Thursday, January 11, 2007


I have decided: I love Miami. How I managed to keep this secret from myself for almost thirty years, I can only guess. Maybe it had something to do with never getting within five hundred miles of the place.

Anyway, I think I've discovered what's absolutely wretched about a cruise.

Someone like me feels regret after leaving a city I've lived in for a year, because a year is not enough time to really get all of what a place offers. To put in to port then for ten hours is just barely long enough to get a glimpse of how sexy a place is. It's absolutely wrenching to leave so soon, and I think I'm going to get this shattering feeling every time we shove off.

Miami felt more alive vital than any city I've ever visited before. I know that sounds strange, since I'm coming directly from New York City, but it's a very different take. In NYC, the energy is self-conscious and competitive. People are hyper because they want to prove that they're the most beautiful/thug/glammy/religious/entrepreneurial etc. thing there is. While that's ironically naive in its own charming way, I have to grade it a little beneath Miami, where the energy is just a little less self-conscious, and has more to do with wringing the fun/meaning/juice out of every moment than inspiring awe in the people around you.

Gemma and Sumara and Clara have described Miami well. I just have to add that this is a city of fabulous, colorful, scary-looking neighborhoods, but I've heard more Cuban jazz in one day than in the last year. That, and the neighborhood around Villa Habana is absolutely gorgeous, with broad leafy boulevards and old clothing stores and restaurants that show just enough wear to look inhabbited. It kind of makes me think a little of a tropical version of what Garfield Blvd. must have looked like in Chicago before it all fell apart.

I have to return to Villa Habana at least once, to try their ham shank.

The waiter strongly recommended it.

To this end I will be persuading Jess to apply to nursing schools here.

The garderns were pretty amazing. After that and Miami, Fort Lauderdale couldn't possibly match up (although it was very pretty in the sunset). I didn't see much of its famed canals, but I believe they're there nonetheless. Today we're in the Caribbean and tomorrow we'll arrive at Grand Cayman. It's strange because I didn't really notice a change in temperature until we disembarked in Florida. It's been unseasonably warm in New York, but I think that an even larger factor is the coolness of the winds off the ocean at night. Never quite experienced that before.

Today is my first day of really getting work done. I'll start working on my revision of Hungry Rats. Behind already, I'm afraid. If I get enough done, I might dress up like a pirate and go for a drink on the Lido bar.

Not sure what the others are up to today.


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