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Brad and I had a few hours to laze and tool around, a great deal of patriotic sentiment and what's more, $300 to spend. But on a rainy Miami Memorial Day, what could we do? And me hobbling around in a cast boot. Pfft!

Brad picked me up in South Miami and we drove toward South Beach. On the way there, we detoured to Key Biscayne, hoping we could have a late lunch at No Name Harbour in Bill Baggs State Park, but guess what? We couldn't get in to Bill Baggs! Since when does a state park pull a velvet rope? Oh yeah -- that and much more: police cars blockading the park entrance. Hello? I thought it was only South Beach that was on lock down!

OK. Then Brad mentioned Jimbo's. I said I'd never been to Jimbo's. Oh boy. I might as well have told him his grandmother wore army boots or something, because he gently slammed the breaks, made a fabulously smooth turn (the Fiesta does have a great turning radius) and off we were east bound on Virginia Key to this squatter's village (aka beer and smoked fish joint) by the bay water's edge.

Now, I had hung out here many times in my so-called youth -- there used to be a limestone quarry near the sewage treatment plant that my friends and I called "the moon" because it was a crater-like space, surrounded, as it was, by nothing more than the sky, stars and moonlight above on bright nights. This was a really groovy yet creepy place. Unbelievably, in spite of the the fact that Virginia Key is flatter than a flapjack, you could actually drive your friend's Mustang down into the crater and then rev the engine vroom! vroom! to go up out. This semblance of hilly countryside was the place we used to escape to, back in the mid- and late-80s, for drinks, smokes, smooches and what not.

I thought I knew this place like the back of my hand, but no -- apparently Jimbo's has been around far longer than that. Never mind that I used to pee on the water's edge, but that's another story. Oh, and I absolutely, never, ever, ever made out with a cute guy here either. I swear!

Well, wouldn't ya know! While at Jimbo's I bumped into an old high school buddy. His name is N and he used to be an Adonis who ran the rickshaws in Coconut Grove. (Actually, he still looks pretty hot, but I never made out with him.)

I also bumped into a few other characters, but these asked me for money. If you go to Jimbo's, make sure you bring extra cash for those special, unrequested souvenirs that support the local economy, and of course, you'll want a cold beer or two, a game of Bocce Ball and some smoked fish.

I really liked Jimbo's. These places keep Miami real -- it's like Fox's meets Gilligan's Island -- and then some.

Afterward, in our search for continued yet patriotically-minded hedonism, Brad and I headed toward Rusty Pelican. Now, it seems that they only serve a partial menu between lunch and dinner, so we had to settle with cocktails and appetizers. The view of Biscayne Bay was beautiful, in spite of the thunderstorm and the Disney-like Polynesian decor. Somehow, I felt, that we were still in Gilligan mode, with Thurston Howell playing host.

But this romance with a beloved 60s TV series would soon end as we rolled down Rickenbacker Causeway toward Biscayne, the epicenter of all things Miami cool and modern. Through a waning yet nasty thunderstorm, we drove through the boulevard of Mary Brickell's dreams and headed toward South Beach, where we were determined to find a parking space on Ocean Drive during the busiest and most controversial day of the year.

But actually, by Monday afternoon, what with the gross weather and all, it wasn't so bad. Yeah, there were a lot of dudes wearing pants down to their asses and I saw way more cellulite than I might see in a infomercial "before" graphic, but you know what? Who gives a shit? If you're going to wear it, ************g OWN IT. And everybody I saw on the beach that day was so owning it, even if some of it was vulgar. I'd rather see ten so-called imperfect bodies inhabited by happy souls than ten so-called perfect bodies inhabited by plastic personalities.

Anyway, Brad managed to find a little space on Ocean Drive where I could get out of the car and hobble over to interview Sam Feldman of Veterans for Peace. The memorial was moving, sad, utterly beautiful and confusing among the revelry just across the street. It represented a crazy juxtaposition of life and death.

Well, after that whole experience, Brad and I had a major dilemma: we still had money to spend! So, being totally over the Ocean Drive crowd (we were expecting major eyewitness news drama, but there was none), we headed over to The Delano, where it was as dead as the batteries on my dildo!

Mind you, I did meet an interesting and somewhat tipsy British tourist though. He took verbal note of my fedora and my cleavage, and insisted on taking my photograph, yet he refused to have his photograph taken because (I swore to secrecy!) his brother is a famous film director of photography who has nothing to do with Madonna's ex-husband.

Oh -- and Brad practically made out with the white fur throw that covered the divan inside the lobby. But other than that, the Delanus was pretty uneventful.

From there, we decided to hit Tantra, a restaurant neither of us had ever been to (Tantra just seemed way more interesting than Joe's Stone Crabs, at this point). We enjoyed a fabulously delicious, filling meal (Brad's was vegetarian) and incredible service, even if the bartender forgot to rinse out the shaker for my martini (an issue that was quickly resolved). Mind you, tantra "purists" may find the menu description of the practice a bit kitschy, but the food, however, will fool no one with its flavor and preparation.

If you're romantically inclined and in the mood for giving your taste buds something delectable, go there with the idea that it's food foreplay. Call ahead and make sure you dine early before all the club bullshit. You really should go there to enjoy the food, the decor and most importantly, each other.

Anyway, can you believe we walked out of here with money to spare? Unbelievable! We actually didn't manage to spend our budget and this included valet parking at The Delano! And you thought I was kidding when I said you could do South Beach on $5000 a day! Tsk, tsk!

Our first Ford Fiesta mission, including the collaborative work afterward on the video was a great pleasure. I'm so happy I recruited Brad on this project. Not only does he drive like nobody's business, he's also a great video editor. I'm totally looking forward to the next mission ... and by then, I may even be driving the car (if I can wrestle Brad off the steering wheel)!



"Antartic Moon" courtesy of Danosongs.comYou won't see me on the side of the bus! I AM THE BUS! A single woman's guide to chronic living on South Beach.

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