We are a small, happy family of four. My husband, a baby, a dog and me. My husband works on a yacht. A large, luxury megayacht which tends to be based in some fairly fabulous places. The thing is, where the boat goes, we go! When she was was just eight weeks old our daughter, Coco, boarded her first trans-Atlantic flight and since then we haven't stopped. This is a blog of our rather unusual yet adventurous life. No two days are the same.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Miami Baby

My first ever blog posting! Who am I writing to and for? I suppose myself. If nothing else, this will be good for posterity. I can keep these blogs like a diary and in years to come, Coco will be able to look back and see where she went in the first few years of her life.
The Miami Boat Show started today hence that being our current location. I have passed through Miami several times before, the airport, a lunch with my second cousin who is at university here and an evening at the AA stadium to see a 'Heat' game, but other than that, this is my first real visit to this flamboyant city that is so famous with the fashionistas.
My first impression was that it is a city like any other. A mass of concrete but it happens to be by the ocean and has a climate that is better than most, but there is something different. There is something a bit gritty about Miami. A dangerous, edgy, seedy undertone. I get the feeling that everyone else knows the secret and they are keeping it from me. Those sideways glances that say, "if you only knew", but I don't know and nor am I ever likely to find out. Especially as I feel like I don't even speak the language! According to my guidebook, Florida was actually Spanish until 1821 which goes some to explaining the fact that I feel like I am in a city that is a Hispanic/American hybrid. That and the fact that Miami is the self proclaimed 'Northern Capital of the Latin World'. It's not just Spanish that I am hearing though. There is French and Creole mixed in there too and I certainly feel like I am amongst the English speaking minority. I wish, I think more than anything else, that I spoke another language. Not a bit, but really well so that I could actually throw myself into a conversation with confidence and purpose. There is an elderly housekeeper at the apartment block where we are staying. She has a hunchback and can't say anything apart from 'hello' and 'baby' in English, at least that is all I have heard her say so far, but she looks as though she has so many stories and I wish I could ask her about them.
I have walked a lot over that last couple of days. We are staying on the edge of Downtown and the Design District and yesterday I walked all the way to South Beach! The Venetian Causeway was fabulous, this strip of inhabited land right across the middle of Biscayne Bay. If I lived in Miami, I think I would live on the Venetian Causeway.
Today I decided to explore Little Haiti. I wanted to see the Botanicas, the shops selling items of vodou, and the Haitian women in their brightly coloured wraps. On the way there I had naive daydreams about wandering the streets with smiling women coming over to meet Coco while I asked poignant questions about Haiti and the reality of vodou. One local would befriend us, show us around and maybe even invite us to join them for lunch?! Wrong!

I can honestly say that I have never felt like I shouldn't be somewhere more than I did today. There we were, in the middle of Little Haiti, and we stuck out like a sore thumb. It probably didn't help that our buggy is bright green, but still, we were out of our depth. Nobody smiled at us, the streets were busy with people but, I'm not exaggerating, people actually stopped and watched us walking along. This was not our place and we were trespassing somewhere we were not wanted. Nobody smiled, nobody even acknowledged us, they just stared. Time to go. We didn't get to see the botanicas, we just hotfooted it out of Little Haiti and into the neighboring Design District where we seemed to blend a little better into the background.
Tomorrow, I am going to give Little Havana a go but maybe I'll approach that with a bit more caution. Wish me luck!

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