Thursday, January 13, 2022

[MIAMI BEACH] Party Party in Majamee


Six years ago, I landed at FLL from Haiti, because that’s where all the cheap flights via JetBlue land anyway. Half a decade later here we are again and the blockbuster lines at immigration never changed. I don’t think it has anything to do with the pandemic. In any case, I’m glad that my Miami side trip actually happened this time around, because Fort Lauderdale for me will always just be a transit point, never the destination. From FLL, you can take a cheap Flixbus to Miami either to Downtown or to the airport. Travel time is an hour and tickets are not expensive.


Or you can do it by transferring buses, which will take too long. Sightseeing aside, I had several other reasons for being in Miami. One is the PCR Test which I needed for my flight in a few days. The other is the attempt on getting the COVID booster shot. I managed to accomplish both in one morning, which meant settling at my Airbnb in Hialeah and getting one full day of just seeing whatever can be seen. Tourist mode! I chose Hialeah because it’s close to the airport, but Miami Beach is where it’s all at.


It took almost two hours to get to Miami Beach by public bus. You have to connect at the Intermodal station at the airport, then take another bus from there. Miami-Dade’s buses now accept Contactless payments, but mine wasn’t working for some reason. In both cases the driver just brushed it off and asked me to get inside anyway. You also have the option to buy a one-day pass for around USD6, which isn’t a bad deal. Otherwise, there’s Uber aplenty if you have mobile data.


My itinerary was simple: Get off at the southernmost stop of the bus and then walk back north along the beach. This plan worked well, but not until after a lunch detour at TGI Fridays. I guess what I like most about Miami is how Florida does not really follow the program of the rest of the country as far as climate is concerned. It’s January but it’s all sunny here. The wind can get a bit chilly, and nighttime could dip below 20C, but nothing like the harsh winter up north. Overall, I like it.


My impression of Miami is that of ‘Merica meets the Caribbean. Looking at a map, I’m surprised how close the Bahamas appear to be. Now I know why most of the Caribbean cruises coming from the US depart from and arrive here. It’s like the Caribbean cities and towns you have visited before but immersed in everything ‘Merica. It’s my kind of chillout spot. Sunny. Predominantly Latino. But without much of the 3rd world BS. Since cruise ships dock here and the place is also popular for vacationers, the city is never empty and always has this touristy vibe that is just hard to shake off.


As for the beach, it’s nothing to write home about, but you do have miles and miles of sand and the Atlantic right in front of you. The shore has colorful mini cottages, which I suppose serve as good vantage points for lifeguards. And then you have beach bums littering the beach and just soaking up the sun. Head north and you end up in Fort Lauderdale, all the way to southern Georgia, I suppose. If ever you get tired of beach and sun, all you have to do is walk back inland. The first street you’ll end up in is a party district lined with bars, drag shows, and hotels. It felt so alive, as if there was no pandemic raging on.


I guess my raves are all based on sheltering in place for a year and a half that I just don’t know how it feels to party anymore. Even then, I believe I'd still like Miami without the party vibes. In fact, it just jumped to second place on my all-time favorite cities in ‘Merica after New York, pushing Los Angeles down to third. If ever I win the lottery and decide to move to the US, Miami would probably be the very first city I would consider relocating to. After all, who can resist every day of partying at the beach, right?

[MIAMI BEACH] Party Party in Majamee

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