CELEBRITY REFLECTION & Miami Part 1
Saturday 1st December 2012
We arrived back in Tampa early today, so on board CARNIVAL PARADISE it had to be an alarm clock morning to get to the Normandie Lounge for 7.30 a.m. to join the queue for Immigration. It was well organised so all was done within half an hour, and then I could go for breakfast. I am in the last group to disembark at 10.20 so I could wander and take lots of photos in the hot sunshine of Tampa. Typical after a grey day at sea yesterday! I took a pre-arranged Carnival coach to the Tampa International Airport, which has free wi-fi throughout, so I was able to see what was happening in the port of Miami (on http://portofmiami.com) whilst I was waiting for my flight. This took just 38 minutes, going south/south-east at 28,000 feet, so it was even quicker and higher than flying from Miami to Tampa.
A pleasant taxi-driver, originally from Peru, drove me to the Park Central Hotel on Ocean Drive between 6th and 7th Streets, a wonderful Art Deco building from 1937, and one of the many iconic hotels in this Heritage area of Miami’s South Beach.
I soon went for a walk along the pavement on Ocean Drive, and my eyes must frequently have been popping out of my head. All the restaurants had staff outside touting for business, but politely, but I found it rather irritating. The inevitable free-standing heaters were everywhere too.
The incoming flight of one of my travelling companions on CELEBRITY REFLECTION was much later than expected so I sat at a nearby pavement table for a meal, and watched the world go past until he arrived. I saw lots of cars, obviously doing the evening parade up and down Ocean Drive and driving slowly, coaches, vehicles of all kinds, a man with a lemur on his arm in one bar, someone with a rabbit in his arms, a man on a scooter driving past slowly with his big alsation dog, wearing goggles, in front of him on the seat; Charlie Chaplin walked past and said hello. Coo, what a day.
Ships seen in Tampa: Carnival Paradise and American Victory ship.
None in Miami.
Sunday 2nd December 2012
I have a day to myself today, so I went out for a late breakfast along Ocean Drive at the News Cafe, which was suddenly interrupted by heavy rain; the kind waitress found inside seating for many of us. The rain finished and the heat soon dried everything, so I walked on the beach and wrote my name and date in the sand, and then headed north on Ocean Drive up to Lincoln Avenue and the shopping mall.
This seems to be an area to see and be seen, and it was fascinating to my English eyes. Lincoln Road is between 16th and 17th Streets and starts at Ocean Drive. I later discovered that there is a bus route going up and down Washington for 25 cents a ride.
I went in the Art Centre, Lincoln Road, and met helpful Monica, and then Rosa Naday Garmendia with her beautiful pin work pieces, KK (K. Kissik) with her wonderfully glazed pieces of art including a cathedral and a Paris piece; we had a chat about the renowned Art Basel Miami Beach annual exhibition which starts here on Wednesday – the day we sail. The floor mosaic was pointed out to me by Monica, and I saw the glass inserts in the stair rails.
I also saw several pieces by nina surel (yes, lower case letters) which I liked. Just to complete my tourist morning, I visited Pottery Barn for 4 minutes, as mentioned in the American television series called Friends! Lunch just had to be taken in an Italian restaurant along the Mall, because they offered half-size portions of some things on the menu – thank goodness.
I walked back down Washington Avenue, which is parallel to Ocean Drive but a couple of avenues inland.
I visited the Art Deco Centre shop in Ocean Drive as I neared the hotel, and enjoyed seeing all the lovely things for sale. It was dark by the time I got home, but I had enjoyed a great day out and goodness knows how far I walked. It had been a long day, but interesting and entertaining.
Ships known to be in port: Carnival Valor, Carnival Glory, Carnival Breeze and Norwegian Pearl, berthed on what is called Dodge Island.
Ships seen: late evening, Allure of the Seas passing Miami Beach just out at sea, and clearly visible with all her lights blazing, and heading to Labadee (which I found out thanks to http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais)
To be continued….