February 1st, 2000

emu

Gerbie on tour 5

Gerbie on tour (5)


Obviously I had problems coming back to the United States, as my flight had another delay. So again I ended up in line for the customs in the middle of the night, but eventually I did arrive at my destination, so who am I to complain. If you like to travel, some things are bound to cause trouble.

In Miami I stayed a couple of days in the famous part Miami Beach. A nice part of town, where in daytime the beach is well visited (not really in January) and at nighttime the celebrities line up in the famous nightlife (possible, I couldn’t afford to check). After I had seen everything I wanted to see, including Miami itself I rented a car for a week. In this country it is the best way to see a lot, and as Miami has the lowest prices in the country, a week was still within budget.

In a week’s time I have driven more, than I have in the rest of my life (I only had my drivers license since a couple of months, but still). As the smallest car, for which I paid, was not available, I got upgraded and had a reasonable big car, that took me in 7 days through over 2500 miles in this country. Obviously mostly in Florida, but also in Georgia, South Carolina (just a few miles, after another wrong turn), Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Too much to tell a detailed story about here at this moment.

In short Florida: Key West: Beautiful town, magnificent road to get there. Everglades: Nice road straight through the reservoir, where gators are staring at the tourists from the side of the road. Naples: Not even close to its Italian origin, one of the many public retirement homes in Florida. Orlando: Touristtrap. Skipped it. Daytona Beach: Overrated. St. Augustine: The oldest town in this state and they like to tell you. Every old house has a commemorative sign on the wall with all its inhabitants since 1574. America’s attempt to catch up with history.

Georgia: Savannah: Lovely old town, many squares and a unique 19th century cemetery. Athens: Little town with a lot musical history (R.E.M. a/o.) but also a tree in the middle of the road, with a sign that says that the tree owns itself. Atlanta: Too big too see a lot. I have limited my visit to Turner Field (Braves stadium), CNN-center and the Olympic park. In Georgia I also found out that my theory that I wouldn’t see any winter this time was wrong. Snow, sleaze and rain, combined with a very low temperature made driving a nightmare, especially in the dark. Sleeping in the car wasn’t really warm either… But at least you learn a lot. Driving a 16-lane freeway is an art form that can’t be taught in the Netherlands.

After that I went to Memphis, where I saw Graceland, unfortunately exactly on the wrong day, as Tuesday is the only day the Mansion is closed. Anyhow, I have been there, seen the grave of Elvis and his family and walked through one of many souvenirshops. Beale Street, one of the most famous streets in the country, the Mecca of blues, was even worth a visit on a cold Monday night. Ending up I had to return to Florida, as my vehicle was supposed to be handed in in the same state as where I rented it. Back to Pensacola, a city I hadn’t heard of before, not really worth it either, but closest to Memphis, so that's where I handed my car in.

Ever since Greyhound is my means of transport again. I have spent a couple of days in New Orleans. Nice city, but slightly overrated as well in my opinion. The French Quarter is very famous, but apart from some lovely buildings, there are as many completely neglected. In a couple of weeks the famous Mardi Gras will take place, the city will be heaving again. Now I was surprised to find out that at 3 am Saturday night things were quieting down already. Not what I expected based on the reputation N.O. has. And on superbowl Sunday (the main sport event for millions of Americans) I couldn’t find a single bar with a bit of atmosphere anywhere.

San Antonio was my last destination in this country. One of the few cities in Texas worth a visit. I do agree I have to say. A nice old town center, where everything is still within walking distance, an exception in this country. Last night I also visited a NBA-match. Something I had done in Miami as well, but after a disappointing match I decided to go once more and was lucky enough to score a ticket for a top match. The San Antonio Spurs (current world champions) against the L.A. Lakers, the best team this season so far. It was good to have seen it, it is a big show, though the match itself never was one, as the home team was much better al through the game, therefore taking an easy win.

Tomorrow I will leave the United States to go to Mexico. I haven’t got a clue yet what, how and where, but after I have crossed another border I will find out. You will read someday!

Luckily I still do get some mail, though hardly anybody reacts to the contents of these newsletters. Should they be longer, or shorter? More details or less? Let me know, as I just write some things down anyway, any criticism is welcome.

See you next time and fare well!

Gerben