Welcome to the Mensa-Rama-Tron Beaches Resort | April 2002


Last month’s Flamenco had a very curious item in it:

MON Apr 1 – Miami Mensa dedicates new MENSA-RAMA-TRON BEACHES, our very own posh resort hotel where Mensans can stay for half price and bowl, play canasta, surf, or ride scooters like Mideastern princes and princesses of eld. Ribbon cutting ceremony at noon sharp. Take US 41 (Tamiami Trail) to Forty Mile Bend, take the side road north up the mountain ½ mile. Present your Flamenco for a free Dairy Queen Cone or Chicken Supreme Taco. RSVP to Seth Lefkow, 1-900-CALLUNOW for inexplicable party favors. Broward Mensans also welcome!

Not one to pass up ANYTHING free from Taco Bell (my absolute favorite is the bean burrito–much to the detriment of those around me–and I figured I could use the chicken taco coupon to talk my way into a free bean burrito), I decided to head on out west to check out the new Mensa-Rama-Tron Beaches Hotel for myself.

I drove down the Trail, past the fast food places, the motels that rent rooms by the hour (I understand a few of those are so accommodating they’ll even rent rooms by the minute, and the second even, but I wouldn’t know firsthand) the canals, Sweetwater, Trail Glades Range and the Miccosukkee gaming resort. I finally got to the Forty Mile Bend and took the side road up the mountain. Now, driving up mountains isn’t easy if your car (like mine) has a standard transmission, so it was quite an experience. Even more so the further you drive up the mountain as you encounter snow and icy roads, not to mention tailgaters flashing their high beams at you.

Finally, I reached the summit of the mountain and the Mensa-Rama-Tron Beaches. And all I could think to say was, WOW!

I must say, I was very, very impressed. The exterior of the hotel is stunning! Pure gold sheeting covered the front walls of the hotel’s east and west wings, which were adorned at the corners with gargoyles made of pure silver, fitted with rubies for eyes. The landscaping was perfect, with professionally manicured grass and bushes that were “sculpted” into the shape of power tools. The tallest, most elaborate fountain I have ever seen served as a sort of traffic circle around the hotel’s front door; the fountain uses milk instead of water (the milk shoots out the nostrils of a sculpture that appears to be a man bent over laughing hysterically) and it too is made of gold, encrusted with hundreds of thousands of diamonds. The driveway leading to the port-cochere and the front door was paved with bricks of gold. Solid white marble columns held up the roof of the port-cochere; they were encrusted with emeralds and the roof itself was covered with tiles made of gold.

Five doormen, dressed in black tuxedos, top hats and baseball gloves, stood watch at attention as I pulled up in my ’94 Saturn. A valet dressed in pink taffeta opened my door before I could even come to a complete stop. “Mr. Calderon,” he said in an accent that sounded vaguely European. “Welcome to the Mensa-Rama-Tron Beaches” (he pronounced “Mensa” “menza,” and “Beaches” “bitches”).

I stepped out of my car as an army of bellhops–decked out in, what else, army uniforms (including camouflage face paint)–grabbed the Winn-Dixie bags I had packed for my trip out here. I handed each of them a quarter (I was feeling especially generous) and stepped inside the immaculate crystal revolving door towards the lobby.

The lobby was as impressive as the outside. Every surface was covered in gold or silver. An army of attendants–dressed in frilly blouses and hoop skirts–was hard at work, polishing every inch of the lobby. I made my way to the front desk–which was made of solid marble trimmed with gold and diamonds–but was blocked by a couple of attendants busy polishing the front desk itself.

“May I help you, Mr. Calderon?” asked the front desk clerk, who also spoke with a vaguely European accent and whose name was “Serge” (it seemed most if not all of the hotel staff spoke with vaguely European accents and their names were “Serge;” I would spend most of my stay amusing myself by asking them to say “Beaches” over and over). Serge was wearing cut-off blue jean shorts, a “mid-riff” t-shirt, no shoes, and a black silk cape lined with gold lame.

“Why, yes Mr. Serge, thank you,” I responded. “I have a reservation to stay at the Mensa-Rama-Tron…” I hesitated deliberately.

“Bitches?” Serge finished my sentence.

“Yes,” I replied, “Bitches.”

“Excuse me?” said a mildly annoyed Serge.

“I meant ‘Beaches,’ I’m sorry,” I answered.

“No problem, Mr. Calderon,” said Serge.

Serge looked up my information and gave me my room number and card key. “You will be staying in the suite, room 1313, Mr. Calderon; enjoy your stay at the Mensa-Rama-Tron Beaches.”

“Thank you,” I said, suppressing a giggle.

I walked through the lobby past wide glass walls, where I could see other patrons of the hotel enjoying a variety of fun activities: bowling, canasta, surfing, scooter riding, shuffleboard, tiddleywinks, and other forms of entertainment typically found at the world’s finest hotels.

I took the elevator–which was half-filled with attendants busily polishing the elevator’s interior–to the 13th floor. Thanks to the polishing attendants having pushed every button in the elevator’s control panel, my ride to the 13th floor took what seemed like forever. But soon, I was there.

I pushed my way past the attendants in the elevator before the doors could close, and then walked to the very end of a long hallway. Once again, the hallway was lined with gold. Plush carpeting, made of the finest wool and accented with gold thread, covered the floor of the hallway. I almost felt guilty walking on it with my muddy boots, but I was followed by an attendant with a vacuum cleaner.

I must say right now that I’ve never stayed at a more luxurious hotel in my life. I have never been to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, but I was convinced the Mensa-Rama-Tron Bitches, er, Beaches, had to be the finest hotel in the world.

This thought stayed with me until I reached the door to my suite. It had been a particularly long day–indeed, a long week–and I was looking forward to taking a nice hot bath and going right to bed.

I inserted my key card into its slot and waited for the light to turn green. I closed my eyes and slowly turned the door handle. I took a step into my room and… fell 13 stories into a slough in the middle of the Everglades.

After I broke the surface of the water and could breathe again, I remembered it was April Fool’s Day.