Friday, January 23, 2009

Arrival in Miami: Bad4

I stepped out of the terminal and braced myself against the cold. It didn’t come. I breathed out slowly, so I could watch my breath puff. It didn’t puff. “I don’t think we’re in New York anymore…” I thought. I wandered over to the taxi stand and signed myself up for a shared ride to the hotel. Then I stood there idly, waiting. I realized I wasn’t feeling terribly excited. You’d think I walked out of airport terminals surrounded by palm trees all the time. Heck – you’d think I walked out of airport terminals all the time! I was in Miami! Slowly I started smiling.

People claim that between Starbucks and McDonalds, you can’t tell American cities apart these days. So untrue. I would recognize Miami in a moment. It looks just like in those car racing games. Unlike in New York, where we build things tall and dark, Miami likes them low and white. Or at least light. And their trees are less shady.

I struck up a conversation with the lone guy sharing my ride in the 16-seater van. He was from Haiti, returning from post-op surgery in NY. He was glad to be out of the cold again.

I haven’t been in many hotels, so maybe my judgment is off, but I thought this place was classy. Waterfall in front, loads of marble and mirrors, and the room looked like a picture from Architectural Digest. Or it did, before I made it look lived in. Bas Melech never got to see it like that. When I first saw the shower my immediate thought was, “It would be a pity to use that and mess it up.” The toilet paper was pointed at the end. The beds bounce nicely. The patio had a table and chairs and a view—of the parking lot, but nonetheless, a view.

My favorite part? This notice near the towels:
“Dear guest, Every day millions of gallons of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once. You make the choice: A towel on the rack means “I will use again.” A towel on the floor means, “Please replace.” Thank you for helping us conserve the Earth’s vital resources.”
Imagine if I tried that at home!

I immediately set about ruining the picture-perfect room by throwing my stuff around. Food went into the fridge. Jacket over the chair. Crocs on the floor.

There were two liter bottles of Evian behind the sink. “How nice!” I thought, really impressed now. Then I leaned forward and peered at the label around their neck. The credit card I’d given them downstairs would be charged $5 for each bottle violated. “How cheap!” I was indignant now. It seemed crude. I went back and checked that there was no price tag on the toilet paper. There wasn’t. Well, time to explore now. The woman behind the desk said something about a 24-hour fitness center and recreation room. And what about that gorgeous swimming pool I saw in the pictures?

~ from the hotel lobby

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