it's late afternoon, and the rhythm of Miami begins to seep in, we have lunch at Dokaru (try the God of Fire rolls), people watching on nearby Lincoln Road. the conversation flows easily over the meal and then afterwards as we make our way along the pedestrian mall. Carl Fisher envisioned Lincoln Road to "the way to draw together the east and west sides of Miami Beach." as we cross a myriad of neighborhoods, it appears his vision has been successful.
the outdoor mall is a mix of high-end boutiques and restaurants with a couple of mainstream favorites. the art deco architecture catches my eye and I can almost imagine what is was like in its heyday of the 40s and 50s. we stop in at the Miguel Paredes pop-up gallery, a native New Yorker who moved to South Beach to paint. his images add color with a collage of geisha, anime and graffiti art. street lights and traffic soon emerge beyond the low hanging trees, and then we find ourselves in the business district with its tourist shops, duck boat tours, and local celebrity.
the journey continues east inching toward the water, away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping district, to a quieter side more relaxed side. as if in a dream we stroll in between the ocean on the left passing underneath a grove of palm trees to the right, many of which are taller than the nearby cabanas (now available on Living Social if you must). colored umbrellas, blankets and volleyball courts with their people on the beach. most seem to travel by Segway, the dog walkers and runners are few.
a sunrise walkway of red stones curves in and around the hotels, rivulets of stone and concrete. they match the waves leaving crescent shapes on the sand 20 yards away. in between the high rise glass buildings, there are less ostentatious white stucco structures that conjure another day, another era. when they too had a picture perfect view of the horizon on the blue sea.
ellie goulding whispered words about a river and a secret and I can almost imagine their meaning applied to this moment, this day. as we spill out onto Ocean Drive, I feel like the nostalgic screenwriter in Midnight in Paris, as if on our sojourn we've uncovered a hidden entrance to another time where everything feels familiar and part of a natural rhythm, like honey bees contentedly swirling around their hive.
across the way at the Z Ocean Hotel there is a skylight in the lobby that offers a view of the swimming pool and sky. today the pool is empty and the rippling waves layered with the mackerel clouds above, call to mind a sea of shimmering stars. an impromptu art installation caught in a shadow box of sunlight.
in this moment I am stunned by my former resistance to visit the sunshine state. i used to hold it like a trophy--one of the last standing new yorkers who has not been to florida. and now i see how silly that is, to cross off a place so close, especially given my love for the sun and the sea. this trip was fantastic from beginning to end, between the conference and time with friends new and old, i can't help but wonder if Sade will be right. i'll just have to come back and see.