Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Channeling Winston Churchill to Battle Eurotrash in Miami

My 42nd birthday was almost perfect.

           My kid had a busy weekend preparing for a competition later this summer, and had asked to spend the weekend at a friends' house. As it happened, that Saturday was my birthday, so my wife and I agreed, and made reservations at a hotel on South beach in Miami.

   South Beach is one of the biggest party spots in the US. I booked a hotel room that was horrifyingly expensive, because I don't want to hear dance music at 3am, or deal with idiots flipping their shit back at the hotel after the clubs get out.

     Man, this place was POSH. It's called the Z Ocean Hotel, and I got a rooftop balcony suite- aside from my room, which had a full bar and a marble shower with heads in the ceiling and several of the walls, couple of TV's, nice bose stereo, etc... you know, how the other half is supposed to live, I guess. Anyways, wicked nice, and there was a covered balcony outside that overlooked the pool down below, and a spiral staircase off of that that led to the rooftop.
 The roof of this place... holy shit. Well, you get what you pay for. There was a sun bed, table, private entrance for the waitstaff, and tons of privacy away from the deck edge and balcony- a 4-person jacuzzi on a raised marble dais in the corner, and an outdoor sound system for the music of our choice. No shit, I felt like, as expensive as it was, I got a good deal. Plus, big jacuzzi.

 So, other than a light lunch downstairs, we stayed in our suite for the next 22 hours. And by 'stayed in our suite' I mean hung out on the roof, drank champagne (I brought a couple of bottles of the moderately good stuff - hey, I ain't paying $100 for a $20 bottle of hotel champagne). ordered room service, drank wine and whisky, and got drunk in the jacuzzi, then ordered room service again, until about 3 am.

Funny thing is, neither of us actually like south beach very much. We go mostly for the people watching- it's a freak show- the beautiful people advertized on TV? Not so much. Every corner seems to have a shemale fighting with someone over the phone, yelling energetically, and people of every color, nationality and orientation all being rude to each other while going from A to B. Great to watch.

 This time, though, other than our lunch and the walk back and forth to the hotel, we kept to ourselves, and that was even better, in my book. Although by this time I had already been home for a week and a half, and Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife and I had spent most of every day together, it was nice to do so in relative isolation, and enjoy the sun, food, jacuzzi, drinks, music and each other's company.
     Seriously, if you're a mariner, and work on a long or longer rotation, you know what I mean- you can make your life such that every trip home can be a little honeymoon. Normally we don't splurge like this, paying out a week's pay for normal people on an overnight trip, but surprisingly, it was worth it, and I went home the next day tired, but with no guilt.

   Oh, the downside? This hotel is on South Beach, and attracts Eurotrash 20-somethings. Who have money and are as a rule, rude. So at 3:15AM, just as we went to bed, the afterparty picked up a couple of doors down, and rather than party on the roof, they did so in their suite, and the awful techno music wasn't audible, but the ridiculous bass was, so that happened. My wife is a sound sleeper. She dozed right off. Half drunk or no, I'm not going to be sleeping with that. Ever had a black kid pull up next to you in a car with the bass blasting so much that it makes your teeth itch? Yeah, that.
     So, after a while, the wind being just right for it, I went outside, lit up a horrifically foul-smelling ancient cheap torpedo cigar out on the balcony, and clad in a bathrobe and naught else, parts cooling in the breeze just out of sight, put my feet up and stank the hell out of those inconsiderate little shits 2 doors over downwind for about 90 minutes. I'm not kidding, this cigar has been languishing in the bottom of a bag for over a year, and was the size and diameter of a sawed-off baseball bat. I had to get a glass of whisky and ice to deal with the dryness of it. So I smoked my cigar, drank my whisky (which, the tapering off effect combined with drinking lots of water, I credit with preventing a hangover), and read a book on my Kindle. You know, making lemonade from lemons.
       After about an hour, listening to accents and languages only half-understood, comments from the balcony down the way ("My God, the smell" "Vulgar" "Why won't he go to bed?" Someone turned the music down, and I had finished Satan's Stogie as I watched the sky lighten up, took a shower, brushed my teeth and went to bed for a few hours.

      My wife, being a late sleeper but normally a light drinker, was surprisingly enough, up at a reasonable hour. We packed up, surveyed the carnage, and went to breakfast.

 Oh, one last, cool thing. The hotel pool has glass windows on the bottom, and on the floor below the pool is a bar adjoining the restaurant. So you have shade, but the skylights are actually the pool. Pretty neat, and while, like most hotels, the American breakfast is of indifferent quality, the mimosas were excellent and there was a giant chessboard next to our seats, where we discovered that after all these years, neither of us actually enjoy chess at all.
It also doesn't help when neither of you know the name of the pieces in the others' native language. 

       After we got out of there, I suddenly had enough, and although we were going to spend a couple of hours, the knowledge that I was heading back to work in a couple of days really hit home, and I wanted to just go get my kid and have the day as a family, so that is exactly what we did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Used to do a 20 day in and 10 out shift north of Fort Mcmurray for a year. Every trip home was special, makes you realize how precious family is.