• Suzanne Norquist

Creeping On The Rich People

Updated: Sep 3

I’ve never envied the rich and famous (okay, maybe a little—who doesn’t). But that didn’t stop me from taking a boat tour to view their homes around Miami. I’d never even heard of Star Island or Fisher Island, the places the tour company promised I would see.

Fisher Island is the wealthiest zip code in the United States. With no roads, only invited guests and staff are allowed entrance via boat or air. The place is a little town for rich people. According to Google, Oprah Winfrey and Mel Brooks have lived there. I thought the tour guide mentioned Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts, but as I learned later, not all of the tour guide’s information was accurate.

We joined dozens of other tour boats circling the island, cameras and cell phones lifted high. With all of the build-up, I thought we would actually see something of interest. But we didn’t even get that close. I wonder what distance would have triggered a security concern.

I can’t even imagine living in such a place. I love the freedom to hop in my car and travel anywhere, anytime. Those people seem trapped like animals in a zoo. I bet they don’t even have a Walmart. Fancy tennis courts can’t make up for the entertainment of people-watching at the discount chain.

Star Island is a man-made island. Unlike Fisher Island, it has roads, and the houses are close enough for the tour boat to get a good view. The rich and famous used to live here. Now it houses mostly rich unknowns. The tour guide frequently said things like (famous person) used to live here. They moved away to get more privacy.

In between the massive homes, sat a random house original to the island. It looked tiny and sad, like a home you would see in an older high-end suburban neighborhood.

There was the occasional architectural oddity.

Near the end of the tour, we passed the biggest estate on Star Island touted to be the home of the inventor of Viagra. Everyone laughed. But when I looked it up later, the guy was a pharmaceutical billionaire, not an inventor. The boat tour business depends on the perpetuation of these urban legends. This picture might have been the estate, but I’m not sure because so many look alike.

In truth, I was more fascinated by the loading docks where the giant containers are unloaded from ships and put on trains that pass near my home at a rate of four an hour. We passed them on the way to the fancy homes without comment from the guide.

Look at that giant car containers! This is what keeps our economy moving.

The view of the Miami skyline impressed me. And the guitar on the Hard Rock Café was fun.

It made me glad to return to my normal home where I can pop over to Walmart and read the greeting cards for entertainment anytime. An no one is treating me like a tourist attraction.

#ordinarylife #travel

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