My wonderful journey around the USA continued with me dragging the heat and humidity behind me. I apologise to all those afflicted by my weather curse!
I stayed with Louis and Carol, who were wonderful hosts. I was yet again treated like family. The consideration I have been shown during my trip has humbled me and I hope to be able to return the hospitality if anyone ever visits me in Australia.
We had a great time on the first day, heading out on an air boat ride in the Everglades. I got to see a handler with a snake and an alligator and even got to hold one! The air boat ride was exciting, those guys know how to give you a thrill and we saw a gator in the wild – it came right up to the boat to check us out.
The Everglades are both spectacular and eerie at the same time. In some parts you can see forever and at others it is closed in by tall grass and plants. The species there are well adapted but developers keep lobbying to fill it in and expand east. I hope they never get the chance! We ate at a little BBQ shack on the way back. Lovely food and it seems as if the “shackier” the place the better the food. I wimped out at having the gator but the pork was perfect. I forgot to take a photo 😦
The parts of Miami I saw driving in were beautifully landscaped, with the overpasses grassed and landscaped with the suburb names on them in huge white letters. The place looked generally well looked after. Overall, the south east cities of the USA are lovely, with old world charm and care taken to preserve their history and culture.
I then took a rest day as I had been going non-stop and we settled in at home. I helped Louis with a computer issue and he showed me his wonderful collection of comics, figures and memorabilia, including a Wurlitzer jukebox that plays 78s! Beautifully restored in full working order. We talked about writing, editing, publishing and promotional work and I passed on some of my ideas for the future. We headed out for dinner, with me taking them to a tandoori restaurant. They had never been before and the food was delicious (I was secretly relieved the place was good).
The next day Louis took me to see his friend, Nick Perdomo, of Perdomo cigars. We went to his distribution centre and office in Miami Lakes and I was just blown away by how friendly everyone was. They gave us a tour of the humidor, packing area and storage room and I sat there and had a cigar and talked with some of the guys. It was amazing.
The next day we went to a Cuban restaurant and, yet again, I forgot to take photos but the food was lovely and I have fallen for the black beans with rice. These aren’t like our black beans, these are BLACK like pitch in the cooking water, which is like ink and tastes amazing.
I went to bed early that night as I had the big drive to New Orleans the next day. Hugs and goodbyes and promises of keeping in touch followed the next morning and then I was off North then West. Florida is HUGE by the way, it took me a long time to reach the border but that is in the next entry. More pics below.