Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Miami Vice

My travels have taken me once again to Florida, or the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area to be precise. The conference organiser proudly announced last night, "This will be all work and no play, but that's just the way we like it." No prizes for guessing which investment bank has organised it.

Given the large UK expat community here, perhaps increasingly priced out of Spain, I should probably try to escape from the work-fest to seek out some fellow Addicks for my 'USA Supporters Club Project.'

South Florida is one of the fastest growing parts of the country, evidenced by an incredible amount of condominium development that essentially stretches all the way to West Palm Beach, about 70 miles north.

I've been to this part of the US about twenty times since I arrived here, but I find it a difficult place to generate much fondness for. Until you get down to the Keys or into the Everglades, it seems just an interminable collection of ugly condo buildings criss-crossed by a highway system that has never quite developed as fast as the area it serves. Meanwhile the much-trumpeted South Beach area of Miami (that's SoBe to me and you) could well serve as the capital of 'bling.'

Moreover, whilst the climate at this time of year is undeniably perfect, within a couple of months the humdity will pick up as they await the inevitable hurricanes to roll in from the Caribbean. Should I end up retiring in the US, you'll find me in Arizona or Southern California.....San Diego Addick has more of a ring to it than Miami Addick anyway.

From here it's on to Atlanta, another underwhelming sprawling city. However eagle-eyed Addicks would have spotted not one but two references to Atlanta in the Aston Villa matchday programme. Firstly the club has launched another soccer school in the city, and secondly Graham Tutt our unfortunate former keeper is also based there.

On my travels I've concluded that my favourite cities by far are those that had their fastest development phase before the advent of the motor car. Examples would obviously include New York, but also Chicago, Boston, and perhaps my favourite of all, San Francisco. Unfortunately other cities of this ilk are in rapid decline, most tragically New Orleans of course, but also places like Detroit (ironically the spiritual home of the motor car). Residents of these newer cities like Phoenix, Atlanta, LA or Houston will tell you that there is an abundance of land and property is cheap(er) but their cities all seem to lack some soul, at least whilst one is young enough to care about these things.


At 8:36 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

I would have to include Seattle, but then I have lived there and it's a very liveable city. For an old South East London hand, it was great to have what we would call a trolleybus stop outside my apartment door and to use the trackless to go downtown, to baseball and to commute to work. I only needed a car to go out of town.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Americans and their cars eh? Or make that 3 cars and their 4 ga-rage house!

You're right NY, as usual, if I were to stay in this fine country there would be a shed load of places I would avoid like the plague and FL is one of them. It is truly the waiting room to die.

Scottsdale, Arizona, parts of Colorado, N Carolina, Connecticut and San Diego definitely. Me & you San Diego Addick supporters club - sounds good.

I'm a city person at heart and love visiting cities, but there are so many here that are just so uninspiring.

But there are others, like the ones you and Wyn suggested that are just fabulous and for me is what America is all about.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

And what about Philly? I'm just setting up a party there in the Independence Brewery for Labor Day weekend.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

I never really spent any real time in Philly. Only been there with work and didn't get a chance to look about.

Lot of history there.


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