Greenbacks, gators and hurricanes
Miami Beach Travel Blog› entry 17 of 23 › view all entries
The first problem I had when I exited Miami's airport was I didn't have change for the bus and the driver doesn't sell tickets. I had my pack beside me as I asked for "one to the beach" and he said, "Just put the money in the slot."
Naturally I was holding up the flow of passengers onto the bus as I turned his instruction over in my head trying to decipher what I had to do. Obviously my $20 greenback wasn't going to cut it!
I grabbed my bag and reversed against the flow of would-be commuters thinking I could find somewhere inside that I could change my paper to coinage.
I asked a couple of people where I could find change and if they knew how much I would need to get to the Beach.
The driver called to me when it was time for me to leap off. He pointed out the direction I needed to head to find the center of Miami Beach and the YHA. As I hiked across the large open space between the streets I became aware of just how BIG The States is. If this area was in NZ we would have had a couple of two-way roads and a small town built on it. This place looked somewhat undeveloped!
The Clay Hotel was a pretty funky place where everyone seemed to be coming or going at very odd times.
Once I found my room I noticed some beds were filled with sleeping bodies, laundry was strewn about haphazardly and a bunch of people were wandering around the hallways and courtyards.
I decided to dump my gear and cut out to explore the Beach.
It was beautiful weather as I sat there on the sand and watched the jet skis racing up and down the fore shore. Off to the right of the beach a cruise ship would appear every few minutes and set out toward the horizon. At any one time I could see 3 of the large white ships lined up and moving ever closer to a series of black thunder storms marching on the sharp edge of the sea and sky.
I wondered at the routine of it all, the perfect spacing of both ships and storms and the flat line of the horizon. That together with the perfect two tone black and white against the dual blues of sea and sky. I sat and watched it for hours.
That night I met a couple of young English guys staying at The Clay. They invited me out to hit the town with them and we had a pretty good night. The worst thing about Maimi Beach was that everyone was impeccably dressed and as a back packer I felt very out of place.
The clubs were loud and pumping so we didn't have to drink too much because getting to the bar was a bit of a nightmare. We tried a few anyway and scored some dinner along the way. It was all good but I left the guys to it when I'd had enough and made my way back to The Clay and crashed out.
I hadn't had a great deal of sleep in the past week and I was hanging!
Next morning I wandered around 'till I found a cafe to enjoy a morning coffee. A couple of Dade Bicycle cops came in and ordered, then when that say next to me I struck up a conversation about their work on push bikes.
They were pretty friendly and invited me to join them at the pancake place where they were meeting some collegues. I did and enjoyed the company and the breakfast very much. Whilst we were there a call came in about a fire and a couple of them had to take off to attend.
The rest of the day I wandered about the city, visiting the museum and an art gallery. I also bought a few clothes and spent more time hanging on the beach.
I found a travel agent and booked my trip to Jamaica as well. I was looking forward to that!
The next day I wandered into Miami proper. The cops I had joined for pancakes the day before had told me not to cross a certain road after I'd told them of my plans. I hadn't thought too much about it but when I walked along that road and chatted to a couple of people I was again given the advice that I should stay on "this side". It seemed really odd to me that you could define the badlands so perfectly and I was reminded of the sharpness of the horizon and the storms.