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

Camping in South-Central Miami

Enjoying Cuban coffee con leche
Enjoying Cuban coffee con leche

Through the thin walls of the tent, I hear an elephant trumpet, and a breeze caries its musty smell across the open expanse. Somewhere nearby, a lion joins in.

If you had told me this is what camping in south-central Miami would be like, I'd have called you a liar. But Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Campground manages to carve out a bit of nature in the middle of the city.

Named after a Miami Herald reporter and naturalist, the park is a few minutes off of U.S. 1 by Biscayne Bay, and while it’s largely used by RV campers, the tenting area is rather peaceful – save for the noises emanating from the zoo nearby.

I stay up for a bit, listening to the animals and fighting the effects of the powerful Cuban coffee we had earlier.

In Miami, our visit to Little Havana took us to the Versailles Restaurant, a sort of classy cafeteria-style Cuban eatery, sprawling with chandeliers and inlaid mirrors. It’s authentic down to language capabilities of the staff, who were friendly in humoring me as I struggled with my own rusty communication skills. They may not have spoken much English, but it was still better than my attempts at Spanish. Despite it all, in short order mojitos were delivered, followed by heaping plates of pork, beef, rice, beans, onions and fried plantains.

The food was delicious and the portions generous, enough that we saved half for lunch the next day. Surprised at the name of the restaurant (which I would guess to be French), I inquired with the waiter how it should be pronounced. “Ber-sigh-ees,” he replied, and when I asked where it comes from, he informed me simply, “It is French.”

A little confused but contentedly full, and we wandered to the adjacent Versailles Café for a Cuban café con leche. We stood sipping the tiny cups of sweet, strong espresso with steamed milk, watching the crowd.

The cafe also sells cigars, and men linger, smoking and flirting with the baristas. We savored the delicious coffee, the best of my life, before heading off to the center of the city to make camp.

After finally drifting off to sleep, I'm awakened by the sound of soccer being played at the college that borders the campground on the other side. We eat a quick breakfast and hurry to the coast, arriving at t-minus 1 minute and 30 seconds to the final Endeavor shuttle launch.

We're three hours south of Cape Canaveral, but still catch a glimmer over the Atlantic as the shuttle turns on its way out of the atmosphere.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

When a high-rise goes up in Bay Park

"80 percent less noisy now"
Enjoying Cuban coffee con leche
Enjoying Cuban coffee con leche

Through the thin walls of the tent, I hear an elephant trumpet, and a breeze caries its musty smell across the open expanse. Somewhere nearby, a lion joins in.

If you had told me this is what camping in south-central Miami would be like, I'd have called you a liar. But Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Campground manages to carve out a bit of nature in the middle of the city.

Named after a Miami Herald reporter and naturalist, the park is a few minutes off of U.S. 1 by Biscayne Bay, and while it’s largely used by RV campers, the tenting area is rather peaceful – save for the noises emanating from the zoo nearby.

I stay up for a bit, listening to the animals and fighting the effects of the powerful Cuban coffee we had earlier.

In Miami, our visit to Little Havana took us to the Versailles Restaurant, a sort of classy cafeteria-style Cuban eatery, sprawling with chandeliers and inlaid mirrors. It’s authentic down to language capabilities of the staff, who were friendly in humoring me as I struggled with my own rusty communication skills. They may not have spoken much English, but it was still better than my attempts at Spanish. Despite it all, in short order mojitos were delivered, followed by heaping plates of pork, beef, rice, beans, onions and fried plantains.

The food was delicious and the portions generous, enough that we saved half for lunch the next day. Surprised at the name of the restaurant (which I would guess to be French), I inquired with the waiter how it should be pronounced. “Ber-sigh-ees,” he replied, and when I asked where it comes from, he informed me simply, “It is French.”

A little confused but contentedly full, and we wandered to the adjacent Versailles Café for a Cuban café con leche. We stood sipping the tiny cups of sweet, strong espresso with steamed milk, watching the crowd.

The cafe also sells cigars, and men linger, smoking and flirting with the baristas. We savored the delicious coffee, the best of my life, before heading off to the center of the city to make camp.

After finally drifting off to sleep, I'm awakened by the sound of soccer being played at the college that borders the campground on the other side. We eat a quick breakfast and hurry to the coast, arriving at t-minus 1 minute and 30 seconds to the final Endeavor shuttle launch.

We're three hours south of Cape Canaveral, but still catch a glimmer over the Atlantic as the shuttle turns on its way out of the atmosphere.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Barrio bourbon at Liberty Call Distilling Co.

“Might I trouble you for another Doublewood?”
Next Article

Waxing poetic on the origin of Cap’n Crunch

Someday, somebody will like it, maybe?
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close