25 Dec 64 : Christmas coconuts : Miami Beach 

This continues the letter dated 18 December, which began…

The Century Hotel, 140 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach 39, Florida. 

Dear Mum, Dad, Nigel and Carol,

 

Christmas Day (Friday)

It is now Christmas Day and I am on the beach sunbathing. Believe it or not there are pelicans on the beach, and in the sea, fishing – yes, real live pelicans and to really add to the tropical scene, for a pillow, I am using a coconut, which has just fallen down out of a tree.

All these palm trees are coconut trees, but at first I didn’t realise this, as the coconuts are smooth and shiny and green. But it is when you split them open that you come to the brown matted coconut as we know it.

Last night was a big night at the hotel (being Christmas Eve). A new cabaret show started – Bobby Vinton and Alan King, two big stars here, and a big dance also.

I have never seen so much evidence of wealth assembled in one place ever before. Some of the women’s clothes were beyond description.

The hotel is situated with the sea on one side, and a waterway on the other, and all the millionaires yachts are moored outside the hotel, and are all done up with Christmas trees and fairy lights, and it all looked fabulous last night.

I was working as a Night Houseman last night and I made $4 in tips. One woman who had just arrived wanted 70 extra hangers – I thought she was opening a shop!!

All the rooms have a closet the size of Carol’s bedroom (or possibly bigger) and all are packed to capacity with clothes.

I wish you could see Miami Beach, it’s the most beautiful place in the world I should think. It’s so clean and modern and picturesque, and the climate is perfect. I didn’t think I would like this heat, but I have grown to love it.

Everywhere is air conditioned and even on the beach there is always a breeze. There are people around me now, on the beach, with radios and it’s all carols and Christmas music, which seems completely wrong.

I hope you are enjoying your turkey – I am having two boiled eggs!!

At the hotel all the staff get a free Christmas dinner, so Colin will be having that. I could have gone in and had it, but I would prefer to be here.

To be continued… 

(NOTE: The above image was taken by Dad from the Eden Roc hotel, where they were both working.)

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