Saturday, January 14, 2012


As promised, I kept a journal of my experiences through each day of the journey.  Not having anyone with me, I had time to talk to the paper instead of to ears.  Something I liked.

Some of the following will be rough and broken into chunks.  That's just the way the note taking on thoughts and observations went.  I'm editing it some from the original for...  well for privacy sake on some portions, and for smoother transitions elsewhere.  But still a forewarning that it could be a little choppy in places.

DAY 1 (Tuesday January 10th 2012)

Musings on a Beach

I just saw my first jelly fish up close and personal.  About two feet away from my leg.  And my method of thought was, where there's one...  Well, I couldn't help but imagine many more close behind.  I tried to move, but not move too fast.  I don't know much about jellyfish, but from what I could assume, jelly fish aren't like bees (which I get along with.)  contact=sting.  Jellyfish don't have brains, thus no conscious control.  (Since being back,   I looked this fun fact up, and turns out I'm right.  Even dead jellyfish can sting just from contact.)

And then, sitting on the beach, I see them, littered about.  Poor little things.  Turning blue and puffy, baking in the sun.  I am also baking, but turning red rather than blue, and losing some of the "sparkle" I once expected to see my pale skin emit.

It's beautiful here.  The sun is bright and warm.  The "locals" however are all wearing sweatshirts and jeans.  Only tourists are so comfortable here this time of year.  That goes for swimming too.  The water is cool.  Even being used to Wisconsin lakes, the temperature took me by surprise.  But riding the waves, tasting the salt, feeling the breeze and soft sand beneath my feet, it was well worth the chill.

There are pigeons on the beach, calling this sunny paradise home as easily as a Chicago street corner.  I don't know why I find this so amusing.  Something about "beach" just doesn't inspire "pigeon" by association.  I was a little concerned for the salt water at theory.  I remember the salt water experience from Hawaii, and its potency.  And the day before my flight, I fell down the stairs.  Wrenched my ankle, bruised my ass, and scraped my foot.  Injuries that are not the most ideal for either walking around a city or swimming in salt.  But the scrape thankfully seems to have healed.  The rest of my legs however are irritated.  Very irritated.  Which makes me paranoid of the jellyfish again, and how I'm lucky, seeing as I don't have anyone to pee on me.

The trip to the beach was an interesting one.  And getting back will be more so.  (Speaking of being alone.)  I met a Vietnam veteran, with many interesting stories to tell in the short time we talked.  He helped me find my way around, gave me some sound words of advice, and treated me as if I were his grandchild.  And no, most of his stories were not about his war experience.  He has lived an interesting life and most recently found himself stuck in Miami, (from Chicago) after falling through the bathroom floor of his studio apartment here.  He warned me not to give my money to anyone, and parted ways in the end with a “God Bless” and an insisting I program the Miami transportation phone number into my phone.

I haven’t had anything to eat yet today.  I slept through the first continental breakfast.  I guess I had some measure of jet lag.  Also the clocks are an hour later here so breakfast was done by 8:30 my time.  But no matter.  I will find food on the way back to the hotel while doing some sightseeing and shopping.  Dinner at least.

When I woke this morning—one of the many times I woke, that is—it was to the sound of a screeching parrot.  I love the little details that make a place so alien.  Another example was while digging out a seat on the beach in the sand.  (why lug around a lawn chair when sand will custom form fit to you?)  While digging, I unearthed what I had thought to be dog droppings.  It wasn’t for another hour that I realized it was a piece of sea sponge.  Like the jellyfish, this is where I say, “poor little thing.”

Getting some sun I think will be good for me.  Replenish my vitamin D and serotonin.  I must admit that sitting here my worries and troubles seem less burdening.  Part of coming here—a lot of coming here—was to sort out my head and heart.  I just don’t understand myself sometimes.

I still don’t know if I’ll have any answers by time I’m finished here, but maybe the walk back to Lincoln Ave will get me to some kind of conclusion.  I feel I need to reach some kind of decision before the end of this trip.  At least where the heart is concerned.  And at least before… (Sorry folks, after some deliberation, a bunch of this next paragraph or two had to be edited out.)

Getting to the zoo is going to be interesting.  The hotel shuttle doesn’t go there.  It would seem it doesn’t really go anywhere.  And the public transportation is going to be tricky to figure out so fast.  I’m determined though.  Tonight once back at the hotel, I’m hoing to accomplish some writing.

The pool…  is closed.  But I’m probably going to sit by it anyway.  As it is going on 3pm I suppose I best get walking.  I’ve accomplished all I intended with swimming and am going to start my walk back, and try to find a changing booth along the way.


I found a place to change.  After walking down the beach/bardwalk and asking a gentleman about whether or not a restroom for the public even existed he told me to hurry behind the two gentlemen that he was just speaking with, who were returning to the hotel with bried instruction on how to “sneak in” and where the restroom was located.

I was successful, obviously, and after some walking down the boardwalk I caught a bus and found myself to Lincoln.  I had been advised by a lovely couple on the plane to Philadelphia, as the wife had once lived in Miami, what Lincoln Mall rd was a must see on my way.  I’m glad for the advice.  I am eating at Rossinella's, outside.  To have a fresh prepared meal outdoors sounds just wonderful.  It's an Italian restaurant, and it appears they do things right.  I was impressed by their menu's description of "pizza."  In Italy "pizza" is not pizza but more of a flatbread with meats, vegetables, and cheeses, with a touch of olive oil.  Finding a place that has this kind of tradition is rare indeed.

I ordered the chicken parmigiana and it was proceeded by fresh hearty Italian bread, balsamic vinegar, and regular and hot olive oils.  Lovely.  The dish itself (pictured above) was delicious.  I really appreciated the chicken being butterflied before breading.  Awesome.

I'm still a little worried about making it back with minimal effort, and yet... at this point, it's hard to care.  I'm full and happy.  

.....  But not too full for Gelato!

(Unfortunately overpriced, and not good at all.  Important to mention that this was not the same restaurant.  Oh well.  Live and Learn.)


I made it back to the hotel surprisingly easy.  And the Gelato was surprisingly BAD.  Kind of a bizarro world scenario.

I'm showered, sitting in bed with a bag of popcorn and the A-Team is on while I look up directions how to make it to the Zoo tomorrow.  It looks like it will be much easier than previously warned.  Let's hope this is not another bizarro situation.  I haven't accomplished nearly as much writing as intended.  Plenty of notes.  I want to write tonight but fear I'm too exhausted.

Maybe if I don't go to Key West, I'll dedicate the day to that instead.  I should go.  It would be foolish to come this far and be so close to a stretch of road I want to see, and not take that last step.  And I know part of the reason I'm here is to conquer fears to compensate for the fear I can't.  But the motives of this particular leg of the trip could be ultimately misconstrued.  So I have to weigh the scales.  Do I confront this fear and risk potential accusations...  or do I let THAT fear make me run away from confronting the whole lot...

As it stands at the moment, I'm expected by others to show in Key West.  And I haven't let on that I'm reconsidering making that trip.  Or rather, possibly I'll still make the trip, grab a bite to eat, quick gander at the ocean, and just turn around without any visitation.  That would probably be the smartest move.  It's going to need more debate.  I guess we'll see what happens in a couple days.  On to adventure.

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