No, seriously, what the maid found under the bed was even worse: a human corpse. This was not a recently deceased corpse; the police concluded it had been there for quite a while.
As you might imagine, this was another story that became a big media deal back in the tourist's home country. The Germans are known for being finicky about cleanliness. They might let it slide if a hotel housekeeping staff failed to notice a dust bunny or two under the bed, but they draw the line at decayed corpses. If you find a corpse under the bed at a German hotel, you can be sure it's a fresh corpse. Once again, Miami looked bad.
But my point is, these stories took place during a different era, specifically: the past. Miami today is a completely different city. What would you say if I told you that, since the year 2000, the city's overall rate of violent crime is down 17.3 percent, and crime against tourists is down by 36.8 percent? If you would say, ``You are totally making those numbers up,'' you would be correct. But I'm pretty sure things are better.
I'm not saying Miami is Disney World. As in any other large urban area, you have to use your common sense to avoid potentially dangerous situations. To give you an idea what I mean by ``potentially dangerous situations,'' here's the beginning of a Miami Herald story from November 2006: ``A manhunt is on for 15 men who crashed a baby shower in a rented hall, killed a partygoer and wounded four other guests with AK-47 assault rifles.''
That is correct: There was a shootout, featuring assault rifles, at a baby shower. It is not uncommon for tempers to flare at ceremonial gatherings in Miami; there was once a shootout in a funeral home here during a wake. Other events that can be ``iffy'' from a safety standpoint in Miami include birthday parties, football games, proms, nightclubs, Halloween, July Fourth, Christmas and of course New Year's Eve, which in Miami involves more gunfire than the Battle of the Bulge, although to be fair most of it is happy gunfire.
But as long as you avoid these dangerous situations, you'll be perfectly safe in Miami.
Reprinted from I'll Mature When I'm Dead by Dave Barry by arrangement with G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright (c) 2010 by Dave Barry.