The Plantain has confirmed that Michigan tourists Dennis and Julia Redgrave are safe and have been returned to their hotel after a day of attending the Calle Ocho Festival in Little Havana.
The couple was in South Florida for the weekend and had planned to explore Miami before leaving for a cruise to Haiti, St. Barts, and the Bahamas on Monday. “We looked up things to do in Miami and thought the Calle Ocho Festival looked real fun,” said Dennis. “The only problem is the website didn’t say what street it was on!”
The Michiganders spent most of the morning trying to find the festival, a task that took longer than anticipated after Dennis asked several locals for directions and was either just shrugged at or purposefully given incorrect directions. After several hours, and an inadvertent trip to Hialeah, the couple reached Eighth Street and even found parking after they paid a few children $40 to park in what they said was their parents’ lawn.
After several minutes of trying on hats, awkwardly dancing to La Vida Es Un Carnaval, and avoiding plumes of cigar smoke from very short men, the couple became separated from each other after Dennis was lured into what he thought was a friendly domino game and Julia accidentally enrolled herself in the festival’s croquette eating competition.
“I thought it would be fun, but I guess the competitive spirit got the best of me,” said Julia, a type 2-diabetic who became briefly comatose after devouring 91 ham croquettes in 8 minutes to take home the women’s eating title. As she sat unconscious on the floor, her husband was losing the keys to his rental car, several thousand dollars in traveler’s checks, and the new hat he just bought to a group of 80-year-old domino sharks.
After awakening from her stupor to find that her shoes had been stolen, a barefooted Julia tracked down Dennis and traded the $30 Valsan gift certificate she won for eating over 16,000 calories worth of croquettes to an on-duty cop in exchange for him calling an ambulance to take the occasionally still convulsing woman to the hospital for observation.
After several hours of observation, Ms. Redgrave was released. The 64-year-old retiree said she and her husband have canceled their cruise and plan to return to Michigan as soon as possible for some much-needed rest.
“She lucky to be alive,” said Julia’s physician Dr. Norman Babo. “It isn’t safe for a Midwesterner to eat that many croquetas. Or anyone, for that matter.”