Why would anyone want to take a vacation right in the middle of the holiday season? A confluence of factors -- coinciding free time availability, expiring vacation days, overwork and its attendant unstoppable urge to flee -- caused my wife and I to travel cross country to visit the Florida Keys three weeks before Christmas this year. Encamped at an ocean-facing getaway that could also provide animal-free meals, we spent a lovely handful of days sightseeing, indulging in water sport, watching satellite television, getting eaten alive by invisible sand fleas, and generally trying to get some rest before the onslaught of year's-end celebration.
Before heading south, however, we spent some time catching up with an old friend currently installed in Miami Beach. Having grown up in the area, she was the perfect target for my impertinent questions about the area's unique architecture. It turns out she's as opposed to "urban renewal" as I am. Much to my wife's chagrin, our friend took us on a long tour of the area, offering detailed dissertation on the fates of buildings both extant as well as those long gone.
Unfortunately, so alien was the south beach style to my untrained eye, that I had trouble distinguishing between the faux classics and those actual ancients merely suffering tacky renovation. They all looked interesting to me, especially the crumbling and nondescript numbers in the poorer neighborhoods awaiting their inevitable demolition. My lack of discrimination is no doubt revealed in the photos below. But hey: I was only there for a day.