007 Travel story: Florida (USA) 2019: Cabana Club and meeting Ricou Browning

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7th July 2019:

Today’s Bond locations:

National Hotel

Good morning Miami Beach! Another lovely morning in Miami Beach and this time we had breakfast at our hotel The Hotel of South Beach.

Before the day got too hot we visited Lummus Park Beach of Miami again. It was Sunday morning and it was still quite early, so it was really quiet and relaxing to walk on the beach.

And then to the main event of the day: We took a free bus ride to Miami Beach Convention Center, which is located at 1900 Washington Avenue. The Florida Supercon Event took place there. The doors opened at 10 am and we were already there waiting and walked in.

Florida Supercon is a huge event and there were many different kinds of possibilities for buying merchandise, and many people had wonderful costumes and they truly had spent hours to create their outfits.

We had an opportunity to meet the legendary Ricou Browning. He is an American film director, actor, producer, screenwriter, underwater cimematographer and stuntman. The Bond community, of course, knows him as an underwater sequence director of “Thunderball” (1965) and “Never Say Never Again” (1983). Sean Connery was James Bond in both of these films.

We chatted about Bond films with Mr. Browning who autographed his photo for us and we took also a photo with him at his booth.

Pirita, Ricou Browning and Mika

Then we rushed to see and hear the Questions and answers session of Mr. Richard Dean Anderson, who is known as “MacGyver“, from a television series of the same name, which ran in 1985-1992.

We had booked the meeting with him in advance and we met Richard Dean Anderson after the Q&A session and were in a photograph with him, which you can see below.

Pirita, Junior Agent Traveler, Richard Dean Anderson and Mika

We walked around the convention center and bought some souvenirs and other nice stuff.

You can read our full report of the event with more pics here

After the event we were hungry like wolves and decided to eat lunch. In Ian Fleming‘s book “Goldfinger” (1959) Bond stays at Cabana Club. In the film version of “Goldfinger” (1964) Bond is at Fontainebleau.

The closest we could find was Nautilus Cabana Club, which is located on 1825 Collins Avenue.

“Directly below Bond, the elegant curve of the Cabana Club swept down to the beach—two storeys of changing-rooms below a flat roof dotted with chairs and tables and an occasional red and white striped umbrella. Within the curve was the brilliant green oblong of the Olympic-length swimming-pool fringed on all sides by row upon row of mattressed steamer chairs on which the customers would soon be getting their fifty-dollar-a-day sunburn. White-jacketed men were working among them, straightening the lines of chairs, turning the mattresses and sweeping up yesterday’s cigarette butts. Beyond was the long, golden beach and the sea, and more men—raking the tideline, putting up the umbrellas, laying out mattresses. No wonder the neat card inside Bond’s wardrobe had said that the cost of the Aloha Suite was two hundred dollars a day. Bond made a rough calculation. If he was paying the bill, it would take him just three weeks to spend his whole salary for the year. Bond smiled cheerfully to himself. He went back into the bedroom, picked up the telephone and ordered himself a delicious, wasteful breakfast, a carton of king-size Chesterfields and the newspapers.

Ian Fleming: “Goldfinger” (1959)

We walked through the lobby and a long corridor and found ourselves on the beautiful terrace by the lovely pool area. The friendly staff brought us the menus and we were ready to order. In the 007 book Bond finally met Auric Goldfinger at Cabana Club. We didn’t see any signs of this famous gold smuggler.

“At half past nine Bond left his suite and wandered along the corridors of his floor, getting lost on his way to the elevator in order to reconnoitre the lay-out of the hotel. Then, having met the same maid twice, he asked his way and went down in the elevator and moved among the scattering of early risers through the Pineapple Shopping Arcade. He glanced into the Bamboo Coffee Shoppe, the Rendezvous Bar, the La Tropicala dining-room, the Kittekat Klub for children and the Boom-Boom Nighterie. He then went purposefully out into the garden. Mr Du Pont, now dressed ‘for the beach’ by Abercrombie & Fitch, gave him the pass-key to Goldfinger’s suite. They sauntered over to the Cabana Club and climbed the two short flights of stairs to the top deck.”

Ian Fleming: “Goldfinger” (1959)

Mr Junius Du Pont, whom Bond had met already in the first Bond book “Casino Royale” (1953), is the one who hires Bond to investigate how Goldfinger is such a good card player and Bond finds out that Jill Masterton (in the film her name is Jill Masterson) helps Goldfinger to cheat and win in Canasta card game.

“At three-fifteen, Bond got up and went out on to the balcony and cautiously looked down at the two tiny figures across the square of green baize. He went back into the room and checked the exposure meter on the Leica. The light was the same. He slipped on the coat of his dark blue tropical worsted suit, straightened his tie and slung the strap of the Leica round his neck so that the camera hung at his chest. Then, with a last look round, he went out and along to the elevator. He rode down to the ground floor and examined the shop windows in the foyer. When the elevator had gone up again, he walked to the staircase and slowly climbed up two floors. The geography of the second floor was identical with the twelfth. Room 200 was where he had expected it to be. There was no one in sight. He took out his pass-key and silently opened the door and closed it behind him. In the small lobby, a raincoat, a light camel-hair coat and a pale grey Homburg hung on hooks. Bond took his Leica firmly in his right hand, held it up close to his face and gently tried the door to the sitting-room. It was not locked. Bond eased it open.

Even before he could see what he expected to see he could hear the voice. It was a low, attractive, girl’s voice, an English voice. It was saying, ‘Drew five and four. Completed canasta in fives with two twos. Discarding four. Has singletons in kings, knaves, nines, sevens.’

Bond slid into the room.

The girl was sitting on two cushions on top of a table which had been pulled up a yard inside the open balcony door. She had needed the cushions to give her height. It was at the top of the afternoon heat and she was naked except for a black brassière and black silk briefs. She was swinging her legs in a bored fashion. She had just finished painting the nails on her left hand. Now she stretched the hand out in front of her to examine the effect. She brought the hand back close to her lips and blew on the nails. Her right hand reached sideways and put the brush back in the Revlon bottle on the table beside her. A few inches from her eyes were the eyepieces of a powerful-looking pair of binoculars supported on a tripod whose feet reached down between her sunburned legs to the floor. Jutting out from below the binoculars was a microphone from which wires led to a box about the size of a portable record player under the table. Other wires ran from the box to a gleaming indoor aerial on the sideboard against the wall.

Near Cabana Club, is National Hotel (1677 Collins Avenue) which was featured in “The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel” (2005) book by Kate Westbrook.

He came into my room on our first evening (National Hotel on South Beach), while I was writing, and it was only sleight of hand that prevented him from catching me in the act. He was in better spirits and whisked me off to a wonderful restaurant called Joe’s Stone Crab.

Kate Westbrook: “The Moneypenny Diaries: Guardian Angel” (2005)

A painting of Sean Connery in National Hotel’s lobby

You can read our article of National Hotel here

Then we wanted some dessert. And what could be a better place than an ice cream factory. We stopped the taxi and a nice taxi driver lady Yolanda Ramos took us to 1626 Michigan Avenue where The Frieze Ice Cream Factory is. There are several delicious flavors of ice cream. Kids, and adults as well will definitely love this place!

After relaxing for a while back in our hotel, we traveled again to the southern point of Miami Beach and walked around the nice South Pointe Park and then visited the luxury club Nikki Beach Restaurant and its beach (1 Ocean Drive).

That was all for today, and on the next day it was time to rent a car and start to drive towards Key West. Of course there are many filming locations of “Licence to Kill” (1989) there. Stay tuned!

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