I live in Amsterdam as I have mentioned many times in my blog posts. At the part of the city called Osdorp we have one car shop, that sells different kinds of big American cars, like Dodge for example, they also rent limos for different events. Of course this kind of big cars are very expensive here and they are not for my pocket. The tax that you pay monthly for the cars in the Netherlands depends on the car weight, so as the car is bigger and heavier, the tax is more expensive. But it doesn’t stop me to go in front of their shop windows sometimes, just to admire those cars from the distance.
So now you can understand my truly excitement regarding my first impression of the roads and the cars that I have seen around on our way to the hotel.
Also these huge skyscrapers made a huge impression on me. The view was really breathtaking. The clear blue sky, next to the clear blue ocean, with all those glass skyscrapers and the palm trees around them, wide roads and bridges, made a huge impact on me, coming from Amsterdam where everything is tiny.
I hope you are not going to find annoying that from the beginning of this blog post I had used the word huge so many times. But what else I could possibly say, the truth is that all I saw around me was really huge in my eyes.
The driver showed us the downtown Miami from the window, later on we passed through the bridge and we arrived at the South Beach part of Miami where our hotel was located.
It was surrounded by water, with the Biscayne Bay from the one side and the Atlantic Ocean from the other side.
Here at Miami you can see all kinds of luxurious cars on the road. In general Miami is a very rich area, with many rich people choosing this city to live and work in. It is a place to see and to be seen. Showing off and flaunting one’s material possessions is totally expected and normal behavior here.
As an designer I was amazed with the examples of modernist architecture of this city as well as with the most beautiful and luxury mansions I had ever seen in my life.
The South Beach area of Miami Beach is really amazing and beautiful. Miami Beach is actually an island that is connected with the main land through 5 bridges (3 bridges are in the center).
South Beach is known for its amazing sandy beaches and the glamorous scene around its hotels, happenings, nightspots and celebrity-chef eateries.
Taxi driver finally stopped in front of the hotel main entrance. Everything looked so luxurious around, from the surrounding, beautiful mansions and yachts across the street, the big fountain in front the entrance, the amazing garden and the shiny golden holders beside the staircases to the concierges with their beautiful uniforms, with a huge smile on their faces. They welcomed us, they took care of our suitcases, the check in went quickly and smoothly and the room was huge with an amazing view towards the garden with pools and the ocean. Everything was super clean and shiny.
But my biggest excitement of all was an appointment I had soon after I arrived. Being at the Florida was a great chance to finally get together with my best friend from my childhood after 25 years that we haven’t see each other. After life threw us apart we got in touch again thanks to the social media and Facebook at 2009. From that time we stayed in touch but we never actually had the chance to see each other until the day I arrived at Miami.
Even though he lives at the Clearwater in Tampa, Florida area, he traveled for several hours, he booked the hotel near of ours and he came to pick my boyfriend and me from the hotel with his huge American car.
I don’t have words to describe the moment of our encounter. Only thing we said to each other was just, look at you, and then we embraced each other and we stayed like this for several minutes with out talking at all.
The two of us had attended the same elementary school. In my life I had attended three different elementary schools. Because of my mother’s work we had to move several times.The interesting thing is that even though through my life I have met so many people I had unfortunately forgot a lot of them. I have forgot lot of names and faces, but I can still remember all of my friends and classmates from all three of my elementary schools that I had attended as a child, very clearly. Isn’t this strange?
Our childhood memories are so pure and strong and they are following us through our life always. As I said so many times, the memories are something that nobody can take away from us. Especially in our case, my best friend and me shared so many of them.
It is an amazing feeling when you see a person with whom you have shared so many memories together, even though more than 25 years have passed that we haven’t seen each other it felt like we were not apart at all. It felt like we were always together. I felt so comfortable around him and he felt exactly the same towards me.
So the night we arrived my friend Dado gave us our first tour and the glimpse of the South Beach, by driving us around.
Later on we went to Lincoln Road for drinks. For the first time I tried the American Blue Moon beer that I liked very much. They serve that beer with a slice of lime on the edge of the glass.
Lincoln Road is a pedestrian area, it was located in the vicinity of our hotel. It is famous for its chain stores and indie fashion shops, outdoor cafeterias, bars and restaurants and the big Lincoln shopping mall.
Later on we passed by Ocean Drive.
This is the major thoroughfare of the South Beach, part of Miami Beach. The street is the center of the Miami Art Deco District, which is the home to about 900 preserved buildings.
One of them is the house of Gianni Versace. The Villa, Casa Casuarina, known as Versace Mansion. On July 15, 1997 Versace was shot dead in front of this house.
After Versace’s death, the mansion was purchased by Peter Loftin, for $19 million in 2000; he renovated the property to be used as a boutique hotel, restaurant and luxury event space.
Apart of its Art Deco hotels, Ocean Drive is known for its night life and great restaurants.
One of the most famous restaurants on this road is Mango’s Tropical Café, a Caribbean inspired restaurant where live performances by dancers and singers are happening every night.
Note that at the Ocean Drive everything is more expensive than on the other areas of Miami Beach. My friend Dado suggested if we decided to go there again, to stay away from the ”big drinks”.
He was pointing at the big cocktails they are usually serving in most of the bars there. They will approach you and advertise these cocktails giving you a chance to get the two in the price of one, but you will ended up giving more than 100 USD just for two drinks. Probably because of the location and the way that were served in some huge glasses or they are just taking advantage of the tourists’ intention to become a part of the Ocean Drive luxury lifestyle. So it is wise to check the prices before you order anything there.
After our small night tour with Dado, he brought us back to our hotel. We were already exhausted from our trip, because we came from our small vacations in Dominican Republic where we had a lot of activities and adventures planned for each day of our stay. We actually haven’t rest at all from the time we started our journey from Amsterdam.
In front of the hotel a big white limo was parked. I joked a bit with the boys telling them that I have to hurry up because my limo is already waiting for me, they were like what she is talking about. It was so funny.
It was a great first day at Miami, Florida fulfilled with a lot of excitement and emotions. Stay tuned to find out all about the rest of our adventures in Florida in my next blog posts.