Archive for the ‘miami’ Category


In miami, stateside, travelling on November 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

So apart from riding the bike and going to a couple of less than stellar club nights in Miami Beach, the only other thing I do is head out on a tour to the glades. Where the water is everywhere and the green fronds bend but don’t break, and alligators sit with only their eyes and nostrils above the waterline, waiting.

Ever since Miami Vice I’ve wanted to travel on one of those propeller driven flat-bottomed boats, with the driver high up back there, moving those long, long controls. So I pays my money and get driven out in a truck full of old folk, along long straight, non winding highways to a large roadside cafe beside what looks like a creek. The roadside cafe/diner has an extensive souvenir shop attached and there are a myriad of alligator/Everglades/Miami related tat available for purchase.

We wait around whilst another tour group is called out to the dock and I try not to be too impatient for the whole thing to get started.

Then we’re walking down to the propeller boat and being loaded aboard. four or five abreast, and the boat is being wound up, the propeller howling behind us and we’re off.

The driver guide is a laconic man, whose jokes feel as well-worn as the handle of an old man’s umbrella from a very wet country. They spill out of him one after another, some are amusing, most raise a chuckle from the majority. But I can’t help but feel that he’s regurgitating the same jokes over and over again, so much so that even he’s bored by the setup and punch lines he’s producing. Wonder whether he needs to take a break, go away and come back with some more material. If he was a stand up, he’d never get away with his schtick.

We whizz down the greenlined waterways, blue sky above, tree branches, overhanging the water, whistling close by, until we float to a stop to inspect the alligators, weeny ones that lurk on the edges. Oohs and aah’s are elicited as they are pointed out and we peer into the shadows by the water’s edge to see if we can spot them.

One european woman, I think she is German but can’t be sure, is adamant that the alligators are fake. The boat driver is unimpressed with this supposition, and bats away the idea, but she won’t let it go, and then he won’t let it go, starting off each sighting with a note that it’s probably fake.

The little critters move swiftly when disturbed, and a couple drift right up to the edge of the boat, hands that want to reach out, are quickly admonished to keep themselves inboard. But the urge to  waft your hands through the surging wake still rises…

I’m in miami bitch!

In miami, stateside on November 17, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Not sure why I took a dislike to Miami, might have been the cheap ass plane that I flew across on with American airlines, no LCD screen in the backs of the headrests, no video on demand, an uncomfortable nights sleep, as I lay sprawled across three seats, constantly waking, never fully getting to a restful state.

What is it with American Airlines, their planes are like old buses in the sky. Where you are served by old people who’d rather you weren’t there, and charging me a $100 a pop for the privilege of letting me carry my bike on their plane, describing it as oversized luggage, and requiring special treatment, even though it goes down the same carousel as all the other checked luggage, and comes out the other end on the same luggage carousel and sits there forlornly waiting for me to pick it off the slowly eternally circling run of rubber.

Maybe it was arriving at the hostel at five in morning and sweating furiously even with the moon high in the sky, the humidity of a Florida summer already annoying the hell out of me.

Maybe it was the fact that the diner I was sent to was closed and my dreams of an American breakfast were dashed.

Whatever the reason I didn’t enjoy my time in Miami. Beach resort, and to be fair, Miami beach was longer and whiter than Copacabana or Ipanema, but it suffered in comparison where they felt so filled with life and energy this one was just filled with sunbathers.

Miami beach is a resort town, everyone hustling to get you to use their thing, eat their food, hire their equipment. I’m not comfortable here. Where are the people who live here, who work here. It’s full of tourists and I’m not into that if I can help it.

My party hostel isn’t helping much with its group trips to bars and clubs which aren’t that great, filled with people dressed to the nines and ready to drop three hundred bucks on a bottle of alcohol.

I’m happiest out on the bike, sweating my ass off as I turn the pedals in the vicious humidity, which has my glasses steaming up as I move from aircon indoors to sweltering outside, eating corned beef hash in the thirteenth street diner, drinking bottles of rose out front of the hostel.

I ride over the Venetian causeway like seven times and each one is a magical mystery tour to a deserted downtown, and aimless wandering, wondering where everyone is??

I head up to an English pub miles away from anywhere and drink deep of strongbow, chilled in a glass and get freaked out by the Multi touch on my iPhone going tits up, as it ghostlike hits buttons and opens apps. I swear to god someone is trying to remotely access my phone, that I switch it off and don’t turn it on for two days.

But the ride back is worth it, sky darkening as the sun sets, swollen and purple and the cooling breeze as the humidity eases for the first time in days rubbing itself catlike across my skin.

So as you can see from the paltry amount of photo’s I didn’t really do that much with my time in Miami. Even though there was a fixed bike shop pretty much opposite my hostel, which I popped into when I first arrived to build up the bike. But the blank stares and the incoherent semi grunts, put me off conversing with them, kinda made me realise how it felt to be a woman in a record store, with them being all dismissive and who are you, and me being like fuck you sideways you clowns…

But I did meet up with some nice bods and got to ride back with them from out past coral gables. Members of the Miami Fixed forum, who were as welcoming as cyclists usually are. My only regret is that I didn’t get to hang out with them more…

miami off

In all about the ride, miami, stateside on November 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm

So apart from the cold/chest infection I caught in Tokyo and the shingles/not shingles I had in Argentina/brazil, I’ve been pretty healthy on this trip and the only bike accidents I’ve had have been alcohol induced and my own fault, and haven’t been faster than 5/10mph.

Until I hit Miami, 1st full day on the bike and I’m just tooling around, trying to figure out the lay of the land, cruising up to the stretch of street where the shops and bars are, checking out the beach, just turning left and right, oh and trying to find a currency exchange – to change over some Brazilian reais and Argentinian pesos (who knew changing money could be so hard in America), rolled over to the apple store – to buy a new charger for the iPod and iPhone as the old one just quit working in Rio, and a bookstore – to grab some maps of the immediate area so I can navigate around this motherfucker.

So I’m heading back down a road, wide as all American roads are, car parked on the right before the junction, cars on my left, coming to a halt as the lights ahead are red. I can see the car immediately in front of me and to the left wants to squeeze the gap between the car in front and the parked car to its right to turn right at the junction – for y’all that don’t know you can turn right on red in the states, dependent on the state/city laws and junction rules – most junctions you can, some you can’t. So I can see what they want to do but I decide to hit the gap between them and the parked car anyway because they are making abortive attempts to squeeze that gap like a first time wrist slasher.

And I believe foolishly that they’ll be checking their mirrors.

They aren’t.

The abortive move becomes a positive one and I clip moving cars wing mirror, which sends me into parked cars wing mirror and fender and the world takes that crazy slow/quick Dutch angle tilt, like a camera on a tripod falling over as it films. And I’m on the floor, clips springing me clear of the bike, rolling over and ending up on my arse, as usual. And I’m standing up checking myself for injuries.

Grazes on elbow and knee, which promptly issue forth slow streams of crimson. The female driver is out of the door, telling me that she didn’t see me and i want to tell her if she’d used her mirrors she would have, and there’s an old man on the kerb, close to where I’ve gone down whose staring saying next time I won’t be there,because I shouldn’t be there and I feel to ask him where should I be, adding a, for fuckssakes on the end for good measure.

But I don’t. I examine my wounds, reassure the older woman that I’m alright, examine the bike, straighten the stem and ride off towards the pharmacy wondering how much plasters will cost in this town as the ones I’m carrying aren’t big enough to cover these new road rashes…

Get to the pharmacy and spend some coinage on plasters and antiseptic salve, and whatnot. Woman working in the big pharmacy/corner store/whatever it is, informs me that I’m bleeding all over the floor, as if I didn’t know. I really want to laugh at this point, but I don’t I think it should have been obvious that I knew I was bleeding, who is generally oblivious when they are bleeding?

So anyway long story short, I purchase the necessary and head back to the hostel for the cleansing/covering of wounds. What I don’t take into account is the humidity making it practically impossible for plasters to stick to flesh as I’m sweating so much. I return to the pharmacy a couple of hours later and buy some durable coverings, and they don’t stick either.

I then decide that letting it air dry and scab over is the best thing for it. Must not pick scab, must not!