sunbathing.jpgA couple of odd bits of news from Miami, Florida popped into my in-box today, sent by TravelMole. Together, they summoned an image of that strange ocean-side world, so different from the wintry view out my window. How fun!

The first is a newly offered guarantee from Catalina Hotel & Beach Club. They’re promising a free indoor tanning session to any visiting tourist if it rains for more than two hours during “prime tanning hours.”

I’m sorry, but did you say prime tanning hours? Into my head popped an image of that cute little sun-bronzed Coppertop girl with the puppy dog pulling on her bathing suit, revealing a white bottom beneath. As in, uh, the 1980s. Forgive me, but I thought that decade was the last time anybody actually made an afternoon of lying under the sun.

But I suppose this is Miami Beach. And what do I know? I’ve only been there once, at the age of 13, in the backseat while my dad drove the family down the beach in our very uncool minivan. South Beach probably lay somewhere far to the south of us, but my sister and I were too busy looking for Sonny Crockett to care.

I wouldn’t mind going back – especially with all that Art Deco and Cuban flare. And with the hurricanes keeping their distance and winter continuing to pound the northern half of the continent, tourist season is looking up for Florida.

But for those who are about to make the ultimate trip, TravelMole and assorted media today reported on an interesting option.

In a sandy, barren area just off Miami, an artist-designed underwater city is being established by the Neptune Society. Set up to restore fish habitat and reestablish coral reef, the concrete lions, columns and other architectural features are also available as enclosed receptacles for anyone looking for a unique burial option for their ashes.

From guaranteed tanning to underwater burial in a recreated Atlantis. Fitting, in an odd sorta Florida way.

Photo by Mike Schinkel