It was our last day in Miami, and we had agreed to meet some friends for lunch in Little Havana. Earlier in the week, we had met up with another old friend from college, and as we were chatting about the not-to-miss sights in Miami, he had mentioned a place he called “VerSYLes” in Little Havana. I remember thinking, “Hm, that’s an interesting name, wonder how you spell that?” but it didn’t occur to me that this would ultimately be the same place where we would eat lunch on our way to the airport. I’m pretty sure there was an audible click when I saw the sign and said, “Ooooooooooh, VERSAILLES.”
My friend Susana also pointed out an interesting phenomenon that, as soon, as she pointed it out, I began to see everywhere in Little Havana. Apparently, it became a trend among some Cuban-Americans in Miami to give phonetically-spelled names to their kids. Sure enough, our waiter’s nametag announced him as “Serguey,” and a salon across the street from Versailles was “Dilany’s.” I thought this was cool and kind of funny, until I realized that someone named “Empi” really shouldn’t think that was all that strange.