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Old May 5th, 2003, 12:25 PM
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Default Caution on Miami restaurant "scam"

For those of you who arrive in Miami the day before your cruise begins, here's a word to the wise: if you hear about "free" limo transportation to and from a restaurant in South Beach called "Paisanos" (sp?), tread very carefully. This service will be advertised to you (either by the hotel front desk or in literature, or both) as a free limo ride to the restaurant, and then you'll be told you can wander the South Beach area as long as you like, and when you're done strolling the Beach, you'll be told that you can simply return to the restaurant to request the "free" limo ride back to your hotel.

There's a catch, though, as there always is. You'll have to jump ugly with the restaurant staff in order to get the limo back to your hotel. They're your best friends (the limo people and the restaurant people) when you're on your way TO the restaurant (which is pricey, but probably normal for South Beach, but the food is good). But once you've eaten your meal and given them your money, you become persona non grata. They no longer give a sh*t about you.

Stroll the beach at your leisure, then when you come back to the restaurant you'll find it enormously difficult to get that promised "free" limo back to your hotel. We had to finally cause a minor scene in the restaurant and on the sidewalk directly outside the restaurant in order to get the limo ride back to our hotel. And of course that friendly limo driver suddenly became ornery and sullen when he was forced to return us whence we came. (obviously, the limo drivers get paid for the deliveries to the restaurant, NOT for the return trips to the hotels)

So be forewarned - take the limo ride to the restaurant and enjoy. But be prepared to find your own transportation, and to have to pay for it, back to your hotel after your meal, or at least, be prepared to take off the gloves to get the return trip that you were promised.
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