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.
It honestly was an accident that my sketch of the Calle Ocho chicken ended up with a big ol’ yellow bloom under its butt, but I have to say, the expression on that bird’s face made it look like he had just been pantsed. And yes, I know, it’s a ROOSTER, not a chicken. But chicken is funnier, and reminds me of college, when my husband used to get SO pissed when our friends dubbed his Finnish Eagle tattoo “The Mighty Chicken of War.”
Unclear whether he was being paid to do this, or if he was just hanging out there, but at any rate, this sweet old guy just sat outside the cigar shop on Calle Ocho, and would raise his hand and greet everyone walking by. I guess it’s like being a greeter at Walmart, except it’s totally acceptable or even encouraged to be smoking your cigar on the job.
When our friends suggested we take a walk to check out Domino Park, we drove there in separate cars and parked illegally at the McDonald’s half a block away. I was instructed to text them and say we would “meet at the Northwest entrance” but in the time it took me to type that up, we tripped over the park entrance and it turns out the whole thing is the size of half a basketball court. A sign by the entrance states that you have to show identification that proves that you are above the age of 55 and a resident of Miami in order to play. Only in the Spanish version of the sign, though. In the English version, it just says “Tourists Welcome.” It’s a super sweet place, though: mostly abuelos (a few abuelas) hunched over their dominos, shooting the sh*t with their buddies.
As I was sketching this, I was mulling over the mathematics of a domino set that goes to 9 dots, instead of the standard 6. I thought I had it, and posted my sketch with my math analysis to Instagram before double checking it. Turns out, I was way off. The actual formula is ((n2 + 3n + 2)/ 2), so a set of 6-dot dominos has 28, and a 9-dot set has 55. No impact on my life, really, but the moral of the story is: always check your work before posting it on social media.