A $30 taxi trip landed us in a different universe. We are now at Miami's South Beach, which is a cross between Coney Island and St. Tropez. Luxury and dumps. Rich and homeless. Expensive and very expensive. Quiet only early in the morning. Everywhere you look, people are trying to separate other people from their money.
Surprisingly, the beach is rather good. It is wide, which prevents crowded conditions that one finds on similar urban beaches. The water is mixed shades of blue and a pleasant temperature. As with most such beaches, one can rent a lounger and umbrella or simply lay out a towel for free.
I had to think of my father, who never swam in a pool or a lake. He grew up at the ocean and needed the feel of salt. I can go either way, because each has its appeal. A hotel pool provides an easy way to have a dip before breakfast, but cannot compete with a day at the beach. Both tend attract unruly and loud children. An iPod helps, but is useless when one wants to go into the water.
It is impossible to find good food at a reasonable price at the countless restaurants lining Ocean Drive. As one walks along the strip, restaurant hawkers try to entice you into stopping. It reminded me of my first (and only) visit to the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, where I first witnessed hawkers outside strip joints. Same principle; different fare. But, I could not help notice streetwalkers offering their "talent" Network television might be prudish, but morales are looser on the streets of major cities.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.