I woke up at 4:00, after going to bed at 1:00 we got a taxi at 4:45 to get to the Medellin airport. Flight at 7:40. why do they build airports so far away from cities!? Nice view of the Caribbean including Cuba during the flight. Got into Miami just after noon, walked pretty much straight through immigration with no fuss at all, waited seemingly an eternity for the bags and again in a huge queue for customs. Didn’t get searched anywhere or any hard questions about why I was traveling for so long or Colombia specifically, surprised the hell out of me, in a good way.
Walking out of the airport into the Miami heat and humidity was not a enjoyable experience. Though it was good to get out of the chaotic badly organized busy airport. From this point is where stuff got easy for me. My friend picked me up from the airport, took me to a Cuban restaurant (apparently where the party is going to be when Fidel Castro dies…) for a Cuban sandwich in Little Havana (not so little) and then gave me a tour of various parts of Miami. Half US, half Latin America, and a cool city except for the weather (no pun intended) that’s my take.
My hostel was in South beach, an island just off shore from the city centre with the popular beach and is full of nightlife, nice hotels and restaurants. Palm tree lined streets too.
We hit the beach and I tried out the water, warmest ocean I’ve been in anywhere. Not surprising considering the average temperature here every day. Now, finally after all this traveling and the amount of times I have flown across it, I’ve gone swimming in the Atlantic ocean. Direct pacific comparison coming up in a few days.
I checked out the South beach area more closely that evening, when the heat of the sun was gone, and since it was Labor day it was very busy. Nice area, but with plenty of strange people around it too, I grabbed a sandwich and headed back to the air conditioned hostel where it didn’t take long for me to fall asleep. Long day.
My 2nd (and final) day in Miami, my friend picked me up in the morning and we drove to the everglades where we took an air boat trip out into the swamp. Never seen any swamp this big, looks like a field of grass but it’s in water. Really cool stuff, saw an alligator too…
Shame about the absolutely insane heat and humidity in the everglades though, even worse than the general Miami heat.
Back into the city after that, and a driving tour of different areas. It’s weird sitting in a car for a change, and on top of that, surrounded by large SUV’s. America. We drove to Key Biscayne in the afternoon to see the lighthouse and the mangroves there, great view from the top of the lighthouse. Lots of Iguanas around too…
I went out again in the evening to a different part of South beach than the night before, walking along the West coast of the island with a good view of the nearby downtown skyline. It was sprinkling rain when I headed out and It decided to start pouring while I was walking by the marina. Thankfully there were plenty of palm trees to take shelter under.
South beach was much quieter with far fewer weirdos hanging around with the holiday weekend being over too. Had a great orange juice (unlike the flavourless one with the hostel breakfast, isn’t that illegal in this state??) and dinner then back to the hostel to take care of some couchsurfing details for my next couple stops and go to bed. 2 good days in Miami, next up, Chicago.
2 days back in the USA now, people are still speaking spanish and there’s more Latin restaurants than burger joints, I was told I’d have culture shock returning after a year gone, more like cultural confusion. I am still trying to convert all my purchases into US dollars in my head, then realizing that I’m paying in US dollars and making hand motions when I ask for something to help convey the point in case I wasn’t understood. Some stuff will take a while to get used to again, clearly…