Why I like Miami
One of the primary reasons I enjoy visiting Miami is there are a lot of Spanish-speaking people here and visiting gives me the opportunity to practice my mastery of Spanish, which I studied in high school and college.
I am also quite adept at finding my way around in a frog’s innards because of my keen interest in biology, and I was also a whiz in geography. Ask me any state, and I will give you the capital.
“Missouri.” “Jefferson City.” I am also quite at home with the subjects of history, polticial science, economics and English grammar. That goes without saying, I suppose, due to the fact I are (sic) a Georgia graduate.
Anyway, the first thing I did when I landed in Miami was hail a cab. Nine out of every 10 cabdrivers in Miami speak Spanish. If the Cisco Kid had lived, that’s probably what he would be doing now. Driving a cab in Miami.
“Buenos dias,” I said to the cabdriver.
“Habla espanol?” he asked. “Si,” I said proudly. The cabdriver began speaking Spanish at a rather rapid rate.
The airport noise gave me momentary trouble interpreting. I figured he had asked me, “Where to?” so I told him the name of my hotel.
“El Holiday Inndo,” I said.
Off we went. He said a lot of other words in Spanish I didn’t quite get due to the fact I was sitting in the back seat so I said some of the things I had learned in Spanish back in school.
“El burro es un animal de Mexico,” I began.
That means, “There certainly are a lot of donkeys in Mexico, aren’t there?” Spanish people always like to talk about donkeys.
The driver spoke some more Spanish. Probably because of the strain of the long flight, I again couldn’t quite understand him, so I said, “Beisbol es un juego de Mexico y los Estados Unidos, tambien,” which means, “They play baseball in Mexico and the United States, too.” `Ay-yi-yi-yiyi!’
My driver, who looked a little like Fernando Valenzuela, seemed to be getting into the spirit of the conversation. He threw up his hands and made a happy sound that went “Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!” which I seem to remember is Spanish for “I am picking the Dodgers to go all the way.”
I countered with another Spanish phrase. “Pasame el bon, por favor,” I said. That means, “Please pass the bread.”
The driver stopped at a McDonald’s and ordered me a fish sandwich.
As we drove on toward the hotel, I noticed a pretty lady walking on the sidewalk.
“La mujer,” I said, “es muy bonita.” That’s Spanish for “My, isn’t that a lovely lady.”
The driver pulled over to the lady and said something to her in Spanish. There was a lot of traffic noise, and I missed what he said.
“Cien,” the woman said to me. That’s Spanish for “100.”
I wonder why she said that.
Anyway we reached “El Holiday Inndo.”
The bellman took my bags to the front desk. I tipped him a quarter and said, “Gracias, mi amigo.”
He threw up his hands and made the same happy sounds the cabdriver had made, “Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi.”
I never knew there were so many Dodger fans in Miami.