Costume Shopping – South Beach Miami, Florida, United States

We were woken by the loud knocking of room service that came promptly at 7am. It was the first time we indulged in the luxury and we thoroughly enjoyed our cereal in bed. We packed up the last doodads and made our way to the dining room where we could have some oatmeal. We had gotten accustomed to this ritual and it would be wrong to break in on the last day. Besides, who knew who we could meet at our table today?

Turns out there were some lovely Canadians and a couple from Nevada who had already heard of me. I guess I am doing my job because they already had my web address from someone else. We shared a few last minute reflections about the trip and then said goodbye. After locating Cortney and Aaron, the four of us joined the herd for debarkation.

As usual, it was messy and full of people whining that this was the worst ever. I managed to keep a positive attitude and it was pretty painless. We negotiated a cab to South Beach where I had booked our hotel. I got a really great deal from the internet and found that our spot was ideal. We checked into the Chesterfield Hotel then ventured out to explore. We were a block from the beach and right in the middle of the action.

First things first. Head to Joe`s Stone Crabs. This has been a favorite of mine for a long time and I had built it up for my friends. We found that it was open for lunch though the prices the same as dinner. We settled into the posh restaurant that serves up this unique delicacy. They basically rip off one of the claws then release the crab and he grows back another. They cost about 20 dollars for 8 claws and we supplemented this with sweet potato fries and stuffed tomatoes. We got bibs and dug in. I realized about halfway through that it wasn`t as good as I had remembered it. The sauce and bread were probably the best part. I wasn`t very impressed by the service and I felt the quality was lower than before. The crabs were great but that was about it and I did not like the atmosphere. Perhaps I had been spoiled on the cruise but I have to admit that I won`t be running back to Joe`s anytime soon.

After lunch, we walked along south beach all the way up to 15 Ave watching the semi nakedness baking themselves in the sun. Lots of topless brown leathery types as well as some of the smallest suits I have seen. They rival those which I have seen in Brazil. We stopped to watch a guy kite surfing and he seemed to have just enough wind to make a go of it. It was a hot and sunny day so I was surprised that there were not more people out. Then I remembered that we are into November. I even saw some stores getting their Christmas stuff out already.

Next we found ourselves a costume store and went a little wild. They were just in the process of putting away all their Halloween stuff so things were in a bit unorganized. I was originally going to be Darth Vader and they had the helmet and everything. Then we discovered a whole other level where we all took turns trying on outfit after outfit. When the guy said he would give us half price, he made our day.

I ended up walking out with three full costumes. None of them were Darth Vader and one of them will be perfect for my fire spinning. No I am not telling what they are except that there are capes, fire chief hats, and latex involved. I plan to doctor them up a bit to give them a special flavor of their own. I am building up quite the tickle trunk. Mr. DressUp will have nothing on me.

We spent the rest of the night in the hotel bar where they give free drinks from 7-8. I met a bunch of people and somehow ended up behind the bar again. I was inventing another Carmella shot. I have done this in South Africa, Spain, and now South Beach but none of them contain the same thing. I guess my “creation” is always evolving…like me. A complex indulgence layered with a little mystery and a hint of fire but always genuinely sweet.

Today I am grateful for costumes.

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