Self imposed exile, Session 3
After a 4 month stint (decorated with a predictable 9 month entry ban) in beautiful Quito the time has come to pursue warmer climates and conquer the north. With the Latin American connection still vibrant, no transition could be more seamless than coming to Miami.
It’s been a while since I last visited Miami but the city retains its familiar feel. The combination of loud glam, cosmopolitan vibes and funky atmposphere always strikes a pleasant cord. This time however, what immediately struck me is the culture of EXCESS.
Excess is everywhere you look – in the use of materials and resources, in the over-deliverance in service, in the surplus of everything. Secretly knowing it is not sustainable, it Sincerely feels reassuring. As if there are no problems in the world. Combined with the awesome weather, it feels like a warm hug.
The 4-hour flight was smooth and contrary to my concerns, I swiftly got done with immigration through the APC kiosk (European passport, you rock – if you have one too, by all means, skip the line and register on the machines, it is an absolute time-saver). In and out of the airport in no time, I hopped into a taxi and -after parting with a staggering $30 for a 15 minure ride- arrived at my new “home”.
Another city, another beautiful Home Identity flat, again, attuned to its surroundings. Smaller in size this time but overall super-ritzy. Situated in a key spot, in a building that is as lavish as they come, complete with gym, 2 open-air swimming pools on 2 different levels and a reception reminiscent of a boutique hotel lobby, it is an urban delight.
All this is happening in Brickell , Miami’s financial district and by the look of things, the city’s latest hotspot. The architecture is all steel and glass but bizarrely the area’s aura remains lively and summery.
And there is a distinct Dexter-esque feeling all around.
It has only been a couple of days and so far we have mostly moved within the confines of our neighbourhood but it doesn’t take much to sash out that Miami has a blooming culinary scene. The place is packed with all types of restaurants, catering for all types of tastes. At cvi.che105 I had the best Peruvian ceviche ever. I took the Anconero but here is a recipe breakdown to the restaurant’s signature dish, the Ganador, which is quite similar and presumably even tastier (although I fail to see how this is humanly possible).
We also visited Cantina La Veinte – an upscale Mexican restaurant situated underneath Philippe Starck’s infamous Icon condominium complex (indeed iconic in its… excess), where we savoured some quite tasty tapas, most memorably the lobster tacos.
The second evening found our Miami posse at the Mary Brickell Village – a somewhat picturesque, busy area lined with restaurants and bars. We visited on a Monday night and it was quite happening (compared to my last setting it felt like a mad rave party). We went to the Blue Martini where we enjoyed cocktails (my Bellini came in a nice personal shaker that lasted a couple of refills). Some interesting bites (burger sliders, prawns and lamb chops) delightfully complimented our drinks.
One thing I really look forward to is doing the art rounds. This includes everything but most urgency checking out the local Street Art, which Miami is famous for. Knowing what the city has to offer, I literally can’t wait. Until then, I have randomly run across interesting touches, integrated in the urban landscape in the form of public sculptures, street art interventions and quite a few examples of art-chitecture. Thoroughly rewarding after a rather extended dry spell.
The city feels nice and safe to walk around – a major plus for me since I love exploring on foot. Other than that, I presume it is better enjoyed by car. There is a multi-serviced public transport system but it feels a little complicated to begin with. I rode the Metromover – an automated, overground (and free to use) train-like wagon that takes you around a few spots. It moves like a snail and stops every other minute, but it still constitutes a fun way to go around and also has open wi-fi.
Refreshing MIAMI things:
– I dont need to hold on to my bag as if it is about to be stolen any second now
– I can walk on the streets any time I want
– And meet other people walking
– Food and (more importantly) drinks are available 24/7
– And people drink in daytime
– You can smoke almost everywhere
– I have access to all the usual consumer goods (and thensome) again
– It is sunny and warm (YAY)
Very refreshing MIAMI thing:
– I dont need to worry about being apprehended by the police as an illegal immigrant 😀
My “outside my window” photographic obsession resumes in Miami except this time, instead of Skies (Quito), it will be buildings. I am surrounded by an array of impressive ones that I can’t get enough of. Gigantic in size & fully glass-pannelled, they reflect the surrounding area assuming magnificent looks throughout the day. The Northern Trust building opposite the flat couldn’t be any prettier, lit from top to bottom with lights that alternate in different shades, providing a permanent light show. I sleep with the window open to marvel at its beauty and think of it as one of the flat’s key decorative perks.
Warm, shiny, culturally busy, Miami feels a lot closer to home and I can’t wait to explore it further.
Note to self: Exercise tremendous & copious amounts of self-restraint to avoid succumbing to compulsive shopping