Monday, July 31, 2006

Day Off in Miami

Woke up at 7 and sat up front with Danny for the rest of the drive. Pulled in at the Hotel Intercontinental at 11:30 and made it to my room shortly after.

This hotel is right on the waterfront of Biscayne Bay. I'm on the 26th floor, so I've got a terrific view of the shoreline, American Airlines Arena (home of the 2006 NBA Champion Miami Heat team), and the bay itself.

The usual drill – drop bags and go exploring. There's a really cool open-air mall/plaza a couple of blocks north along the waterfront. Almost buy some souvenir crap, but talk myself out of it. Find a cool little grill along the water and have a lunch consisting of blackened fish, rice & beans and fried plantains. Yummy!

After walking off my lunch, I wind up back in the room around 3 and just chill. Around 6:30 I head out for more exploring, this time away from the waterfront.

An hour later though, I'm right back over there, where I discover a restaurant billing itself as an oyster bar. This is the second time in two weeks that I ate at a restaurant claiming to be an oyster bar. Having 3 different oyster varieties in stock and selling them only by the ½ dozen ($10.00) or dozen ($19.50) doesn't quite get it. If you don't sell 'em by the peck and shuck 'em right in front of me, you're not an oyster bar. And WTF is up with those prices?!? Right now, I am really missing Gino Russo's and 42nd Street in Raleigh.

One thing I will this place props on is the outdoor seating at their "oyster bar". Right on the waterfront, although you're sitting with your back to the water.

Just as I'm sitting down, one of the bus drivers (T-Bone) wanders by and decides to join me for a few beers and dinner. T-Bone and I split some calamari (nothing special, but has a nice fiery Cuban dipping sauce instead of the usual marinara), then he goes for a dozen Apalachicola oysters. Apalachicola is in the Florida panhandle area and is famous for its seafood. I opt for ½ dozen of the same, along with ½ dozen jumbo shrimp. The oysters were OK, the shrimp were stellar.

Drop by the liquor store on the way back and grab a few Buds for the room. In the room, I'm chilling, gonna watch my 2 favorite comedies - Two And A Half Men and How I Met Your Mother. Twenty minutes into Men, the local station interrupts with a special news announcement about Castro's illness, surgery and his stepping aside to allow his brother to take over. When this shit goes on longer than the length of the commercial break it interrupted, I start getting irritated. OK, OK, you said it already. Finish it at 11.

But no, hell no, they keep going. Over the next 15 minutes, they give the exact same details over and over and over again. By my count, at least 6-7 times, although it involved 3 different reporters repeating them.

Now, I realize that's there's lots of Cuban folks here in Miami for whom this might be news, but WTF! Next, they start taking calls offering opinions on the whole thing from both analysts and local folks.

Guess I won't get to see my shows after all. I turn the TV down, but not off (just in case), and hit the computer.

In bed around 12:45.

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