I’ve been in Miami Beach for about a week now. My first few days after arrival were deeply inconvenient, about which more later. I have a nice oceanfront condo a few miles up the road from South Beach, in the ‘Castle Beach Club.’
Trip Advisor strongly recommends against staying in this building. Choice quotes: “really bad, stinky, old, disgusting”; “Stay here under no condition”; “pool was closed by the Health Department.” I was reading those reviews during my bus ride to view the place, and nearly turned back. It didn’t help that the rental agent who met me in the lobby was a movie-star-beautiful blond Russian who had clearly spent 90 minutes at the salon just before our meeting… everything suggested the setup to a detective movie with me behind bars or dead before the second reel.
The lobby did not look too bad, and the desk clerk was friendly. I like having a desk clerk! Olyna and I rode the freight elevator up to the apartment (there are three ‘normal’ elevators, but only one of them is working and it is slow and clunky.) Stepping outside the elevator I saw what the reviewers were talking about:
The hallway carpet was incredibly filthy, and clearly hadn’t been vacuumed for months. The door to the available unit suffered ‘doorknob in the center of the door.’ DICOD is a serious warning sign — you only get this when a handyman decides that fixing the latch on a door is too much trouble, rips out the door mechanism, throws it away, and saws a new hole with closed eyes. It indicates a building super who has stopped trying, stopped caring, is probably on the verge of suicide.
Olyna fumbled with the key to the (apparently functioning) deadbolt in the door. I took a deep breath and followed her in. Behind the door was this:
And, out the window, this:
So, I took it.
So far the place has pretty good vibes! The building is being rehabbed, and the rent is fairly cheap during the construction phase (the pool is indeed closed, being demolished and rebuilt.) The people who stay here are largely polite and friendly (although also generally non-English-speaking which seems typical for the area.) There’s a pastry shop with an orange-juicer in the basement, and a not-at-all-stinky gym on the 2nd floor. I just have to remember to never visit the laundry room without first putting on shoes. I still have both my kidneys.