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Amtrak Adventure 9/31 (about October 8th, 2021)
It’s hard to believe that only a week and a half has gone by since we first set out! Or that we’re 1/3 done with the trip. The former figure seems small; the latter large. It’s simultaneously as if we’ve been traveling forever… but have only just begun. Strange.
Yesterday, we spent most of our time getting into Miami. We woke up at the Florida border and got to our Airbnb around 8 PM; onboard, it was a lot of non-adventurous work and reading on both of our parts.
It’s remarkable how different the South feels from the rest of the country. As our train went on, it probably cycled through three full loads of passengers around us; and there’s a distinct cultural difference as soon as you get past DC. The openness and unconditional friendliness in conversations we overheard were quite alien; often, “I’m sitting next to you; let me go grab my bag” introductions we overheard would venture into a long and vulnerable tales about occupation, hometown, or family.
People are very forthright, as well: after I left a 2-3 inch crack in the door after going to the bathroom in mid-Florida, a man shouted at me down the length of the train about how it was bad manners not to close the bathroom door fully, and that I should come back and fix my mistake, and that I’m a grown adult, I should know this by now! Such a trivial confrontation would be completely unthinkable on the West Coast.
The most immediately noticeable thing about Miami is the heat—it’s just warm, even though it’s October and nowhere should be warm right now. The architecture here follows from an ability to forget about insulation: there’s a much fuzzier distinction between inside and outside. Roofed versus non-roofed seems more important.
Our Airbnb is… quite the unique location. Here’s a preview:
We came in at night, so there’s not much good lighting for pictures or a tour. Expect much more on the topic—and an explanation—tomorrow!
Speaking of weather and roofed-ness, I’m glad to have one over me because I’m writing this as a thunderstorm passes directly overhead! It’s delightful to hear the torrents of rain and sky-shaking thunder as we prepare for sleep; quite the welcome change from a rocking train after a while.