Words can't really describe the amount of fun I had in Florida this time around. From June 26th to July 5th, 2007, I saw so many good things and met so many interesting people that words can't possibly do the experience justice. But I tried. I took my 'black liquid mistakes journal' and wrote a few things down during my experience so I could remember better, and eventually, tell all of you who actually read this. As cloudy as this blog may become - it will be a 3 part series. Part 1 is Disney World. Person's involved are my family, my grandmother, and my 3 cousins with their parents. Part 2 is the adventure to Jimbo's bar, in (beautiful?) Biscayne Bay. Part 3 is about Miami. Hotel arrangements brought to you in part by Rick Schweitzer. Transportation brought to you by Derek Schweitzer.
Attempting Floridian Fame
Part I: Disney World
"You know I have to wear children's sunglasses" - Joy Hay
Upon arrival at the Animal Kingdom lodge, my mom goes browsing. There's plenty to see in the Animal Kingdom Lodge - african artifacts, soothing waterfalls, 3 inch long cockroaches...all set to tribal African music that will make you want to stab a screwdriver in your ears by the end of the 2nd day. We're all restless from a long bus ride from the Orlando airport to our hotel. It was excruciating. Our woman bus driver never got the pig above 30. Posted speed limit was 45. It was almost as if she were attempting to get her CDL while we were all passengers. Anyways, while my mom is walking around, my brother is ramming my suitcase with his. Neither of us had luggage, so prior to the trip my parents bought us some. Nothing like breaking in a suitcase by running your luggage-on-wheels into mine. Mom then knocks over a half dranken pepsi onto a Tanzanian inspired rug. Why a half drank pepsi was sitting on the ground is beyond me, but either way, I'm guessing the tapestry is most likely worth more than her Ford Explorer. Minutes later, I see her wandering into the gift shop with her large purple backpack wide open. I lean over to Jared, "I hope some shop worker tells her to close her backpack - or even better yet - search it on suspicion of mom stealing stuff." Jared laughs. 5 minutes later, she wanders back to us, backpack closed. She notifies us that a security hotel worker woman told her to close it. Hah, good stuff. Jared has been ramming my suitcase now for about 15 minutes. It's 2pm. He comes up with the brilliant idea to install off-road wheels on his luggage. Faaaantastic.
Grandma Margaret decides to accompany the Hay family to the Magic Kingdom for a day of watching small children cry for no apparent reason the next morning. Magic Kingdom? More like miserable kingdom. Speaking of miserable - that would be my brother and I (and I'm guessing my parents) watching the COUNTRY BEAR JAAAAMBO-REEEEE! This hootenanny was a bunch of robot inbred bears singing Americana tunes, complete with banjo's, overalls, and moonshine jugs - all with exzhilirating 1950's animatronic technology! (Seriously, folks) This show was not enjoyable. Through the unBEARable (get it?!) caucophony, Jared decides to go with the flow. As if it were out of a movie, he put his palms together and went with the beat. He succeeded in getting the entire audience clapping with the country bumpkin tunes. A true moment in human success to say the least.
A half hour later, my parents and brother decide to try out some Buzz Lightyear spinning shooting ride thing. I just hang out with my grandma. She's just chilling in her wheelchair, observing the massive amounts of people passing by. Out of nowhere, she turns around & says, "You don't see a lot of black people here. It's probably too expensive for them." WHAT?! Insert me laughing hysterically here. 2 seconds go by and she chimes in again, "There are sure a lot of Orientals though." Why are old people so ridiculously racist still. Sure, racism is still rampant in today's society, and old people grew up being racist. But wouldn't you think old folks, with their astute wisdom and world travels, would be more tolerant? Next thing you know, I'll roll up to my grandma's house and she'll have 3 negro's strung up to a tree in her front yard. After her socially unacceptable comment, what I should have responded with would be 1 of these 3 comments: A) Yeah grandma - check out all the old people here. They sure do emit a foul odor, eh?! B) Wow. I've never seen so many white people in one place before! or C) Yeah. But it's 2007 grandma - we call them niggers now! Her "I see black people" comment was around 11:00am. It's 4pm as I write this - and I can already tell its the highlight of my day.
June 30th, 9:45am. The german wonder is (hopefully) on his way to retrieve me. After 4 days in Disney, and spending $150 on nothing ($5 on cigars, $10 on a falafel sandwhich, the rest on alcohol - no really) I'm ready for a new scene. The question I'm asking myself is, "Is $300 enough for 5 days in Miami?" Will I get all my jollies in for under 3 bills? We shall see. Either way, I'm going out in flames. I'm sure I'll go back to the great north with 0 dollars, or a negative account balance. Let's do this. Let's attempt Floridian fame.
Part II: Jimbo's Bar, Miami FL
"You boys here to open up?!" - Jamaican Paul
(To truly grasp what Jimbo's bar is, please click on the links at the end of the entry. They describe it a lot better than I do here)
July 1st, 2007. Ah, coastal Florida. The first full day of Miami living ended with Derek and I taking Esquire Magazine's recommendation of Best Bar in Florida and headed to Jimbo's. According to the picture in the mag, it resembled THE dive bar of dive bars. So, on a Sunday at 9:00pm, we left to take on the night. Derek has a navigation system in his car. It's nice. It get's you places. Efficiently. Most of the time. We punch in the address that Esquire magazine gave us and head on out. We realize our navi tool took us to the wrong place when we approach a state marina/park - with a very large locked gate. Again, we consult our navigational computer lady. Miraculously, Jimbo's was in the 'OTHER' category under 'points of interest'. Why it wasn't in the 'bars & restaurants' section we werent sure. We finally turn on the right road, driving past an unattended security gate in a different state park. Maybe it wasn't a state park, we werent sure. It was very dark out by now. Driving down a Twisty turny road with trees on both sides of us - definitely reminded me of a horror movie. After a few more wrong turns, we came to the end of the asphalt. A small dirt road was in front of us, and we ventured further. Right before the end of the dirt road, I noticed a wooden, red, painted sign that read "JIMBOS" nailed to a tree...but saw no bar in sight. Just a few wrecked cars, vans, and aluminum boats sprawled around. We parked among the wreckage, facing the way we came for a "quick getaway," Derek said. We get out and noticed that one of the so-called junk vans had an inhabitant in it. A man was watching a portable tv in his Uncle-Rico-esque van, which emitted a creepy glow from the windows. We slowly walked over to what resembled a shack - in pitch blackness mind you, no idea what was in store for us. A shadowy figure was already in front of us, approximately 15 feet before us. "You boy's here to open up?" he said. There were no neon signs, no music, no LCD tv's, no...people. Only the sound of FL insects. We said, "Um no." The man's name was Jamaican Paul. A dirty old alcoholic hippie with a shitload of plastic jewelry on and a black fanny pack in front of him. Beer in hand, he rambled on for about 5 minutes about the "Jimbo Documentary" and "bringing girls back to party" - we were getting suspicious. Scratch that - we were suspicious 10 min prior to entering the park. Apparently Jimbo's is open from 7:30am-7:30pm. It's bring your own beer, which makes me wonder why it's even called a bar, and why Esquire Magazine FAILED TO MENTION THAT. I doubt the refugee camp inspired aluminum establishment even had running water. It did have an 'entertainment' area which included bench style stadium seating to view the Jimbo Documentary (sure enough, a 12 inch tv on a wooden end table!) Granted, there was little to no light so it was hard to make out anything at all. Now comes the point where Jamaican Paul (Did I mention he was white?) decides to make us (mostly just me) think our lives were over. "Check this out" he says, as he slowly unzipped his fanny pack. 'Well, I'm dead. I'm gonna be shot and or stabbed & be left for dead sinking in Biscayne Bay.' I thought. (Derek later informed me that he thought he was gonna pull out a monster joint...) Instead, Jamaican Paul pulls out a 'Jimbo Dollar' and 'Jimbo for President' sticker. A fake paper dollar with Jimbo himself in teh usual Presidential area. When I found out I wasnt going to be murdered, all I wanted to do was get a picture of this American Icon. Then leave, and soon. He would not let up about bringing back girls and beers tonight and then buying a Jimbo dollar. I'm sorry to say - I spent a dollar for something that's worth zero dollars. Between his babblings, we're getting eaten alive by quarter sized Floridian mosquitoes (exhageration, sure) in the complete darkness. I want to leave. Now. Not sure what Derek's mindset is, but I want out. I've been having a hard time understanding Senor Paul this whole time - Derek has been living down here for months now, so he has an easier time understanding the locals. Before we leave, I need a picture of this dude. Thank god I brought my digi. We parted ways with a fist pound - promising to return during the day - with our own beer. We walk briskly to our car, still amazed that, in fact, we were NOT in the twilight zone. We climb in. Up until this point not a single car rolled into this area. We were amazed to see headlights about 100ft in front of us, very slowly pulling up to the front of our car. And not just regular headlights - BRIGHTS. So we're like wtf. Why Derek just didnt just drive away, I'm not sure. But we've made it up till this point, so I'll respect his judgment. Naturally I assume the worst as the vehicle comes closer. So we wait for the automobile to ram us. Instead he pulls inches from the drivers side door. Derek rolls down the window, only to be yelled at in Spanish for 20 seconds. There was a sticker on the side of his pickup truck, and I must say it did look semi-official. Like park security or maintenance or something. Either way, Derek just says, "Uh...ok" and we drive off. I don't really know if I captured the sheer awkwardness/creepiness of this moment, but hey, I tried. I'll hopefully provide the conclusion to this saga when I return, during the day, with Presidente in hand. Until then, I'll enjoy my Jimbo dollar, and put some really good thought to how my Esquire hate letter should begin.
***There you have it. A confusing tale of sheer awkwardness. Please view the following links to find out the incredible world of Jimbo's. Music videos, album covers, Esquire magazine mentions - apparently this place is incredible during the day. Click the links, and be amazed I guess:
A great overall story on Jimbo's Bar: http://www.gadling.com/2007/04/18/weekend-in-miami-jimbos-place/
The official website: http://www.jimbosplace.com/
The City of Miami vs Jimbos debate: http://www.criticalmiami.com/2006/01/16/CityofMiamivsJimbos
more to come soon if they are available***
Part III: Miami Tidbits
"I've never seen dolphins here!! I hate you!!" - St. Oletta State Park worker girl
Let's backtrack a bit. Overall, I really didn't write too much while I was in Miami. If you know me, you know I like to make lists. They keep me organized, on top of things. Why I made a "TO-DO LIST" for my Miami vacation...I'm not sure. But against my better judgment, I'm going to tell you what was on this list. X's mean task completed, blank means the opposite.
[x] Take a pic with a hot black girl
[x] Tour the Miami Ad School
[x] Drink a 12 pack of Presidente
[/] Drink / eat @ Jimbo's (get's a half completed...sheesh)
[x] Show my portfolio to ONE person
[ ] Give 5 of my resumes away
[ ] Run a total of 11 miles
[ ] Go to either an art museum or aquarium
[ ] Go to Key West & walk Duval St.
[x] Disregard this entire list cuz i'm on vacation
[ ] Find a SONIC. (we did see one, but we didnt stop as we were still 2 hours outside of Miami)
There you have it. A list of things to do while in Miami. How dense. If you're friends with me on Facebook, some of the images I uploaded pertain to this list. I'll do a picture blog in one of the next posts so you can see some of the things. Onward to the only thing I actually wrote about in the journal about Miami, other than Jimbo's: Kayaking. Derek and I took a morning to Kayak on the 3rd of July, I believe. Here's the rambling...
After a night of Presidente & White Russians (great combo, yes?) with Rick, I somehow woke my ass up around 8:30am to go kayaking. I've never kayaked before, so I was somewhat excited. Upon giving us the Oletta State Park kayaking map, I was a bit skeptical. Little animal icons of stingrays, manatees, dolphins, and turtle sightings in the area? Riiiight. Incredibly, 20 minutes into our adventure, I see something pop up in the water 100 yards in front of me. I tell Derek to look over yonder, and we paddle to investigate. No more than 20 yards now in front of us, were 3 dolphins coming up to get air. Truly incredible. These werent captivity dolphins - these were REAL FREAKIN DOLPHINS. So cool. I don't think I realized how rare this was until I got back to the check out station, where a late teen/early 20's gal park worker struck up a convo with me. "So how was it?", she asked. "Good. We saw some dolphins really close to us in the bay." "WHAT?!" she goes, eyes wide open. "I've never seen dolphins here yet! I Hate you!" Hah. Here I am thinking dolphins are a common thing to see. Apparently not. "They must like you", she said. Yes, they must. I'm in FL danget. That must mean all the stingrays, fish, crabs, and other wildlife I saw must like me too. God I love FL.
So there you have it. The complete journal entry of 'Attempting Floridian Fame'. Did I leave famous? No. But it sure felt great to leave reality for awhile. More pics and links when the time comes available. Till then, keeps it real.