Galley Gossip: There’s more to Miami than La Carreta

“There’s more to Miami than La Carreta,” said the well dressed passenger seated in 9D, the seat directly in front of my jump seat, as we slowly climbed to our cruising altitude.

“Oh I don’t know about that!” I laughed, as I loosened my seat belt so I could lean into the aisle and see why the woman three rows back kept waving her hands at me.

“The seat belt sign is on,” I told the woman as I pointed to the ceiling, at the illuminated seat belt sign, after she had asked if she could go to the restroom. “I’ll let you know when it’s safe to get up.”

NOTE: If the flight attendant is still sitting in the jump seat, you should certainly be seated in your seat. It’s not safe to get up yet.

The passenger wearing the nice suit seated directly in front of me just shook his head. Then he looked at the handsome guy with the longish hair from Chile sitting beside him and said, “tell Heather there’s more to Miami than La Carreta!”

The Chilean just smiled at me sweetly, so I smiled back. I don’t think he even knew what we were talking about. But the father and son team from the Dominican Republic wearing matching New York Yankee ball caps across the aisle from the Chilean knew exactly what the stylish one and I were talking about, because in unison they cried, “there’s more to Miami!”

Now this conversation began right after the passenger, the well dressed one, had asked “Do you fly to Miami often?”

“No. Not really,” I said. “Not if I can help it. I can’t even remember the last time I had a layover in Miami.” Then I went on to explain why I’m not a fan of the New York – Miami trips, which had more to do with the Miami International Airport than Miami itself.

“I think you need to give Miami another shot. It’s a fantastic city!” he interrupted.

I’m sure it is. But how would I know? Long gone are the days when I can actually do something on my layover other than shower, eat, and sleep. You see my Miami is not his Miami – the sexy exciting international Miami. Oh no. My Miami is a four hour sit at the airport between flights. My Miami is wearing a navy blue polyester dress and sweating my you know what off as my hair begins to frizz because of the heat and humidity inside the airport terminal. My Miami is swarms of passengers carrying too much heavy luggage wrapped in plastic. My Miami is a plane full of scantily dressed passengers who get angry as soon as they realize we don’t have blankets on board. My Miami originates from New York. Enough said?

I explained this to the well dressed passenger after the flight attendant working in first class made the announcement that it was safe to use electronic devices. Of course the woman three rows back who had waved her hands at me earlier began waving the hands again.

“Not yet. Soon,” I told her as I pointed to the seat belt sign again.

The woman began to crawl over her seatmate anyway.

I shook my head and yanked on my own harness straps for emphasis. “I’ll come get you when it’s safe.”

She sat back down.

Turning my attention back to the well dressed one, I added that even though the New York – Miami route isn’t my favorite trip, I do get excited, probably a little too excited, about one thing – La Caretta.

La Caretta is a popular Cuban restaurant located in concourse D outside of security. Apparently, according to the well dressed one, La Carreta has several locations in the city of Miami, but, as you know, I only have time to go to the one located at the airport. Trust me, it’s worth leaving the secured area for the food at La Caretta, no matter how long the lines.

White rice and black beans with a sprinkling of onions and cilantro and a side of beef picadillo and plantains, that’s what I order each and every time I pass through town. The best part about La Carreta, besides the good food, are the reasonable prices. The large portions aren’t bad, either. Don’t you know I can eat it all – it’s that good!

Of course, after La Carreta it’s off to Versailles for a cafe con leche.

La Carreta is as close to the city of Miami as I get these days. And I imagine it will be a very long time before flight crews see long layovers again. So when someone tells me there’s more to Miami than La Carreta, I am forced to disagree. For me, and other flight attendants, La Carreta is the light at the end of the tunnel, especially when you’re working the New York – Miami route.