Sunday, October 9, 2011

Between Heaven and Hell

Portland people are nice, and they are certainly polite . . . but I'm really enjoying the big smiles of South Florida. In my first ten days here I've been called "sweetheart," "darlin'," "baby," and "love" by a variety of strangers of various genders, colors, and accents, workers in local businesses and fellow customers as well.

Miami is much more gritty than Portland, more alive, a city of contrasts and extremes, full of people running at a higher energy level, whether for good or for ill. Miami is messy, Miami moves fast. To live here it's necessary to carve out an oasis of calm, a neighborhood. You can't make all of Miami your own.

There is less of the sort of beauty you find biking up a residential street in Sellwood, not much of the "community" you'd sense walking down Hawthorne Boulevard, little of the casual elegance of a Portland pizza palace or this week's hot new bakery. A bakery is a bakery here, not an expression of the regional aesthetic. And besides, the bread is probably made with lard (see below).

If PDX is heaven (and NYC is hell), MIA is earth. And that's fine with me.

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