There’s a place in the heart of Manhattan, NYC where in the summer holiday in 2015 I loved to eat breakfast together with my mom. Sometimes sleepy, sometimes double size, but always in Spanish.
There, on the Ave of the Americas, right where it ends in Central Park, very close to our amazing Central Park view hotel – next door to the famous Home Alone featured The Plaza, at Angela’s I realized that if you want to practice your Spanish, like I want to do, you don’t go to a Spanish speaking country, but to US.
Well, even knowing this, Miami gets things to a totally different level. Spanish is Miami and Miami is Spanish. No hablas espanol, adios!
I was going up and down the city and everyone, from the taxi drivers to people I randomly met just started speaking Spanish to me without knowing if I speak or not. Everything is written in Spanish and Cubans are everywhere.
My spirit so close to Central and South America, so explosive, so impulsive, so hot and blood burning although I tamed myself.
At Villa Vizcaya, in the refined luxury of this Miami old villa, I heard La Lupe. The tragedy in her voice and the passion of the sound made me take notes of the words and ever since I’m listening continuously to “This is my life” and “Teatro” – the song I heard first – and also to some biographies of her life with all the exile in US after Fidel Castro’s 1959 gaining of power, the alcohol, the drugs…
Oh, the drugs…Miami, the City of Vice. Drugs made Miami and everyone does drugs. It’s a nice place to be, but this shadows my impression of the city. Simple as that, life is so beautiful, don’t do drugs.
May 22nd 2016, Miami, Florida – Sunshine State, US
My relationship with US is a very special one. From leaving for one year when I barely turned 15 to live and absorb the American culture in 2005 in Amboy, Illinois, next to Chicago, to attending the most prestigious summer schools at Georgetown University and University of Illinois – on scholarship – to returning for the summer of my life in Lake Placid, New York, to summer holiday with mom in NYC.
So, it’s sun set time and I’m in my high up room with an amazing view to the Biscayne Bay sunset colors to the left and Downtown skyline to the right.
It’s Saturday night in Miami!
I’m meeting with B., whom I met in Lake Placid, in the summer of 2009. She’s already here for good 4 years and while walking on Lincoln Road it seemed she know someone at each fancy place.
We meet at Espanola Way and walked down to see the cute restaurants and then walked on Lincoln Road. We’re catching up since the last time we saw each other, at the end of 2009 when she walked me to the bus station from Lake Placid to go to NYC to catch the flight to Romania via Zurich.
That was the seed of what I am today. I realized I loved airplanes, although I had been on planes since I was less than 10 and at the time it was a big deal as Romania had just opened up. Oh well, I wrote many things by hand on the flight from NY to Zurich and that was the seed of my blog.
Oh, the moon tonight it impressive and almost full, round and pretty. I love the moon and I’m sure she’s wise.
I like Romeo Britto Art Gallery – Pop Art – and admire some Art Deco buildings.
However, the lifestyle is what reigns here. Superficial life, superficial relationships, party, booze, drugs, unhealthy environment, one night stands only, people using people, lack of trust, drugs, flashy lifestyle, drugs.
She stops to buy cigarettes and I buy a 1 liter Corona that I drink while walking the streets of Miami in my short fluorescent green short dress and geisha print purse. I tell B. that for either of these – what I’m wearing OR what I’m drinking – I would be arrested in Doha.
Realized how much I’ve changed, where I am now. I mean, I’m looking for some free time to buy an abaya and I’m thinking about covering my head one day. Don’t get me wrong, there are many people on this Earth who know I’m not – by far – some saint. I’ve done mainly everything and I wanted to see how it is in each pose of life. I went running to the most dangerous situations, places and especially people. I played people and I’ve been played. I lost and I won. Sometimes I thought I lost, but I won and the other way. Actually, I lived this artificial life for 10 years and maybe some would say I live it more than before because, if I think about it, yesterday I was sleeping in the desert and now I’m in Miami Beach and tomorrow I’ll be in Doha, an then in Jakarta and then in Seoul. In one week, I mean…
A drag queen show, Versace House. B. and I try to get in pretending to go to the bar, but it’s a private event night. The place looks amazing, it’s the place where Gianni Versace was killed.
We sit down at one of the places and B. knows – of course – the manager. She’s so glamorous and I love it. Pretty, too.
Here, I get to drink my dream drink – that huge bowl with two Coronas. V., B.’s friend says – oh, you want to get wasted. I guess, I am already form tiredness – after all I came from a 16 hour flight that you know, it means 3 hours plus of meetings and preparation and 2 hours plus of checks and going to the hotel, and then getting changed and going out – and also from the 3 Coronas + (the 1 liter bottle actually).
I love how happy this drink makes me, of drinking it in Miami. It’s just a drink, but it’s an experience, something I’ve wanted to try. Everyone is looking at the drink and it’s freaking huge.
May 23rd 2016, Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida – Sunshine State, USA
I wake up to see the sunshine and I do, from my bed, which is positioned perfectly. I just open my eyes and I see it. Back to sleep now.
I take on more view of the Bay from the 29th floor and head to Wynwood, the art district of Miami, home of around 70 art galleries, cafes, antiques and vintage shops and other alike that I love.
The greatest attraction is the painted walls, art everywhere, graffiti, messages on the pavement, a treasure to discover.
It’s Saturday early morning and I have the place for myself. I’m wearing gold sandals, a red skirt from NY and a blue sky polo T-shirt with a splashed paint in different colors print. I love to wear according to the place I’m at. One rose in a Heineken bottle. Some divine messages, a lady stopping to take pictures from her yellow WW Beatle and one guy sitting at an empty and closed café, resting his legs on a huge purple suitcase, telling me to go down that street for a great mural.
When I reached, Joe Cocker sang “Up where we belong”.
I realize that when you see art in everything around you, then you are truly happy. Happy with little.
This job of mine is great, but I know it’s more than that. I can move and experiment. I would not be here – in Miami – otherwise. I would not be anywhere.
I remember Paradise says on one huge corner building. And I think I do, but what the hell, I have to live here on Earth.
Cool Nespresso store here in Wynwood. I walk back to the hotel and realize it’s close. Taxi costs, after my calculations, like this: $1 per minute. 10 min ride $10.
Concierge advices me to take the Miami Trolley. What is that, well, it’s a sort of old colorful wagon train, that is for free for everyone and it’s quite convenient. I want to go to Villa Vizcaya and I take the trolley from the hotel. Here Seal’s If you don’t know me by now plays and one African American sings along. Everyone is cool.
The driver speaks with me in Spanish and he helps everyone. Comes back saying – This girl from Istanbul is looking for art. Coming from the mother of art she’s looking for it here. He tells me how to take the next trolley. I don’t know where I am, riding this trolley in Miami. Life is good. Sunday Farmers Market. I love the huge art faces at the Viceroy Hotel &Spa.
In my travels, which are often short, I try to maximize my experience and take the fastest route. However, how much I love to take local buses and “waste” time. Look at the locals, absorb their habits and how they talk, what they talk about.
Finally at Vizcaya ($18), a great place to be. What did I like most? The room vintage divider painted with ships and pal leaves, the interior garden, the cardinal points indicator clock on the interior patio wall, the arcades and glass. The breakfast room – overlooking the gardens on one side and the interior patio on the other side.
And discovering La Lupe. Some LV old style suitcases. The huge Iguana just walking around the gardens. The gardens. The orchids the owner so much adored, the marble bathtub with four claws each decorative legs, the lion shaped fireplace protection all brought form the owner’s extensive travels. My Arizona Tea huge can matching my purse.
Back to the city I stop at the Bayside, walk around the restaurants and cafes, mojito places, see Banyan trees – of which I learned in Cambodia that they are offering shelter to restless souls, admire a Brazilian live representation, pass by the Port of Miami, in Bayside Hooter’s there’s an announcement “Remain seated while room is on motion“, the boats and the bridge to South Beach. Downtown Miami in a hot, humid Sunday afternoon.
At Freedom Tower, I go through a free exhibition on the history of the Cuban flee to US, emotional stories of young boys becoming men overnight, of a new society reunited abroad. The Tower was a Cuban Assistance Center.
Wherever you go, check the free stuff. I’m a big spender and I will spend limitless for traveling and experiencing thrills, but sometimes there’s some free admission places that are so cool. Like the trolley and this museum, here in Miami.
Next stop, the American Airlines Arena, where they announce the future shows – Adele, Ellie etc.
Walking back home – the hotel – I pass by this museum avenue, One Thousand Museum – still not finished, with a huge panel about Zaha Hadid – Her legacy continues, Perez Art Museum, Museum of Art and Design etc.
Scallops in Biscayne Bay, barefoot, looking at the ships, at the water, ready to fly back to The Middle East, my real home.