I am ashamed to say that I spent 5 days in Miami and I did not once listen to Will Smith. I don’t know what is wrong with me. It is like I have forgotten my former self.
What I did do, however, was attain 36 mosquito bites within 30 minutes of the first interview on the very first morning. 36. Oh damn, you can’t do numbers in capitals – let me try again…
So, I ploughed through the rest of the week with the insatiable desire to give my legs a good rubbing. Oh, how I wanted to itch them. How I wanted scratch them; dig my nails in and feel the hybrid scorch of pain and pleasure. How I oohed and ahed when taking off my trousers each night. How I groaned like a herbal essences advert in the shower each morning.
Oh yesssssssssssssssssss, oh goddddd yessssssssssssss
How my workmates in Salford Quays cackled at my misfortune (you utter bastards).
Yet, mosquito bites aside I was indeed in Miami, the Capital of Latin America. There was a whole day where I genuinely did not hear any English spoken whilst out and about. This is an issue as the only words I know in Spanish are ‘helado’ (ice cream), ‘bocadillo’ (sandwich) and ‘dos cervezas por favour’ (if you don’t know this one then I need to evaluate our friendship).
However, this Latino vibe did lead us to El Mago de las Fritas, a Cuban diner which served traditional fritas – a hamburger made up of ground beef, chorizo and spices topped with crispy onions. All for $3. And Obama’s been there too.
IT WAS DELICIOSO (thank you Google translate) and the waitresses shouted ‘WELCOME – HOME’ at you in broken English when you sat down. Brilliant.
And if I’d thought I’d saved on my per diems at lunch, I managed to bodge it up royally at dinner when we visited a posh Peruvian restaurant called Coya in the Brickell district, got my maths wrong and ended up paying $100 for my meal. Obviously, I was too embarrassed to ask for my change back but don’t worry, I properly complained once I’d left like a good British person should.
What do you mean, did I do any work? Yes, I did do some work, thank you very much.
Our schedule was chocka-block. So full, that I sat in the sombre glow of Coya, wincing at the state of my grubby t-shirt and saggy Jansport rucksack, my hair frizzing over my eyes. If you don’t believe me, then take a look of this pic taken on Miami Beach 7 hours prior.
WHY IS THIS THE ONLY PHOTO I HAVE OF ME FROM MIAMI??!!??
I was intending to burn it on a bonfire of self loathing/delete if from my phone but hey – what says ‘I don’t care how shit I look on a beach full of absolute worldies’ than posting it on a personal blog?! YAY FOR POSITIVE BODY IMAGE/I have an intolerable desire to embarrass myself in fear of someone else doing it before me.
Anyway. When I think back to Miami Beach, I just think about the furnace scene from Toy Story 3. It was so hot and so humid. However, we needed to get sounds of the sea and as brave pioneers of the radio waves, that is what we got.
I keep saying we. By we, I mean myself and Simon, the meteorologist who was presenting the Hurricane doc we were making for BBC 5 live. Across the 3 days, we interviewed a whole host of folk who were gaga for a tropical cyclone or two. They included several people who had flown through hurricanes, all in the name of science. One fella told us about a time when, mid-hurricane, they’d lost an engine and he genuinely thought it was all over.
So when it came to heading to the Hurricane Hunter base that Friday to try any get aboard one of these flights, I was like…
How cool would it be to say that you’ve flown through a hurricane??!!
Unfortunately, there were no flights leaving that day, though we did get to go aboard a test flight pre-take off and join in the brief. It was all very interesting and the most vital fact I learnt that day was that I would definitely marry a man in a blue jumpsuit.
And so, Miami is done. Check one.
Next stop, Newark, then a direct flight to Mumbai.
I’m pretty sure 28 hours of airports and flying won’t send someone who hates planes with an utter passion completely insane.
All images my own apart from: