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Miami Contigo: 72 Hours in South Florida

Enrique Iglesias is on the radio, for what seems like the 5th time in just as many minutes. Is Bailando a hit all over the world, or just here in South Florida, hotbed of Latin culture in America?

Whatever the case, it quickly becomes the soundtrack for our 72 hours in South Florida.

I wanna be contigo, live contigo, dance contigo.

It’s been awhile since I’ve spent any length of time in North America, but it’s clear from the moment we land at Miami International airport after 26 grueling hours of travel from Seoul, that we’re not in a typical American city. Announcements over the airport’s intercom are in Spanish only, half the time, and everywhere I look, there are bronzed individuals speaking languages other than english.

Another surprise after 4 years in East Asia, is the voluptuousness of the human form. People of every shape, size and girth populate the beaches, streets and shops, and there’s certainly no shame about exposing it for all the world to see. It’s refreshing and shocking all at once.

Our base of exploration is Hollywood, a Florida suburb that requires a vehicle for everything from grabbing a coffee to going to the beach. It’s a big change from Seoul, where everything I need is within a 10 minute walk of my apartment.

Fortunately, detox sister Sara is home for the summer, and she along, with a trusty Honda Civic, take us everywhere we need to go. We visit pretty Hollywood Beach, which is inhabited mostly by locals, one day, and take a trip over to the more famous South Beach, the next. It is stupendously gorgeous with vivid blue water and wide white sands as far as the eye can see. We don’t spend enough time there by far, because it’s suffocatingly, blazingly hot. The sun is so strong, I feel my skin crisping at an alarming rate.

We take in the art deco architecture of Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, from the safety of the air-conditioned car, and lunch at Paul, a little French inspired bistro, on Lincoln Road. My Croque Monsieur is decidedly average. Shoulda gone for the Cuban alternative instead.

Sitting outside Starbucks with a latte, I am amazed by the gregariousness of Americans. Are Canadians less outgoing or have I become too accustomed to the reticence of Koreans? All around me, complete strangers are chatting like long lost friends. Everywhere we go, from the grocery store to the juice bar to the mall, results in a lengthy conversation with a random person. Social boundaries are less defined, and everyone gets involved in your business, whether they belong there or not.

I’d say Enrique’s got it just about right. In Miami, everything is contigo.

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love this – so want to get the kids to this part of the world πŸ™‚

    August 11, 2014
    • I really enjoyed it there! I only wish we’d had more time to explore. It must be quite the long haul flight for you to North America…?

      August 12, 2014
  2. I love Miami! Such an awesome art scene and beautiful weather! Looks like a wonderful time!

    August 11, 2014
  3. ha! Maybe people in Florida are just friendlier/more outgoing than people in Chicago? Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed Miami, even if Americans’ garrulousness did get to you a bit πŸ™‚

    August 11, 2014
    • Lol… so I guess people in Chicago don’t get in your business then? πŸ˜‰ It was really funny actually, because literally everywhere people were getting involved in our stuff. The girls went to the grocery to find some ingredient for these no-flour cookies we were trying to make, and apparently half the people in the store ended up making suggestions and giving advice. Hahaha. I loved it! It was such a change from Korea, where everyone is so busy, they don’t notice unless you ask!

      August 12, 2014
  4. There’s no place like Miami. I also noticed that, after living overseas for a few years, random American strangers seem WAY too talkative and nosy. It’s become annoying.

    August 21, 2014
    • North America is definitely rowdier than a lot of other parts of the world… but sometimes I think it’s because I understand everything people are saying there. In other countries, I understand almost nothing, so all kinda fades into white noise.

      August 22, 2014
  5. One look at this post from your other posts … I know it’s beach area, but it’s obvious it’s in America. Well, welcome Shelley. I strongly hope you have a great time.

    August 23, 2014
    • ow, I hate Enrique Iglesias. πŸ˜€

      August 23, 2014
      • Bwahaha…I think most men hate Enrique, but c’mon, you have to admit the song is catchy. We had a great time in Miami! In fact, I wish we were still there instead of in rainy, hot and humid Seoul.

        August 24, 2014

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