Sunday, January 23, 2005

Finally Home

miami, originally uploaded by azurenath.

I love Miami. Have I ever told you that? I love it. In the past week I’ve engaged in a ritual that I repeat, or try to, every time I’m down. That is, seeking out and consuming, in no particular order:

--Knaus Berry Farm cinnamon buns (the Amish come down for the winter and bake them, or pretend to; it’s actually Mexican migrant workers that do the work),
--Whip & Dip ice cream,
--McDonald’s fries dipped in a McD’s vanilla milkshake because the dentist found no cavities and that’s always my reward,
--a Coke Slurpee from the 7-Eleven, although I didn’t have the heart to smoke a Black & Mild, its most appropriate accompaniment,
--an A.C.’s Icee, the model to which all frozen lemonades should aspire,
--a Cuban sandwich at Latin American Cafeteria,
--tostadas at La Carreta on Key Biscayne,
--a Caesar salad, which is what I always crave when I’m out of the country, although none ever compares to my fantasy and I always end up disappointed,
--Hawaiian pizza from Miami’s Best Pizza,
--key lime pie that I baked for Alisha’s mom but then dropped on the floor, ruining it for Alisha’s mom but thus able to eat the remnants myself,
--Sunday-night cheese fondue, only it was Monday this time,
--fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice. Fucking ambrosial.
--White Mountain bread, although it was disgustingly freezer-burnt, since I’m the only one who eats it and I haven’t been home in six months, and it rots a little every time someone opens the freezer door,
--a Publix cupcake,
--hörnli mit gehacktes und apfelmües (macaroni with ground veal and applesauce, a Swiss specialty—mark my words, Swiss cuisine is the Next Big Thing, and I am not kidding),
--and one of my dad’s famous banana milkshakes: banana, Publix vanilla ice cream, and orange juice, only no one at home drinks them any more, so I had to make it myself.

It’s lucky I was here a whole week. Sometimes I’m just down for a long weekend and it gets really stressful having to cram all these in.

It’s been warm enough to wear a bathing suit, and sunny every day but one, when it was partly sunny. I read, I cooked, I slept a full eight hours, I took luxurious showers. My mom did my laundry, mountains of it, and all I had to pay her were hugs and compliments. I drove around with the sunroof open and my arm dangling out the window, hands surfing the waves of wind. My dad took me up in the helicopter and we grazed over the endless flat sawgrass of the Everglades, punctuated only with herons, then east towards the latest housing developments to push into the swamp, terra-cotta tile roofs grouped into precise manicured clusters, identical ad infinitum. Farther east the complex circuitboard of the city, suffused everywhere by luxuriant, willful green growth, and skyscrapers thrusting like missiles out of the streets. Finally: a gleaming gold ribbon of sand, and then the ocean, water the color of turquoise and indigo and lapis-lazuli, depending on the angle of light.

When people ask me what’s new in Miami, I have no idea, because I always do the same damn things. I went to Matheson Hammock to watch the sun set, took a walk on Key Biscayne. Went to an art show in Wynwood and scoped the mansions of Gables Estates like a sketchball, just for old times’ sake. Val and I had a drink at the Bougainvillea Tavern. But mostly I just stayed home. Rented Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage. Caroline came home holding A Cinderella Story and I watched the end of it with her, then we rewinded it and watched the whole thing again. Anyone who watches that movie will automatically lose at least 10 IQ points, guaranteed—I shudder to think of what the repeat viewing did to our brains. Then again, I picked out my ten-year-old self’s favorites to rent. Not much better.

Miami changes at the speed of light, but classic So-Fla moments still abound. My dad and I burst into laughter when we saw a Harley pulled over to the side of Kendall Drive, the biker suckling a coconut like it was a goatskin flask and he was fortifying himself for battle. This morning cold air from the New England blizzard trickled down to Florida, and at noon it was like sixty-five degrees. The joggers were wearing leggings and long-sleeved shirts, the walkers sweatsuits. Some people had even dressed up their dogs.

Man, I love this town.

To not miss next time:
--Casola’s or Sir Pizza pizza
--Sun Juice smoothie
--Chai tea from Starbucks. I know it’s ignoble, and I never go to Starbucks anywhere else, but I swear, it brings me back…
--Pillsbury cinnamon rolls or biscuits, although I think I saw a package in the freezer, I might be able to squeeze some in tomorrow before the flight…


Blogger Tiffany said...

Knaus *IS* actually still owned and operated by the German Baptist Knaus family. And although they do have some hispanic workers, there are still a lot of family and friends involved in the process. My hubby works in the bakery this year, and we've started a blog so people can know what's hot from the oven each day!

3:12 PM  

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