I’m Back! Did Ya Miss Me?

1998 > Russia

Re-entry into the USA after a few years outside is one hell of an experience.

an absence of one and a half years, what can I say?

I love America!

flew into Miami, and in half an hour I was in heaven waltzing down
Collins Avenue on Miami Beach with the sun tanning my white skin. Now I
sit in my hotel room, recovering from an afternoon of sun, an evening of
frozen daiquiris, a night of dancing and a morning of bright sunlight.
Looking around, I see that America has changed a bit in my absence.

Yesterday, the same tan gods and goddesses were worshipping the sun
god on the beach, as they always have. Constantly turning to expose a
new angle to the mighty Ra, I was in awe at how much I have changed from
my former beach bum self. Gone were my powerful swimming muscles,
sun-bleached hair, and bronze skin, replaced by my little Buddha belly
(more a twelve-pack size than a six-pack), my thick frost-fighting
beard, and my butt-white cold-tolerant skin.

In the evening, I went out to dinner with my good friend, Misty. When
we used to hang out, I was too young to drink, and never really had the
desire too when the opportunity presented itself. Now, I can drink six
shots of vodka before I get wobbly, and Misty noted the difference as I
drank my way past her.

Oh, and all these cocktails confused me. I’m used to a vodka shot
with a pickle chaser, not a ‘Fuzzy Navel’ a
”Buttery Nipple’ or other such concoctions. Who dreams
up this stuff and how can people drink it?

Misty and I did step out on the town, grooving right past the
bouncers to check out Madonna’s new club, ‘Liquid‘.
The Queen of Pop has a respectable entry in the Miami Beach scene, but
nothing I haven’t lost a bit of hearing too before. The bar was very
red, with good chill music, and the dance floor has the usual three-room
partition (house, R&B, and chill rooms). The dancers were good (but
clothed) and the music was great (but a bit too loud).

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t get jet lag, and I awoke the next
morning to bright sunlight and the need to forage for breakfast. At
Dan’s Cafe, a Miami landmark, I ate my breakfast in awe. Miami has
always been slanted towards Latin America, even before the waves of
Cubans descended on the city post-Castro, but now their influence is

Spanish was the minority language in Miami, but I do say that it is
now equal to, if not a bit more common than English is. I knew I would
be an oddball for knowing a bit of Russian, but I was shocked at how
hopeless I felt when Spanish was spoken more than my native tongue! Now
I know how New Yorkers felt when the waves of Italian immigrants swarmed
into their city at the turn of the last Century. I’m confident though,
that in one or two generations, the power of McDonalds’s and MTV will
mix these newbies into our melting pot as seamlessly as all the
Cirpiani’s, Vargarisi’s, and Vota’s have.

The 80+ channels on the hotel TV will sure help with the mixing, if
they can get the content right. I was a little daunted by all those
choices after my 15 channel Moscow situation, until I clicked through
the channels and found that quantify does not equal quality. There still
isn’t anything on the idiot box worth my remaining brain cells, though
South Park and Celebrity Deathmatch were pretty good.

Ok, more as I continue to explore…

One Comment on “I’m Back! Did Ya Miss Me?

  1. Hi!

    I’ve been reading your comments on travel since I became infatuated with Russia a few years ago. I’m very glad that you continue with your posts. You appear (I have to say it this way as I haven’t met you) to be an American who has been able to escape the preconceptions of his country and observe your surroundings with a fresh eye (or maybe the vodka helps?). I will come back at some time to read most of your site (I’m somewhat of a compulsive reader) and I’ll get a lot of pleasure from it I know. Please keep on with your writing – you provide a window onto a part of the world that I would not otherwise have any idea of.

    Best regards,
    Marc Erickson