I heard birdsong I wasn't familiar with, and spied fast-moving birds that looked like very exotic blue-jays flitting between the palm trees.
Miami Beach is known for amazing Art Deco architecture; the area enjoyed a building boom in the 1920's and early 30's and many reminders of that time still stand. Some are historically-designated buildings today.
I found a beautiful reminder of the importance of memory, especially poignant during this week when I observed my father's yahrtzeit.
Restoration project of an historic Deco building in South Beach.
On the way back towards my homestay, I found this innovative take on a charity box, this one specifically designated for agencies helping Miami's homeless citizens. Being a former parking meter and therefore sort of bombproof, it's brilliant.
Along the way I asked a friendly policeman for directions and also if he would mind taking my picture. He happily obliged. (Yes, Miami, I am wearing brown pants. Dig it.) I had rented the bike for an hour, so I was mindful of the time and distance. I rode down to around 5th Street and back again up to the rental kiosk at 44th. Not sure how many miles that was, and didn't really care; I was just happy to have had a chance to ride a bike during my trip to Miami. On the way back, traffic was relatively light, so several times I jumped my bike off the sidewalk (these things are pretty sturdy), and took the lane at a brisk pace. Occasionally I busted out a short-track move to get around a parked bus or van and back up onto the sidewalk when needed. These things steer like crap (note the high handle bar) but ride surprisingly smoothly for what they are. I had a good time. (Note to family and friends: No, I did not wear a helmet. The bike didn't come with one, and I felt comfortable enough to not worry about it for an hour. Please do not scold me when I get home. As of my most recent birthday, I can do whatever I want and the lack of a helmet is not enough to keep me off a rental bicycle.)
Miami police are busy this weekend, directing traffic along Collins Avenue during a large yacht show in the harbor. Somehow, every office I saw seemed to maintain good humor and a smile. I'm sure their work isn't always so mellow, but it was refreshing to see. Looking at the gigantic boats parked in the water I was saddened at the excess -- I generally have a near-horror of flashy displays of unsustainable wealth -- so I avoided the tours of boats.
Passing a stand selling Budweiser and noting the very long line of folks waiting to buy one, I pondered the possibility that Bud may be what passes for good beer in this town. That would be tragic.
I walked back to the apartment in a light and very warm drizzle, relishing the feeling of the damp falling on my arms and head. Warm rain is delicious. It got heavier as I neared the apartment building, and I saw lots of umbrellas pop open as folks visibly shivered. I smiled. It has been a gloriously mellow day and I am so happy to have gotten in a bicycle ride.