Miami’s vibrant, lush and Latin and unlike any other city in the States writes, Greg Fleming
Miami’s long been called the Magic City, but thanks to a shady past (“trying to sum up decades of insidious corruption in Miami in a paragraph is like trying to write the Cliffs Notes for Ulysses,” proclaimed the Miami New Times this year) and being a favourite destination for party-hard Americans come holiday season, it was a city I’d never considered visiting.
That is until a cruise ship dumped me back in Miami last month and I got to experience this one-of-a-kind city myself.
Yes “magic” will do but adjectives like trashy, beautiful, sassy and surreal are just as apt — and often within the same block. But most of all Miami is a Latin city — unlike any city I’ve visited in the States. Around 55 per cent of Miamian’s have Spanish as a first language and that seemed a conservative estimate as I Ubered around on a whirlwind three-day visit.
Indeed the only Uber driver I encountered who spoke English to any degree picked me up on arrival and laid out his view of his adopted hometown as he battled the late-night traffic (in Miami you are always battling the traffic).
“I go home to Peru and realise how everything here is about appearances. Don’t get me wrong, Miami’s a great city, a fun city if you’ve got the money — but you see people here who look like they’re rich, but that car’s leased and they’re sharing an apartment downtown with three friends.”
Although that’s probably true, this city-on-the-make provides a visitor with a unique US experience; Miami truly has a swagger to it and has little in common with the rest of sleepy, retire-right Florida (except the year-round great weather). I loved my time here — it’s a city full of surprises — you stumble across photo-shoots on a daily basis, Latin rhythms blare from every restaurant and everyone has a side hustle.
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