If someone had asked me before this trip had begun where I imagined spending my first stay in Miami, it most definitely wouldn’t have been in a tent in the back garden of a hippie commune. But hey, isn’t that the beauty of travel? You never know where you’re going to end up. It might not have been the Mondrian, but we were comfortable enough and were managing to save so we could gorge on Cuban Sandwiches and beer for the next couple of days.
We had a friend in Miami, Hitomi. We had met Hitomi in Bolivia whilst exploring the Salt Flats. Our saviour, Hitomi had been kind enough to lend us use her address in Miami so that we could legally buy a car in The US. Without her, our American road trip would never have materialised. It was Superbowl weekend and we both wanted to spend our first day in Miami with beers in hand watching the game, American style. We had arranged to treat Hitomi and her husband to lunch to thank them for all their help and then watch the game with their friends in the evening at a neighbours house on South Beach.
Jumping in our car that Sunday morning, excited about the day of indulgence ahead, the worst happened. Our trusty stead had let us down, our transmission had gone. One call to triple-A later and we arrived at Tire World, located in the part of Miami that American’s don’t like tourists to see, we waited patiently for three hours to be seen.
A nice chap called Mani, who had spent most of his life living on the streets had trained as a mechanic and despite being completely illiterate was making a decent living. He kindly advised us that the car needed a new clutch cable but that he wouldn’t be able to get for a couple of days. He then proceeded to tell us that the area we were staying in wasn’t safe for “our type” and that if possible we should find somewhere else to stay tonight.
I don’t think either of us had until this point realised how reliant we were on our car and for the first time in The U.S things felt difficult. Now with a $500 mechanics bill to pay we couldn’t afford Miami hotel rates for three days and we certainly couldn’t afford to hire a car. Mani took pity on us and offered us an old school bus to shelter in which he kept at the back of his shop. As generous as that was, neither of us felt safe enough to take him up on his offer, it was at this point Hitomi once again came to our rescue.
Having persuaded Mani to try and create a short term fix, we tentatively and gently managed to drive ourselves down to South Beach where Hitomi had generously offered to put us up for the night, saving us from another night in the ghetto.
With Will Smith streaming from Spotify, we cruised down South Beach. Eyes and mouths wide open we couldn’t believe the circus that was parading us by. We very quickly realised that South Beach and Miami were two very different places. South Beach was a pastel coloured palette of Art Deco architecture and sculpted super-human torso’s. Ocean Drive acting as a runway for the rich and beautiful to parade their new lips, tits or car down. Miami was grittier, greyer and less hospitable.
Reunited with Hitomi, our American dream felt back on track. We spent the afternoon strolling along South Beach soaking up the sun and sights on offer. Listening to Hitomi’s tales of what it’s like to live as an expat in Miami, life sounded pretty blissful. A fellow Ad-land worker it was comforting to know vent coke tin einweg vape 5000 puffs erdbeereis that even on South Beach media never sleeps, you do however have the benefit of free yoga on the beach to start your day. From one end of South Beach to the other, individually designed lifeguard huts act like markers along the Miami shoreline, separating the beautiful from the even more, beautiful bathers.
After an incredible French meal at A La Folie, we made our way to a Superbowl party in an ocean side apartment. In front of the biggest screen, either of us had ever seen, on the biggest sofa either of us had ever sat on, we sat with a cold beer, and hot dog in hand. The American Dream was once again alive and well.