In Miami there is a neighbourhood called Little Havana, my knowledge of which once again only came from the computer game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Yep, I'm that sad. Anyway, we took a trip there one afternoon (this now feels like years ago, given that I haven't blogged for three weeks) and overall it was really interesting, if not just because it's a complete contrast to Miami Beach's beautiful and vibrant atmosphere.
It's obviously home to a large Cuban immigrant population and is famous for a few things; among them are cigar-making and an allegedly strong coffee. Anyone who knows me will be unsurprised to hear I was more than happy to try both of these things. But it looks like my coffee habit has given me some sort of immunity because the delicious drink didn't affect me at all! Seeing inside a cigar factory was pretty cool, but there wasn't much to it. I once saw a documentary about cigar making and it went inside a huge factory where not only were the workers allowed to smoke as many as they wanted while they rolled them, but in place of a TV or radio the head of the factory would spend all day reading to them from the front of the room. Apparently they ploughed through numerous books and magazines each week, but at the time of the documentary they were wasting their time on The Da Vinci Code. Snooze.
There are loads of interesting murals on buildings, too:
And a lovely old-time, retro feel to some parts:
There is also Maximo Gomez Park, where several people enjoy a hot afternoon playing dominoes and smoking cigars.
I recommend visiting Little Havana but don't expect to spend more than an hour there. Afterwards, we went to a cute neighbourhood called Coral Gables (pics below) and then - guess where - back to the beach.
Bye bye beach...