Monday, 21 October 2013

The wrong side of town.

We settled ourselves in completely the next day after our successful surprise, which felt a bit weird but nice at the same time. We had slept late after a long night and a lot of excitement as we previously mentioned so by the time we were getting up it was time for Krystyne to head to her lectures which would take it up to 730pm before we could hang out and then after that she would be heading to cheer practice till 1030. So myself and Chris made ourselves at home, chilled out, updated the blog and caught up on world news as well as catching up with friends and family back home. Before we knew it we were heading down to the canteen for dinner and Krystyne was introducing us to all of her friends. There was a lot, and I mean a lot, of “OH MY GOD you’re from England…. Say something” which if I’m honest is just really annoying.
After the tedious and often repetitive Q&A we headed back up to the room to come up with a plan for the night, before we hit the beach the next day. Unfortunately we failed miserably and drafted in the help of another of Krystyne’s friends, Andrew. Who was about the same height as Chris, so finally someone Chris could chat to without having to look down.  We headed to a place called Flannigan’s, a pub chain exclusive to Florida which is conveniently only a stone’s throw from the campus. We only had a few drinks as it was kind of late but all in all it was a great time and the $5 bill at the end of drinking was a pleasant surprise. Thank you America, for “happy hour”, which is actually usually about 3-4 hours long. So with that paid we walked back onto campus parted ways with Andrew and headed inside for a cool down and some sleep. Yes I did mean head inside for a cool down. Here it is surreal you put jumpers on inside and take them off to go outside. It’s a completely unnatural experience. Before we knew it we were fast asleep and another day came to a close.

We woke up really late again, for a change and at about 11 we showered and rocked down to the canteen to eat where we met up again with Cat who decided to come hang at the beach with us. We had to head to a shop first, as Chris didn’t own a pair of swim/beach shorts. In true style we got there and both girls ended up browsing completely unnecessary items, seriously the first aisle they reached they stopped to browse. It’s ridiculous! Chris on the other hand quickly picked out a pair and we were set to go.
We headed out to a place called Sunny Isles which is essentially the same as Miami Beach only a lot less busy and free to park, kind of. We parked behind a group of stores and walked a short distance onto the beach. The beach is a typical man made beach, white sand, shallow, crystal clear sea and beautiful blue skies. It was perfect.

I’m still not entirely sure where the rest of that day went after that, as by the time we hit the beach, had a swim and returned the sun was well and truly behind the buildings. Still it was a nice to hang out with one of Krystyne’s friends and have time to just do nothing. We made our way back shortly after that and hit up the canteen as Cat headed off for a shower.
That evening we headed out to a real “dive bar” called Billy’s and took part in an event known as “kill the keg” Which cost $5 to essentially have all the beer you can drink until the keg runs dry so again another cheap night. We also had some food while we were there and it was a lot nicer than I had expected although still not proper pub grub. We talked and laughed for hours till the keg was dry and the night settled in. Then it was about time for us to get some sleep.

On Friday Krystyne had another full day of lectures so Chris and I decided to head down to the keys to inspect the 7 mile bridge. But as per usual we woke late and by the time we ate and showered it was fast approaching 2 o’clock so we hit the road running only to get stuck in copious amounts of traffic a few miles down the road. Progress was painfully slow to the point of only travelling 3 miles in 30 minutes. Eventually we cleared the last of the city and entered the keys but by this time we were already running low on sunshine. We pulled over to try get the Go pro set up to only discover the battery was low and so we had to just turn it on and hope for the best. It didn’t work. And worse yet about 25 miles down the road we heard the dreaded thunk as the GP rolled down the roof. Fortunately the roof bars caught it and gave me enough time to pull into a lay-by without it reaching the road. After that we gave up and just headed for the sunset knowing full well that we would lose light before we reached the 7mile bridge, and that’s exactly what happened. The sunset was beautiful as we watched it sink beneath the ocean. Shortly after we hit the bridge and proceeded to cross it. The moon partially illuminated the structure and again we were in awe of the engineering feet beneath us. Also the question of “why the hell did anyone want to build a 7 mile bridge. There’s nothing really down here” came to mind. Once we were over we pulled in to let Krystyne know we were going to be very late back as the 2 hour drive had taken nearly 4 already. We pulled out some snacks and filled our faces. Then we headed back across the bridge, now being able to watch the moon glint off the sea to our right. But before long we were among the trees that lined the sides of the highway and could no longer see anything but 2 lane blacktop. The drive despite being much shorter seemed somehow much longer, so true to my form I filled my boots with lead and got the hammer down. We made good time despite a slight hold up as we passed downtown Miami. We were dog tired by now so we decided to call it a night and get up early on Saturday to hit the beach again.

We woke at about 930 as Krystyne tried to contact her friends but with no luck. So I stayed in the room while Chris and Krystyne headed down to breakfast. I just really didn’t feel like eating. They were gone a fare while so I showered and sorted some clothes out ready to do some laundry once we got back from wherever we were going. Miami really is all just beaches and then city with not a fat lot to do within a 3 miles radius of where we are situated. So upon Krystyne and Chris’s return I was pleased to hear they had come up with a plan. Wynnwood walls, an area of town covered in graffiti. It was only a short drive there and so I let Chris take on the challenge of some city driving with the aid of Krystyne as his navigator. He did well and we reached our destination in good time and parked up. We wandered around the streets for a while taking in some really intricate art work which was plastered over every wall, pavement, lamppost and door.  (See below)

We were joined shortly after by some more friends. They wandered around with us for a while before heading off to find some food. We carried on walking the blocks one by one, looking at more and more art trying to understand what, if anything, they meant. We were just about done as the sun started to set when a police car pulled up a long side me and the window rolled down and I heard “not from round here are you?” I was a little shocked and walked towards the car as Chris and Krystyne joined me. “If you go 2 blocks south of here, you will get shot” he told us. He also went on to tell us that we would get robbed in the next 30 minutes if we didn’t leave before it got dark. So we headed straight to the car and hopped in and headed for an Indian restaurant, yes we finally found curry. (The only thing that I have been in search of since our first ever grocery shop and have been unable to find) It was delicious if not a little expensive but I was too happy to care I was full and my craving had been satisfied, for now at least. From there we headed back to the Uni. again and called it a night.

Sunday morning we actually were all up early but had to wait on Krystyne’s friends to text back to see if we were going to all hang out at the beach or not. At 11 we decided to head down to lunch but when we got there Chris and I didn’t see anything we really wanted so we headed on to Denny’s diner which was packed so in failing that and running short on time before we were meeting everyone, we headed into burger king and grabbed a quick meal deal, and got back just in time to meet up with everyone. I am useless and only remember a few names so to be fair I’ll leave names out and just say they were all really nice and we had a lovely time on the beach again just hanging out, swimming and sunbathing.  Towards the end of the day the sun disappeared I had assumed it dropped below the buildings but upon looking up all I could see was storm clouds and just after that a thunder storm alarm went off. It appears America is scared of thunder and lightning, well mainly lightning.  We quickly scurried back to the cars and drove back. We’d almost made it when the heavens opened. I was asked if I was ok to drive in the rain. I laughed and said “I’m British. The only thing I don’t know how to drive in, is the dry” No one got sarcasm, apart from Chris. Once we got back I couldn’t help but stand in the rain. With the heat here it makes rain absolutely perfect so I stood out in it until the others got fed up with me and they ran ahead while I walked slowly enjoying my first real heavy down pour in a month.

Once we were back in I said “well I say this is pub weather” everyone agreed and we planned to go early but Krystyne had homework to do so more time was wasted doing very little. While we waited one of Taub’s friends Courtney popped in. We had heard a lot about her but this was the first time we met her. It was a brief encounter again. There was some drama going on here. I really wasn’t interested enough to eaves drop on the conversation. But it kind of made it seem more like an American high school out of the movies. Eventually Krystyne finished and we headed out to Flannigan’s again. We ate, drank and reminisced again for hours and hours before knocking our last night here on the head.

We stepped outside to be greeted by another heavy down pour which was again nothing more than a minor inconvenience as I didn’t want to have to do more Laundry. But it was warm so the walk was pleasant enough. Our week here had disappeared and now we must get back out on the road to head west. It was lovely to meet many new people and see an old familiar face for once. We now have 4 weeks to get all the way across to California. Florida It’s been a blast.