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A Lazy Day in the South.

I rolled over and stared at the clock on my bedside table, it’s muted blue display shining the time back into my dreary eyes. 11:48am I had overslept like crazy, waking up 4 hours previously and thinking I’d just take a quick nap before heading out for the day. I had sort of planned to go to Key West today after the suggestion Brett posted in the comments, but with the drive time reaching 3 hours for one way I didn’t want to be getting there late in the afternoon only to leave a couple hours later. I resigned myself to doing that tomorrow.

Still I hadn’t yet hit up South Beach which every travel review site and the bell hop/concierge had recommended to me. The place to start was apparently Ocean Dr which was just a stones throw away from the beach and was apparently littered with shopping, restaurants and bars. I did some quick reconnaissance to make sure there would be somewhere where I could park my car in relative seclusion and punched in the address into the GPS and I was on my merry way.

Or at least, I thought I was.

You see I didn’t make the distinction between Miami and Miami Beach, figuring that the former was a super set of the later. As it turns out that’s not the case and the place it was taking me to was no where near where I thought I was going. Noticing that the area I was in didn’t feel particularly right I pulled out my phone in a desperate attempt to find wifi. Not being able to find any open points with internet access I went off the little scrap of map I had already downloaded last night when I went to Zuma and remembered that Ocean drive was over a bridge. The road that I saw on little map I had turned out to be the port for the cruise and cargo ships of Miami and whilst it was a cool place to visit (the scale of engineering there is damned impressive) it wasn’t the bustling shopping centre I was after. I did come across one of their awesome draw bridges in action however:

After returning to my hotel with my tail between my legs I discovered my mistake and quickly found my way back to my initial destination. After parking my car and getting my gear together I was hit with the humid, unforgiving heat of downtown miami which instantly fogged up my sunglasses. I spent the next hour walking around looking at the various shops and restaurants realising that apart from the Walgreens I had seen pretty much all of them before. There were a few high fashion and boutique outlets but for the most part I had seen nearly all of them before in my previous jaunt to Florida mall. Feeling disappointed I started looking around for something to eat and that’s when my inner shy nerd kicked in.

Even though I’d count myself as an extrovert normally that comes on the proviso that I’m either with friends or in a location I fell comfortable in. As such when I’m out on my own as I have been for the past few days I’m not really the biggest talker and this clashes with the high pressure style of service that is to be had here in Miami. At every location I hadn’t been looking at their menu for a good 10 seconds before I had someone coming over to talk to me, usually just reading the menu items out to me (thanks I can read). This wouldn’t have been so bad if they left right after they saw I wasn’t interested in talking but all of them just stood right next to me in the hopes that I would get a table with them. Had any of them added any value to me reading the menu (like say recommending something or at the very least not being laser focused on my fucking wallet) I might have considered otherwise. With that falling in a crying heap I turned to my faithful servant: Yelp. 30 seconds later I had my target in site, a small sandwich shop called La Sandwicherie.

That my friends is the beef sandwich with all the salads and it cost me all of $8. The ingredients were fresh, the bread soft and the beef was tender. It puts all the subway I’ve had to shame and I can see why it’s earned such a reputation for itself. The place itself is basically just a hole in the wall with some seats around the side crewed by 3 people but they were more than capable of getting everyone’s orders out in under 5 minutes. Satisfied I left the La Sandwicherie and returned to my car and turned the air conditioning to full, my sweat drenched body revelling in the dry cool air.

I didn’t mention this yesterday but I didn’t make it to the gym because, well I couldn’t find the damned thing. They had said that it was on level 14 but after wandering around the entire level I still couldn’t see it. Looking on the guest information system that they have on the TVs (I’ll have to post a video of this thing, it’s really well done) I saw that it was indeed on the 14th floor, just not in my tower. The Viceroy basically has 2 towers, one of them for guests and the other for residents. They’re connected up until the 15th floor where the resident tower continues for another 15 or so stories and where the hotel ends there’s a rooftop pool and courtyard that functions as a walkway between them. After finding this out I found the gym and boy was it impressive. A great view out over the greater Miami area coupled with one of every imaginable workout machine. It might not be that impressive to regular gym go-ers, but for a garage workout junkie like me it was like travelling to the future.

Tomorrow I’m planning to drive out to Key West and see what they’ve got going out there. Hopefully the speed limits on those roads will be a little more liberal so I can open up the Corvette a bit more as my search for a dragway has thus far proven to be fruitless. Still it’s a lovely car to drive and the addition of free Sirius satellite radio makes driving anywhere quite nice regardless, but I can feel those 400+ horses chomping at the bit to be unleashed. By all accounts it will be a scenic drive anyway which will be a nice break from the last couple days from the Miami rush hour traffic.

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