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Twelve Hours in Miami

A 12-hour layover in Miami isn’t anybody’s idea of a bad time. I arrived from Chicago O’Hare so early, I couldn’t even check my bag. Transforming an inconvenience into an opportunity, I began to search for the perfect Cuban sandwich. It was Miami.

Slinging my olive drab duffel bag over my shoulder, I set off for the bus stop. Exiting the airport, the humidity hit me like a deluge of heat and wetness. Living in Chicago, where I needed to wear a jacket the day before — even in July — this was uncomfortable.

I took the 238 to the 7, which cost $2 for the fare. I was going downtown. I really wanted to check out Little Havana, but I had no idea how to get there. My plan was to find something promising. Rows of strip malls passed by as the bus engine growled.

After one transfer and a half-hour ride, I ended up in the heart of the city. The streets of downtown Miami reminded me a little of Central America, with their chatter of Spanish and hustling sidewalk vendors. I looked up at some of the Art Deco buildings – especially the Miami-Dade Court – as I walked around.

I discovered a Cuban café by the court called Diana’s Café. I sat down at a table, though counter space was being offered, and ordered a Cuban Sandwich and a Mamey milkshake. The cost was roughly $8. It might’ve been better to ask for the Ropa Vieja, because while the sandwich was large, they went overboard with the processed ham. The Mamey milkshake with its sweet custard flavor was the perfect thing for a hot Miami afternoon.

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A 12-hour layover in Miami isn’t anybody’s idea of a bad time. I arrived from Chicago O’Hare so early, I couldn’t even check my bag. Transforming an inconvenience into an opportunity, I began to search for the perfect Cuban sandwich. It was Miami.

Slinging my olive drab duffel bag over my shoulder, I set off for the bus stop. Exiting the airport, the humidity hit me like a deluge of heat and wetness. Living in Chicago, where I needed to wear a jacket the day before — even in July — this was uncomfortable.

I took the 238 to the 7, which cost $2 for the fare. I was going downtown. I really wanted to check out Little Havana, but I had no idea how to get there. My plan was to find something promising. Rows of strip malls passed by as the bus engine growled.

After one transfer and a half-hour ride, I ended up in the heart of the city. The streets of downtown Miami reminded me a little of Central America, with their chatter of Spanish and hustling sidewalk vendors. I looked up at some of the Art Deco buildings – especially the Miami-Dade Court – as I walked around.

I discovered a Cuban café by the court called Diana’s Café. I sat down at a table, though counter space was being offered, and ordered a Cuban Sandwich and a Mamey milkshake. The cost was roughly $8. It might’ve been better to ask for the Ropa Vieja, because while the sandwich was large, they went overboard with the processed ham. The Mamey milkshake with its sweet custard flavor was the perfect thing for a hot Miami afternoon.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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