Homeless In South Beach Miami

Clay Hostel and Hotel 225x300 Homeless In South Beach Miami

I just reconnected with an old friend called Dave on MySpace, and it got me thinking back to how I met him and how that would probably not happen today as I’m far to cautious and suspicious of people being axe murders, rapists and wotnot!

I miss the naivety of my youth. It was the summer of 1999 and I was 19 and on holiday in Maryland and Miami with 3 friends. In Maryland we all stayed with one of the girl’s uncle and then we had booked a week stop over in Miami, but had not booked accommodation or even thought about it. We figured we would just find it when we got there. How on earth we were going to do this with suitcases in tow I don’t even know. But at the time, we didn’t care our attitude was completely care free. In the end my friend’s uncle threw a fit when he found out that we hadn’t booked accommodation and so made a reservation at a hostel on South Beach.

On arrival at the Clay Hostel on Española Way in South Beach, we all immediately were impressed by the outside garden/patio area. Smiles that turned into looks of disappointment when we saw the room. They were bare except for bunk beds with no sheets or bedding what the hell!!! It turns out we would have to rent bed linen which none of us were impressed by. Then we saw the filthy shower and the bugs and decided that we would keep our stuff in there for the one night and then try and find somewhere else. It was about midnight and we roamed the streets for a couple hours, checking prices at different hotels, seeing that a hotel room for the four of us wasn’t that different in price compared to each of us paying individually for the hostel and talking to random folk, then at about 2am we returned to the hostel. We still couldn’t bear to sleep there so we decided to kill more time by going to look for an all night place to eat.

So here we were wandering down Collins Avenue, searching for food, but to no avail nothing was open. Then we saw a small figure in the distance. As the figure came close we could see that he was a young black boy (when I say young I mean teenage) looking as lost as we were. So we asked him if he knew a place to go and eat and it turned out he did. There was a diner he knew of. So here we were at 2AM following a stranger to a diner. By the time we got to the diner we had found out that he was called David, he was 17, from Tallahassee and due to start at Florida International University a week later, but had arrived early to explore the city.

Over the meal we told him how we were staying in a hostel, and that we wanted to move into a hotel in the morning, and how we didn’t want to go back there because the room was horrible. So he suggested we go to the beach instead and stay there until morning. So we followed him to the beach. On the way there another teenage looking boy crossed our path. We assumed Dave knew him as they started talking and he joined our mini troop.

When we arrived on the beach, and all of a sudden our group had expanded to seven. Jason a Colombian guy was the new addition. When we got to the beach he was just there hanging by himself. I don’t remember what he was doing, and we never asked him what he was doing on a beach by himself at 2/3AM in the morning. Now I look back it was likely that he was a gigolo I mean what else was he doing? I remember thinking that he was gorgeous, although a bit short he was deeply tanned and athletic with boyish charm and a sexy Spanish accent. We hung out on the beach until the sun came up, urging the boys to entertain us with a strip show. We didn’t think they would but they did. It was Tamara’s fault with her persistent chants of “GET YOUR KIT OFF!” It was a lot of fun, despite the sight of shriveled willies and I was so grateful to be on the sand instead of those dirty hostel beds.

At around 7.30 AM our group had gone down to 5. The young boy who we had thought was Dave’s friend had left a few hours earlier after annoying everyone. It turned out that Dave didn’t know him and had only recognized him because he had given him money to buy food the day before. He had told Dave that he was being abused by his stepmother and thrown onto the streets and had no money for food. Then Jason left as we were leaving to go back to the hostel. He said that he had to meet his friend on another part of the beach for breakfast. That’s what got me thinking that he was a prostitute. He and his friend worked the beach looking for trade all night and then met up at a designated spot in the morning, when their bodies were knackered and ready for refueling.

So David and us four girls headed back to the hostel. The gate was locked and so David helped us all scale the gate to get back into our room. He arranged to go back and pick up his stuff from The San Juan Hotel where he was staying, which was somewhat nearby and then come and get us. We had arranged on the beach, that there was no point him staying in a hotel room by himself, so he would come and move into whatever hotel we found.

And so within the hour we were packed up and had found a hotel on Collins Avenue to stay at, The Claremont, and made a new friend, friend that we went to go back and visit a couple of times. If the same situation occurred today I would have been way more suspicious and I probably would have not invited him to come stay with us for fear that he would steal all our belongings Oh how I miss the naievety of my youth sometimes!!!

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