Waking up at four AM in order to make the 7:20AM flight to Miami from BWI is no way to start a weekend; but, sacrifices must be made in order to get there in plenty of time to take Anderson to visit his 92-year-old abuela, spend some time with his cousins and make it back to the DMV in time for him to make it to bed not too late on Sunday.
No matter where you land in Miami's gorgeous but enormous airport, it take a hike to get out, and a train ride to get your rental car. Renting a car in Miami must be disorienting to most people, but especially foreigners. And it is not just the somewhat complicated and surprising lack of good signage at the airport to direct you to the car agencies, but also the amazing cheapness of renting a car there.
I've rented cars in Miami for as little as five bucks a day (last March); the taxes were essentially as much as the car rental! In most of the world, auto rentals are pretty expensive, but it seems that competition has found an optimal environment in Miami in favor of the visitor.
The first thing that I always do (after renting the car) when I get to Miami to visit my mother, is to stop at Casablanca Bakery on 4th Street in Hialeah to get some Cuban pasteles, some croquetas, a couple of papas rellenas, some yuca rellenas, Cuban coffee, and a Cuban bread - all for for my mother.
After spending some time catching up with abuela, Anderson helps to eat some of the pastries, but waking up at 4AM is having the expected results in all of us, so we say our Adioses and head out to Little Havana, where we will be staking at my cousin's walled compound just a few minutes from Calle Ocho.