Twice in a month's time, I took Jetblue's nonstop flight from Austin to Fort Lauderdale. Why? Because of this awesome new eyewear brand Tortoise & Blonde. Well, that was the main reason. T&B held a private showing of their frames to Miami bloggers and others in town for Swim Week at The Shore Club. Last month's trip, however, paled in comparison to this past weekend because my travel homie Niraj took the trip too. Here are the weekend's highlights:
5. The Tortoise & Blonde event, duh! Did I mention they had live African sea tortoises!
4. Tourists going local
Niraj and I checked out a cool Uchiko-like resturant called Gigi that we both appreciated. Pretty much anything with pork belly or short ribs is going to please us. Was a very strong local follow-up to the previous night's meal at Nobu. The same can be said of our visit to this house-party like club called Villa 221 that we checked out late Saturday night after spending the previous night at South Beach establishments like Mokai.
3. That angel named Sade
It was nice walking into the "home of the Miami Heat" without having to see an NBA Championship banner hanging from the American Airlines Arena as John Legend closed his set with "Green Light", but the real highlight was seeing Sade...one of those special artists I've wanted to see for years. I've now seen both Jay-Z and Kanye perform in my home city, Rihanna sing up-close-and-personal (literally, 10 feet away), hung out with Pharrell and Will.i.am in their studio buses, seen Paul McCartney perform "Blackbird", Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger perform at the Grammys, watched Devo play "Whip It", saw Roni Size do the entire "New Forms" album and Public Enemy do "It Takes a Nation of Millions..." since I turned 21...I'm almost prepared to die and go to Heaven and I'm not even 30!
2. The beach and poolside views
First, from the hotel room at The Shore Club.
Then, by the pool
And some the views I'm talking about can't be captured in photos like this.
1. It's not often that I travel to a place like Miami solo (like I did a month ago) then go the following month with a good friend, but it's exactly what happened here. Niraj and I have now tackled Chicago (Halloween), L.A. (Grammys), New York (Memorial Day), and Miami in the last year. After coming out of a lengthy relationship late last year, one of my New Year's resolutions was to travel with good friends more. You learn a lot about someone (and yourself) by spending time with people in less familiar environments. I've certainly learned a lot by sticking to this resolution in 2011.
At one point, after driving 110-120+ in the rented Ford Mustang on I-95, I was pulled over by a Miami police officer. The officer immediately ordered me out of the car and asked me why I was driving so fast. When I told him it was because I had to use the restroom, he then asked who else was in the car. In that moment, I was thrilled that it was Niraj. He let us be on our merry way and I think it's because he, too, likes the occasional late night cruise with a homie. Hell, that's probably part of the reason why he became a police officer.