Man oh man, where do I begin with Miami? First off, let me mention that I wrote this post back in January but never got around to posting it! So please excuse the three month tardiness. Miami made my heart so happy and I’ve thought about that eccentric city ever since I came back to San Diego. Lets start with day 1. Actually, lets start with the damn freaking airport.
STORY TIME. So, in order to get to Miami, we had to take three connecting flights. San Diego to LAX, LAX to Atlanta, and Atlanta to Miami. Sounds like a pain, but if I wanted to get there by 9 AM, we had to do it so we did. BUT THEN. Our airline decided it was chill if they were an hour late with our connecting flight to LAX, and our Atlanta flight would be leaving approximately 15 minutes after we were supposed to land in LA. So by the time we actually got to LAX, we had one minute to make it to our gate, and guess what? We didn’t make it. We missed our connecting flight by ONE MINUTE OMG THINKING ABOUT IT MAKES ME SO MAD. But our airline did their best to make it up to us so I will not name this airline in respect out of them. But long story short, we ended up having to go to St. Paul Minnesota for our layover instead where we froze into icicles in -9 degree weather. It was so cold, that I could see my breath indoors, how crazy is that?!
Anyway, after surviving our freezing layover, we finally got into Miami at 12:30 pm and it was HOT. We could feel the humidity and that alone made us so so so happy and excited! And I must say, we were freaking geniuses with the transportation system. We got to our Airbnb through the city buses and were able to navigate the route efficiently and effectively!
We stayed at this adorable little beach cabin in North Beach, Miami, and it was a two minute walk to the beach! The room was so cute equipped with awesome ammeneties and OH MY GOSH OUR AIRBNB HOSTS WERE INCREDIBLE. They were one of the biggest highlights of our trip! Maria and Jairo are a mother/son duo who are just the kindest, funniest, and most warm people in the world. I broke the shower knob the first night was there, and they immediately went to go buy a new one and fix it and kept telling me to not feel bad and that it wasn’t my fault (when it clearly was lol).
Our first day in Miami was an amazing one. We went to the beach the moment we put our bags away in our room, and after that we decided we were in the mood for some authentic latin cuisine. Well, we found just that at this Cuban restaurant five minutes down the road! It was SO delicious and I loved that we were submerged into the latin culture for the whole trip. A lot of the people we encountered didn’t speak much English so we were challenged to pull out our rusty espanol from our 4 years of Spanish classes we took and we got by decently! Of course they snickered and laughed at our horrible Spanish, but at least they got the gist of what we were saying!
After our delicious dinner of rice, beans, plantains, and chicken, we headed over to Walgreens to pick up some snacks and water to last us during our trip. When we got back to our Airbnb, Maria asked to come over so her friend can help fix the shower. Shortly after, Jairo came over to join the little party and it was so great being able to meet our host we had been communicating with through email! In person, he was even kinder and funnier than we anticipated and we couldn’t have been more blessed with our Airbnb choice. We ended up giving a nickname for Maria— Mama Maria! She was so warm and welcoming and she was literally like our second mother, so nurturing and caring! She told us she would make us a homemade cuban dinner on our last night, how could we refuse that offer?!
The next day, we decided to take it easy by exploring some more of Miami! We slept in to the glorious hour of 11 AM (jet lag is no joke) and prepared ourselves for a day of adventure! We first went for a morning jog which was so amazing and refreshing to just wake up and walk two minutes to to Atlantic Ocean. We had lunch at a delicious Columbian cafe where we once again busted out our Spanish, and then headed down to South Beach where we shopped on Lincoln Road. I ended up doing some damage to my credit card… which I repeatedly told myself I would not do. But when Lulu Lemon yoga pants are on sale, shouldn’t that be the exception? I kept telling myself that in order to justify me spending a majority of my Miami money on a pair of pants.
After a wonderful evening of shopping and looking at clothes I couldn’t afford on Lincoln Road, we headed down to the beach to dip our toes in the warm(er) Atlantic Ocean. Then we headed to a salad bar for dinner before going home and calling it a night!
Our third day in Miami has got to be one of my favorite days I have ever lived. We started the day with some much needed coffee and found a cafe 10 minutes away that had raving reviews. I can now add to those reviews because I kid you not, I had the absolute best cappuccino I have ever had in my life there. Columbian coffee is my newest weakness, in addition to Latin men, but I’ll save that for later. It was so good, in fact, that I had to get another cup because I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t!
After our breakfast, Pamela and I decided to explore Lincoln Road one more time, and so we headed back to room, got ready, hopped in an Uber, and down to South Beach we went! After our lovely time shopping, we went down to the beach and picked seashells. Wow, I’m getting emotional while typing this. I can’t tell you how happy the simple things made me, we just felt so much happiness for the simple act of being IN Miami. Even if the weather wasn’t the greatest, there was no way it was going to stop us from having a good time. We soaked in every minute of our trip and didn’t fight once. I am so glad I was able to have one of my best friends on this trip with me, I couldn’t have asked for a better person to explore Miami with me.
After our peaceful walk along the shore collecting seashells, we headed back to our cabin where Pamela and I agreed to take a short nap before waking up at 11pm to start getting ready for the clubs! But of course, napping is like doing the impossible for me, and Pamela wasn’t able to sleep all that well either. So we did what classic California girls would do- order pizza LOL. We had a dance party in our room, ate more pizza than California girls should, and had an absolute blast by doing so. Once 11 pm rolled around, we started getting ready for the night! I texted a friend we made during our carpool uber ride earlier that day (LOL) for some recommendations of clubs we should go to, and we ended up deciding on the most touristy club in Miami called Mangoes. It’s a Latin-American club where people from all over come to dance!
OKAY. This is the part that will hands down be one of the greatest memories I will forever remember. Mangoes. Oh my goodness, what a club to be at when you’re a blonde and asian duo! To tell you the amount of stares we received while being in Mangoes is like asking to do the impossible. We seriously lost count. I’m pretty sure none of these foreigners have ever seen an asian girl before, nonetheless with a blonde girl. The first part of the club was full of older men with preying eyes and I highly recommend for people to RUN past that part. These men are creepy and older and I had no idea how they were at a night club on a Wednesday night at 1 AM. But the back of the club had all the young(er) people getting down and salsa dancing! It was so amazing to see how these Latin people danced so effortlessly. Pamela and I were a little bit awkward at first, but after letting loose a little bit we decided to hop on the dance floor and start dancing! And that’s when they all just bombarded us. I swear I am not typing this to toot my own horn, but I lost count of how many men asked me to dance. Some were older, some were younger, and some being my age. Some were creepy (yikes) and other just wanted to dance with me for the sake of having fun. But I swear to you, each one told me in their thick, foreign accent that I was the most exotic girl they’ve ever seen LOL. I cracked up each time I was told this. I had at least 5 guys from Italy dance with me and tell me this, and when they mentioned they were from Italy I gave each of them the same response— “I love pasta.”
I danced with some men from Cuba, Columbia, Germany, Australia, England, and Argentina, and unfortunately I don’t remember most of their names. Pamela is an INCREDIBLE dancer, and she found the perfect dance partner to tango with! Me, on the other hand, kept jumping from guy to guy (holy crap that sounds horrible) because some guys made me feel like I was dancing literally by myself (which I actually did do for part of the night and I had an absolute blast!) and then others were getting a little to touchy which was no bueno for me. Finally, toward the end of our night, I found the latin man of my dreams. His name was Juan and he was from Argentina, and I remember seeing him earlier that night thinking he was cute but not pursuing to do anything about it because, well, I already had a line of men interested in dancing with me. WOW I SOUND SO FULL OF MYSELF RIGHT NOW BUT I SWEAR I’M NOT LIKE THIS NORMALLY. I know that I only got that much attention because I’m asian— and plus, I was wearing more clothing than most of the people in that club! Anyway, I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but somehow Juan and I really made eye contact (we were kinda eying each other the whole night but ya know typical 21 year olds not doing anything about it), and I think it was me who finally went up to him. I was so attracted to his warm eyes and adorable dimples, so I asked for his name, where he was from, and how long he was in Miami for. He didn’t speak too much English nor do I speak nearly enough Spanish, but we spoke just enough to understand each other. And then somehow we started dancing and GUYS. HE WAS THE BEST DANCER EVER. I kept mentioning how horrible of a dancer I was because he seriously put my wannabe salsa dance moves to shame. And he kept reassuring me that I was great, and I think we exchanged some compliments in between that (es muy guapo hehe) and continued to dance the night away. I almost melted into a pool of Argentinean coffee due to how in lust I was with him. And then some guy started getting pretty creepy with my sweet Pamela, and it was 4 AM and I knew we should call it a night. So I tangoed with Juan for one last song before asking for his Facebook and telefono numero. I kissed him on the cheek, which I think caught him off guard before rushing over to Pamela and saving her from creepy Samuel (27 year old med student from New York) who didn’t understand the concept of keeping his hands and his lips to himself BLEH. And then all of a sudden, Juan came up to me and kissed me on the cheek before smiling at me and disappearing into the latin melting pot of dancers. In that single moment, I felt more butterflies in my tummy than I did in the 5 dates I had been on with this guy in San Diego. In that moment, I knew that that memory would be one for the books, and that I also had to break things off with San Diego boy (we were casually dating, nothing serious!). When Pamela and I finally exited the club, we giggled and recapped our night in excitement, we were in disbelief of how much fun we had! We finally got home at 5 AM, showered and wiped all of our makeup off, bumped our fist because we handled the Miami nightlife like champs, and immediately fell asleep. DISCLAIMER Y’ALL I FOUND OUT JUAN HAS A GIRLFRIEND OOPS. How was I supposed to know?!
The next day was our last full day in Miami, and we were still recovering from the fact that we had just gotten home 5 hours ago, so we decided that an acai bowl would be the perfect pick me up to get us out of bed. Lucky for us, we found a fantastic place just 10 minutes north of us, where we devoured one of the best acai bowls I’ve ever had in my life! After that, we went down to the beach by where we were staying and just soaked it all in; the non existent sun, the semi-warm water, and the beauty of the atlantic ocean. It’s unbelievable how beautiful it is down there, even on a cloudy day. After getting our fill of the beach, we decided to head on down to a local Argentinean bakery AND OH MY GOSH IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS I’VE EVER MADE. I went crazy, guys. The Italian cappuccino was ridiculously good and adorable, it was my first art cappuccino! And then the desserts were so well priced that I got a bunch of Argentinean desserts, such as this chocolate and caramel croissant, this cuban caramel cookie, and a delicious spinach empanada. We enjoyed our treats while talking about life, the dinner we were going to have that night at Mama Maria’s, and reflecting on our time in Miami. We just kept repeating how blessed we were to have this opportunity to travel across the country together. It was truly a once in a life time experience.
After having such heartfelt conversations (and using this bakery’s wifi lol), we purchased half a dozen cookies for Mama Maria and headed back “home”. After checking emails in the mist of getting ready and having a mini dance party to my 90’s RB&B music, we headed to Mama Maria who lives on the other side of our little cabin! Her house was beautiful, and her kitchen was fit for a gourmet chef!! We were immediately welcomed into her home where she had dinner waiting for us on the stove, her house smelt of cuban heaven!! She made us Ropa de pollo, and she mentioned how normally it’s made with beef but she knew I didn’t eat beef so she made it with chicken instead. Seriously- WHO IS THAT THOUGHTFUL AND ACTUALLY REMEMBERS THAT KIND OF STUFF?! The star of our dinner was accompanied by the best rice and beans I’ve ever had, the best fried plantains I’ve ever had, and THE BEST COCONUT WATER I’VE EVER DRANK. Mama Maria’s brother collected the coconuts on the trees outside her house and drained their delicious water and filled into the pitcher. We were in disbelief, I can’t even remember the last time I had such an authentic, homemade meal clearly made with so much love. Pamela and I felt SO special and so honored that she would take the time to cook such an incredible dinner for us. Just typing this is making me tear up; Mama Maria is such a special woman. She raised her children with the help of her mother and I didn’t meet her daughter, but Jairo is such an incredible son and I hope one day I can raise my children the way she’s raised her’s. You can just see how much love she has for him and how proud she is of all that he’s accomplished, and it’s evident how much Jairo adores his mother. We are so so blessed to have crossed paths with them. She told us about her life as a child and her memories of Cuba and Spain before making Miami her home. She talked about her grandchildren in nothing but admiration, and proudly showed us photos of her adorable granddaughters. She gave us life advice that I will forever cherish, and we talked about how happy we were to have met each other. After filling my belly with seconds of the delicious homemade meal, we showed each other pictures of our family and friends, laughing and smiling at all the stories being exchanged behind each photo. Finally, it was time for us to go home and we took some photos with Mama Maria so we could always remember the woman who made us feel at home in Miami. I love that woman so much, and I knew fate made us all meet one another.
After we rolled back to our room (we were so full omg), we took a two hour nap and woke up at 11pm to start getting ready for our night out on the town part 2. We didn’t leave until 1 AM, and got to Mangoes (yes we went to Mangoes again don’t judge) by 1:30. We shared an Uber with two Argentinean guys who were heading down to South Beach too, and were in disbelief with how much Spanish we spoke (which is not that much I swear lol!). One of them kept asking me to marry him in which I politely declined. But these boys just couldn’t seem to get enough of us and decided to follow us to Mangoes, but Pamela and I were not feeling it so we kind of ran to the next club over and we ended up losing them, phew. Shortly after we headed back to Mangoes, and there we found German Bae. German Bae was dancing by himself, and when we asked where his friends were, he told us that they didn’t want to go out that night so he went out by himself.
LIKE WHAT WHO HAS THE COURAGE TO DO THAT???? German Bae does. Pam and I were flabbergasted when he told us that, and immediately welcomed him into our little circle where he protected us from any creepy men who tried to approach us. It. Was. Glorious.
After a fun night of dancing with our trio, we decided to call it a night at 4 AM. After an eventful Uber ride of me yelling at some Russian girl we carpooled with who was yelling at our Uber driver for not speaking enough English, we finally got home by 5 AM, where we crashed in our beds from another successful night in Miami.
Our last day in Miami was so bittersweet. I love Miami so much, and I truly didn’t feel ready to leave. We slept in, of course, and decided to head to our favorite bakery one last time and eat as many Argentinean deserts as we could because we knew San Diego wouldn’t hold these gem of pastries that Miami did. After savoring our delicious breakfast pastries with far too much sugar than I normally allow myself to consume, we headed to a floral shop where we picked up some flowers for Mama Maria! She deserved that and so much more. We headed back to our Airbnb where we cleaned up, packed, placed the flowers on the table, and said our final farewell to our room, then the house, and then Miami. Oh my gosh I’m tearing up while writing this. The ride to the airport was a sad one, but Pamela and I both agreed that we would be back in the near future.
I am back home in San Diego now, where it took me a total of two weeks to finish this damn post. But it was so well worth it to document our whole experience; I’m glad I can look back on this post when I want to remember our incredible adventures in Miami. I miss that beautiful city so much already, and is it terrible if I confess that I’m already planning my next trip back there? That being said…
See you in 22 days, Miami! Muchos besos 😘