While I was waiting to check in at the hostel yesterday, enthusiastic staff were encouraging everyone in line in front of me to join in on their ‘VIP’ party plans for the night, promising famous DJs! multiple bars! (including transportation to and from, because of the) unlimited alcohol and bar snacks! only $15 for women, $25 for men! They did so, that is, until I stepped up to the counter. This is very much not like the European hostels I have enjoyed, but rather party, alcohol, sleep-all-day central, and they rightly figured I would not fit in. When I first went to my room midday, the bunks were full of immobile, snoring young women. Later, as I was readying for sleep, my rowdy roomies were just prepping for their night out; similarly, drunken revelers were staggering bleary-eyed in the common areas and last chance hookups were forming as I was starting my day – at my early morning visit to the 24-hour Walgreens, condoms were popular items. All night long I heard gleeful shouting and high heels clicking along the hallways. No chance for a jet-lagged, time-change sleep catchup, as along with all the noise, these bunks shake anytime anyone moves in or out. I’ve sagely booked another place for my next two nights.
Out walking the beach early morning, I got to enjoy the thing I love best about South Florida: warm night breezes coming off the ocean. Ahhhhhhhhh . . . A flashy sunrise on a nearly-empty beach was a special treat. Plus, a herd of dressed-up runners soon converged on the boardwalk. Cool!
My first priority of the day was to visit Vizcaya, a 100-year-old estate set right on Biscayne Bay. I first heard of this place many decades ago from my maternal grandmother, who moved from the North East to Miami in the 1950s. I’ve wished to visit for years, and today I finally made it. But poor Vizcaya, she’s been battered for years by the tropics, and the recent hurricane damage is still very much in evidence. I was there only a few hours before an intense storm suddenly unleashed heavy drenching rain and wind, and I can fully understand how she is down at the heels. I had to walk a few miles in this downpour to return to the metro station, trudging through water several inches above my ankles – I don’t know if my Clarks will survive this outing.
Here are some photos:
Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.