Hola! Here I am, after much chaos, outlined below:
Friday, 5:30 p.m.: I arrive to Reagan National and am informed that my flight is leaving “about 15 minutes late.”
7:30 p.m.: At the time I am supposed to be taking off, I find myself eating fruit Mentos and reading the Departures board, only to be informed that my flight is leaving at 9:00.
10:30 p.m.: We actually take off. I watch a beautiful, somehow not terrifying lightening storm from my window seat.
11:15 p.m. My connecting flight to Buenos Aires leaves Miami without me.
Saturday 12:40 a.m.: I land in Miami and am booked on a flight leaving the following evening. I’m given a “Distressed Passenger” coupon (wherein I will only pay $80/night) for the Miami Hyatt, and am told to wait by the curb, as the shuttle to/from the Hyatt runs every 15 minutes.
1:40 a.m.: I finally call the Hyatt and am told that the shuttle stopped running “hours ago.”
1:50 a.m.: I board a bus to a random Days Inn.
2:30 a.m.: After waiting in line with many, many other “distressed passengers,” and eventually get a room. I briefly consider walking into the adjoining “Traveler’s Bar,” but as I’m peeking in I see what appeared to be a man breaking a pool cue over his leg. I head to my room instead.
2:35 a.m.: Because I am mildly insane, I check (as I always do if I’m alone) under the bed for . . . for what? Serial Killers? Bugs? Raccoons? Yes, all. Instead I find my face two inches from a condom wrapper. I am almost pleased that at least someone enjoyed their stay at the Days Inn.
9:00 a.m.: I wake up and take a shower.
9: 20 a.m.: I put on the same clothes as the day before and watch two episodes of the Trivial Pursuit TV show, hosted by one of the now overweight, unattractive Brady Bunch sons. (I remember that the last time I was in Miami, for a meeting with my old job, I ended up with rampant, horrific hives covering my entire body, wandering the street at 1 a.m. looking for Benadryl. Comparatively, this trip was actually quite nice.)
11:00 a.m.: I check out and take a cab to South Beach, where I eat breakfast and then search the beachside stores for underwear that does not say, “Cubans do it better” or “Slippery Road Ahead” on the crotch.
12:30 p.m.: Walk onto the beach, which lovely until –
12:35 p.m.: – it begins to downpour.
2:00 p.m.: Find movie theater and watch The Brothers Bloom (which was a disappointment, especially considering my love for Mark Ruffalo).
4:00 p.m.: Eat salad and have two glasses of wine at outdoor Miami restaurant while studying Spanish phrases like, “Will I get r-ed if I walk down this street?”
6:00 p.m.: Arrive at Miami International for 8:00 flight.
10:45 p.m.: Take off.
So, finally at around 8:00 a.m. Buenos Aires time (this morning, Sunday), I landed, although my luggage did not. After trying to sort that out for a while, I finally made it to my apartment. With nothing to unpack, I headed out again fairly quickly, and ended up walking around for about three hours (though only on two long streets, to combat my terrible sense of direction and the pretty concrete image I have in my head of me sobbing on a corner and not being able to tell the police where I actually live).
My neighborhood seems to be nothing but apartment buildings and textile factories and shops, which is odd, but kind of cool. Because it’s Sunday, most of the stores were closed, but it was still really fun just to wander around. My walk today felt closer to New York City than anywhere else I’ve been, but still odd, older. I ended up in this huge park with what seemed to be a really pretty fountain with statues in the middle, but upon closer investigation the pool part was filled with trash. Is that because it’s winter? I’m not sure. It was chilly today, especially because my coat was in my packed luggage, but it wasn’t too bad in a sweater and a scarf.
After walking for while I stopped at one of the dozens of street vendors and bought a pair of socks and underwear, just in case my bag didn’t make it by tonight (which it did, just an hour or so ago). Then I finally found a little market that was open and got some groceries–three bags’ worth, including a bottle of wine, all for the equivalent of $12.
I came home and introduced myself to the evening concierge, Raphael, who is adorable, lispy, and, if I didn’t see the wedding band, I would have sworn was gay. He spoke a little English. After much practice in my room, I explained to him in Spanish that: “Bag my airport lost delivery night maybe?” to which he replied, “Lost? Horrible! Bad!” He seemed very pleased when he brought it up to my room after it had been delivered.
I walked by a bakery earlier and didn’t go in because I was too intimidated to ask for what I wanted in Spanish. This, obviously, will not fly. So far, I have had embarrassing, language-related run ins with:
1. My cab driver.
2. The day concierge at my building, an adorable old man who, I think, told me that if I am cold, I should put on a sweater rather than adjust the heat. But I can’t be sure.
3. The girl who sold me a map that seems, once unfolded and covering my entire bed, to be almost the size of the actual city.
My apartment could not be more adorable. It’s a studio, but it’s very clean and well decorated, and seems to have everything I could possibly need. There’s a great radio station that seems to play only old, scratchy, lovely tango music, and I have a bidet in my bathroom, so I’m pretty content right now. Scared, and wondering who, exactly, I think I am, but overall still doing pretty well.
My classes start in the morning, so I’ll close this out now. More to come!