Aimless in America the 3rd

And so my tour continues further south. A day off in Orlando is pleasant but uneventful, like the city itself. I couldn’t find much to do but walk around aimlessly, occasionally getting engaged in conversation by questionable-looking people on the streets, including one dude with what looked like multiple stab scars all over his mid-section and arms. In conclusion, O-Town is charmingly chintzy with perfect weather, but I wasn’t sad to leave it behind after one day.

Due to a delayed train, I arrived in Miami the next day with barely enough time to get to my gig, and I had barely enough time to catch my train outta town the next morning. The cab ride to that night’s show took me through some of the gnarliest-looking stretches of urban blight I’ve ever seen, followed by touristy blocks of shmancy restaurants and outsized hotels, before ending up in a neighborhood known as Little Haiti (apparently there are more Haitians there than there are in Haiti). That night I played at the coolest record store I’ve ever seen in my life, met lots of awesome people and gorged on vegan junk food. It was the highlight of my whole trip, but I still wish I’d had time to explore the city in depth.

This was followed by a 20-hour train ride home spent next to a gregarious Israeli woman who told me all about her tough-as-nails life story, her social and political views, and her concern over the fact that Amtrak takes none of the security measures favored by airlines. I can’t say I shared this latter concern with her in the slightest, since I had some contraband in my backpack at the time and was quite relieved not to be subjected to any searches, but I tactfully chose to bite my tongue, smile and nod.

After this, it’s back to DC for a weekend of couch-surfing, then a few days in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. During a layover in Columbus, a man walks up to me in plain view of the bus station staff and tries to sell me weed and Percosets. I decline. He comes back a few minutes later to hit me up for change, telling me all about how he got too drunk the night before and spent the night in jail, so he missed his bus back to Akron. I found his candor so entertaining that I threw him a few coins.

Ah, the Ohio countryside, those long stretches of pretty farmland with giant billboards boasting the most unforgiving far-right religious rhetoric. At least my stay in Cincy/The Nasty ‘Nati was nice. Good people, good music, good food, good times.

Yes, it’s true that people from the south and the midwest are much nicer than us stuck-up east coast big-city types. If you meet someone in DC or New York or Philly or Boston who isn’t a total asshole, chances are they’re from somewhere else.

This concludes my travel saga.

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Image Source: Patheos