Friday, 15 August 2014

Atlanta and Miami

We flew out of London on the 15th of July 2013. Our trip to Atlanta via Chicago was long and unpleasant. If you plan to fly with American Airlines, please think twice as they had one of the worst services I have ever experienced. Our flight was delayed, so we missed our connection. More importantly, their staff was very unfriendly and not welcoming at all. Sometimes it is better to pay a little more and fly with a better airline, especially if it is long distance flight.

Catching up with Atinc
In Atlanta, we were picked up by a high school friend of mine, Atinc, who has been living in the U.S. for over 10 years. Now, Atlanta isn't really the touristy city that you would want to visit, however we didn't want to miss a golden opportunity to catch up with good friends. 

Upon our arrival, Atinc's wife, Burcin, found out that she was pregnant. It was wonderful to be with them at that moment when they received this life changing news. Unfortunately, there were some complications with the pregnancy and we spent a lot of time at the hospital. I am very happy that we were there to support them during those difficult times. After 9 complicated months, they have extended their family with two gorgeous little men. I wish them all the best and lots of happiness for the future.

Coca Cola Museum
Besides hospital visits, we checked out CNN Headquarters, the Coca Cola Museum, and the down town area of Atlanta. 

At the weekend, another high school friend, Aycan, joined us from San Francisco for two days and we all had a brilliant time together. Although we see each other once every couple of years, we never lose the deep connection we developed over the time. I consider myself very lucky to be connected with such wonderful people all around the world.   

During one week in Atlanta, I caught up with another dear friend, Rachael, whom I met in Munich more than 8 years ago. She found out through Facebook that I was in town and we managed to see each other for a couple of hours. It was great to witness that both of us have progressed in our spiritual paths and we were able to exchange valuable information to help us move further.

When we meet someone we have not seen for a long time, a great opportunity arises to reflect back on our lives. We can notice our progresses, failures, and accomplishments. When I saw Rachael again after 8 long years, she said that at the time, I was miserable and lacked clear direction in life. She continued by stating “now you made it”. Well, I am not sure if I made it or not. I believe, life is an ongoing journey and we never stop learning and growing till the end. I am still full of fears and anxieties but it is true that I can manage the ups and downs of this human experience better. Very grateful to Rachael for providing me the opportunity to reflect back! 

Dinner with friends
A week in Atlanta passed quickly. It was full of fun, intense emotions, support and love. A big thank you to Atinc and Burcin for their hospitality and friendship. Also many thanks to Aycan who came over to see us during his busy schedule. 

Soon, we found ourselves in the heat of Miami. I have to admit that the U.S. is not the best place to visit if you are on a tight budget. The distances are far too long to walk and we felt very limited by not having a car. I also did not connect with the life style in Miami which seemed superficial. We rented 2 bicycles and visited the South Beach, Ocean Drive, down town and Bay side areas. It was an awkward feeling using bicycles or walking around the city, as the majority of people were in their cars. Nevertheless, we managed to have fun and enjoyed the beaches and the ocean which were luckily free.

My new friend in Miami
During our 4 days there, we met with a good friend of Alex, Boris from Cuba who settled down in Miami many years ago. Boris and his friend showed us great Cuban hospitality and invited us to the best Cuban restaurant in town, Versailles. We had an incredible dinner with an authentic Cuban flair. Another remarkable dinner we had with them was at Flanigan’s SeaFood Bar and Grill. If you like ribs, you need to visit this place.

Dinner with Cuban Friends
Our limited time came to an end in Miami very quickly and it was time for us to check out Central America. Overall, we were happy to leave the U.S. as it is definitely not a country to visit on a limited budget. Well, you can but, you probably won't go very far in South America later onEven though we couldn't stay long, it was wonderful seeing our dear friends and spending some quality time with them.  

Miami Beach

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