Mar 24

A break from reality

Palm Beach is a real trip. Having just spent five days there, I can confirm it lives up to its image andPalmbeach_2
reputation as a place of opulence, decadence and indulgence.

Palm Beachers seem to fall into one of two categories: the younger, Eurocentric jet set crowd and the older, monied bluebloods. Both adhere to the same general dress code, though. A gold-buttoned blue blazer, pink Oxford shirt, khakis and Gucci loafers (sans socks) for the gents and a lame pant suit, Gucci sandals and a jewelry store’s worth of diamonds and pearls for madame. 

Smoking is very big here, as are cigarette holders. PB’ers are ostentatious and like to tool around in either their Bentley convertibles or some sort of classic Jaguar roadster from the 1950s.

Part of the fun of visiting Palm Beach is the people watching and conversation eavesdropping. The latter was particularly productive and seemed to indicate that most of the world’s ills aren’t resonating here. There was no talk of Iraq, Hillary or the Recession, for instance. Instead, chitchat centered on a new Bulgari show at Saks, an Easter Saturday polo match in Wellington and complaints about the poor service at the Ritz.

These are the beautiful people who work hard to float serenely through life, worrying only about the latest party or fashion show. It must be nice, but it must also get tedious at times.

Still, a refuge is a refuge. So, if you’re looking for a few days away from Eliot Spitzer, failing financial institutions and worries about the future, check out Palm Beach. The uber rich may not welcome you with open arms, but they’ll allow you to observe them in their natural habitat. And, that my friends, is a real trip.