Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Hallo, campers! And we're back! From Miami, that is. :)

I see I haven't missed much on the blogs this past week. Nick, what's up? Frankly, I am relieved that the Reign of Terror has come to an end, but where have you been? It's been two weeks! What? Nothing to say about Robert Blake? And Shauna, why are you thinking about shutting down? "C'est moi" is enjoyable! I will miss it. :)

Let's see... Where to begin about the trip to Miami for the Whirlwind Find an Apartment Tour 2002? Alissa and I had a really good time, overall. I was thoroughly enchanted by some parts of Miami. The colors were so vibrant- the ocean, the architecture, the sky, the green palm trees, the dialects- it was such a sensory experience just walking through the streets. And the people were so diverse. All my life, I have lived in a place where pretty much everyone is the same, and/or the people who are different were all different in the same way. Syracuse was an extremely racially diverse campus, but pretty much everyone was a class-privileged college student (this is a Big Generalization, of course), but you catch my drift.

I am so excited to be going there. It definitely feels like a foreign country to me. English is the second or third choice linguistically, as far as I can tell. I held my own, though. I was having flashes of fluency where I didn't have to translate word for word throughout a conversation. I haven't had that in years. It was pretty cool. I met my co-workers, although not my boss, as she was out of town. They were so nice. I am especially excited to be working with The Photojournalist Who Shot The Elian Gonzalez Being Taken Out of the Closet At Gunpoint picture, although he is not the only Pulitzer winner on the 5-person staff. I was so excited; it was like the footage of the hysterical girls during the Beatles performance on the Ed Sullivan Show inside my head. :) I have admired the work of these photojournalists for years, long before I knew that I would have this chance to learn from them. Before I left, they all made a point to hug me, which sounds weird, but it really wasn't. I was really surprised and touched by that. They said I have strong sports in my portfolio, but not pro sports (I have one pro sports picture), so they are really pushing for me to shoot Miami Dolphins games and WNBC stuff this summer. They have also started the lengthy process of submitting my name to NASA so that I can get press access to shoot a shuttle launch in August. (GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!) I. Am. So. Psyched. Apparently, I can also look forward to shooting "Alligator Mating Season" (I am so not making this up) and shark migration (it's a big deal after all the shark attacks last summer), as well as what is being forecast as a pretty severe hurricane season. I am like a little kid on Christmas morning. I can't even believe it.

Anyway, as for the logistical part of the trip- I have a very nice, clean, pretty, safe apartment with all kinds of nice stuff- pool, fitness center, I can have my dog!, balcony, car wash on premises, etc. I am definitely going to be paying for these amenities, but the only other option (honestly, the only one) was to rent this scary "cottage" from an even scarier "woman" named Jordan (Honest to Goddess, I thought she was a man until she opened the door. (I saved her talking on my voice mail to prove how much she sounds like a very effeminate man. You can call it if you want. Let me know.) The "cottage" was somewhere between a hole in the ground and a condemnable, leaky, rusty, smelly yurt currently populated by a dirty, boxer-wearing (When you know potential tenants are coming? Jigga-wha? DUDE. PUT. ON. SOME. PANTS.) mullet-sporting "musician" and an invisible (no matter, it was emanating odor waves visible to the naked eye) Smelly Cat. (Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat.... What are they feeding you?) Um, yeah, NO. No, thank you. Not to mention that the landperson (yeah, the jury is really still out on this one) was rude and weird. I was still considering taking it and mentally fixing it up myself and investing in a gross of Lysol when Alissa beat me with the Sensible Stick and told me it was okay to spend more money for a safe, squeaky clean apartment fifteen minutes from work. And, my credit was approved for it today, so it's officially mine! YAY!

I will say this for Florida drivers- I have finally found a state that can boast that its drivers are worse than the legendary Mass-holes of the Greater Boston Area, et al. Damn. Red lights are a highly disregarded suggestion, and turn signals are never, ever used. Ever. A police car cut us off without a turn signal, and believe me, he wasn't going to an emergency in a big hurry or anything useful like that. And the signage- Scott, I am thoroughly surprised that you found your way out of the state before the Turn of the Millenium when you co-opped there in '98. Each road has four names, only two of which are provided at any given time. So, for example, you may be on I-95 South, US Rt. 1, Dixie Highway and the North-South Expressway at any given time, as they are, in some parts of Miami, the same road. This is not necessarily a bad thing, unless Mapquest only tells you to look for two of those names, which are not the two listed on the signs. It was the Vacation of Many U-turns. And, unfortunately, I could not help with the driving as it would have cost, literally, $2 billion a day for me to be a second driver on the rental car, which would have been charged on Alissa's credit card "as a precaution" if I even *thought* about driving. Oh well. Bitch, bitch, bitch.

I went jet-skiing for the first time when I was down there. It was so much fun. I felt like I was flying. It was incredible. Also, the guy who rents them was really busy hitting on this woman with breasts that were spilling all over South Beach and gave us an extra hour by accident. Very fun.

On the downside of the trip, there was a big blood stain on the floor of our hotel, hairs in the shower that were decidedly pubic, bugs scampering here and there, a very sketchy pool that had, at one point, a naked woman in it, and two men who were fighting and threatening each other outside our door at 6 a.m. which made us leap up and triple check the dead bolt and try not to listen so we couldn't be called in as witnesses in case somebody died. We also had a terrifying experience looking for an all-night pharmacy for some "soothing ointments" (Alissa needed aloe for her sunburn, and I really, really, really, really needed another type of soothing ointment- (Women, call me and I'll fill you in; Men, try not to think about it) and I was, at one point considering knocking on random doors begging for Diflucan. It was bad.

Well, dear reader, there is much more to tell you about a man in tightie-whities by the side of the road who had a piglet on a leash, unlimited amounts of Rold Gold Colossal Cheddar Snacks, and the Return to the Land of Pale, Lumpy People (My people! MAH PEOPLE!) during our layover in St. Louis. Also, I took my Very Much in Need of Soothing Ointment Self whitewater rafting in the Poconos the next day. (There is a certain part of my body that hates me, by the way, and it is now seeking a new owner :)- I think there is a monologue coming here: "The Little Cootchie Snorcher that Just Couldn't Anymore") I think I will have to wait to tell you the full story of my falling into the 40 degree Lehigh River tomorrow, as I am tired, and this is an oh-so-very long entry. Frankly, I am surprised you are still reading. We have some lovely parting gifts waiting for you on your way out. :)

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