Catching a taxi to the beach is the quickest way to get there from the Hotel Element.
For thirty bucks each way, I get a local taxi drivers music, pictures of his familia swinging from the rear view mirror, a few questions in Spanish to see if i speak his language, a driving style that saves time for phone calls, deciding which horse race to bet, or checking in with Baby Mama.
“Ocean Drive is over there.” Raul says as he turns a corner and pulls into a parking pullout not far from the Atlantic ocean.There is a green belt parallel to the ocean with sand paths leading through palm trees to the beach. The green belt also has walkways for casual strolling, roller blades and bicycles.
“If you go one block that way you hit Collins Street, ” Raul instructs me. “The food is cheaper there , because, you know, it isn’t close to the ocean.”
Raul taps his finger in the air as he talks, like he is conducting a salsa symphony.
Leaving the cab, I hike down Ocean Drive, immersed in Art Deco architecture that you find in Miami Beach, Havana, Los Angeles, all warm places on an ocean’s edge.
According to Wikipedia, Art Deco is famous for eyebrows, rounded corners, flat roofs, themes in threes, banding or racing stripes, columns, glass blocks, etched glass and portholes.
Enjoying a place I never planned to be, on someone else’s dime, is looking like more than traveler’s luck.
Why I am here, and not somewhere else, is always an enigma wrapped in a conundrum?
It isn’t fifteen minutes until I have my toes in the ocean.