South Beach!

But first my apologies for no blog yeasterday. The internet connection at my hotel was down. These recent computer problems I am experiencing are getting me down!

However we are up and ready! Here we go!

I have not been to Miami/South Beach in about 33 years, with two exceptions. I was here for a Super Bowl about 12 years ago and a Syracuse/Miami football game about 10 years ago. Both short trips. So it has been a very long time I have been away.

South Beach is blocks longer! Increased construction and rehab of old hotels. The street scene is the same. Except fewer people!

The recession is here! The street is not jammed packed. Tables are easy to get at restaurants. No wait!

The best example I can give is Joe’s Stone Crabs.

I was last there over 30 years ago. Always a roughly 1 1/2 hour wait for a table. I walked in tuesday night at 8:15 and was immediately seated! And so was everyone else!

The meal was outstanding! Just as I remembered! Jumbo stone crabs, hash browns and key lime pie! What can I say! To die for! All of you should have been with me to enjoy it!

I spoke to the waiter about the season and business. He said the season was slow and business died last week. Always expected to some degree in South Florida after Easter Sunday. But not to the extent as this year!

I have spoken with other waiters, bartenders and business people. All say the same. Business is dramatically down! Things are bad!

One waiter who appeared to be 40 told me he was in advertising in Miami till last year. Business got bad so he became a waiter. Things have gotten worse so he is leaving town tomorrow. Going to North Carolina which is one of the few places in our country experiencing some sort of a boom. He has to have work to support himself and his family!

Reminds me of John Steinback’s Grapes of Wrath!

I had an interesting experience at Joe’s.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s I was a frequent customer. Note again it is over 30 years since my last meal there. One of the more mature captains, regal in his black tuxedo, came over to my table and asked if I was Mr. Petrone from Utica. Though I did not remember him, he remembered me! What a great feeling!

I spent many a memorable evening at Joe’s. One especially with my friend Louis B. from Utica. Good memories!

However it is today! Life continues to move on! Life continues to change, to be different!

I worked yesterday. All day. From 7:30 to 5 non-stop! No breakfast, lunch or dinner! My mind and body actually welcomed the food withdrawl! I needed a day off from eating, even though it was unplanned.

Last night was uneventful. I walked along South Beach, had a mozzerella appetizer and one gin and was in bed early! Tired from the day! I am obviously not as young as I used to be!

The drive to Miami was fantastic! Drove the whole way with the top down! A beautiful and restful drive! Water all around me!

I was supposed to work today also. However we were all driven yesterday and completed our tasks. So I am going to spend a screw off day here in South Beach!

The first thing I am going to do is go out and have a breakfast breakfast! I am hungry!

Then to the beach. My hotel is right on the beach so it is easy.

I have a very selfish reason for wanting to lie on the beach. Everyone I have talked to down here tells me the beaches in this area are generally topless. Both sexes! Ho ho! I am going to have a very visual breast afternoon!

I find this topless sunbathing by women interesting. For more than the usual and normal reasons! Such activity is rare on Key West beaches! Extremely rare! Yet here on South Beach apparently commonplace.

Key West has the reputation adult debauchery, but obviously the game is played elsewhere!

I shall report in detail tomorrow re my beach experience!

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