Damn, it’s hot - raging hot, lose-your-mind hot. That’s why I waited until about 7 p.m. before I headed out to Haulover Beach that fateful evening. It was a while since I went to the beach and sprawled out on the spicy sand with the ocean as my muse (I’m a Cancer).
I decided to take one of my Spanish lovers with me - Rondel Pura Raza Cava. He came in a blue wine bottle (so I was super skeptical), but I only had $12, and the Total Wine Guy highly recommended it.
If I was a baller, I’d be hanging out with Heavy “D” and the Boys - Drappier, Dom Ruinart, Delamotte and Dom Pérignon. But if you’re like me and disposable income is a mirage, this is a great time to have flings with Cava, a sparkling wine from Spain. With the sun pissing Dante’s Inferno on my back, I want light, tasty, beer-satisfying thirst quenchers, and that’s what Cava offers. It will give you just enough flavor to enjoy your sloppy Garcia sausage and just enough bubbles to moisten and massage your arid palate.
I like Cordon Negro Freixenet Brut because it comes in those tiny bottles (under $4), so it’s pocket-friendly. And it tastes like Red Stripe. The Segura Viudas Aria Brut comes in a cool, medieval-looking bottle. It has a pretty, light gold color, aromas of honey roasted cashews and flavors of crème fraiche and lime. And it’s about $12.
On this day of cheap thrills, sparkling wine waves are a poet’s elixir, so going southbound on Collins Ave., I took the first right into the first Haulover parking lot I see.
My huge, cilantro-green straw bag was filled with fitted sheet, the Cava bottle, my journal, pick, shampoo and conditioner. One of the main reasons I don’t go to the beach that often is my big, afro hair. Once the saline, seaweed and Doritos’ crumbs mingle in my beloved nap nest, I am in for a hassle, and most times, I’m just not in the mood. But, fully prepared with my hair armor, I was ready.
Ahhh, once my bare feet touched the sand, the rejuvenation process began (plus, I was thrilled that I didn’t have to pay the $5 parking fee as it was after hours).
Bodies still scattered the shore, but the tourist infestation died down. I chose a spot near the now-vacant lifeguard station No. 15, sprawled out my sheet and plopped down. That’s when I first noticed the layers of withering, cacti-prickly flesh dangling between the legs of a man in his 80s, maybe? Ogling the cork-like specimen peeking through the gravity-virulent layers, I realized I was at the nude beach.
I also realized that adulthood had muted my teenage, see-my-bare-boobs mentality, as there was a time when this very beach was my own personal writer’s retreat. Now, I needed a little sip of Cava that I enjoyed in a plastic cup to get into the groove of things. The Rondel Cava was delicious. It smelled and tasted like Granny Smith apples and Greek Kalamata olives. Then there was this long lime-y finish.
I decided to wear my Elmo underwear with my weathering, crocheted bikini top to the festivities. I plunged into the water where I had the best seats in the house. What’s so great about this place is that in a time when many people would rather die, literally die, than to sport pendulous breasts, dimpled derrieres and oceans of rippled flesh, these people didn’t give a damn.
Not the best of swimmers, I stayed relatively close to shore as it was still pretty deep. Soon, a handsome, caramelized gentleman wearing dark shades waded towards me as the Sherry-colored sky descended upon us. Usually, I’d be flattered, but his vibe was weird—vampire-like.
“You beautiful,” he repeated in an oily Latin accent. “I from Venezuela, my first time in Miami.” I smiled politely as I eased backward into the unknown Atlantic. Two more similar-looking men were circling me like a pack of hungry merpeople. However, these men said nothing. They only stared intensely.
“Oh, my husband is parking the car,” I said.
“Is he open-minded?,” the leader asked…in clear English.
Though slightly delayed, I finally responded:
“No. He’s reeeeeeally close-minded.”
The situation was getting creepy when I saw an obsidian-colored man with private parts the size of a wine bottle run into the water. He flipped around like a dolphin.
“There he is,” I exclaimed, pointing at the stranger.
Then, I doggy-paddled over to the man.
“Hi,” he said in a friendly, familiar tone, his dimples deeper than the ocean floor.
“Hi! Save me.”
“I noticed you pouring something into a plastic cup. Was that champagne?”
“No, well, it’s kinda like a bootleg champagne for the poor. It’s called Cava. It’s from Spain.”
“Oh. Well, is it good?”
“Sure is. Want some?”
“Sure. These guys bothering you?”
Then, the Venezuelan sharks started circling both of us. The leader complimented the stranger (Paul) on his wife’s beauty (me). He drew closer and closer to Paul, who appeared to be a staunch heterosexual, (but I wasn’t sure).
Just then, I noticed a naked, Al Roker-like character skipping down the shore in white socks, the skin on his wavy rear crashing more frequently and steadily than waves in the ocean. He just skipped, back and forth, his eyes fixed firmly on Paul.
But, Paul had his hands full. The Venezuelan guy was determined and couldn’t take the hint that Paul wasn’t interested. Defeated, his entourage swam away. Soon, the Al Roker-like dude was in the water (wearing his white socks).
Paul and I decided it was the time to get some Cava. While we walked, I tried hard not to notice the wine bottle swaying subtly from his bushy cellar. When we got to my bag, I reached for the Cava bottle and poured.
“So, are you open-minded?,” he asked.
A dame, a bottle and a story.