I absolutely loved Miami. Campbell liked it, but I fricken loved it. I decided this within about half an hour of touching down and, after a few days, Miami is still up there as one of my favourite places from the trip so far. Our time there was super relaxing, consisting mainly of lying on the beach, or beside the pool. It was great to have a few days with no set plans, or activities. We could have easily stayed longer.
I didn’t know much about Miami before we arrived. I had an overall picture based primarily on the music video for Will Smith’s epic party anthem “Miami and episodes of CSI Miami. It turns out that both sources give a fairly accurate impression. Miami is beachy (but stylish), touristy (but not overly trashy) and beautiful (in an understated kinda way – Miami has more art deco buildings than any other city in the world). I guess this explains why it is also the sixth most popular city for high net worth individuals to live in. We have seen more hot bods, beautiful people and fast cars in our three days in Miami than the entire rest of the trip.
I say all of this even though Wednesday was a blow-out, leading to a total dummy spit on my behalf. It was our sixth straight day of rain – the streets were flooded, (shin deep in places) the beach was off limits, our clothes and shoes were saturated and I was so over it! After a bit of a pity party (attendee: me) we decided to make the best of the day and headed to the movies. Again, our Walmart jackets were no match for the weather. By the time we got to the cinema we had to commandeer the entire back row to lay out our jackets, jerseys, umbrella and shoes to dry off. On the plus side, I wore a black t.shirt under my jacket, The Jungle Book is great and the rain decided to stop during the movie (it did start again the minute we decided to pop out for dinner, but I’d had a few drinks by then and my mood had significantly improved).
We were up bright and early yesterday to make the most of the end of the rain, but before we hit the beach, we decided to hit the fitness centre at our hotel. I don’t know if it’s the lighting in our hotel room, or seeing all those gorgeous people prancing around in bikinis, but the physical toll of our recent diet of beer and burgers is becoming apparent. My thighs have taken on the consistency of the guacamole of which I’ve become so fond, and elsewhere things that used to vaguely resemble a six pack are rapidly turning into a keg. None of that seems to matter here though – there are people on the beach of every shape and size and people ooze the kind of body confidence lots of us would like to have. It doesn’t matter how big your arse is – if you want to wear a g-string bikini, or smuggle your meat and two veg into speedos, fill your boots!
To be fair, it probably was time for us to hit the gym anyway – we join a cycling tour of Cuba in a couple of days (two days on the cross-trainer will be enough prep, right?). We’re not entirely sure what to expect from the cycling trip – the brochure showed young hip people cycling through the countryside with no helmets and no worries, but I have the sneaky suspicion we could find ourselves joining a group of middle-aged Harry hard-out cycling enthusiasts (in which case I have signed up to tour Cuba with half the male partners from work)! The MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra) factor is a concern, but we are both really excited to get to Cuba and see what we’re in for. It will be especially nice to have somebody else do the organising for a week or so – I’m a bit over that too.
Tonight we find ourselves in Orlando, waiting for our flight to Cuba tomorrow. We arranged a shuttle up here from Miami, but it wasn’t quite what we expected. Everybody in the van (including the driver) was Mexican and spoke Spanish almost exclusively. Once they realised we didn’t speak Spanish, they shoved us in the backseats (with our knees around our ears) and preceded to ignore us for the rest of the trip. There was obviously some form of Mexican emergency taking place as well, which required our driver (Hernando) to frequently yell at the other passengers, and for them to yell at him, and then for them all to make multiple phone calls and yell at people down the phone. The only plus side to all the yelling was that it helped to drown out the latino-pop music that Hernando insisted on cranking for the best part of the journey. Still, we made it in one piece.
It’s likely that we’ll be offline for the majority of our time in Cuba – apparently the internet isn’t quite up to the same standard as here in the US. Expect a lengthy blog about our tour when we get the chance.