I’ve been to beaches before. I used to be a four-times-a-year Goa aficionado. I’ve had a serious love affair with Koh Tao’s white sand beaches in Thailand. I’ve taken lounging in a hammock to extremes in Bali. But Miami is something else. It’s the perfect blend of garish opulence and welcoming attitudes. I could imagine Brazil being a larger than life version of the time I had in Miami.
My first Miami beach experience was at Hollywood Beach, a significant distance north of the city. It’s a more quiet, slightly less touristy place, with families and day trippers making their long and arduous way to the waters of the Atlantic. And what waters. Blue as a newborn baby’s eyes, deepening as you go out towards the horizon, till you’re engulfed in a greenish turquoise blend, that’s utterly indescribable. The feeling of calm contentment that you get when you gaze out at the water is worth every penny of gas money that you might spend traveling there.
The other really cool thing about Hollywood Beach is that there are restaurants and bars all along the waterfront, but none of them are super touristy or trendy – they’re expensive, sure, but at least you get what you pay for.
Miami Beach, on the other hand, is, if you can believe it, an even better beach from the point of view of location and environment. It’s a superb swimming and sunbathing location, the people are as warm and welcoming as the water is, and the sheer profusion of vendors and interesting sights makes for a lot of time well spent.
I just wish there were less annoying tourists. Unlike me, most of the people who visit Miami beach are loud and obnoxious. I was a quiet little person, alone in my seclusion compared to the rest of the loudmouthed horde. Thankfully, if you go north of 40th street along the beach, you see fewer and fewer tourists. The bars to the south of Miami beach prove to be an effective trap for the more gullible people. They blast Pitbull and others of his ilk onto the waterfront and drag in the unsuspecting masses, who are only to eager to dispose of their dollars in the hope of seeing their version of MTV Grind, live and up close. Nothing could be further from the truth – a walk along the waterfront will show you a sullen group of men huddled around the pool. As soon as a female makes an appearance, their collective hyena like body language ensures that she doesn’t stay for even a single drink. The disappointed males nurse their drinks again, waiting for the next unwary girl to step in. Thankfully for the girls, entry is free.
For voyeurs of the human condition like myself, however, there are endless hours of entertainment in this and other scenes. Ultimately, that’s what Miami offers you – a view into the seedy underbelly of a city that’s a bizarre lovechild between Mumbai (not Bombay) and LA as shown in the movies. Glitzy, glamorous, hot and sweaty, dirty, corrupt and flashy all at once. I wouldn’t live here if you paid me to, but I don’t mind visiting once again!
Here are some pictures I took in Miami. Let me know what you think of them!