So after watching the boys drive away, I was going to spend the night with their friend, Ami. Ami was a super cool, beautiful girl who had no problem letting me crash for the evening. She was a long time bartender at one of the biggest clubs in Miami.
Her condo was in North Miami, and overlooked the city skyline and the south beach strip. It was so pretty. We went out for dinner at a Colombian spot, and filled up on some yummy chicken and plantains.
After dinner, we chilled in the hot tub, and enjoyed the views of the sun setting over Miami. When is got too late, we threw on a movie and passed out.
Sunset view from Ami's pad.
I woke up, and started my research for boat hunting. Ami offered to let me stay another night, which worked perfectly, as I was still online hunting, and the people in Miami are incredibly mean. -I will have a lengthy entry dedicated to this. I spent the better part of the afternoon looking online, and scouring messaging boards. That's when I came across Jeremy Marie's website.
Ive done lots of searching before and during this project, and I came across a few individuals who over the last few years have done something similar; thumb rides around the world. (Honestly, no one has done something like what I'm doing now...) I even posted on the sister blog a bunch of links to the amazing individuals on their own journeys, but I hadn't come across Jeremy's site.
Jeremy is a 25yr old Frenchman, who has been on the road, hitching around the world for the past 2.5 years, and is half way into his 5yr trek. As Lady Luck would have it, he's also in Miami! I fired him an email and he responded immediately. He told me he had actually come across my site a few weeks ago(suuuuper stoked to hear this) and that he wanted to meet! Well that evening, Jeremy and I met down by the water and it was a highlight of the trip.
I stepped out onto the patio for a breka from Googling, to have a cigarette, and noticed the guy next door on his patio doing the same, only it wasn't a cigarette, it was like a canoe paddle. I asked him if he would let me in on it, and he didnt have a problem. I hopped over and he passed it to me. The dude was a spitting image of Lil Wayne-a rapper, and a terrible one at that. He introduced himself as Neff, and he was originally Haitian, living in Miami with his manager trying to make it big. Like most people who smoke canoe paddles(it was huge) it was fairly easy to get into a good conversation. We talked about a bunch of really philosophical things, and came up with some funny scenarios. Ami had no idea who was living next door, and laughed when she saw I had already made friends with the neighbours. Neff was cool, and he was actually a rapper himself and really driven to make it big. I don't know the 'rap game' so-to-speak, but I do know that he had some of the characteristics probably necessary to make it. When I told him my gig, he couldn't believe it. He told me a joke I had heard from the comedian Chris Rock; that blacks aren't crazy, white people are. Black people crimes aren't psycho, they're stupid, like stealing socks. Its the white folks who do the crazy chop-you-up things, and only a 'whiteboy would be crazy enough to think and do something like hitch the world'. I had a laugh, and he might have been right. After a couple of hours of analyzing, ranting and all kinds of other crap, we clapped hands, and split. Neff was cool shit, but I was bummed when I saw his website. He was telling me he wanted to go Bob Marley styles, but his site made him look like a ghetto superstar. He invited me back later that evening, and I told him this. I said we don't need another gangsta rapper, and told him to write and produce music about what we were talking about, because he was a very intelligent dude. He liked the ideas, and so did his manager. They offered to let me stay with them, and go to their show that night, but I actually had to decline, as I had too much on my plate already. And to be totally blunt(ha) they smoked me into a stupor, and I couldn't even think. They were hyping how good of quality "dey sheet" was, and it was too much for this 'whiteboi'.
Jeremy and I arranged to meet in the evening, and he bussed out to where I was.
It was indescribable to finally be able to talk to someone who could relate to the emotions I was enduring. (I'm going to post a separate entry about this; not having anyone to relate to, only relaying the same story hundreds of times daily)And not only that, he was a travel celebrity, an incredibly amazing and brave man who had hitched virtually everywhere. If you haven't already seen his site, here it is. I suggest you check it out. I can only hope to have the success he does.
He had hitched every continent, and had 40 countries under his belt on this trip alone. We exchanged stories, laughed about the people we come across, and to be honest, it was absolutely brilliant. We made fun of the smug looks from the posh, the cool hippies along the way who chill with us, and the amazing every day blue collars who are willing to open their lives to world circumnavigators, hitchers at that.
We talked endlessly for hours, smoked a pack of cigarettes, and went and shared a pizza nearby. It was getting late into the evening, so we decided to call it a night, and arrange to meet the following day.
Jeremy, world tour superstar!
I went back, and Ami ordered us some food, and we watched another movie before passing out. Ami was super cool, and totally gorgeous. She was a couple of years older than me, and easy to hang out with.
I awoke just before noon, and packed my things. I thanked Ami for everything, and headed onward out of the beautiful condo. I knocked on Neffs door, but no answer, as I assumed. Probably a late night, as he had that gig.
I had a lead just north of Ft Lauderdale, back in Boca Raton where I had stayed with the boys at the Hilton. I took a metro north and headed to a small marina where I had corresponded with a captain.
Life on the sea is always unstable, and it doesn't change once on land. The captain was unable to make it up, so I headed back for Miami. Via foot. I walked from Boca Raton to Miami. I left shortly before noon, around 1125am, and didn't make it into Miami until about 1030pm, non stop walking. It was over 50miles, and it was devastatingly draining, and my body took some serious punishment. I walked the entire length on the beautiful beach shores, but despite the beautiful scenery, suffered immensely. The added weight of my heavy homeboys B1 and B2 simulated me to weigh about 230lbs. My feet are not used to it, as they normally carry my dainty frail figure. The normally soft sand was rough and coarse, and chewed up my feet. Every grain was exaggerated tenfold, and I was in severe pain once I reach Miami's South Beach. I allowed myself to stop 1 minute for every hour, and I hadn't eaten a single thing all day. I was not in good shape, and paid the price for my poor decision making. I stopped once to run into the water, and cool off, which was borderline orgasmic.
It might not look like much, but it was over 50 miles, and incredibly draining. Never again. Frig B1 seriously needs to lose some weight, fatty.
I finally got back to the busy Collins Ave, and headed to a pizza shoppe immediately. Jeremy and I met at the library, played some soccer, and talked about boat hitching strategies.
Just kickin' it.
He was staying with a couch surfer(www.couchsurfing.com) and headed back to his spot, as it was getting pretty late. We again arranged to meet the following day. I was pretty frustrated. I didn't have a place, and knew I wouldn't find, as Miami is a city full of either tourists, incredibly wealthy smug arseholes(pardon my French) or visible minorities. And the poverty gap is immense and prevalent. There is no grey zone, only black and white. Rich and poor. Service industry, and those being served. Jaguars and sh*t boxes.
I wandered around, trying a few run down hotels, 2 hostels, to no avail, and decided to start eyeing the beachfront spots I could tuck away and set up my hammock. I went into a tattoo parlour(they often have courtesy computers) and asked to use theirs. While Googling how to invent teleporting, I found a hostel called the Clay Hotel, that was only $20 a night, and it was close by. I still had enough money that had been donated to me over the duration of the project that I decided to tap into it, rather than risking the chance of a lovely encounter with Miami's finest(they beach patrol at night) or the drunken vagrants stumbling around with piss jugs. (they also beach patrol at night)
The Clay Hotel is on the corner of Washington and Espanola, a main intersection in South Beach.
The corner of Espanola, full of resto bars and Italian patios.
And a soccer playing hitchhiker.
It was full of backpackers and South American tourists, and I checked in well past midnight. They didn't have wi-fi, they didn't have blankets, but they had staff who didn't give a flying fart about anything other than the text messages they were wrapped up in. You get what you paid for, right? I went out, and Robert at 5 Guys Burger Joint gave me a burger and drink, while we had a smoke. I finally went to room #14. It was dorm styles, and of course everyone was fast asleep. I hate getting into the dorms so late, as everyone is already in bed, and you have no choice but to do the same, but who's to blame? Moi. I found the one vacant bed; a top bunk, put the packs down, and went to sleep. It took maybe 3.6 seconds before I was out like a light.