Downtown Miami, it’s not South Beach. Our tour extends into Miami proper today and we have to make a few adjustments to the impressions we have had in the last couple of days. First, pedestrians are not sacred. The average motorist downtown will run you down. Second, Miami is not a crowded place. The downtown area suffers as do a lot of downtown areas. There are very few people traversing the streets.
We are on the bus driving down Washington Ave in South Beach when the bus driver stops at a stop to pick up a fellow in a wheelchair. The driver gets out of the bus to assist the fellow onto the bus ramp and he realizes the man is in distress, possibly a heart attack. The driver phones 911. The 10 or so passengers on the bus sit, a few wondering what is going on and when the bus is going to continue. The driver comes onto the bus and tells us what is happening. Eventually the ambulance comes and the driver moves the bus forward and gets off again. A few minutes later he gets on the bus and tells us all that we will have to take another bus. As we get off the the bus Murray tells the driver “Thanks for being a good citizen and don’t worry about us passengers, we will be fine.” For Murray and me it is no problem, we are not that far from our destination. We start walking.
A couple of blocks down the avenue, we see the bus driver with his bus pulled over, he is heading to the garage. He stops us, waves down another bus, explains to the driver what happened and we hop onto the bus without paying. We are impressed with this driver and the way he dealt with the whole situation.
The anti smoking campaign that has been in place in most of the world for the last 20 or 30 years must not have reached as far south as Florida yet. I cannot believe the number of smokers here. There are at least two “cigar, cigarette, cigarillo girls” plying every block of Ocean Drive. It could be that the young people are on vacation and smoking seems to be the thing to do here. Renting a hooka and sitting at the restaurant table puffing away on a water pipe or walking along the beach walkway polluting the air with cigar smoke is common place.
There is a wide diversity of languages here. English is not the norm. Miami is a true melting pot. There are people from all over the world. During our short stay we have run into new immigrants from Central America, Cuba being well represented, from Europe Spain, France and Greece, South America, Brazil, and a fellow from Morocco in Africa. All living and working here and fitting in seamlessly.
There is also a wide diversity of restaurants in South Beach. We have eaten at restaurants serving Cuban food, Greek food, pizza, sushi and burgers.
We sit on the beach late in the afternoon and watch four cruise ships and one freighter steam by on their way to distant ports. It is similar to watching airplanes take off at an airport. Each has their own departure time and route, and off they go!
We bag two beaches on the island. Surfside Beach is not as populated as the beach in South Beach and both have beautiful white sand as far as you can see right or left and into the water until it is well over our heads.
Tomorrow we journey north and west towards home. We are both nursing blisters on our feet and I have a sore calf. Time to go home. See you on the other side.