Came to Miami Beach for the International Boatbuilders Exhibition. I came down a day early, thinking I had something to do Sunday, but that wasn’t the case. My wife joined me, flying in from Fort Walton Beach where she had been with friends. As we walked the beach, the boardwalk and the boulevards, we saw amazing diversity among people.

I had the chance to walk down the length of Lincoln Road on Sunday afternoon, and then again on Tuesday night, both times by myself, content to just watch. It was very entertaining, with ample examples of the unusual. I noticed that in many stores, the mannequins have breast enhancements, which tells me the stores are very much connected to their customers. This is a town where $1,000 cocktail dresses and $600 shoes hold the space in store windows; where street performers tease children and old women, or simply move when you least expect it (the grey girl was particularly good;) and where restaurants are elbow to elbow and compete for your business.
In its stores are amazing things with amazing price tags. I saw everything from Cuban cigars, to hand carved wooden cocks (the chicken kind – pervert), to Nike shoes. The Ghiradelli store is a favorite. Tonight the free sample was a chocolate and peppermint stick square…just what I needed after a huge wienerschnitzel and liter of weissenbiere at the Hofbrau Munchen.
This is a town of very short dresses, very tight jeans, and it’s clear that no one goes outside without careful thought about the look they want to portray. It’s a very body-conscious town. On the boardwalk along the beach (arguably my favorite feature in the entire city,) a constant parade of runners and walkers pass us by, most wearing as little as possible to keep things from shaking too much.
Collins Avenue is the main North-South drag. We stayed at the Doubletree Surfcomber hotel, situated between the Delano to the south and the Sheldon to the north, one of the smaller hotels on the art deco strip. The cookies alone make it worth the stay. As we walked up Collins from an evening stroll, we saw as Aston Martin, a Rolls-Royce, a couple of Ferraris, and a Lamborghini, just cruising like you’d see a chevy any place else. The same is true for people on Lincoln Road.
Yep, this is a town full of unusual things, but then I started noticing that there were still an awful lot of normal folks around too. There were Conventioneers, making fun of a huge watch on a mannequin, a little louder than most and traveling in a pack. There were families, and lots of kids. I heard lots of Spanish, some English, a little German, some French, and some stuff I don’t know where they were from! Most looked absolutely usual, in a clear contrast to what they obviously came to see…the unusual.
The beach here is one of my favorites. It’s wide and clean. It’s firm up close to the hotels but softens as it slopes gently to the Atlantic. We watched the cruise ships sail from the port. Kids played in the surf in all kinds of strange types of bathing suits…mostly looking like underwear. Lots of Asian families on the beach, and people of all colors. The beach is tops optional, so occasionally a walker gets an extra treat of a tanned latina emerging from the water.
Despite the higher cost for nearly everything here, this is a great place to visit. IBEX is moving to my back yard next year (Louisville, Kentucky) so I might just have to plan a vacation for my next visit down here.