Recently I traveled to West Palm Beach for work. And by “work,” I of course mean watching art move around. As I will later mention, there’s not much food-related to report since apparently everything closes no earlier than 8pm in the town. I know this because when I arrived my only dining option was Sushi Jo across the street from my hotel. But first a little recap of the trip:
Of course having arrived at JFK late, despite my calling a town car well in advance, I rushed directly onto the already-boarding plane. While waiting to be shuffled into my seat I met a man who claimed to be involved in some sort of creative field. Possibly his own business. I use the verb “claimed” because he was 1) intrigued by my iPhone, asking questions such as “Does it have the internet,” 2) flying JetBlue, and 3) wore a shirt with no collar. I can understand my grandmother not knowing what an iPhone is, but someone who claims to use Macs is another story. Later in the flight, the old lady (whose species I would later come to realize inhabit West Palm Beach) sitting next to me reaches over and without word removes the tab from my empty Diet Coke can. No explanation, no poking me to take off my earphones – just reaches over to take it. Surely she thought I wasn’t needing it. I of course do not acknowledge her, so as to not give her rationalization any undeserved attention.
And this brings me to my first piece of advice on traveling to West Palm Beach: Never run anywhere. Aside from the fact that it would seem to be a sprawling series of strip malls on the surface (and thus a car would be needed for anything), no matter where you are going for whatever reason, one thing always holds true: there will already be an old person or three holding you up. For example, I pre-registered my rental car, but you still have to physically make it to the parking lot. After the 20 minutes or so it took to de-board the plane (old people are slow), I rushed to the curbside pickup only to see the Hertz van pulling up…100 feet away. I dash with my suitcase down the sidewalk, dodging cars (and slow old people), and finally arrive at what seems like just enough time to avoid missing the van. But of course, there was rush, because literally one million old people were clogging the entrance to the van. Clogging in the sense that the van was their arteries, and they were the clots preventing blood-flow to their brains. Or so I wished.
My second piece of advice is that it is always OK to wear white in West Palm Beach, but only if you are wearing only white. It helps if you are driving a rental Corvette. The Hertz woman asked me if I wanted to fill this niche, to which I replied, “no thanks; it’s raining.” Which it was…the whole time. In the midst of this conversation, an altogether normal-looking squat gay man barges into the lobby exclaiming that he wasn’t greeted by a person in the lot, as per his gold-skymobiles-platinum-plus-vip-club-whateverprogram status. He added that usually his Amex gets him an upgraded car, and “in any case this car is much too small for me.” Small with an underscore “s.” I think what he meant to say was, “I’m much more important than this car. I will need a better one.” He said all of this in the most restrained yet still queeny accent-less-voice, I wondered perhaps because I was in the room. He lingered for a while and overheard the part of my (the Hertz woman and me) conversation about how to drive to the hotel from the airport. “Oh, Hotel Biba,” he interjects? Is it some kind of old gay man hot spot, or perhaps just a dump? Maybe both.
Oh yes, I mentioned food at one point. As Hotel Biba has not only no restaurant but also no room service or a vending machine, I was left with two options: aimlessly wander around using my iPhone to perhaps find me some grub, or just go across the street to the only open establishment. Sushi Jo it was! Nothing too spectacular to report, except that I may have had real fresh wasabi for the first time ever. It was slightly gritty in texture, only a bit pungent, and a muted green color. Here’s a closing shot of the continental breakfast.