Okay, Florida is pretty great. Right after my last post I decided to abandon the coast. Picturesque it may be, but if you can't see the picture for the condos it ain't worth it. So I headed inland, to Lake Ogre-Chobee (which it will always be for me).
It was stunning, in a very poor, rurally depressed kind of way. The jungle really does retake anything left alone for a moment, and there were many houses, trailers, and tractors in mid-gastration. It's all farm country, the lake surrounded by acres of orange trees, or something in fields, I'm not very good at identifying things. One of the older ramshackle houses had an even more ramshackle sign out front proclaiming it "Oleo's Acres : One of the Cheaper Spreads".
After that I skirted the Everglades (saving them for tomorrow!), and entered Miami. I've discovered that this trip is definitely not about the cities for me. It's hard to save money in cities, and it seems like most cities are basically the same. Having said that, Miami does have a different feel to it. It's more colorful, lively, whatever, you've probably heard it all before. It was just how I expected Miami to be.
And the Keys were just how I expected them to be as well. On one of the very first islands a man stepped out in front of my car wearing a priest's black suit, white collar and all, and he topped it off with flowing locks and a Hemmingway hat. Managed somehow to look very presentable. On my way back, same island, same man (or at least he could have been taken for his twin), this time dressed in a dirty white shirt and lugging a pail full of fish with a straw hat on top. Very Keysey.
Key West was beautiful, full of gorgeous old houses, chickens wandering the streets, and people fanning themselves on porches. It felt so much like an old tropical island, if you could ignore the hordes of people and the Hard Rock Cafe's and such. It's a very small town to be so packed with us camera-happy mainlanders.
I saw the Jesus of the Deep! Well, not The, actually, just A, but still very cool. Apparently there are several, along with a Buddha in Islamorada. I splurged on a snorkling trip that was well worth it. It was even worth the odd inverted V shape burn on my back (the number one peril of traveling alone: no one to get the lotion on your back). It's been 15 years since I went snorkeling. I had that initial snort of surprise and panic, then settled in comfortably, and paddled around to my heart's content.
Now I'm back in Miami, staying with a very generous blog-commentor who hopes to hit the road soon herself. She lives in the most amazing part of town. The houses are not huge extravagent mansions, but there are some damn nice ones, and every one is unique. The streets wind their way through oddly shaped yards and masses of tropical trees. For just a moment the other night, I caught a whiff of Saipan. Her house is much like Rachael's; cheery, bright, and stuffed full of yarn.
Woo, almost lost this whole thing. New computer, and all. I think I am just going to send it now to be on the safe side. More from the road later!