Monday, October 30, 2017

on florida's shore

The morning sunlight hitting the skyline of Miami has always been one of my favorite sights.

That was going to be my opening line for today's essay, but it is patently untrue. I have never seen the morning sunlight on the Miami skyline. I have seen the skyline several times when boarding afternoon cruises. But never in the morning.

But it is quite a sight, isn't it? I guess most cities that nestle against vast bodies of water can make the same claim. Manhattan in the morning is a prime example.

What that sight meant for me, though, is that another cruise was over. Even though I have nearly a week of travel in front of me before I return home to Mexico.

Today I am in Orlando. It was simply a stop over for the night before I head on to Reno. I will spend a few days at my legal residence in Nevada, and then head to Boise to Portland to Los Angeles for my return trip.

I needed to take care of some banking this morning. I tied it in with my morning walk. And I am glad I did. Otherwise, I would not have seen this sign that reminded me of the last cruise tale I will tell you. At least, for this cruise.

Each morning I would walk my paces on deck 8 -- the promenade deck. In theory, between the hours of 7 AM and 4 PM, the deck is designated as a quiet zone. To give readers the space they would not have in other public areas.

But it was hardly a quiet zone. In each group of couches, there was at least one guy who mistook the readers as a potential audience at Hyde Park speakers corner. Usually, an American.

One guy in particular was a serial violator. But there were always plenty of international listeners in his amen corner. Most of the time, it was the standard left litany. Wealth is too concentrated. Trump is an idiot. Israel is a menace to world peace.

One day, though, he headed in an entirely different direction. He was listing cities that his European audience should visit. On each of my laps, he frommered his way through a new city.

I was almost done when he made it to Miami. "Miami. If you want to see Americans, there are none in Miami. Just Cubans and Jews."

I nearly stopped in mid-stride until I noticed the Europeans were nodding in agreement. That did not surprise me. Almost all of my leftist friends in Europe have a strong streak of anti-semitism. But, then, so do a lot of my conservative European friends. And sentiment for refugees has certainly declined on the continent.

Choosing when to mount one's moral dudgeon stallion is a necessary art on cruises. That is probably true with life in general. The fact that the Cubans and Jews that were being reviled were American citizens would not have mattered to that particular blowhard.

But facts do not seem to matter much in politics these days. And that is true for a lot of the world beyond the borders of The States. Just try having a rational discussion about Mexico's current president. It ain't going to happen.

Thus, I take comfort in looking at pretty skylines. Miami yesterday. Orlando today. Reno tomorrow.

And then my little village by the sea reflecting the sunset across the bay. Where I will be home. For at least a month or two. 

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