This weekend was pretty spectacular. We didn't go anywhere exotic and I didn't do anything dangerous or fancy. Instead, we went to a flea market in the Redland's, which is the agricultural area outside of Miami Dade County, and shopped around for good food.
One thing you realize very quickly when you move from any outside city to the Miami area is that you are essentially moving into another country. There are so many Latin American cultures here, all claiming certain corners of the city, and very few of them have compromised their origins in order to live in the U.S. What has resulted from this is a very unique and very exotic experience that can really only be described as Miami.
One way I like to help myself transition to such a city (is it still a transition after 2 years??) is by exploring it as if I'm a tourist, visiting everything with virgin eyes and an open heart.
The flea market was basically a big warehouse filled with tons of fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables, and people calling out at you in Spanish. Connected to it, and behind it, is a sort of shanty town built of more metal sheets where they are selling various "goods". It goes on for what seems like forever.
Food trucks sit outside of it all, in between the street and the warehouse, all pumping out authentic and warm Mexican food, served in complete platters. Adjacent to the trucks are large tents filled with tables topped with fresh cilantro, lime, tomatoes and lettuce for your meal
The sweltering heat seemed to be trapped underneath it all as the temperature reached the 90s and the humidity peaked by early afternoon. We had sweat dripping from our backs and necks and had to use our hands to swat away the very curious flies. It was another world, one existing completely on its own about 30 minutes South of Miami.
I loved every minute of it.
Raw cacao beans and dried chili peppers filled the bags lining each row. A scoop-and-weigh system was used with each vendor as they called out to the "mamacitas" and "papitos" to come check out their goods.
We stopped and got fresh coconut and mango to munch on while we browsed, all for $2 each (one expensive mango but a very cheap coconut). These handheld snacks proved to be the perfect way to hydrate ourselves as we made our way through the rest of the market.
We ended up loading bags up with fresh farm tomatoes (5), zucchini (2), onions (2), avocados (2), ginger (4"), bell peppers (3) ... all for about $10. We, sadly, didn't get any fruit because we didn't want the heat to get to them since we had to put the food in the car for a little bit.
We made our way to the food trucks and my SO ordered a plate of enchiladas, followed by a Fresas Con Crema: cut strawberries covered in condensed milk and topped with whipped cream.
This seemed to help his mood ... he wasn't too happy about the heat or the flies.
Next we made our way down to the Fruit and Spice Park where they had a Fruit Festival going on. The park was lined with tents manned by local farmers and vendors, selling their fruits, trees, plants, and little farming and gardening gadgets.
My favorite part about the Fruit and Spice park (I visit several times a year) is that there is always exotic fruit. It's my favorite part about Miami, really. I've been introduced to so many different types of fruits I'd really only see here or another tropical country. Dragon Fruit is my favorite. It's like eating ice cream.
We also discovered that there seem to be a limitless number of varieties of mangoes, which is perfect because I love mangoes.
We ended the weekend at the in-laws, celebrating Father's Day with the family. We spent some time inside eating Colombian food (vegan arepas for me!!) and outside soaking up the Miami sun. Overall it was a wonderful weekend.
I love the weekends. They are my way to recharge and explore new things. How do you use your weekends?