Hablando de lo que pica el gallo…formando un arroz con mango.
Nunca falla. Lauren and I go out and we need to make a quick stop for some alcohol. No, we’re not alcoholics, despite what you may think. Lo que no somos mal criadas. We were taught never to arrive at a party empty handed. So, what’s opened at 11:45pm for a quick stop to buy a bottle of wine? Yep, lo adivinaste: Sedanos. We braced ourselves this time as we arrived and noticed that right outside the sliding doors there were a few men congregated, you know, just hanging out. Did we miss the memo? Is it cool to hang out at Sedanos after dark? An even better question: what is it about men at Sedanos, that they have an overwhelming sense of bravery and feel that any ridiculous pick-up line will actually work? I may never understand it. Take note, if you ever need an ego boost, Sedanos may be the way to go.
Anyway, we hadn’t even made it inside, and out of the mouth of an unacknowledged man comes out a few words that I can’t really make out, in a kind of sigh but in that unmistakable deep Cuban tone. And then I hear “Pero son jimaguas?” Before I could process the words, Lauren was quick on her feet. I guess our last adventure had taught her something. “Mas o meno,” she responded, not turning to meet the eyes of the voice, nor slowing the pace of her steps. You can’t let them get the benefit of making you feel uncomfortable, nor the benefit of having a pick-up line work. Mission accomplished.
Upon leaving, another far-from-gentle-man tried saying something to one of us, but it was quickly ignored. So we made our way from Westchester to Midtown, traveling across Miami, although each neighborhood feels like a different country. Finally we arrived at the party. I could’ve sworn it was like a scene out of a movie. There were young folks sprawled across stairways, skinny jeans, vintage tanks, apple bongs and beer. In the tiny apartment, hot humid air loomed as people tried making their way in and out of the kitchen, the living room and the front door all at once. We were further away from Cuba than ever. “Ehhh, Pepe, I don’t think we’re in Little Havana anymore.” But before Lauren and I knew it, we clicked our chancletas together and a bright idea struck in our minds, almost simultaneously. “Let’s go to Hialeah!” We read each others thoughts so often, that at times, you would swear we were related. No somos jimaguas, but definitely sister’s from another mister (or at least from another lifetime.)
Before we made the drive to my favorite little city of progress, we turned the corner of 6th and Biscayne Boulevard and were met with the purple silhouette of the glorious Freedom Tower.
After stalling at the same light a few times to take pictures, I guided us towards Okeechobee Road where we marveled at the motels. Not far along, I pulled the car over to the infamous Hialeah fountains as I had promised Lauren we’d stop to take pictures like I had done a few times before. I must admit, I’m a little jealous that Kendall has no specific landmark to distinguish it from the other incorporated cities of Miami. There we were, two girls standing at the foot of the fountain, in the heart of agua, fango y factoria, being acknowledged by the late night Hialeah honkers.
We drove around mindlessly, trying to find any place that would be opened at 3am for Cuban food down 49th street, and gave up. Maybe the folks over at Sweet Home Hialeah could have pointed us in the right direction, but besides the Taco Bell and the Denny’s, I’m at a loss for knowing what’s opened late in that hood. We stopped at the Starbucks, (because only in Hialeah can you get a fix of coffee at any given time) and ended our night at the Super Walmart where, of course, we were subject to some other Cuban weirdos who apparently like to shop (as we do too) in the wee hours of the morning.
Our attempts at finding some material for a new entry were minimal. I’ve come to find that the essence of our Cubanismo can’t really be found in the landmark buildings or the flashing motel signs of Miami. They can’t be found in the illuminated silhouette of the freedom tower at night, (although within it’s walls lies some of the history of Cuban immigration.) Ese sabor can only be found within the people that inhabit this piece of Cuba-away-from-Cuba. La proxima ves, cojemos calle por el dia and we’ll capture the Cuban soul from the people we encounter that inhabit these streets we call home.