Welcome to Miami

by Anjelica Jardiel

I visited Miami for three days at the end of April.  The sun was blinding, the air was warm and slightly humid, and the butt cheeks were out to play.  It’s a breezy, Art Deco pastel paradise.  I tried to compare it to other beachside cities I’ve visited and concluded that Miami is its own thing.  And I need to travel more.  It feels like a distant memory now, but there are a number of things I vividly recall.  


It was our first night sitting outside a Cuban restaurant on Abbot and 15th after dinner around 10pm.  A group of young men walked by and one of them said, “Ohh baby.. is it good? ‘Cause you lookin’ like you stuffed.”  Before dinner, two men who worked at Señor Frogs were explaining to me the difference between a fat ass and a big ass, breaking their necks as women walked by.  My two girlfriends and I were invited to a nightclub where the dress code was, “Sexy.”  A couple hours prior in broad daylight, a man circled my friend like a hawk and continued to gawk even after he was all the way down the block.  


Ladies, if you’re craving attention and aggressive come on’s that inspire sentences that rhyme, this place has you covered. 

On my second day, I visited Wynwood Art Walls, an area which has grown tremendously since it’s inception in 2009.  According to their website, “50 artists representing 16 countries have covered over 80,000 square feet of walls,” transforming the once industrial, warehouse neighborhood into the inspiration epicenter.   I walked around on a Monday in the early afternoon and experienced a fine balance of wandering by myself meeting locals, and patiently waiting for tourists to take their pictures or get out of the way so I could take mine (or not waiting and taking pictures of them).  


On my third day, thanks to an insider tip, I took a break from the tourist haunts and ventured to Haulover Beach.  It’s a beautiful, $15 Uber or Lyft drive from South Beach and a far more local experience, without hecklers.  It’s dog-friendly from 8am – 3pm and nude-friendly from open ‘til close.  While sunning our nipples, we noticed the coastguard patrolling back and forth on his jet ski.  Much to our surprise, he wasn’t just flexing- he was warning swimmers about black tip sharks.  I’m a scuba diver, so instead of swimming away in fear, I had to ask, “Does this happen often?  How many have you seen?  Do they really come this close to shore?  Have they attacked anyone?”  


He answered, “Yes.  Three.  Yes.  Yes.”  I continued to float, ears immersed, watching planes fly overhead. Miami has a different, almost inexplicable, flavor.  It’s a bit spicy, a bit sticky, a bit seedy and all types of colorful.