If I was going to do it, I was going to do it right. I book a room at the Posh Hostel in the heart of Miami Beach. Complete with glittering chandeliers, free wifi and a rooftop pool for $60. What more could I ask for?
I take the train and then the high monorail, gliding into Miami Beach as it’s starting to come alive, buildings lit up in red, and everyone looks like they just stepped off a the shoot of a music video.
So, of course, I meet a boy. In the sea of aluminum bunk beds, I am given #34. And across from me there is a movie star, almost napping, in a tux. With his arm casually thrown behind his head. He opens his eyes as I set all my junk down.
“So where are you from?” He asks.
“Me too,” he says.
Far out! Fancy that, meeting someone from Hawaii, right here.
“Which island?” I look at him. His dark, kind of tousled hair. On purpose? Can’t tell. His dark eyes. Day’s worth of dark stubble. Square jaw. Lips.. oh boy.
Now this is getting weird. Someone from Maui, laying here across from me on my one night at the Posh?
Get the fuck out! There are about 120,000 people on Maui. And Haiku is definitely in the running for one of its tiniest towns.
Movie star and I decide to go out on the town. We walk the cobbled streets blocked off from cars, past people smoking hookah on restaurant patios, flamenco dancers waving like silk in bar windows, and walk and walk and walk. By the time we stop talking and find a place we want to eat at, it’s 3am. And the funny thing? This place looks more alive at three in the morning than in did at three in the afternoon. So what else do we do? We order wine. And whiskey. And salad. And lamb. And the night swirls around us. We walk to the beach and have a buzzed make out session on a lifeguard stand. It isn’t until morning that we realize his iPhone is missing. And he’s got to leave on the next flight to New York. We look up his phone on google and access the tracking feature. And lo and behold, there it is! Moving slowly down the beach, passing 9th street! With three hours of sleep, some free Posh coffee, and a quick dip in the rooftop pool we head out to solve the riddle of the Disappeared iPhone. Before he’s on a plane back to New York in uh, three hours.
We pass art deco buildings on our blind stumble back to the Strip. At the beach, we stop. There are joggers, dog walkers, and models power walking with boobs that don’t jiggle. I start tapping shoulders. “Hey did you find an iPhone?”
We realize whoever it is might be getting away. I stop a runner, who yanks out his earplugs and lets me use his smart phone. The google tracker shows Movie Star’s iPhone slowly moving up the beach.
“He’s on the move!”
“Thank you!” I yell back at the jogger.
And then it dawns on me. There’s a man in the distance, waving a long wand back and forth over the sand, with a big sack over one shoulder. I run up to him, breathless.
“Did you find an iPhone?”
He smiles, and rummages in the sack between the other metal objects, and whips out, yep, Movie Star’s phone. Goodbye, handsome.
The second night I stay at the Freehand Miami Hostel– whooeee! If this place isn’t fun I don’t know where is.
They have an outside bar next to the pool, which is, well, fabulous.
That night some friends and I hop on trip advisor and find Icebox. One watermelon martini later, I am in love!
I mean, they use vintage electrical insulators as lamps. How cool is that? Maybe I’ve been living on a small tropical island too long. But the soft glow of candles everywhere, cocktails and killer food = happy girl.
Of course we have to top this off with a drink on the Strip. And not your average drink either. This margarita is oh, the size of my head. No joke. And so we get lured in by the plastic sample tray. Who’s judging? And you really could fit two beers into this glass. With breathing room.
It’s all fun and games until we get the bill. Gulp.
The next day, what else do you do in Miami? Go on an airboat tour of the Everglades of course. We choose Gator Park.
We drive out past city limits (thank you GPS!) until it’s straight highway and nothing but sky and puffy clouds. Surrounded by swamp. And I can see how flat it really is here. It makes me nervous, all that space and not a mountain in sight.
We tear through the swamp, every language but English peppered around my head. This is not exactly a locals tour. But I don’t care. We scan the reeds for alligators. Not crocodiles. Which are saltwater creatures, our guide explains. Get it straight. And as we’re about to give up on the wildlife and veer back to Gator Park, there is an alligator!
And a baby alligator. Okay. I’m complete now.