Miami Travel Blog

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We touched down in Miami, and were faced with possibly the longest queue ever for immigration/customs. After choosing the one we thought was moving fastest, we settled in. It turned out we had chosen the slowest queue in the entire airport, and were among the last few people to get into America that hour. Our next battle was getting to our hostel. We took a taxi there, and with it being a fixed fee of around $30US we felt confident that we wouldn't be messed around and would be taken the most direct route to the hostel.

After a fair bit of searching, our taxi driver found the hostel and we grabbed our bags. The manager of the hostel told us we couldn't check in until 2pm, and that we could leave our bags if we wanted to. It was around 8am, around 30C and we were tired, dirty and dressed in jeans and sweaters to keep us warm in cool Canada.

We decided we should take refuge in the nearest café and explore the area until we could check in. We were absolutely stifling so walking in the shade, and appreciating the air conditioned air rushing out when someone entered a store, we made our way to the nearest Starbucks for some beverages. There was free wifi there so we took advantage of that to kill some time, while sipping our Caramel Frappucinos.

The thing I love about Starbucks is that no matter where in the world you go, they always have those mottled yellow-brown lampshades, the same counter, and same kind of music. I also love that in non-English-speaking countries, you can order your favourite drink in English and be understood. 'Wo siang yao Caramel Macchiato' - Mandarin. 'Quisiera una Vanilla Latte' - Spanish. 'Mocha Frappucino o kudasai' - Japanese. Love it! I also like to work out which country sells the cheapest coffee based on the exchange rate. If memory serves me correctly, the USA is the cheapest, followed by South Korea. Japan is very expensive.

Anyway, soon it was time to give up our seats and head out into the morning sun once more. As we explored the South Beach area we were constantly accosted by restaurant and bar hosts/hostesses trying to encourage us to patronise their establishment. We hadn't been hassled anywhere in the world as much as this (apart from maybe India). It wasn't long before we were tired, bored and much too hot. Fortunately, we had noticed a tourist street sign for a cinema nearby, so decided to find our way there. We decided to watch G.I. Joe as it was about the most interesting thing on at the time, and having seen Marlon Wayans in the flesh only a few weeks earlier in Tokyo, we felt it was only right to see his movie.

We ordered a large Coke (2 litres!), some popcorn and nachos. The nachos were amazing - there were so many, and ridiculous amounts of cheese. No wonder America has an obesity problem! To be honest, I don't remember much of the movie, because I fell asleep during it (which I never do, I was just that tired). I'm sure it was entertaining though.

On the way back to our hostel we discovered a free art gallery so headed inside for some cultural musings. There were some great pieces there. I have forgotten the name of the gallery, but I think it may have been called ARTnemesis Contemporary Art Space. On our wanderings around Miami, we discovered that there were lots of crazy people around. It must have been the heat that makes people crazy. It's certainly what made them so smelly too.

We headed back to the hostel and finally checked in. We were staying in a dorm, and there seemed to be one other person staying in the room with us but he appeared not to have any luggage. Just a change of clothes and a toothbrush. We envied his light packing for a while, then showered, changed and chilled out for a while before heading out into the heat to find a hairdresser for Fabien and a laundrette. Unsuccessful with the laundrette, we headed to the barber and Fabien got a pretty great haircut from a Mexican lady for only $15. We grabbed some snacks and rehydration drinks and headed back for the evening.

To cut a long story short, we had booked into one of the party hostels of Miami. This meant that the music was playing extremely loudly until 5am, and just loudly until we checked out. We were tired and irritated so headed out onto the main drag, where everyone and their dog was out and about. We wasted some time wandering around some shops before finding a pizza place for a snack and heading back to our terrible hostel. We figured we could deal with it, as we were about to embark on a 7 day, 5* cruise around the Caribbean and would have all the peace and quiet we wanted then.
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photo by: ellieperla