I moved to the Cayman Islands in 2016. On my way, I went to Miami for 2 nights by myself and had a great time. I read this and wish that I continued to write during my time in Cayman but I suppose other things got in the way.
Day 1 Miami- Am I crazy?
So after a long day of travelling, I arrived at my hostel. I found it really easy as the streets here go in order, once the bus got near 28th street, I was ready with my baggage to get off. It’s so logical-Irish streets are all named after republican heroes- no wonder the American tourists look so baffled looking at our maps.
I signed up for a salsa class which I pretty much instantly regretted and didn’t bother going. I took a walk around the block and found the beach, impressed by the supercars and obvious wealth. Finally, I submitted to exhaustion. I ordered a sandwhich and cocktail from the bar in the hostel and got chatting to two friendly Australians who were staying in my room. They were going to a prohibition style bar, which obviously turned into a great night out because they missed their flight to New Orleans the following morning They were booking new flights much to their despair that their budget for New Orleans had been severely downsized.
My first day, I booked a tour to the Everglades. I wore shorts and this turned out to be an error because we got none of the famous Florida weather. The weather was chilly and the airboat was way faster than I expected I could feel my face almost wrap around the back of my head. Wear warm clothes for sure.
Following the boat trip, there was a crocodile show and a museum. I also held a baby crocodile, which felt like a warm breathing handbag. It took really deep breaths and just felt so strange in my hand. Then I ate lunch without really thinking about washing my hands until I had eaten most of it. I was hungry what can I say.
I had a little nap on the way back and decided to rent a bike to cycle around South Beach. I looked around Washington Avenue and Ocean Drive and couldn’t believe the affluence. Designer clothes and Supercars, EVERYWHERE. There are miles of bars on South Beach serving enormous cocktails costing $50, then homeless people selling coconuts for $2 to make their living. The divide between rich and poor is startling. Its probably the case everywhere but it sticks out here because the rich aren’t just well off, they have so much money, they don’t have a grasp on reality.
Tired and hungry, I decided to stop for some lunch on Espanlola way. I had tortilla soup and a frozen strawberry Margaretia, which was amazing and as it turns out the beginning of a love affair with them, formerly a Daquiri girl. Finally, I returned home and decided to sleep and shower. I wanted to go out but honestly, I was quite tired so I just drank some wine with my roommates and hung out in the bar at the hotel.
My hostel was great, however, it is attached to one of the most upmarket cocktail bars in Miami, which was good and bad. It was very nice and the cocktails were amazing, but it was way to expensive for a hostel bar. Obviously I expect Miami to be expensive but it would have been nice to have a cheap few drinks available for guest just starting off the night. The other thing is it isn’t anything like Europe where the main clientel in a hostel is young backpackers. Here there are tour groups, young, old, families and couples attending weddings along with a huge presence from locals just having a few drinks. So its a little hard to meet people to go out with.
There were some interesting characters in my hotel room who freaked me out about spider bites and tropical diseases. One thing about hostels is you always meet interesting characters. Definitely true, one of the guys I was staying with pretty much told me he was on the run from a gang and it was all because of a woman. Really hazy on the details, he was vague and I was drunk.
We had a good chat about how shallow people are here, they get dressed up and go out just for show. I’m confused about how shallow I am, I mean I would love a night out in a fancy club and pretend to be famous. I like nice clothes and I love doing my make up to go out. I would be equally happy in a dive bar drinking cheap beer as long as the company is good. I suppose ideally, I’d like to dress up nice and sit in a shitty pub, get drunk and talk to interesting people.
Day 2 in Miami
Yoga on the beach, what an unbelievable way to start the day in Miami. There was a really wonderful teacher and it was so relaxing. Sun and sand on my skin and just relaxing deep breaths and stretches. Maybe I’ll take it up again. Met a girl from San Francisco named Anh and we ended up going out later that night.
I spent most of my day lost around Little Havana. It’s really interesting to see all of the monumnets and learn about the history. There are Cuban exiles living there. I had the most amazing meal in a famous Cuban resteraunt called El Equisito. For just $10 I had an empanada, ground beef, a mixed bean stew, fried plantain, rice and a Cuban coffee. The service was not polite or driendly but sometimes that’s part of the charm. I guess the waitress was not pleased that Tripadvisor had recommended the place as it was extremely busy but wouldn’t care if she had thrown it at me, it was delicious.. I spoke with an American lady as I ate and once again had to explain that I was going to go live in the Cayman Islands by myself and that I didn’t know soul on the island. She wished me the best but I knew she was thinking, this girl is crazy.
Cuban Coffee is quite similar to Vietnemese coffee. Its strong, espresso style with sweet milk. I’m discovering today its a great cure for a hangover. So I got a little lost on my way back quite stupidly I couldn’t remember what bus to take and just got on a random one. After I got home, I took a nap and then met up with Anh from earlier. We went to dinner and I had an amazing burger with crispy maple bacon.
We then caught an uber and met a British man called James who recommended a bar called Mangoes on Ocean drive. It was an amazing place, huge cocktails, Latin music and dancers. We danced and drank and just had so much fun! The dancing was dirty though and I am possibly the worst dancer in the world but sometimes you just have to not give a shit, have fun and pretend no one is watching.
The following day, I wasn’t that hungover, miraculously.. I had planned on a relaxing day by the beach and pool but it was way too chilly. I’m really glad about that actually because it would have meant that I missed out on Wynwood, which is a neighbourhood in Miami where graffiti artists are allowed to draw on the walls. It goes on for miles and you could spent an enourmous amount of time looking around. My pictures don’t even do it justice.
We went for lunch at a place called Suviche where I tried out a new dish. I had never tasted anything like it before. We also tried out a rice dish which was so good that I got my first ever doggy bag and took it home to eat the rest later.
We got back and I realised I forgot my ATM card so I had to rush back. It was annoying because it was a waste of time but at least they had it. I spent my last night in Miami drinking cocktails, eating chicken wings and watching the Super bowl. Ok, so maybe it was mainly the half time show. I had no idea what was going on with the game and there were ludicrous amounts of commercials. It was freezing actually and I mean really really cold so we went home. I had a drink at the hostel and met a lovely girl from Columbia who was on her way back to Columbia after a few years in Australia.
We shared an Uber to the airport and chatted about travel plans. She had been to India and was planning a trip through South America after visiting her family in Brazil for the month. She said she was scared to go on this trip alone but I think anyone would be. She is a fluent Spanish speaker and was so friendly, I’m sure she won’t have any problems. I don’t think that you can regret something like that especially if that’s what you wanted to do for a few years. It will happen for me eventually.
I’m reading that now and its my turn this year!