Saturday, February 05, 2005

I made it!

I made it to St Augustine, and with a day to spare after pushing myself hard doing two 100 mile days in a row (a certain part of my body is hurtin' real bad).

St Augustine was cool, very beautiful old town. Went on a bit of a pub crawl with one of the guys from the lovely Pirate Haus hostel there.

The next day I got the first Greyhound down to Miami, a rather dull 10 hour journey, releived by a fascinating conversation with a 27 year old guy who'd just got out of jail after 2 months. It was amazing hearing him talk about how it felt to be in jail, and how it felt to be out. I'll write more about that when I have time. But it had been a very spiritual time, and I felt that it had a lot of similarities with my trip - a lot of time to contemplate life, being thrown in with a really random mix of people, spending a lot of time thinking. But obviously there's the major difference of freedom.

Arrived in Miami after dark, and pretty much went straight out. South Beach is such a cool place. It really reminds me of a slightly chilled-out version of Florence - everyone is beautiful, well dressed. There's a real mediterranian feel - everyone dining out doors in glamorous restaurants. The one thing that I don't like so much about it is that it's a real club culture - that's where everyone goes, and they're really expensive. I was wandering around in my cycling clothes - a Helly Hansen Tshirt and lightweight hiking trousers - I felt really out of place amongst the glamour. But one great thing is that the shops are open 'til about 1am - and they're very like Italian shops - really gorgeous clothes, a bit overpriced. But I treated myself to a pair of jeans and a nice shirt, which I put on immediatly, and felt a lot more at home! Found a really nice Irish bar where I chatted to a few folk, then discovered a great Jazz bar with a live band playing a wierd and wonderful fusion of reggae and samba. It was open 'til about 3, so that was good for me. Stopped at a brilliant Mexican for a late night burrito, then hit the hostel for the night.

Started the day today with a walk along the beach at sunrise. There's not a lot of cities in the world where you can paddle in the sea in shorts and t shirt first thing in the morning in winter. I guess San Diego is another. Emigration is looking more and more tempting! (though not to Miami). After I'd worked up an appetite (not hard for me) I had a delicious breakfast of huevos rancheros (fried eggs on a tortilla with refried beans, potatoes, cheese & salsa) and a great coffee, sat in the sun doing some writing, then wandered around the shops.

I'm gonna miss this - the food, the people, the sunshine...


c ya


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