Goodbye America

Miami Beach, the closest thing to paradise I have yet experienced. Sea, sun and shirtless skaters. I have a new goal in life: to live in Miami. Well. Maybe. Anyway, I seem to have messed up my hotel booking, it is from 13th – 14th of December instead of 3th to 4th. A quick call with the booking agency has the matter resolved, albeit in a somewhat more expensive hotel. It is still at the beach though, so I’m not complaining. It is good to have an entire room and bathroom to myself for once!

After dumping my luggage, I take a stroll along the beach. It’s around 22 degrees Celsius, but under the glare of the sun it feels like at least 30. I could live with that, walking around in shirt and shorts in early December. Now, there is no hackerspace in Miami. But, I used to watch a lot of Miami Vice when I was young, so I had to stop by. It’s all there, the palm trees, the wide roads flanked by pastel-tinted art-deco low-rise buildings. I don’t seem to detect any of the vicious crime and drug-smuggling though, but no doubt if I had looked it could be found.

After a good nights sleep, it is time to start my journey back home. Starting with the return of the rental car at Miami International Airport. It is an emotional goodbye. After 8762.8 miles, this car feels like home. In fact, it is the closest thing to home I have had for 6 weeks. It has served me well, never asking for much and always ready to take on endless roads through cold and hot weather. Never complaining when I revved up the engine to swerve through the armadas of crazy Boston drivers or insane New York City cabbies. Thank you Ford Focus with Nevada license plate 402WUM. I shall miss you.

I manage to get through security without too much groping or invasive body scans, and end up having 3 hours to kill. T-Mobile is letting me down again, so I purchase some crappy wifi and check my mail. I feel a bit depressed. It is really over now. I will miss this country. I think I might have fallen in love with it. I had never expected this!

By the time we lift off night has fallen. It is a dark but clear night. Miami is a sea of orange lights below. Soon, the lights thin out into lines demarcating the strip-malls and occasional suburb along the highway. Until it is pitch dark down there. The only light coming from the flash-bulb on the wing and the interior cabin lights.

A 22-hour layover awaits, so I collect my bags and walk out into the cold Washington DC air. I wait for the hotel shuttle. Wait some more. And some more. By now I have seen all of the other hotels’ shuttles 3 times it seems so I decide to give the hotel a call. Should’ve done that earlier, the clerk says “I’ll send the shuttle right over sir!”.

Well, anyway, safely in the hotel room I enjoy the complimentary chocolate-chip cookie as I zap around American television. No Sonic & Knuckles at this hour (I do love that Knuckles character!), but I fall asleep to some family guy and American dad. Forgot to turn off the heating though, which I regret as I wake up that morning with a slight headache.

After checking out I order some lunch in the hotel restaurant. The two handsome young waiters compliment me on my dreads, making my day again! I wish people in Europe would notice the awesomeness of my dreads some more.

It seems the TSA personnel at Dulles International Airport is not really into it. The naked body scanners are all switched off, and apart from taking of my shoes and veering through the metal detector I can go through security without too much hassle. Not even a quick pat-down. Should I feel less secure now??

When the plane lifts off, it is dark again. Looking out the window I see the lights of Washington DC grow more distant as the plane climbs to cruising altitude. I silently say goodbye to America. I’ve had a wonderfully good time down there. I miss it already.

Thanks so much to all and everyone who made this trip possible. Whether it is by putting me up for a night or two, by engaging me in fun activities at the various hackerspaces or just by pointing out fun and interesting things to do. If I can ever reciprocate the favor, you know where to find me!

So long and thanks for all the fish, Americans.

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2 Responses to “Goodbye America”

  1. Eelco Says:

    Reading your blog almost makes my doubt my strong aversion against US and A. :) Sadly, during the time I need to read your post, about 13 shreds of communication about the whole ‘WikiLeaks’ topic force their way into my brain.

    Glad you had a good time though!

  2. gmc Says:

    I still don’t like their foreign policy, and I’m not saying all Americans are cool. But just like the Netherlands is not defined by Geert Wilders and his voters, the USA is not defined by the conservative bastards. I had a jolly good time, and I have learned to nuance my original hate for this country.

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