I am reading a captivating book about Mumbai (Bombay) of all places. Here is a quote from it that is relevant to Miami and its seemingly autonomous nature:
“Cities should be examined like countries. Each city has a culture, as countries possess a national culture. There is something peculiarly Bombayite about Bombayites and likewise about Delhiites or New Yorkers or Parisians—the way women walk, what their young people like to do in the evenings, what their definitions of fun and horror are.”
(Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, by Suketu Mehta, pg. 16)
For Miamians living in the midst of their city’s idiosyncracies, life is ordinary, yet there is no Miamian that does not feel a profound social and cultural difference when they cross the county line. The farther they travel, the more alien their city feels in comparison to others. The more exotic they become as people. Accents they never thought they had become evident. Foods they were accustomed to eating are unheard of. Music they are used to listening to is non-existent. Miamians often feel like foreigners in their own country and visitors feel like foreigners in Miami.