We are in the world-renowned city of Miami. Interestingly, a full 61 percent of those who reside in this state were actually born outside of the United States. In other words, the majority of Miami’s population is made up of immigrants; people from all over the world live in Miami.
The city is not historical at all, but is a rather new city. Including its surrounding areas, the total population of Miami is around 5.5 million. The city is famous for its touristic elements, among other aspects. We have an opportunity to tour around with the director of the local Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, Fatih Beyhan.
Miami was officially incorporated into the US in 1896; today it is certainly the most popular and well-known of Florida’s many cities. It is also a leading center of tourism in the world. Miami International Airport (MIA) is the US’ top airport in terms of international cargo volume, and is in second place for the number of international passengers passing through. You can catch direct flights out of MIA to all Latin American countries, as well as to the Caribbean and destinations throughout the US.
Hosting the world’s largest cruise ship port
Miami is also an important port city, with passenger cruise ships as well as large freight and cargo ships docking here. In fact, the Miami Port is the world’s largest cruise ship port. It should be pointed out that tourism plays a key role in the livelihood of Miami. The city is visited by around 14 million tourists a year. Interestingly, there are an estimated 10,000 Turks living in Miami.
The climate in Miami is wonderful. The average temperature year round is around 23 degrees Celsius, which is part of why it is called a city of sun and fun. There are people from around 150 different ethnic groups living in Miami, and there are many languages spoken here. The most prominent language is Spanish, as the city is filled with immigrants from Central and South America, not to mention the Caribbean countries. The Hispanic influence in Miami is tremendous, as around 70 perfect of Miami is composed of Hispanic peoples. As a matter of fact, if you speak Spanish in Miami but not even a word of English, you’ll be just fine.
We arrive at Miami’s city center, which is filled mostly with skyscrapers and businesses. The financial center of Miami, Brickell Avenue, is a large boulevard dominated by trade and money. The city center is also filled with important companies and luxurious hotels. Miami boasts consulates representing some 46 countries, including Turkey. There are also trade chambers and offices representing and working with some 50 countries here.
Traffic can get heavy in Miami, especially at the morning and evening rush hours. There are many toll roads; also, there are designated lanes that cost money, which can get you to nearby cities faster than the free lanes. The tolls on these lanes are not fixed, and depend instead on how bad the traffic that day is. You can wind up paying anywhere between $1 and 8 depending on traffic on any given day.
We visit the famous Miami Beach, along the Atlantic Ocean. It is a crowded and very popular beach, filled with locals as well as tourists. The sand here is fine, and so beautiful. The beach is filled with people sunbathing and playing sports. You can go swimming here all year round, due to the temperate nature of the climate; despite the harsh winter conditions that the rest of North America might be experiencing, it is always beautiful here. In fact, many people choose to visit Miami during the northern hemisphere’s winter months, as the humidity here is very low, and thus the temperature is very comfortable.
Cruising down Ocean Drive
The boulevard that runs along Miami Beach is called Ocean Drive. It is one of the most famous roads in the city, mostly because of its beach view and rows of palm trees. On the other side of the boulevard lies a long line of cafes, restaurants and hotels. In fact, so many American films and TV shows have used this site as a backdrop for various scenes that when you set eyes on Ocean Drive, it might seem quite familiar even if you’ve never been there before.
A lot of the people who make Miami their home during the winter months in particular are elderly — called “Snow Birds” by some — who fly down when winter begins in the northern states. These retired folks often spend about six months or so in Miami, and return to their own states when summer begins. There are thousands of “Snow Birds” in and around Miami.
We take some time out to check out Lincoln Road, also a famous Miami spot. It is closed to auto traffic and lined with interesting shops, cafes and restaurants. People shop, eat, drink and meet up with friends here. Miami is a lively city where the tempo never seems to slow down, whether morning or night; it is an oceanside center of entertainment.