Sunday, February 19, 2012

Miami Trip; Day 3 (final)

Miami Trip Day 3…  And then some.

Originally written January 12th 2012
                Well, last night left me in a bad mood and frustrated as all hell.  I ordered pizza, as I suspected I might, and the price charged was…  well in a word, outrageous.  Bad quote on the phone, and when the delivery charge and tax was more than the meal itself, I shoved the pizza back at the delivery guy.  We haggled a bit, and he finally accepted 15 dollars for what was originally supposed to be a 7 dollar pizza.  They wanted 17 plus tip…  I’m very tired, even today still, and I wasn’t in the mood for scammers.  How I managed to end up with the pizza and the delivery guy giving apologies…  I’m not sure.  I assume my Sicilian temper/assertion probably showed somewhere within the argument.
                And what made last night all the better?  After cycling through a few of my pictures from the zoo that I managed to snap of myself I noticed something odd.  One side of my face is a little… “droopy.”  Did I temporarily contract Bell’s Palsy?  I looked it up to see exactly what it is, and the symptoms seem related to the inflammation around a group of nerves, and exaggerated by stress…  Did I sleep wrong?  What the hell?  Function upon waking this morning seems a little better than my attempt of making faces in the mirror last night.  I took some Ibuprofen as well to deal with any inflammation issues…  Oh well, if I have it, it’s the most mild case I’ve seen, and I’m going to stop thinking about it and get on with the trip.
                I’m in the hotel lobby waiting for Juan and his shuttle.  I need to get a rental car to make it down to Key Wast.  It’s about 9 am so I should make it between 1 and 2 pm.  I’m nervous, but confident I’ll get over that.  There are moments that you think to yourself, “what the f&#k am I doing?”  And it is in my experience that those are always the moments that end with you thinking, “I did it.”
                I’ve come this far.  I know I will make it the rest of the way.


                It wasn’t Juan driving.  That’s bittersweet.  He was so friendly and much “cheerier” than this other driver, and I was looking forward to saying goodbye to/thanking him.  But at least the ride was quiet.
                I made it to the car rental only to find they were out of cars.  But all was not lost.  I was directed to another rental that could help.  …And when they were also out of cars, they directed me to ANOTHER place.  Sometimes my, “on a whim” adventurous attitude can be a nuisance.  And WOW, expensive.  …and only getting more so.  BUT I made it.  I faced my fear of city driving (in a strange city, no less) and my anxiety of bridges.  I know it’s strange to have a fear of bridges, but not heights, and all I can do is reference my observations on the mother with the giraffes at the zoo.  (See previous post.)  The fear of bridges thing, or so I’ve been told in the past, came from my mother.  Another observation I have to make, is I seem to be more comfortable with driving over bridges myself, than as a passenger. But if I was going to put it to the test, I picked a HELL of a long bridge to do so.

                I’m in Mallory Square….  (Or at least what I THOUGHT was supposed to be Mallory Square, which left me very confused why it was so small.  I was just going by the signs.)  And I’m waiting for my friend Josh who said “they” would meet me here.  I’m not sure who “they” is in reference to, but I’m assuming his family.  The sun is finally peeking out but it’s just plain too cold to go snorkeling today, which was within my original intentions either before or after meeting these friends, or in lieu of altogether.  Not having that option is a disappointment, having made such a trip.  I love snorkeling/exploring coral reef, but it’s beautiful all the same.  No matter.  When all is said and done I suppose I’ve accomplished the most of what I intended to, and that is worth every penny spent thus far.

                We’re supposed to grab food later, but I’m indulging in a hotdog and banana smoothie to hold me over while I write this and wait.  I have yet to eat today otherwise.  My budget is getting increasingly tighter.  It’s funny to think that after all I’ve done and spent so far, this hotdog and smoothie may be what pushes my finances over the edge.  I suppose it’s a good thing it’s too cold to go snorkeling after all.  I’d have buyer’s remorse over the rental equipment.  But I have faith my finances will work out once I’m home somehow.  Now what is THAT about?  Since when do I have faith, of any kind again?

So a fun fact to add, while I sit here under a tree on this wood platform…  There are chickens here.  Chickens and Roosters.  Chickens on the streets, and pigeons on the beaches.   I’m so confused.  I keep tossing them bits of bread from my hotdog bun and a few of the Plantain straws I packed.  They seem to enjoy them.

The chickens weren’t the only ones to decide they loved Plantains.  Josh and his family found me, and with them I found the REAL Mallory Square—where I spent the most of my time watching Nick and Mark perform, and sitting on the edge of the water feeding the gulls the remaining chips.  Brave little buggers soon learned to take them straight from my hand.  And the next thing I knew they were trying to land on me for better access.  …until the dog came about.  Cute Golden retriever—fetched tips for his master, and placed them in a bucket.  The overcast sunset dropped in the background, and the weather was only turning colder.
I got a couple of brilliant pictures as we were departing the square.  It’s funny how sometimes a camera lens fails to do something justice, and other times does it just a little too much…  But regardless, THIS is the REAL Mallory Square.


After that it was on to wings, and drinks (of which I could not participate as I had a long drive ahead of me.)  The wings were HUGE, and inspired jokes and banter about giants in chicken costumes, or this being the reason so many chickens were roaming about the streets.  Images of giant feral chickens viciously taking out cats and dogs in back alleys.  It was good fun, and the search for my rental car came all too quickly.  I said goodbye, and in the soon to be downpour, set off for my drive back to the Miami airport.  It was a horrible drive.  They closed a section of the bridge down to one lane for some reason, and somewhere along the trip sleep decided it was going to overpower me enough to inspire me to pull off in a restaurant parking lot for a quick nap.  I think this was on Key Largo.

                I returned the car, changed in the airport bathroom, and despite my sweater and jeans, proceeded to FREEZE in the 50 degree air conditioned airport until I could check in to my flight before the sun was even up.  Maybe this was just fate's way of preparing me for my return to Chicago.  Where a snow storm was currently hitting.

If this post seems a bit short, for having taken so long to write... it's because after much deliberation I’m afraid I cannot share some of the other details of the Key West experience as they are not my stories to share.  I enjoyed myself though.  A bitter-sweet feeling.  I enjoyed myself, and hate myself for that fact.  But I can’t explain why just yet.  Not in this posting.  For now, I'll just sit back and savoir some of that bitter-sweet I suppose.  An acquired taste, no doubt.

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