Bucket List item #419 – Little Havana
I still haven’t taken a proper trip to Florida. I keep popping up in Florida unintentionally. However, exciting it may be to get some unexpected time in a new place, I would still love to go back and give proper credit to the state because I know it has endless wonders.
Some years ago, whilst Dave and I were heading home from Saint Thomas, we had an unintentional 24 hours in Miami. The airline we were flying from the Virgin Islands had some technical issues with their systems and flights were being held or cancelled across the globe. We had a rough full day in the Saint Thomas airport followed by news upon landing in Miami that our second flight had been cancelled. The airline said they would be putting us in a hotel in Miami for the night and our flight back to Denver would leave the next evening. We were a fair bit grumpy, truth be told, and the grumpy grew increasingly as we reached our hotel. I remember getting in a taxi from the airport and driving through Miami and seeing all the lights and charm and continually wondering how far our hotel was. Well, about an hour outside of the city we arrived as a sort of truck stop hotel/motel. It smelled like stale cigarettes, we didn’t have any luggage and the only store close by was really a store for car parts that had a few snacks and toiletries and the room was sooo hot (the air conditioning was broken). We were dumbfounded. It was like the airline was punishing us for their mistake. I remember being in desperate need of contact solution, which of course the parts shop in a garage didn’t have, but Dave managed to make a saline solution by boiling water and salt. Man, what first world problems to complain about. Smh.
I was determined to make this mini trip a good one though. So, I set a goal to check two things off our bucket list the next day, one of which was Little Havana.
We woke up bright and early, ready to conquer the world. Luckily, Little Havana is literally a slice of heaven. I couldn’t believe I was still in the United States! The streets are colorful and vibrant. The streets vibrate with music wafting from every direction. I take a step and bang! Jazz! Another step and salsa drifts down an alley. There are women with chihuahuas busily following them down the street, trying to keep up with their little legs. Table and tables of old men playing board games and grumpily squabbling. Chickens daintily jaunting down corridors with abandon while statues of the Virgin Mary keep watch. It’s magical! This coming from a woman who had never been to Mexico or any Latin country. These scenes are more prominent than I realized at the time, but I was enchanted. I felt like Jack Skellington in TNBC running around like, “what’s this? What’s this? Dave, follow that chicken!” I also really need to take a trip to Cuba, but I’m not sure my heart could handle the excitement. Ha ha!
We went to a Cuban restaurant with some great reviews called El Exquisito, which I still dream about their plantains and bistec de pollo empanizado and followed that with some afternoon drinks and live music at Ball & Chain (add this place to your bucket list because it’s perfection). I had, like, four pastelito daiquiris and was quite at my leisure. It was basically the perfect day. I’ll tell you all about the other half of the day in a different blog though. I could have easily spent a week in just Little Havana though. I mean, good food, great music, smiling faces, cheerful, etc. It’s everything.
Have you been to Little Havana? Tell me your favorite place in the comments. Or if you have a bucket list check you haven’t done yet in Florida in general please tell me in the comments. I must keep track of these things. 😀