Lonely Planet Miami: A City Guide (LONELY PLANET MIAMI AND THE KEYS)

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9780864423733: Lonely Planet Miami: A City Guide (LONELY PLANET MIAMI AND THE KEYS)
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This guide to Miami, the largest city in Florida, provides detailed advice for travellers on all budgets, and is suitable for short-term visitors as well as those staying longer. Information includes accommodation, sightseeing, public transport, a shopping guide, and excursion information.

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This is exerpted from the Things to See & Do chapter of Lonely Planet's new Miami City Guide:

Beaches For a city beach, especially an American one, Miami Beach is one of the best around. The water is relatively clear, and relatively warm; the sand relatively white and best of all, it's wide and certainly long enough to accommodate the throngs. The throngs, by the way, are generally rather considerate in that there's usually not lots of litter or broken glass in the sand, but do use caution when walking barefoot.

Note the mega-funky, Ken Scharf-designed lifeguard tower at 10th St - and other non-Scharf (but good local artist-designed) lifeguard towers run from 5th to 14th St. One drawback is that the ocean here is very calm: there's not much surfing to be done, though you can boogie-board somewhat.

And another shocker for an American beach: topless bathing is permitted in most places, a happy result of the popularity of the place to Europeans and South Americans. Actually, skimpy seems to be the order of the day, and you'll see plenty of thongs and other minuscule coverings around. But nude bathing goes too far for even here: there is a nude beach (see below) but generally speaking on Miami Beach you have to wear...something. And you won't feel out of place in a traditional bathing suit, either.

Like a large, accommodating restaurant, The Beach has been cunningly and wordlessly zoned to provide everyone with what they want without offending anyone else. So if you find yourself in a place on the sand where the people around you make you uncomfortable, just move a little and you'll be fine.

[The Beach] The most crowded sections of the Beach are, of course, in South Beach - from about 5th St to 21st St. Weekends are more crowded than weekdays, but except during special events it's usually not too difficult to find a quiet spot. The beaches north of 21st St - especially the one at 53rd St, which has a playground and public toilets - are more family oriented.

[Latin Families] For some reason, Latin American families - predominantly Cuban - tend to congregate between 5th St and South Pointe. In this area topless bathing is unwise and can be considered offensive.

[Gay] The Gay Beach centers around 12th Street, across from the Palace Cafe. It's not as if there's sex going on (there isn't) it's just a spot where gay men happen to congregate. There's Fabulous volleyball Sunday afternoons at 4 pm, packed with fun and fun loving locals.

[Nude] Nude bathing is legal at Haulover Beach, north of Miami Beach. The area you're looking for is at the northern end of park between the two northernmost parking lots. The area north of the lifeguard tower is predominantly gay; south of it is straight. There's no sex allowed on any of these beaches and you will get arrested if you're seen trying to get to the bushes.

[The Use of Wires] The wire you will notice if you look up in places near the Promenade is called an Erev (ay-ruv), and it's there to accommodate highly observant Jews who need to leave their homes for various reasons during the Sabbath (which begins Friday evenings at sunset). Jewish law forbids manual labor of most sorts during the Sabbath. Very simply put, the Erev acts as something of a connection between the roof of the Synagogue and the home, so that when walking within its boundaries, one is allowed a degree of physical labor - such as pushing a baby in a carriage or carrying a Talis, prayer shawl - on the Sabbath. And it's always a rather interesting sight to see Orthodox Jews trying to avoid the phalanx of Joggers and skaters on the Promenade.

Another interesting thing you'll notice if you look up is pairs of sneakers hanging from phone and power cables. This is said to be evidence of teenage fornication: certain young men tie their sneakers together and toss them over a wire on the occasion of the loss of their virginity. It's rather disturbing just how small some of those sneakers are....

Review:

As usual, the guidebook standard is set by Lonely Planet-- Outside

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9780864426536: Lonely Planet Miami (Lonely Planet Miami, 2nd ed)

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ISBN 10:  0864426534 ISBN 13:  9780864426536
Publisher: Lonely Planet, 1999
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