FLORIDA -Part 3: Miami + Kennedy Space Center

To get from Fort Myers to Miami we had to drive across the entire state and then further north to reach Cape Canaveral where the Kennedy Space Center is located. This trip takes 3 whole days because of the distances though it's worth it, if you're not planning on visiting Florida every year.
My memories of Miami aren't that nice, but I'll explain this in a minute...

After we had parked the two cars in a parking garage we went over to the boardwalk. A road with many hotels and restaurants runs parallel to it and there's a part famous for the building's Art Deco facades.

As you can see there's alot of traffic: besides "average" cars we see a few Ferraris, Mustangs and Oldtimer crusing along the road.

The display next to the visitors center informs us that we've missed the hottest day this year about 4 days ago, but I'm not sorry for that. In my opinion 35,5 degrees Celsius are a little to hot to be the perfect temperature for a sightseeing tour.

There's also a small fitness area along the boardwalk so that you can show off your amazing body even before reaching the beach ;)

The sandy beach is as beautiful as shown in the movies and really broad. Some workers are building up a framework for a pavilion behind us as I take these pictures.

It's quite windy that day though this is not the only reason for the quite uncrowded beach...

...dozens of dead jelly fish lay around and if I am not forsaken it's the poisonous Portoguese man-of-war or bluebottle.

In contrast to this visually appealing areas, there are other not so nice spots like the dingy side streets around our parking garage: I wouldn't dare to walk these streets at night. O.o (<-emoticon)

Unfortunately, my bad impression of the city gets worse as we get back to the cars. One has been broken up at the driver's door to pull the trunk's hand gear to steal our navigation system we tried to hid there.

We must have been observed by the criminal, because our luggage is untouched, but the security guard can't find someone suspicious on the monitoring system which doesn't cover every spot. So we just go to the police station and spend the next 3 hours there to report the crime, so that our car insurance pays the damage.

Then we have to get a new rental from the airport and it's close to midnight as we can look for a accommodation. We are all very tired and check into a really dirty motel along our route. I cleaned our WC and sink with my private cleaning supplies and stayed totally dressed while sleeping in the bed and of course, I didn't use this shower. (Please click on it to zoom in)
My tip: Choose a motel or hotel which belongs to a company like Super 8 or Holiday Inn and view the room before you definitively check-in.

At least we could count on a delicious breakfast at IHOP (the International House of Pancakes) the following morning. Denny's is also recommendable.

The secound day of our trip was mostly spend on the highway though we made a short stop at Fort Lauderdale, another famous beach especially for Spring Break.

We spend the next night at  Cape Canaveral's Best Western (hotel) which costs about 30 Euros extra per room but is much cleaner and more comfortable. You have your own coffee machine (please use bottled water, otherwise chlor-flavoured drink) and you can skip through the room's bible before going to bed.

Our visit at the Kennedy Space Center was very interesting: The focus was not on the scientific aspects of space flights like expected. It entertains with many vids on monitors, exhibitioned objects and a special rollercoaster-like ride called the "Shuttle Launch experience". In addition specials like meeting an astronaut can be booked.

You can have a look inside the real space shuttle Explorer.

Here's a retired command center.

This one looks more like a knight's amor with flexible parts at the joints to me...

...than like an astronaut's suite.

In this capsule or casing the astronauts landed in the ocean after parasuiting from the sky.

NEXT posting: Key West

See you soon!



Hey Guys,
I know, I know, it has been two weeks since I have posted something and you are waiting for the next episode about my first trip to Florida... Well, the bad news is, that editing takes a lot of time. However, I am working on it and it will be posted next week. The good news is that I have come up with a new category for my future blog posts 'The Forgotten Book' wherein I will write a short review on books which have been published decades ago. BUT the here presented books will have one characteristic feature: They seem to be just too valueable and special in certain ways to collectively forget about them, because of some new books hyped by the media. NEW is not synonymous with better...

So, today I want to (re)introduce you to a piece of Native American fiction which is mostly about contemporary Indian characters who are connected by their origins but whoes lives turned out rather differently. They all return to the Sun Dance of their reservation but they are not the only participants focused on. It all leads up to encountering four Indian elders with their fellow Coyote. The later is rather a special spirit than an animal, he's the Trickster in Blackfoot culture, and therefore many strange and funny incidents and dialogs entertain the open-minded reader.

Published exactly two decades ago, it deals with topics which have remained strikingly prominent: independant and educated Native American Alberta longs for a Baby but not for a husband; the log cabin Eli inherited, endangers a lucrative dam project and Lionel's career plans didn't work out the way he had expected at younger age... With the chapters on these three and others the book is like a huge puzzle or riddle, especially when storys about Coyote's adventures are told in a kind of comic style (half of the book).

The authour Thomas King, a Canadian Cherokee, has taken the liberty to play with aspects of white western culture and stops at nothing, not even at important biblical figures. So, perhaps this novel is nothing for very conservative Christians, though I would advise everybody to read at least the first 100 pages which is about 1/4 before judging and making the decision to put the book away or to read on joyfully :)

Here, one of the comic-like and provocating scenes (excerpt, page 435):
And, says Nasty Bumpo, Whites are particularly good killers. Do you see that deer over there?
 Oh, dear, says Old Woman. That's not a deer. That's Old Coyote.
What's an Old Coyote? says Nasty Bumppo, and that one shoots at Old Coyote.
 Stop shooting, says Old Coyote. You could kill someone with that really big gun.
Stand still, Nasty Bumppo tells Old Coyote, so I can shoot you.
 Boy, says Old Coyote, I was safer in that other story. And Old Coyote jumps into a hole by a big tree. 
Phooey, says Nasty Bumpoo. Now I'm going to have to kill something else.
 Well, says Old Woman, there's no one here but you and me.
Well, that sure is a problem, Chingachgook, says Nasty Bumpoo. That sure is a problem. [...]

BOOK at Amazon.com - few the first 3 pages!
BOOK at Amazon.de - Englische Bücher - die ersten 3 Seiten lesen!

Attention: All Rights reserved. Copyright 1993 by Thomas King.


FLORIDA - Part 2: Mote Aquarium + Fort Myers

Well, the six travellers often left their residence to explore Florida’s landscape, wild life and cultural gems. These trips normally took a day with drives up to 3 hours in one direction. Rather fast they discovered the following problems: Firstly, the characteristic speed limits of the US lead to the fact that you can’t cover that much of a distance within this time span, and secondly, you tend to underestimate the distances in general if you used to the metric system. This means that you plan a route via Google-Maps on your PC and it doesn’t seem to be a big deal, until you recognize it’s 1000 Miles and not Kilometres! 

However, one day we drove upwards along the west coast to visit the public part of the Mote Marine Laboratory, the Mote Aquarium in Sarasota. Depending on the route you choose it’s 83-93 Miles which took us 100 Minutes. Actually we had planned to take a look at a special art exhibition afterwards, but then we had to realise that many museums etc. close at 5 p.m.. By the time we arrived there we would have paid ~ $16 for an hour, so we left the place only touring the gift shop :)

But lets get back to the aquarium… [for prices, etc. click above]

This visit really impressed me because several elderly people –volunteers, I assume (?), offered their guidance and wanted to give you some information on the creatures which were displayed in the water tanks. In Germany you have to book and pay for this service in addition to the regular entrance fee. If you’re otherwise addressed by an attendant you mostly have done something wrong, like standing to close in front of a painting or a displayed object.

Besides the observing you can do a bite more here. Of course, there is some short dolphin show twice to three times a day, but you can also pet starfishes, sea cucumbers and some kind of crabs. There’s even a funnel-shaped tank with rays you can fondle, and if the beast has had enough it’s able to escape into the deeper water and is out of reach. By this the visitor has to accept the animal’s will and needs but from my point of view this tank could have been built slightly bigger for the ray’s sake….

Other than this, I have no objections against the way everything was set up and presented, and there are many cute, colourful or mysterious, formidable till quite “ugly” looking creatures to watch here.

No, this picture is not upside down...

Do you recognize this fish? Exactly, it’s a small shark. He’s about 1,5 metres long, so don’t fall over the rail into the tank! ;)

It’s a pity that I have forgotten the name of this strange looking guy, but he strongly reminds me of the Sesame Street character who lives in a trash can :D

Unfortunately, the water in the huge Manatee tank was so greenish that we weren’t able to take a usable photo of these gentle giants. In spite of that I loved this significant information panel, which tells you what humans and Manatees have in common (Please click to zoom in and read):

By the way, there are some animals were it’s very likely to encounter them in the great outdoors. For example, this sign is located at Fort Myers Beach:

So, if you don’t want to be dancing in pain because a sting ray felt threatened by your feet, you should perform a sluggish move while walking through the water.

A young couple thought it would be a good idea to feed the local seagull population by leaving a track of French fries as they stroll along the beach. Actually, I would like to know how this story ended. Did it turn out the way like in  Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ and they had to look for shelter in their car? What a pity it will remain an unsolved mystery…

Accidentally we ran into a informal pagean at one of the beach hotels because it was Springbreak. Dressed in bikinis the graces shook their hips to loud pop music and afterwards the audience decided who had preformed best. Of all impressions I found one observation kind of striking: every second girl was named Ashley! So, if you have some logical explanation for this pleeeease contact me via email (see profile).

As you see it’s also fun to visit the pier at night, though it’s more likely to meet relaxed Pelicans here during the day.

To be continued