Arriving in Florida finally gave us some reprieve from the chilly weather that followed us as far as Savannah. But, we were tired of sleeping in the cold and wanted even more heat, so we drove most of the day on Florida's east coast to Miami. Our first stop in Miami was Little Havana. I was expecting a network of small roads with people outside selling everything from tropical fruit to cigars. What we really found was one long two land road that led through a part of town that looked strangely deserted. There were no colorful stores or people outside speaking Spanish. It was just a small neighborhood outside of Miami with nothing more identifying then tourist shops advertising Cuban cigars. Despite our disappointment, we followed our guidebook to an outdoor food marketplace where Cubans congregate to eat ropa vieja and arroz moro and drink fresh sugar cane juice. We pulled up to "El Palacio de los Jugos" in the Nugget and immediately felt out of place, so we knew that El Palacio was legitimate. I had to use my haphazard Spanish to order Brian and I both tortas. It felt like we were back in Puerto Rico and it was amazing to imagine ourselves somewhere a bit more exotic that the United States.
After eating our fill, we hopped back in the Nugget and headed straight for South Beach. We parked and got on our bikes to ride the boardwalk through crowds of rollerbladers in teeny tiny bikinis. South Beach is exactly what we imagined. Full of hotels and crowds, restaurants and pretty people. It is lively and we couldn't wait to sit down, drink mojitos and people watch.