Back in 2019---before the virus and its plentiful travel restrictions, I was invited to take part in a conference. Lucky for me, this conference was being held in sunny, hot, Miami. A welcomed departure from a cold and cloudy Baltimore which was struggling to make the transition from winter to spring.
As I prepped my bag for the trip, I included the only essentials. I didn't know if I would have openings in my schedule to shoot around and I didn't need my camera sulking in the corner of the room as I worked---so I left it at home.
Day 1: All work.
Day 2: More work.
Day 3: Meetings were over by noon and I had a late afternoon flight.
This being my first time in Miami (outside of the airport), I had to see South Beach. If it was half as good as Pitbull made it sound, I was going to enjoy myself.
I packed my bags, left them with the front desk, and caught an Uber headed for South Beach.
Having skipped lunch, the first thing I did upon arrival was head over to Puerto Sagua to grab a Cubano. The no frills atmosphere and simple presentation reminded me of the cafes I encountered during my time in Brazil. The bill however did not. After fueling up, I headed towards Ocean Drive to check out some of the Art Deco architecture. Cellphone in hand, I snapped a few pictures.
Oh, remember how earlier I mentioned I only packed the essentials? I was cruising around South Beach in blue chinos, a dress shirt, and a pair of Cole Haans. Business essentials do not translate well to leisure essentials.
And let me tell you something---the sun was angry that day, my friends.
The buildings, like my skin, were drenched in an intensity of light for which words would fall short in an attempt to describe it.
With my clothes in a condition beyond redemption, I decided to continue the damage by renting a Citi Bike and pedaling my way up through Mid Beach. Occasionally, I would add beautiful salt rings to the bottoms of my pants by dipping my feet in the Atlantic's soothing waters.
With time running short, I mad my way back to South Beach to return the bike and buy some water. Along the way I stopped to watch people lift heavy things on a beach gym that doubles as an art exhibit.
I was concerned my state of being would keep me from getting a ride back to the hotel but as fate would have it, the condition of my Uber questionable by ride share standards so we both kept our mouths shut. Upon arriving back at the JW sunburned and drenched in sweat, it took much convincing to get the concierge to retrieve my bags---to some, the sign of a successful business trip.