Hola amigos! Estoy en mi apartamento nuevo en Miami.
See what I did there? Because my Spanish is woefully inept despite spending winter in South America, and because more than two-thirds of the population here is Spanish-speaking, I’ve gotta practicar mi Español (see? I did it again!), and I’m trying to do so every chance I get.
But I ramble, and in broken Spanish, no less.
When Ayaz and I went on the apartment prowl here in Miami, we kept running into disappointment. The neighborhoods that everyone raved were the city’s hip enclaves, like Brickell and Midtown, just didn’t suit us for a variety of reasons. (Maybe because we’re not hip? Eh, I dunno).
And our last little enclave, Coconut Grove, while still steeped in the hippie charm I loved so much, seems to be on a downward swing – too many closing shops and restaurants to make me feel comfortable.
And then, there’s North Beach. Way up high in Miami Beach, beyond the neon tank top-wearing, booze-guzzling tourists of South Beach, and past the mega-resorts like the Fountainbleu of Mid Beach, lies North Beach.
The population is Hispanic or Latino for the most part. The restaurants are super authentic Cuban, Argentinian, Brazilian, Peruvian, Mexican and Uruguayan spots. Walk into anyplace and you’ll hear nothing but Spanish (except for a smattering of Portuguese). It feels like I’ve traveled somewhere exotic without leaving home and I LOVE it.
We found a sweet 1-bedroom, 1 ½-bath apartment on Collins Avenue — for all my ’90s loving peeps, that’s A1A, BEACHFRONT AVENUE — in a 1960s-era building that’s been beautifully refurbished. Art Deco meets mod. I dig.
My backyard is a swimming pool and wide swath of sugar white sands and turquoise Atlantic Ocean. My front yard, or more specifically, my balcony, overlooks our bustling little neighborhood, the sparkling water of the bay and the twinkling lights of downtown Miami’s skyline.
The space itself is just lovely; modern appliances, washer and drier, gym in the building, yadda yadda.
Because we’re going to be here a stretch, we’re trying to add our own little touches, like our pet beta fish (aka, The Boys), fresh flowers, new sheets and throw pillows and a few special trinkets we’ve collected from our travels — like this abso-freaking-lutely AWESOME manatee wine bottle holder. Yes, we bought that. Intentionally.
It’s only the second week here, but you know what? I got a feeling I’m gonna me gusta mucho este casa.