Miami is a ridiculous city. The backdrop to movies such as Ace Ventura, the Birdcage and There’s Something about Mary, Miami is colourful, vibrant and just a little bit insane. Here’s Dirk putting together an ideal outfit for a day in Miami:
Miami is hot. Hotter than Durban and more humid too. So all the scantily clad women and slick looking men have an oily shine to them. Miami is sweaty, with the scent of coconut oil hanging in the air. Gross and glitzy at the same time. The more skin you show, the better. I walk past clothing shops with dresses on display that are more revealing than underwear. A few sequins are enough to hide behind. Swimwear with dangling chains and a few strips of material to cover just enough to not be arrested.
The beaches are breathtaking- transparent blue water and white (imported) sand. You can choose to drink a giant pink or blue cocktail ($25 for two during happy hour) or stand in line (but only after 11pm) to enter a dance club. And palm trees everywhere.
I never knew there were so many different types of palms. Small, big, greenish, grey. I sit on the grass outside Starbucks and observe an older man with shoulder length gray hair and his much younger, prettier, more tanned, long haired, ski-pants clad girlfriend sitting opposite me next to their bikes. He constantly talks on his phone to his Russian partner about 10 million dollar deals while she plays on her phone. After a while they get up, but not before she phones to make a reservation at a restaurant for later the night.
The Art Deco buildings are bright and bold and look like cardboard buildings for a theater set. The sun shines so bright that everything seems to have an orange filter over, like in CSI Miami. You almost expect Horracio to appear and say something profound like: “She won’t be dancing tonight.” Men call women beautiful in the streets. A promoter guy yells to a blond girl behind me: “A model! In Miami!” She just responds “I have to go, babe.” Miami is tacky, like gum sticking to the sole of a shoe, but not just any shoe, a platform stilleto with silver glitter on. Every woman here thinks she’s Sofia Vergara.
It has a very American feel to it, but at the same time, there are strong Latin American and Cuban influences in the music, the food and people’s attitude. As I walk in the streets I keep singing Will Smith’s song in my head: “Welcome to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami.”