Day 10: Melt-down to High Heels and Deep Cleavages

Remember the red Mailpouch barns? Thus must be the Mailpouch man. At 7 AM he hangs around MS waiting for the owner to show up. “Where is that handicapped sticker on that motorcycle?” I am being called to order. The man is about 70, heavily overweight, moves more by alternating the weight of his body than by walking. His face looks like that of Dizzy Gillespie when he is blowing his trumpet all-out with his ballooning cheeks. Except this guy has the juicy tobacco stashed left and right. I am not quite sure there are any teeth left, all dark in there. I hope he changes his chewing load as often as he should his underwear but by the looks of it I doubt it. MS is indeed parked on one of the 5 or so handicapped places. There is a reason for that, rest assured. We have something of an exchange of views. “I am handicapped you see and now I had to walk from way over there”. Which is about 10 feet. Handicapped? I don’t see, how come he accepted a room on the first floor rather than one of the available rooms on the ground floor? He walks up the steps (no elevator here) as you and I would do. Good morning America and welcome to the day which will bring Clary and myself back to Miami South Beach.
It is pretty steaming hot and humid at starting time 8 AM. Riding gear goes on, we ride fully protected only. It is a straight 120 miles or so over 42 bridges. On the narrow Keys, water to the left and to the right. On the 7 Mile Bridge to the right is Africa, to the left is Mexico. The death count this year stands at 14 according to the markers. The “Drive Safely in memory of John Doe, date XYZ” memento mori reminders show up every so many miles. In the distance are the uninhabited mangrove islands on the horizon – resembling the mesas I saw in New Mexico last year along Route 66. BTW mangrove islands are not islands. If you think about camping there, won’t go. Only water, mangrove grow in shallow water only, no firm soil anywhere. Remnants of old bridges are still there next to the new ones; most impressive the massive steel structure, Eiffel-tower like, of the old railroad connection that came to Key West in the early twenties.
The Keys are very different of character. Some have big mansions on them, Spanish-style, lush tropical gardens surrounding them. Others are more barren, commercial, the cheaper housing and campsites. Lots of fenced-in condominium resorts look like concentration camps.

Clary and I draw quite a bit of attention on MS. Frankly, we look like astronauts and it is almost 90 F. We are a composition in black and grey, MS (= Midnight Special) being basically black all-over herself. (For triple insiders: she even has her original black exhaust pipes.). But as John Lennon said, we are not alone. We actually see two other riders who do it properly.
The countdown to Miami starts at 328 Street. Which means 328 blocks to go to downtown. Just like the mile indicators on US 1 over the Keys. Allows you to measure progress – or lack thereof because of the zillion traffic signals which are not connected for effective thru-traffic. Soaked we arrive at our Miami South beach safe haven, the Greenview Hotel, 3 blocks from the Ocean, in what could be called a ‘lively neighborhood’ (at 16st).
By the end of the afternoon, after a salty Atlantic Ocean cap on our melt-down, it is time for a restaurant row around 15th. Upscale, outside eating of any kind you want. It is also the fashion catwalk. Very high heels are in. Some walk on them as if they were born with them, graciously and self-confident. Others are straining their ankles almost every step which makes them walk as if doing a balancing act. Also in are abundant offerings sizes D and over where imagination has no function. South of the border come north? You are not reading this. Drop an average Norwegian or Swede blindfolded in here and he would guess, without a doubt, he is in Spain.
One block away, nightlife is as shallow as the mangrove habitat. The creeps come crawling out of their holes. So do the unlikely numbers of BMW’s and Mercedeses of the wrong model.
Then one of our sons sends an SMS message. He is about to take his first lesson for his motorcycle driver’s license. Mind you, in Holland that is serious business requiring at least 20 – 30 lessons of perhaps $100 each and you may have to take your exam more than once. Now it is one thing, that I am riding and handling the dangers involved. To my surprise, my parental dualism makes me uneasy and weary about a son following suit. Clary is more practical and suggests: why not ship MS over to Holland?

PS1 MS is giving me a bit of a worry. When starting her when hot, all her metallic intestines sound like it is totally loose inside – won’t catch easily. Knock on wood.
PS2 A final salute to Clary about mustering the courage to go riding with me on her maiden voyage – and liking it.

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