Even years after visiting Miami, I am still unable to shirk off the omnipresent hum of splashing waves, captivating drumbeats and idle Spanish chatter the city is renowned for. In fact, at the risk of sounding a tad silly, I must admit I cannot help but indulge in a small dance or two, every time I think of it. Such is the inescapable magic of Miami: a vibrant, surfside metropolis that shines brightly against its otherwise mundane home-state of Florida.
As a city, Miami encapsulates first world capitalism and the ‘American dream’ near-perfectly. Its balmy climate has paved ocean drives which wind through date-palm trees and elaborate residential complexes boasting of A-list celebrity tenants year-round. As the largest city within Florida, Miami is home to many government and private institutions which add to the glistening skyline and make for a breathtaking view from afar. Miami also happens to be one of America’s most fashion-forward locales, with numerous luxury boutiques, concept shops and outlet malls to satisfy the shopaholic in me. However, if you prefer culture over couture, the city’s thriving nightlife, innovative dining experiences and art galleries are but one cab-drive away. The colourful art-deco walls at South Beach, for example, are a must for those of an artistic spirit.
However, a closer look into the burgeoning southern metropolis will show all that is lurking beneath its shiny veneer. There is more that comprises Miami; cracks that are worth looking into in order to better comprehend the inner workings of the city and its people. For instance, it is commendable how the city amalgamates its two dominant cultures — American and Cuban — almost perfectly, without becoming a cultural hotchpotch like other North American metropolises. On the contrary, the people of Miami seem to be floating through life on a laidback, Latino pulse — another feature uncommon to its expeditious sister cities. To an outsider like me, it often seems like the entire city exists in a semi-permanent holiday mode, wherein a full day of work is incomplete without a drink or two, by the beach.
Hence, the city remains safer and cleaner, so much so that the Forbes magazine called it the cleanest in America on account of its low pollution, healthy ozone levels and high-quality water supply. Keeping all of this under consideration, it is hardly surprising that Miami continues to be one of the most sought-after destinations of youngsters, families, retirees and jet-setting travellers, year after year. I can only speak from my own personal experience that if there is any city worth braving the humidity for, it is this one.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.