Oh, come on, now! You didn’t think I’d write my first post about Miami and not prominently feature the finest moment in Golden Girls history, did you?
Granted, the clip has nothing to do with my first 2 weeks in Coconut Grove, (and in fact, after chasing a 3-inch long cockroach out of our sublet, I had to re-watch the clip to remind myself that Miami is, indeed, nice) but the song is damn catchy!
With the perils and perks of a drive down I-95 behind us, we scooted off the highway and into the lush tropical environs of our home for the next 2 1/2 months: a 1-bedroom cottage in the heart of Coconut Grove. For those unfamiliar with the Grove, it’s a perfectly charming neighborhood just south of downtown Miami. Once upon a peaced-out time in the 70s, the Grove was a hippie enclave, filled with writers and musicians. Today, such relics as The Last Carrot cafe remain as testament to the area’s original vibe. But more prominent in 2013 are trendy restaurants like Greenstreet Cafe and LuLu’s, boutiques, galleries and a stunning marina I walk past daily while exercising.
Our cottage lies in the midst of a little mecca of 3 other cottages, in what seemed like a Balinese-style hideaway. The reality? Not so much. No one mentioned the sublet came with a landlord straight out of a Carl Hiaasen novel. This is for better and worse. First, I love Carl Hiaasen novels, so, having the man tell me after a good storm he heads out in a kayak to collect debris and fallen plants to decorate our property with, was kind of exciting. Of course, it also means mysterious piles of brand-new Coleman sleeping bags, Oster kitchen appliances and golf clubs appear in mountainous piles around the yard then just as mysteriously, disappear. Still, it’s a pretty awesome-looking space.
Miami has been as spectacularly strange as I would have expected: We’ve already witnessed a man who could have starred in Scarface (complete with slicked back pony tail, chunky gold jewelry and sunglasses indoors, at night), saw 2 bottles of champagne with flames shooting out of them, and ate dinner a restaurant that spontaneously turned into a disco – complete with the descent of 6 mirrored, spinning disco balls and laser lights – for a few minutes, then back to normal — periodically repeating. And that was just the first 24 hours.
We’ve also slayed the aforementioned 3-inch-long roaches. Ok, Ayaz has slayed them. Tried to ward off one sizeable vermin (squirrel?) in our kitchen wall, and battled the pervasive Florida ants and watched our landlord gas the property with a mosquito fogger (because, yes, there was an infestation of those, too). I know, I know. The price we pay to live in the jungle.
When we’re not doing battle with nature and losing spectacularly, we’re exploring the awesomeness that is Miami. Hot nights at the SoBe Wine & Food Festival (yes, I DID get a pic with Bobby Flay), sprawling on Key Biscayne’s lovely Crandon Park beach, Haulover Beach (yes, there’s a nude beach there somewhere; no, I didn’t see it, thank god), and biking around the waterfront Bill Bagg’s State Park and lighthouse while snapping pics of rad-looking water fowl.
Nights are quiet here; cooking dinner, drinking wine, staring at last week’s full moon, and enjoying the blazing warmth of our new Fire Fish — a rather touching, if I do say, gift bestowed upon us by the Landlord. It may have been dragged out of a swamp after a storm, or fenced, but it’s ours … and like Miami, I think I’m gonna like it!