“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli
Some time ago I stumbled upon two little skateboard punks in Casco Viejo, Panama City. Mutually curious, I observed them and likewise they of me. Albeit brief and despite perceived barriers such as age or nationality, it was one of those great human interactions that travel often facilitates.
Exactly a year later I was roaming around the same neighborhood and stumbled upon a litter of newborn puppies that caught my attention. A moment later I could not believe my eyes…the same little skateboard punks from a year earlier came running out from behind the dilapidated door to collect their fumbling newborn pets.
It’s still difficult for words to describe the encounter but it was as if the universe had planned for this rarest of human exchanges to occur.
Travel….oh how it nourishes the human soul.
Little skateboard punks! Casco Viejo, Ciudad de Panama (Photo by Manny Sanchez)
Destination: Miami, Florida
The Pad: Delano
Crisp art deco white with a hint of Atlantic azure. These classic pastel Delano hues pair perfectly with any visit to Miami and cannot be missed.
Always ensure an outdoor patio dinner for two at Bianca, the hotel’s delicious refueling station that overlooks the iconic infinity pool. Signature dishes include the salt roasted branzino and smoked veal ravioli. Afterwards, retire to the lobby for a round of billiards, rosé bubbly and architectural appreciation.
Out & About: Wynwood
Art aficionados flock to Miami for the annual Art Basel. Unfortunately, the event has become overrun with groupies and artists more concerned with profit off sales instead of a passion for the creative process. As such, I say Fuck Art Basel!
As Banksy recently commented in the Village Voice, “commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist…we’re not supposed to be embraced in that way. When you look at how society rewards so many of the wrong people, it’s hard not to view financial reimbursement as a badge of self-serving mediocrity.”
The Wynwood Art District personifies this Banksy commentary. The visible gentrification is staggering but I at least can salvage Art Basel’s ability to convene artists from around the world to facilitate creative exchange and cross-fertilization.
Avoid the hype and spend a weekday afternoon roaming around Wynwood to appreciate the magnitude and breadth of street art. Hidden warehouse gems exist so get lost and follow your instincts.
The Liquid: JugoFresh
The overpowering humidity of Miami can drain the soul so refuel those electrolytes as often as possible. The Miami-based JugoFresh is marketed as 100% organic, 100% local. Grab a coconut H2O every few hours when roaming around Wynwood and you’ll be all set.
The Edibles: Versailles
Miami = Cubans and nowhere is this more visible than Versailles, a Caribbean institution in Little Havana on Calle 8. To partake in that Cuban homeland cuisine stop by Versailles for some unforgettable pork, black beans, fried green plantains (tostones) and yucca.
Out & About: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
A hidden Miami gem is the 83-acre botanic garden known as Fairchild. Located in lovely Coral Gabels, this preserve contains an endless array of rare tropical plants, butterflies and impeccable landscaping. Most impressive are the on-site research facilities that strive to conserve tropical plants and help avoid the extinction of their natural habitats. Don’t overlook subtle details such as the regional plant habitats and Chihuly glass atop the glasshouse pavilion.
"16 in the middle of Miami"