Welcome back Pot and Pan Handler nation to the tale of our moist travels in vice city otherwise known as Miami, Florida. As most of you readers know, we @ (as Americans we are entirely too busy not to abbreviate at) the Pot and Pan Handler like to start most stories @ the beginning. This story’s beginning is the RDU airport in Raleigh, NC. Strap yourselves in for a bumpy, wild, sweaty ride…
The stench assaults me, as usual, 5 short feet from the entry as if to say “Welcome back to the RDU airport restroom, I’ve been waiting for you and I haven’t changed a bit.” Once I’ve completed my attempt to guarantee, that I won’t have to get up during the flight and risk possible attack by a beverage cart, we herd ourselves like so many cattle into a jet. Like most jets, this one is seemingly filled entirely with the influenza stricken patients of an ICU ward in a third world country. After a cacophony of coughing and sneezing serenades us to our seats, we belt in for the obligatory bumpy flight and soon find ourselves in vice city.
$25 worth of bad advice
The Pan Handler had been told: upon our arrival the metro train is cheap, easy and convenient to our hotel, so we eschewed the open doors 50 feet in front of us that led to the $25 dollar taxi rides and began our walk. 30 minutes later we’re still walking, this airport is huge. Finally we get to a train. Where the punchline of a joke no one ever told is… This is just a train to the train and a large, seemingly aggressive crowd of prison yard basketball players are waiting. When the train arrives, the assertive b-ballers forcefully box us out with insistent ease, forcing us to wait for the next one. This prison yard rebound box out happens to us twice more before we become brash enough ourselves to shank an unsuspecting wounded veteran, yell “FIRE!” and quickly board.
Like the proverbial sardines we are packed uniformly into this humid, un-air conditioned electric train where we wilt with perspiration and somewhat impatiently wait for our stop. After a seeming eternity we audibly peel our skin off of the other sardines and make a hasty exit with our luggage in tow. Then we walk, buy our tickets and board the metro, thankfully unguarded by any prison yard b-ballers. But this train is nearly full too, we board on one end and walk nearly the length of the car before finding two seats together. Once we see two seats together, we hastily sit down, and wait. And wait. Then we wait some more.
While waiting we have little to do besides observe our surroundings. Lifting my gaze to the person sitting across from us I realize she is a grown woman, now sucking her thumb. She looks at us, bored, slurps her thumb and averts her gaze momentarily. Slurp slurp, she looks back at us, slurp, then she looks at the hand not currently inserted into her mouth, slurp, slurp, looks back at us, slurp, spreads her ample, chapped legs and inserts her hand somewhere into the nether regions of her abundant groin, barely contained by cutoff denim shorts. Slurp. We avert our gazes and both wish for the umpteenth time that this unconditioned train would start moving. Slurp.
Thirty gaze averted awkward minutes later, accompanied by a symphony of slurp the train finally begins to move. After seven stops, and about forty pounds of combined lost water weight later, the thumb sucker removes the hand from her groin, and fixes us with one last bored glance before she departs the train, slurp. After taking a brief moment to appreciate her departure, we begin preparation, the next stop is ours. When the train slows to a stop and the doors whoosh open, we jump out and begin the sweaty ½ mile trudge to the hotel from the train’s platform.
Though the tickets we purchased were for Miami and the street signs agreed, this dirty chained up and locked down city looks nothing like the paradise I grew up watching on Miami Vice. At night this area bore a greater resemblance to the grim, beware of getting shanked in public, Miami depicted on Scarface. Twenty sweaty minutes later we’ve trudged our way through the streets with our luggage to our hotel. We check in a little after eleven o’ clock (our flight landed at eight thirty) and there is nothing in the world that I would like better than to nut sack punch whoever it was who told us that the metro was a better plan than taking a twenty five dollar air conditioned taxi ride.
The Human Grape Cluster
Okay, there were two things I would’ve liked as much the aforementioned groin punch… beer and food. Fortunately Hyatt Regency’s Latin themed hotel lounge Pure Verde http://www.miamiregency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/PureVerdeLounge.html was still open as the entire surrounding area was gated up, on lock down or closed. So once the ritual check-in was performed we quickly made our way to the restaurant bar and planted our asses firmly in a couple of bar stools.
Moments later from behind the bar a mammoth pair of pectoral muscles framed squarely by shoulders and biceps the size of water melons began to approach. Placed atop of the gargantuan trapezoids of this serial steroid user was a pea sized head barely visible atop this human grape cluster. Though I half expected this colossal compilation of HGH to fly into a roid rage, he quite pleasantly took our order and minutes later we were nursing a couple of well-deserved Sam Adam’s lagers and examining the menu for food.
After a brief examination we ordered the Al Pastor Chicken Quesadilla and Mahi Tacos. The quesadilla was stuffed plump with pulled chicken and jack cheese served with obligatory sour cream and a better than the usual roasted tomato salsa. Coming in at a solid $10 even it’s a good buy especially considering it is Miami after all. The Mahi tacos, again a bargain at $6.00 each, consist of tortillas topped with local Mahi Mahi, a tangy cabbage slaw, chili aioli and avocado creme and are exceptional, especially after a squeeze of lime. Both pair exceptionally well with beer and fortunately for us so did the tequila menu. Day one in Miami is in the books, we gotta thank Pure Verde for an exceptional end to an unexceptional day.
Coming soon: Day 2 in Miami includes procurement of the state sandwich, near and dear to our hearts El Cubano with the obligatory café con leche @ Havana Coffee and Tea Company. We hope to see ya there. – Pot and Pan Handler