“Welcome to Miami”, in the tuneful words of Will Smith.

So who’s been to America before? Probably many of you. Who’s had a great time in America before? Probably most of the ‘many’. Who’s backpacked in America before? Probably none of the ‘many’.

We’re finding that to enjoy America to its fullest, you need at least one, but likely multiple of the following:

  1. A healthy budget.

  2. A rental car.

  3. A roaming Internet-connected device.

We have zero and that’s a problem. To add to that we’ve landed in tourist Florida and Miami of all places! If we were better prepared and researched like we normally are, we likely would have not come here. I say that as if there’s an abundance of choices for countries to visit. There really isn’t. I had a friend guess that we were off to Venezuela as it’s a neighbouring country to Colombia, blissfully unaware that international flights have been blocked there for some time. South America really has been so tightly locked down; as has most of the World.

There are also rumors that America will be one of the UK’s ‘green’ countries so that alone makes it worth the gamble. Then there’s my birthday too. Admittedly there’s an obvious allure to be abroad rather than in rainy WSM for a special birthday milestone. However this means trying to stretch out 3 weeks here in the USA and after just a few days, we’re very aware that we’re going to be limited in terms of what we can do here, financially.

Miami, as a backpacker, is not so great. Basic accommodation is super expensive, food and drink are expensive, there’s more Spanish-speaking than English and then there are the people in general. Definitely less refined, rougher, not overly friendly than other places in the US and anywhere else we’ve been in the last 5 months!

Observe the difference below between our final night stay in the Colombian capital versus the low end of accommodation in Miami – which happens to be twice as expensive with a shared bathroom. I suspect you’ll be able to work out which is which.

But before we made it here, you might be curious as to how our never-ending pre-flight bad luck went? Well, I’m relieved to say it went smoothly – except for 15 seconds of the worst imaginable moment. Having passed multiple security checks and check-in desks, we reach that very final desk, the one before you enter the tunnel to board the plane. At that point with our passes on the scanner, the system returns “Unable to board” and not in a discreet way. The graphical interface turned red with a cross and it let out a buzzer noise.

Mercifully, we felt the Colombia lady was quite rushed and so we sensed she was more of an, ‘…No idea, that could be a number of things. I’ll let the Yanks work it out on their end’ ‘🤣 Of course she didn’t say that but that’s what it felt. No complaints from us! So she lets us board and again we’re speechless for a short while as we play over in our minds feelings of disbelief and relief that something so serious could “pop up” at the absolute final stage of so many checks. Ridiculous.

Viv manages to get a sneaky pic once the lady had deactivated the “red alarm” and we were given the ‘ok’. The second image is of us landing in the USA and clearing customs without any issue at all. As it should be.

As for Uber, it was effortless but it was 25 dollars. We would discover over the days to follow that Miami has provided FREE public transportation for the last year! The local government clearly understands the importance of the transportation network for the thousands of workers that rely on it and the fact that the city reportedly has so much budgetary money left, it can afford to do so. A bit like many folks back home and how Covid has helped with bank balances if nothing else.

We reach our humble abode only to be informed via a piece of paper on the door that check is at 4pm and that nobody is home. That’s a first, um, ever!? We confirm it’s empty by knocking a hundred times. This is a big problem.

It’s midday, 30 degrees, we are in the middle of American suburbia with no Wifi, no food, Then there’s our luggage. Our options are extremely thin, as you can see from a depleted Vivian. Within an hour I’d thought up a rescue plan where we stayed for 3 long hours.

Amen to the predictability of American; you’re never too far from a Starbucks 🙏

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We were located a 45-minute walk from “downtown”. After some rest and recuperation, we were back to business meaning we walked there in the late afternoon and walked back early evening. (The Sun didn’t go down until near 8pm which was nice).

Downtown didn’t overly wow us. Perhaps as a contributing factor was witnessing the vast number of homeless people we had seen in our walk to get here. We hadn’t seen it anywhere near this bad previously, not even back in Brazil. Oh America…😥

All decent enough but there had to be more here!? I mean, you hear about Miami in the movies, in music. just about everywhere. Just hearing the name ‘Miami’ and we associate images of coolness and lavishness. Even a friend from home contacted me having seen my Insta-story saying how they would love to visit Miami. And there was more here; namely Miami Beach. Miami beach is actually disconnected from mainland Miami. In fact, there are five or six mini islands in close proximity. The main island is large enough to have north, mid, and south sections each providing a different vibe but all sharing that long coastline.

What a ̶t̶r̶e̶a̶t̶ shock you’ll be in for if you end up here as nothing prepared me and Vivian for human sights – especially South Miami Beach 😂🤦‍♂️ We were a little overwhelmed with the American’s showcasing themselves at their most dramatic. I wish I could have taken more shots but fearing for one’s life amongst the crazy was an obvious deterrent. I’m not saying it felt unsafe here, it didn’t. But if you’re gonna be taking photos of outrageous human beings, you can likely expect outrageous confrontations. We did put together a couple of minutes of phone video footage though, which won’t do the spectacle much justice.

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One notable thing along South Beach was this mansion. Guessing not many will recognise it? Here are some shots 25 years apart.

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It’s the former residence of Gianni Versace and the very spot, he was murdered by a crazed fan back in the late 90s. Horrific. If you haven’t seen the Golden Globes award-winning ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’, I’d recommend it as a good watch.

So this former residence is now a fine-dining experience. Whilst at the infamous gates, I thought I’d enquire, more out of curiosity than anything so I ask the girls what’s the waiting list. I assumed a day or two considering they open lunch and evening times. She said not until June, one month. Oh.

Luxury hotels, art places, cafes, restaurants and of course, supercars everywhere. We visited on the weekend so perhaps such ostentatiousness was amplified, but still.

All of the above said, Miami would likely be mega for those on a limitless budget. What a lifestyle you could have out here with the water, beaches, boats, supercars, and endless sunshine but alas, it’s not the life that has been selected for most of us. Once you can get past the hideous human sights on some of the infamous stretches, you can start to appreciate its elegance and arty side.

With our options limited, we headed to the beach to chill for a couple of hours. We fancied hanging in a bar, Miami style for a little until we saw the prices for a cocktail. The largest reaching an eye-watering 35 dollars (£25) for one. Then factor in this doesn’t include service charge and tax that will be added on. Ridiculous.

Later we’re booked to catch a non-public bus to take us further north into this vast State and vast Country. Up the road, a mere 4 hours away, lies Orlando; a city that needs no introduction I’m sure, and one that shall enable me to nostalgically reminisce over memories as a young boy. It was such a privilege back in the day to have gone on a couple of great family holidays here at great expense to the Parents. So many thanks, as always Mum, Dad.

Time for us all to go again isn’t it? This time with Isabella, Georgio and Jesse James…!? 😊


A brief couple of minutes of Miami:

5 Responses

  1. I tried to get mum to agree to go but apparently the flight is still too long 😂

    • It’s East Coast – definitely not too long! 🤦‍♂️😂

      Being here though, and thinking of kids and a family vibe, not a lot can compete. Remind her of that and let’s get this booked for next year 🙂

  2. Paolo have you forgotten Sophie also said the flight is too long for a baby . Always putting the blame on me x

  3. Again lots of lovely places and pictures. You lucky devils. One day for sure we shall make it there!! Hope you both carry on enjoying yourselves, Till the next destination. We’ll carry on here enjoying the rain!!!!! Lots of love G,Z,I&G XXXX

    • Thanks, GZIG. Think you’ll like where we’ve been the last couple of days. SHould be able to get some content out in the next 48 hours. Rain, you say!? Whhatt. It’s MAY!? Sami x

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