The Mean Streets of Miami

The Mean Streets of Miami


As the song so eloquently goes:

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
Miami, uh, uh
Southbeach, bringin’ the heat, uh
Haha, can y’all feel that
Can y’all feel that
Jig it out, uh

Okaaaay, so Will Smith isn’t exactly Chaucer.  But we’ve decided to tack a couple of days onto Spring break and head for Miami, where VP has some meetings scheduled. I’m excited to visit a city with such a rich history.

That is, I assume it has a rich history. I have not researched Miami. My knowledge is limited to the one Will Smith song, plus Bugs Bunny popping out of his hole with a beach chair and umbrella, yelling, “Miami Beach at last!” Also that to get there you are supposed to turn left at Albuquerque.   Note: I probably should have researched it.

Take traffic, for example. A bit of research would have yielded the fact that every single driver in Miami is not at the pool or beach and is therefore angry and wants you dead. 

Water so clear you can see to the bottom
Hundred thousand dollar cars, e’ybody got ‘em

Well, not e’body,  Will Smith. After escaping the jaws of death on the highway, we arrive at the hotel. It is oceanside. It is fancy.  The cars in front are shiny and foreign. We, on the other hand are driving a ten year old mini-van that spills leftover Easter candy out the back the minute I open the trunk for the bellhop.  Jelly beans and chocolate eggs ping all over the driveway like a sticky pastel hailstorm. As I attempt to scoop up the errant candy, I see the bellhop’s gaze drift to the trash bags into which VP had stuffed the last load of clean laundry as we went out the door.

Yes, sir, nothing says class like using garbage bags for luggage. Cue banjo music.

I’m not sure how you say “Beverly Hillbillies” in Spanish but I have a suspicion that’s what the bellhop is muttering as walks away quickly, taking his cart with him. We are on our own.

Undaunted, we head for the front desk. Due to VP’s business travel he has some sort of Double Secret Plutonium Status, so we can always count on a room upgrade.  Which is important for a family of five, lest someone have to sleep in the bathtub.  But the front desk Nazi didn’t get that memo, and tells VP, “No upgrades.” Ditto when he asks if we can have a rollaway. “No,” she barks.

Something has gone terribly wrong.  First off, we have apparently forgotten to “bring the heat”. I mean, I thought my husband brought the heat, and he was positive I had grabbed it before we left the house, you know how that goes.  Also I’m not sure what “jig” means, except as it relates to cheerful leprechauns. And we definitely hadn’t peppered our room request with enough “Uh, uh’s” and “yeah, yeah’s”.   Or any, for that matter.

But we soldier on. After we stow our mélange of luggage -n- trash bags in our wee li’l room (by the size of it, it looks as if Keebler Elves are a big demographic for this particular hotel chain), it’s time for lunch.

VP decides we should go to a famous hotel he has heard about.  Apparently Frank Sinatra used to stay there. As you do, I make sure my son has on a collared shirt and that all of the children have their hair combed. I’m picturing white linen table cloths, and sipping iced tea with a view of the ocean.  Perhaps some tinkling piano music playing in the background. The hotel is called the Fontainebleau. I’ve never heard of it, but it must be fancy because it has a French name that you have to say with a cheesy French accent. (It’s like a law or something.) On the walk over, I start to worry that we are underdressed.  Again, a bit of research would have helped.

Because I soon discover that we’re overdressed in that we’re wearing clothes. The restaurant is between the pool and the ocean, so to get there we have to wade through six security guards, a record company party, and a sea of white cabanas, poolside beds, thong bikinis and stilettos.  I cannot hear over the pounding techno music. The clientele is more Kim Kardashian than Ava Gardner; plus it looks like someone accidentally fed Justin Bieber and his entourage after midnight, and now they have multiplied and are all bobbing around in the pool like some sort of baggy-pantsed evil mogwai.   In our preppy attire, we stand out like Mennonites at a rave. And my children just look frightened. 

So we sip a little somethin’, lay to rest the spill
Me an’ Charlie at the bar runnin up a high bill

VP goes to get drinks from the bar, and our hostess points us to a white faux-leather banquette where we can sit while we wait for the table. My eyes dart back and forth between the thong bikini clad patrons of the restaurant  and the leather banquette and I wonder if it would be prudent to request a bottle of bleach spray before we sit down.

"Sure, I may have to take out a second mortgage on the house, but this margarita is totally worth it."

“Sure, I may have to take out a second mortgage on the house, but this margarita is totally worth it.”

Right when our table is ready, VP returns with our drinks, a Margarita for me and a Mojito for him.   Then he leans in to me and whispers the words every woman wants to hear.

“You’re not gonna believe how much these drinks cost.”

“Um, how much?” I ask, though I suspect I don’t want to know. He mumbles something that is hard to hear over the ear splitting techno music.

“What’d you say? Fifteen? Well, that doesn’t seem so bad for…”

But he interrupts me. “Fifty! I said Fifty!”

Fifty dollars for two drinks. Who knew Will Smith was practically a prophet? Sure, they are sizable. Sure, at this place Patron is  considered bottom shelf. But even so, sheesh. I make sure to drink every last drop.

But all is not lost. Because it turns out when it’s five hundred degrees out, you know what’s awesome? Taking a loooonnnng afternoon nap in the air conditioning, and who cares about the size of the room after you’ve consumed a Margarita the size of a Big Gulp?

Now that’s more my speed. I like to think Bugs Bunny would be proud.  Bienvenido a Miami, indeed, Mr. Will Smith.


  1. OpinionsToGo says:

    I am so happy that you wrote this very entertaining and informative post, and even happier that I read it. Thanks to you, I plan to scratch “Miami” off of my “Places To Go” list.

    • Oh, I’m sure there are lovely parts of Miami. Just stay away from any place that’s ever been shown on Real Housewives or MTV Spring Break and you should be fine.

  2. Thank you! Now I can take this destination off the list! Phew…that was close.

  3. Hehe! I’ve had to cover several conferences in the Miami area and the traffic is ALWAYS terrible (and the people always seem so angry.) I do love the beach areas away from the more expensive resorts, but even they aren’t cheap. Can’t imagine how “fun” all of that must be for a family. 😉

    • I felt like I was on another planet. And yes, you’re right, everyone seemed so angry. What’s up with that?

  4. BWAH HA HA HA!! Fifty dollars for 2 drinks…now that is funny. Oh wait, you weren’t kidding. That makes NYC look like a bargain basement sale. I wasn’t really thinking Miami was my speed, but now I know FOR SURE it is not.-Ashley

    • Oh, I can laugh about it now. At the time I almost fainted. And then I drank the whole damn thing.

  5. lmao!!!!!! very well written, love! xo, jess @

    • Thanks! It practically wrote itself, though. The funniest experiences have a tendency to do that.

  6. FIFTY BUCKS?? I think I probably would have made a scene.

    • Oh, if it was me at the bar I totally would have. My husband is cooler than me when it comes to those things. He just did a double take and then paid it.

  7. I loved reading this! I had the Jiggy song playing in my head as I pictured you and the fam in cinematic slow motion, getting out of the minivan and strolling through the bikinis and stilettos. This tale deserves its own music video.

    • If you make that video, you have to include the scene of my husband’s (blessedly) very brief attempt to dance to the techno music at the hotel. While it was squashed quickly by my horrified children, it lives on in infamy.

  8. This cracked me up! I love the notion of Justin Bieber’s entourage multiplying like gremlins. I went to Miami once – luckily no $50 drinks but I did feel weirdly conservative with whatever I was wearing. It’s a different world down there – both good and bad and in your telling, very entertaining!

    • Thanks! Even though it was family unfriendly, everything’s material, right? At least I got a post out of it!

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