------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------
The destination destination.
South Beach This Weekend.
<<< Somebodyisfromhere.com had a streak in South
this weekend of hitting three straight ATMs that had run
out of money. Is this a coincidence or accurate representation of
how bloody expensive the place is?  Who knows, but
Somebodyisfromhere.com's savings account doesn't look so hot.

Summing up a place like Miami's South Beach in Florida is a lot
more difficult than one would think.

Sure, some think of the topless girls on the beach. Yeah, that
happens, but is there more to the city?
How about the guy in the bathroom that offers your friend coke to come back to his place and have some fun?

How about the glitzy restaurants that line the streets? Do they best represent the city?

The truth is, of course, that you don't know what your going to get. Yeah, the girls are attractive. They're gorgeous on the
beach, at the bars, on the streets, and  --
often enough -- in the hotel lobbies.

The people otherwise, aren't as you'd expect.
Somebodyisfromhere.com was led to believe Miami is a melting pot of those
from the Spanish countries beneath the States. As this might be true of Miami as a whole, it wasn't especially true this
weekend in South Beach. The area was populated with foreigners, however, they were mostly Europeans whose roots
occasionally were spotted in day to day life (Speedos on the beach), but most often, at the bar watching televised

And coke dealing bathroom flirts?  Well there's a reason Elmore Leonard has been able to exploit the weirdness of the Florida
culture in stories like
Get Shorty and Out of Sight among others. These beasts are odd, but that's what makes them so
damned entertaining.

How were the bars and restaurants? South Beach has a laid back approach to dining. This is simply a kind way to say the
service is awful. In a town with so much to do, it would
have been nice to have the opportunity to move on to the next place,
particularly when bills can regularly run over a couple hundred bucks. This pace is seen everywhere from Gloria Estefan's
Larios on Friday night to the Pizzeria Uno's at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport Sunday morning.

Restaurants are all over the place. Ocean Drive has a handful, many of which offer outside seating; the outside is good for air
and an obstructed view of the Atlantic.

Collins and Washington have quite a few bars too. You may have to pay out the waazoo for a beer, but you have to pay a
cover less often than you'd think.

Espanola Way is a charming, if not slightly manufactured, dinner option that is worth going to. Also offering outdoor seating,
it's a collection of restaurants on a closed-to-cars alley with a wide range of eating options.

A bar called
Playwright, on Washington, the departure point. An attractive bartender and a friendly crowd often lent to
Somebodyisfromhere.com's staying longer than anticipated.

On Ocean, days
can be spent at Finnegan's Way, where drink specials, an attractive bartender, and a casual atmosphere
can lead to staying longer than anticipated.

At the advice of a University of Miami professor,
Somebodyisfromhere.com also went to Lost Weekends on Espanola Way, a
billiards hall (there's more pool tables in South Beach than you'd think), where an attractive bartender, a nice playlist, and
drink specials often lent to our staying longer than anticipated.
Somebodyisfromhere.com stayed at the Winterhaven Hotel. The Winterhaven sits at 1400 Ocean Drive and is located
amongst the fine restaurants and bars of South Beach. A room with two beds for the weekend cost about $260 per person for
three nights -- in theory. We had four rooms (7 guys, 1 girl)

A snafu in which Travelocity didn't warn
Somebodyisfromhere's group about was that, on the third night, the same rooms
weren't available
forcing them to check out a little after noon and check in a few hours later for 4 rooms with one bed in each.

The long weekend was bookended with
Southwest Airlines flights in and out of Fort Lauderdale. The round trip was $264.
Southwest continued to be the peppy airline, with chipper announcements through the return trip that bordered on drunk.

Fort Lauderdale proved to be an accessible airport not far from Miami. It cost eight people $15 bucks (plus tip) to rent a
shuttle to the hotel.

Southwest's terminal proved to be one of top five dirtiest bathrooms
Somebodyisfromhere.com has ever been. You can't get
this information just anywhere.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *
With new content weekly, Somebodyisfromhere.com takes a look at travel albeit from the perspective of
somebody who probably watched  a little too much TV as a kid (or yesterday). The site doubles as a venue in
which you can share stories or pictures from your vacations because, let's face it, your friends are sick of
hearing about it.
What do you think? crodgers@somebodyisfromhere.com

Thanks for the info on Florida. I'm looking at moving to Ft.
Laurdale/SouthBeach/Miami area next year.

Have fun,