Day 8: Wild and Tinted Meet and Greet for MS on Holiday

The day’s destination is an Art Deco hotel in Miami Beach to team up with Clary flying in from Amsterdam. Easy riding over the Tamiami Trail (US 41) to its very end downtown Miami proper. Stormy weather, cloud systems racing from Atlantic to Gulf. The pool table flat Everglades place no obstacles in the path of the strong winds.
Memorial Day travelers crowding the trail, most on 4 wheels, quite a number on 2. The view around is awesome, magnificent. I have heard people call it boring. But here it is, the world before humans started to ‘improve’ on it. No horizon pollution of high-rises, commercial outlets, power lines. No roadside polution of ad billboards, discarded junk of all kinds, no garage sales and out-of-truck bed vendors. It is 2-lane. Cruising along, admiring left and right the wetlands with their isolated little islands, riding close to the speed limit of about 50. I seem to be the only one not in a hurry to race through this unique environment.
Fast they go, the others. Two cop cars race to some kind of scene in the distance. Flashing lights mark a very bad accident. One car crushed up in front, its bumper resting on the asphalt. Its takes a few seconds to find the other. Way into the Everglades, a SUV of sorts, just missed a safety fence, turned onto its side. Looks like a dumb passing accident, why the hurry, free view from horizon to horizon, must have been blind not only to nature unspoiled around them. Maneuvering carefully through the rubles and parts on the road, I am free again. To be passed again and again by those who never learn.
A number of vultures don’t understand the madness either. They are waiting for it to turn to their advantage. They sit perched on top of the safety fence, wing to wing to wing, eyeing the traffic from left to right and reverse as if sitting on the grand stand of this weekend’s Indy 500 or Roland Garros tennis tournament.
I hope enough people will be sane enough to stop developers’ greed to further intrude onto this territory where humans are totally out of place. The car sticker reads: “01/20/09: End of an Error.” Let new leadership winds come to this country. (For European readers: January 20 2009 is the inauguration date of the new American president.)
Start-of-the-day Naples gulf shore is the safe haven for rich geezers. A micro-climate of large Roman-style houses, palm-tree lines streets, flowering trees, everything extremely clean. George Orwell down and out geezers are numerous at the end-of-the-day destination Miami Beach. In the parks, in the entrance porches of abandoned shops. A human dump site. How do you recognize a tourist in Miami Beach these days? They are white and don’t speak Spanish. The majestic Art Deco buildings look down on it. They seem to notice the same change as I do compared to 3-4 years ago when I was last here – and wonder, too.
The day offers new meet and greets for MS. Things she has never seen before. After all, she is on holiday, too.

* First the Gulf through one of the few points where you and I can get access if we have a Beach Parking Sticker.

* Voracious gators along Florida 94, a loop road of the Tamiami Trail. Make sure you take that next time you are here. The Tamiami trail is a straight line racetrack where wildlife is keeping its distance from. Not on the loop road (sections are dirt!). Nobody there but wildlife. Gators, the last of the world’s dinosaurs, so slow they seem, so fast they are as they show when thrown part of a pita. On land they can outrun a quarter horse, I am told. (I have seen many quarter horse farms; I know what a quarter pounder is, but who would want a quarter horse and for what reason? I would outrun a quarter of a horse as well.)
* The Everglades Fairy and her Prince. She is gorgeous and wears an impressive classic-Indiana feather head apparel. When I had failed to find the gators, there she appeared on the roadside to call me off MS and point them out. (Photo to be shown later in Pictorial Saga.)

* The big turtles lazily swimming under the water surface in the remote Everglades waterways we stop by. One is on land. Want to take a picture, take it easy, turtles are slow, aren’t they. Not these ones, how fast it is comes a a shock. Matter of survival in gator alley I guess.

Finally the Atlantic of Collins Avenue. The waters are a rainbow of only blues and greens and whites. The people walking the park and boardwalk are from a different planet.

Survival of the rider in these southern regions takes on another dimension. Tinted glass in cars’ windows and windshields being the reason. The experienced rider, unwittingly, has learned to spot danger based on a number of signals that are processed interactively and unconsciously. For example:

* A big fellow mellowing out with a cigarette or a nervous young girl barely clearing the dashboard.
* The baseball cap pointing forwards, backwards or sideways.

* Dramatically gesticulating on the phone or taking in the surrounding traffic.

* Kids being whacked for peace in the car or playing on their computer games.

* Geezers hanging tightly onto their steering wheel never looking right or left or the hope of the nation with arms and legs sticking out sideways.

In combination they tell the rider he is safe the next few 100 yards or should be on full alert for dangerous traffic contingencies.
And whether the people behind the tinted glass are white, red, yellow, brown or black. It doesn’t make much of a difference in the prying eye of the riding beholder. And that is how it should be in all our walks of life.

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