Miami Travel in a Nutshell: How To Survive The Beast

Miami Travel in a Nutshell: How To Survive The Beast

Jump with me on my pink mojito powered Cadillac and travel through that interstellar stargate that is Miami. C'mon, I dare ya.

Miami: The town that dope build. That's not a joke or euphemisms, that's a plain hard fact. The Miami you now love and lust for was cultivated from the fertile soil of drug cartels. Each high rise building, a shining example of the tremendous yield crack cocaine and money laundering can accomplish. The neon glow of South Beach, a byproduct of an era where being a Bandido meant having a different Ferrari for every day of the week. Hold on, mid 80's, it was more along the lines of having a Ferrari for every hour of the week and a couple of Rolls and Porches, for those pesky leap years were everything is simply out of whack.
That's Miami, that's Florida's little weird town. Texas is the Republic's testicles, Florida the dick - the US's little head, the legendary troublemaker your parents warned you about -, Miami, that spot on your general that makes you erupt... Now that's a slogan!

This is the place where new fishing terms demanded to be invented.

Hey, look what I caught!"
"Is that a square grouper?"
"You betcha!"

Square Grouper: (n) floating bale of marijuana tossed overboard by smugglers near the Miami coast while being chased by the coast guard. Prime Hemp.

Heard Bob, rattled himself a white lobster!"
"Lucky Bastard! Guess he'll be buying a mansion and moving up in the world."
"Yup, already auditioning trophy wives."

White Lobster: (n) jackpot! Brick of uncut Colombian cocaine.
Medellin white

And so it became, that Miami had more banks per street block, and moved more dough yearly, than the combined net worth of all the remaining states.

Like Balzac said:

Behind every great fortune there is a crime."

Palatial mansions and huge towers build out of mortar infused, with Tony Montana's best, were springing up faster than the FBI could catalog them; the DEA in a corner of the room blubbering in a nervous wreck. Pablo Escobar bitch slapping the war on drugs; " I want my mommy!"

Then, gentrification, Escobar's death, Noriega's extradition Griselda Blanco's warrant, hit this flashy coastal town with the gale force of a hurricane (no pun intended). Rats somersaulted off the sinking ship, faster than Charlie Sheen aggreging to a raunchy lap dance.
Miami went down the drain. Business closed down, parts of the city spiraling int a bewildering ghost town. South Beach, that postal seaside region - that neon area so innately wormed into our cerebellum - quickly became the new wild west; the final, desperado filled, frontier. A cesspool of low-rent drug dealers, seedy night clubs, less than savory prostitutes, and the makings of a Mad Max sequel.
Hope was lost...
Then, like the finger of God, an angel saved Miami and kicked it back into the limelight. That person: Michael Mann. He of the Miami Vice, invaded our action filled nights. The 80's giving everything a polished Hollywood gleam. Slowly, but encouragingly, Miami's promised children came in flocks back to their Mecca. Madonna, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesia, Stallone, Gloria Estefan, Aerosmith, once more praying before the multifaced altar of their excess fueled deity. Miami rose from the ashes like a Phoenix; albeit one dressed up by Liberace.

That's the quick recap of what makes Miami that plastic, pink lipstick, g-string image you hold dear in your mind's eye. It's strangely surreal, tanned to brownie perfection and there to hold in your happy-go-lucky hands, picture.

Let's sink our teeth and start digesting this weird spicy monster that's Miami.

MIA

Off the Airplane you descent, into one of the largest airports in the world. Miami International Airport movings hordes of sleep deprived, jet lagged passengers, with a Gestapo-like efficiency. One minute you're being slapped by the scorching weather, herded along narrow halls, interrogated by gamma radiated migration officials, and the next, you're out the door and asked to fend for yourself.
Out into the terminal you go!

Miami For Insiders: by plane, there are two ways to approach Miami, from the Fort Lauderdale international Airport and from MIA (Miami International airport).

You quickly realized you're knee deep into a maelstrom of painted pink flamingos, art deco inspired decor and hibiscus heavy frescos. You're highly disoriented and the vultures - that are the effective merchandisers, employed by those cannibalistic companies, known as telecommunications- are circling you, with the gleam of rampant lust in their eye. Run! That's my only advice. Run, like the devil, is hunting you down... Cause, for all intents and purposes, that's exactly what's happening. Find holy water and, while you're retreating, shower those demons over your shoulder.

The power of God Compels you!"

Car Rental

Jump into the monorail, as if you're stealing first; their like witches. Instead of running water, their kind can't cross pneumatic doors and steel rails. You're safe! Hurray good you. Now, you have to rent a car. Get off the monorail, into a megamarket of rental companies. Pick your favorite.

Miami For Insiders: Miami has a walking score of 75%. Most urban settlements shrugging off the need for a car. Still, between the unending sun, the high temperatures, and the huge distance, the need for a rented vehicle is a must.

Geography of Miami, the basic layout

By now, you've noticed something. A prickly realization that you've stepped into the twilight zone. A miasma of different dialects and cultural flavors seeping into your pores. There's Haitian, Jamaican, Hindi, Latin (in all its different twangs), and a weird throwback of English, that sounds an awful lot like Klingon. That's the heart of Miami. A melting pot of absolutely everything under the sun. A great big smorgasbord of sight, sounds, and flashing bits. The stalwart stepchild of Elton John's funky sunglasses.

Miami For Insiders: Miami is occupied territory; the problem is, that your common Yankee is still figuring out who they should pledge allegiance to. English is not the native language, so, bone up on your Spanglish (a rare blend of Spanish and English).

Miami has been divided like a very insane pizza pie; a Vicodin poppin' chef, with a wicked knife and a wild spice rack. Each individual size liable to burn your mouth with melting cheese and give you gastric pain, but, despite the need to install guardrails next to your toilet, you'll happily repeat the whole process; a smile plastered on a black-eyed face.

Miami has been broken up into three large pieces. Vertical stripes that divide the whole mess. From east to west. From the rim of the Atlantic to the alligator stew that is the Everglades. The Beach; the mainland; the Suburbs. The working man stuck in the seductive pull of the wild days of his youth, and the homely sway of his home life; every afternoon, at five o' clock, a devil and an angel perched on his shoulders.
Each one of these slips sectioned off into little burrows. Strange small fiefdoms true to themselves but always paying tribute to their warlord.

The Beach

Between the spikes of the churning surf and the dolce undertow of canals, there lays a string of islands - some manmade, others spat out by nature. These islands are interconnected between themselves by a powerful artery the runs north to south; the main avenue; Collins avenue. Collins, travels from the very tip of south beach, way up until it ends at Aventura. Over byways and coasting above bridges. If you ever get lost, in the tangled glare that is Miami Beach, simply go East, until you hit Collins.

South Beach

The postcard of Miami. The art deco district. SOBE. Expensive hotels, impressive plastic bodies on display, meals that require a blood oath and a promise to sell off your kidney to pay the tab. By day, it's suntanning bathers and bodies that will make you gasp at your belly in shame... At night, it is a freak carnival of wacky proportions. Places to see: south point pier; Versage's House; Scarface filming locals; Ocean Drive; Milton's by the sea; erotic museum; etc, etc, etc.

Miami For Insiders: Mac's Club Deuce, in the South Beach, is the mother of all dive bars. Miami's oldest bar, this little hole in the wall has been graced by the likes of Johnny Depp, Keith Richards, Al Capone and many more.

North Beach

Away from the hoopla, North Beach offers the giant, elegant, resort treatment. Trump towers as far as the eye can see. The geriatric community out in scores.

Downtown

Miami's commercial center.
So many distractions, so many interconnecting streets, avenues, and boulevards, that even the most adept and savvy GPS, will get drunk. Suddenly confused and implying the following;

Take a left turn..."
"Siri," you blink in consternation. "There's a building there."
"Take a left turn..."
"Building! What part of 'I'll crash into a Walgreens do you not understand'?!"
"Missed turn, recalculating..."
"Thank God."

Three hours later, your rental coasting on fumes, the night folks coming out in droves, the sun no longer shining and your nerves frayed to an electric current, Siri: "recalculating..."

Miami For Insiders: parking is everywhere in the city. Public and private. Depending on where you're dipping your toes, the hourly rate can flux between a dollar to five dollar fare.

Miami downtown is an evolving beast. From Brickell Avenue, all the way up. This area adapts to three contracting wizard mottos: change for the land; change for progress; change because the city contractor was high on mescaline and had an epiphany in the toilet.

Miami For Insiders: Visit Bayside Marketplace, although a swanky affair, Bayside has amazing offers and a prime Disney Store. Get last year's, still huggable, stuffed dolls at half the prize.

Calle 8

Pitbull's territory. Starts in downtown, then Littel Havanna steamroll all the way into the glades. Different rhythms; picturesque views; acceptable prices; pure hand-rolled cigars. The action commences in 15 avenues.

Miami For Insiders: Cuban coffee is a shot glass's worth of adrenaline. A sludge of concentrated Cuban java, slowly roasted and percolated with the sweetness derived from sugar canes. The equivalent of three Red Bulls and a liter of Coca-Cola. A cheap and excellent pickup, for dancing the night away.

Coral Cables

The Biltmore Hotel; The Venetian pools; Miracle mile (restaunts as far as the eye can see). A "barrio" with fine Mediterranean architecture.

Miami For Insiders: The Venetian Pools are opened all year. There's an admission, that ranges between 7 and 12 USD depending on your age. Once the pool reaches a certain capacity, the gates close and you, my snooze you lose friend, are s@#t out of luck. Come back tomorrow.

The Suburbs

Pass Dixie Highway, you enter mom and pop land. Kendall, Doral, Palmetto, etc. Here is where most of those shopping fiascos are being erected. The holy land for the depraved bargain hunter.

Miami For Insiders: as soon as you enter the malls, hit the information desk. Here, they'll hand out a complimentary coupon book. Bring your out of state driver's license or an I.D., that proves you're not a townie but a snowbird and save like a madman!

So, that's a fast and dirty layout of Miami. The cliff-notes, I'm not exactly keen on investigating, fare. For a further more detailed examination of this vibrant avant-garde Sodom and Gomorrah, check out the rest of my guides. Jump with me on my pink mojito powered Cadillac and travel through that interstellar stargate that is Miami.

Pass Dixie Highway, you enter mom and pop land. Kendall, Doral, Palmetto, etc. Here is where most of those shopping fiascos are being erected. The holy land for the depraved bargain hunter.

Miami For Insiders: as soon as you enter the malls, hit the information desk. Here, they'll hand out a complimentary coupon book. Bring your out of state driver's license or an I.D., that proves you're not a townie but a snowbird and save like a madman!

So, that's a fast and dirty layout of Miami. The cliff-notes, I'm not exactly keen on investigating, fare. For a further more detailed examination of this vibrant avant-garde Sodom and Gomorrah, check out the rest of my guides. Jump with me on my pink mojito powered Cadillac and travel through that interstellar stargate that is Miami.

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