08 Jun Chronicles of Miami I
I can’t count how many times I was asked “Uhm.. when.. when will you write about your USA trip?”. Here you go, fellas! I was collecting thoughts, getting used to another culture (and time zone :D), then getting back to my everyday life and, finally, ordering thousands of thoughts.
Everything started from spontanious ticket purchase. I had a month and a half prior to my flight and no passport (cause I am living abroad), but who cares? I am flying to Miami! It always appeared to me, that if you want to visit USA, a huge stock of papers await. Apparently I was wrong. What do you (as a citizien of EU) need for a trip to USA, that takes no longer than 90 days?
- Valid passport;
- Printed ESTA application, you can fill it HERE (price per application at the moment – 14 $). It is recommended to fill the form at least a week before your planned trip. In about 72 hours after filling, you will receive an answer – are you allowed to travel to the US or not. Application is valid for 2 years, but never guarantees getting into teritory of the US (yeah, strange. If authorized employee at the airport won’t like answers to the questions he asks, you can wave to your holiday saying byeee byeee);
- Names, telephone numbers, addresses of those people and/or places you are staying at;
- Cash if you have no credit (!) card.
That’s it. It took me just a week to take care of all my papers also including flying to my hometown and getting a brand new passport. Waiting was the only thing left to do. Whatsoever eventually from joyous and fun it became quite oppressive. And you know why? ‘Cause I don’t like long trips. Neither by train or bus, nor by plane or car and just imagine me being there, existing while knowing flights will take approximately 14 hours. It felt insane. I had an experience of a long travel (17 hours by bus, for instance), which I hated, but c’mon – I am going with a plane, so less space and more people. I was concerned about how am I going to spend half of a twenty four hours, double of six hours aka 840 minutes, not even talking how am i supposed to stay alive if the plane is late and I get more minutes to survive. I only understood how retarded I was after the boarding – plane saloon was fully equipped with mini screens next to every seat and this was all most of the people needed. 5 minutes after getting into the plane some of them were already watching something. I just got used to the environement, scrolled through the movies/ sitcoms/ music/ games library, watched one, had a great meal and dessert, one more movie and wow – few more hours and we are there. Not the most perfect time of my life, but much better than expected.
Normally you don’t just leave an airport, not so easy pal. If you want to breath american air, you will have to stand in one of the chaotic lines just to answer questions of the guards of the freedom land. If you pass them, you may go. Said you have a bomb? Sorry, mate, not this time, goodbye. And if you are approved, just go into the world and throw your dollars into all four sides of the world. And you will need some dollars.. You see, Germany is not the cheapest country, so visiting Europe, it feels like a vacation, but not in Miami. Wanna lunch? 20$, baby. Wanna dinner? The same. Every meal appears to be a tasty piece of joy, so wallet gets emptier and emptier, but exotic food is still there. You know whose fault this is? District’s we (aka me and my boyfriend) lived in (no, noooo, not our fault) – Little Havana. It is kind of individual republic, where only cubans live. Noone speaks English. During our stay, I improved my Spanish skills. Blue eyes with bright skin combo just screams “TOURIST!!”, so you can feel like on a catwalk – all eyes on you. 😀 Welcome to ‘Murica. This is where we started our stay. On the first day we were awake before 5 A.M. local time, this time is not even reasonable for the home country, I guess brain was seriously damaged 😀 The whole organism couldn’t apologize for betrayal and so much stress, so what he did was – led to the dark and sleeping Miami streets early in the morning. Nothing (of course) was working, so we just went where our eyes led us and before “normal morning” I could check a Wynwood district on my list. This district is a synonym of art, bars, cafes and graffitits. You can find more than 70 galleries, paintings on the walls tell today’s stories and mortifications. Neglected warehouses, unused buildings were transformed into performance areas, cozy coffee markets and anything related to art. It is one of the biggest art districts in the whole America. Visit it, just do it.
She saw camera and fixed her hair
If I was a barber shop I would be this one
We had already seen more or less everything what Wynwood had to offer at that early time, so what we had to do – is have an American breakfast! Guess what we had? American pancakes with a huge amount of butter on top and extra jam of course. Just after we entered, an excited waitress came up with a bowl full of water. “Hello! How are you today? What will you order? What would you like? Have you picked? Oh, here’s a meniu. Ready? Ready? What’s for breakfast?” – asks she while pouring H2O into glasses. “Here, we have ecological this and eco that. This is eco, everything is eco eco eco, so did you pick?”. Every time we drank a sip of water, we could expect her coming to us to refill our cups. After a certain amount of time she must have get bored of that, so we haven’t seen here for a while… Until she came bringing a wind, asked how we are going to pay, asked her colleague to pack uneaten pancakes, suggested to tip 12, 15 or 18 percent, came back with a recipe with 18 percent added, took the money and disappeared forever. Quite very much a lot rude and a little awkward. Feels like being raped. But, well, life is life (na, na, na, na, na). So we just kept going. This is how I encountered tipping system in the USA. One has to leave them everywhere except fast food restaurants, land of freedom doesn’t leave you an option.
It is totally worth getting up earlier
Since we were lounging and visiting from the early morning, our long path led us to the outskirts of the districts, worth visiting. Sky started getting gloomy, wind – rising and we, of course, had no umbrella. I tried to fool someone saying, that pfff, I can easily get back by foot, no kiddin’, easy peasy. But only several hours of sleep and swelter made me eventually say that, well, maybe it would be, you know, quite cool to take a car or something and let the feet rest. We ended up in the district of business and skyscrapers – Brickles. And from there, first time in our lives, we took an Uber (which is prohibited in Germany due to the high competition rate). Woo hoo! Such an easy, fast app – pick from where to where you want to go, pay and wait for a driver. Car arrived in a few minutes (mostly it takes few minutes, but record during the trip was less than a minute), driver – young (not more than 25 years I would say) and damn quiet. No talking, just driving with a spanish music playing in the background. You say “It is our first trip with Uber!”, what he says? “Okay.” 😀 You say “We are from Europe *yay, wow, ask us something*”, he answers what? “Good. Where to stop?”. Hmm. 😀 Eventually from those several words he gave birth to, it was clear he didn’t speak English that good and that he was cuban. Enough said. Cubans don’t see any point in learning English while living in their own big communities. Wait, are we really not in Cuba? Driving with a cuban to a cuban district where we live to eat in a cuban restaurant. I don’t know anymore, don’t ask.
While trying to find a place to eat, eye was constantly catching „El Exquisito“ – cuban restaurant on the main street of Little Havana. We haven’t seen much of a district, because everything was closed in the morning, so “El Exquisito” seemed like a great place. From the outside restaurant looks ordinary and hard to notice, inside – not so many tables and waitresses with notepads and pencils. Names on the meniu said nothing to me, I just see words I know, but when they mix together.. WHAT KIND OF SORCERY IS IT? At the end I pick roasted beef with yuca and plantains. Outerspace. I’m out. Let me just wait and see what I am going to eat. Yuca – vegetable from the family of patotes, plantain – cousin of banana. Actually cuban cuisine is plantains and yucas, yucas and plantains – served with almost every dish. And this is what I saw (below), plantains – fried, crispy outside and sweet, beef – salty, yuca – “no idea what i am eating” taste. Everything together felt like a mixture of tastes. I need time to get used to that.
I had to take pictures of my food like a hipster.
I didn’t finish eating my dish, but not because it wasn’t tasty – portion simply was too big. There was barely no place for the plate on the table, not even mentioning my elbows. During my stay, I noticed that I can live several weeks just out of my leftovers. Small sneak peak – I have fully eaten only one dish during the whole stay (it was special, so I will let you know in my next posts). And after the dinner.. well, what can you do when you are really tired? Reach your home and fall into bed, I suppose. Being sleepless is something like being lost in space and time + high (I am just guessing, no idea what being high is) :D, because most of the things seems to be funny and nothing really cares. Sleep is important, rest, kids! And see you in the next Miami post.
Little Havana at night