Present Meets Past

Yesterday, I had to stop for gas on the way home. I thought perhaps I could make it since my light just came on, but I didn’t want to chance anything so I got off at a spot I never do on N. Miami Avenue. I headed towards NW 36th St., the nearest station on my GPS. While pumping gas, I saw a big piece of art I haven’t seen before a block away, a huge princess with her scepter in a black & white dress spreading this purple glow around. She was taking up the entire side of the wall. I had to go take a pic. I finished pumping, drove down the block & parked. There’s lots of art all around that area, in alleys, down vacant streets, on storefronts, and it takes a while & a few visits to see it all. I’ve been capturing them here & there & creating an album. While taking a pic of the princess with purple, I turn to my right & see a purple flower right next to me. Then, I turn around and see a PRican flag waving over a restaurant I’ve never seen called El Bajareque, I parked right across from it without realizing it. I had to take a look inside. I thought I’d have an alcapurria, but the little heating box on the counter was empty. I looked over the menu & the special for Monday was Fried Pork Chops… whadda ya know, Andre’s favorite. We didn’t have plans for dinner so I ordered the chops with rice, beans, tostones, a side of mofongo, and asked how long it would take. The guy, who was super cool & very kind, told me 15 minutes. I figured I’d use the time to drive around the area and check out some more art since I was near the Wynwood Walls. I drove & walked around and took more pics & found myself walking through the Wynwood Doors, an enclosed (but outside) exhibit where all the walls are covered with different pieces, some big, some small & some huge taking up 2-3 walls. It was beautiful, and a spot I’ve yet to see and appreciate. There was so much to take in, the details in each painting. I was happy to find it without even looking for it. There were people having photo shoots, couples just hanging out, families & kids all around. Next thing I know, it’s over 30mins later so I headed back for my food, which smelled so good in the car on the entire ride home with no traffic. The cherry on top… not only was the food great, but it tasted just like my mom’s cooking… the closest I’ve had in the 8 years living in Miami. Andre agreed that if I told him my mom sent the food, he would’ve believed me. All the sudden, my detour became like a short ride back home… my dad & sister with their art, drawings & paintings all around the walls (my sister loves to paint flowers), the kids running around and my mom cooking one of our favorite meals. Everything was symbolic, near but far. Things like that tend to happen when I’m not looking for them, when I break from routine & just let myself go with the flow, uncovering the little things as I go along. My car seems to drive better, and now I have a new place to stop for gas & food on the way “home”, even if it’s a bit out the way, it’s worth the detour.