There’s something to be said for seeing your city as a foreigner. More precisely, as a full-blown tourist from the second floor of a double-decker bus. I wore my best attempt at a kitschy ensemble and joined the rest of a very international group for a day of rediscovering my town. I’ve gotta admit, Miami; you’ve never looked better.
Most Sunday mornings find me in a daze as my daughter, Lucy, does her best to wake me up just as the sun is making its way up through the clouds. This particular Sunday morning, while still in a daze, I perk up with a cup of iced coffee and make my way to Bayfront Park for what the GMCVB has promised will be a day of film fun following the steps of locally-made movie Two Much in celebration of Miami Film Month.
Truthfully, I never saw Two Much when it was originally released in 1995 (I’m not really sure my overprotective Cuban mother was even letting my fifteen-year-old self out of the house in 1995.) But the appeal of checking out all the spots around town where the film was on-location was enough for me to endure Miami’s unforgiving sun. I have a profound reverence for the art of film-making, even if, in this case, it likely entailed keeping the frizz out of Antonio Bandera’s unruly locks.
We start off with a visit to Wynwood to pick up a buttery grilled cheese at Daily Melt and I happily indulge as our Big Bus driver weaves through traffic like a pro – a feat to take note of in itself. We pass landmarks like the Freedom Tower, the old and now-crumbling Miami Herald building, and the pristine new PAMM, and make stops at places like Lincoln Road, and Star Island. And for the first time in a long while, I find myself appreciating this large and crazy city, the place where I was born, the place that’s seen me grow up, the place I sometimes have a love-hate relationship with, like that crazy family member you just can’t seem to part with.
A stop at the Filling Station at the end of the day is the perfect way to recover from the brutal heat. I flip through the photos and sip on cold beer. Some pictures look like postcards. Others, like the torn-down remains of an action movie set. But it’s all part of this place, all a part of home. Each and every block, every neighborhood with its own story to tell. And as I sit back and watch with the openness of an outsider’s perspective, I realize, this place is pretty amazing. And we’ve only just begun.
All photos by Tony Espinoza Photography.