Leaving Miami is difficult. It is such a surprisingly gentle place. The Miami-Dade police reports in the local press are almost comical in their innocuousness. A pot-plant is stolen from a fourth-floor balcony, a car is 'keyed 'on Ocean Drive. All this seems a teeny-weeny bit wuzzy to South Africans . My theory is that CSI Miami and Miami Vice and other mayhem movies are made here precisely because the crew can romp off to party and return to find the tyres on their vehicles, and the contents safe.
Iwill miss the people. The very old man who sheltered with me in a bus shelter during one of Miami Beach's drenching storms. He moved his prayer-shawl to make place for me, and, tapping its plastic cover, said in mock reproach, "We go to pray while the ladies go shopping". I smiled and said, "I know. You thank God that you are not ladies", which made him chuckle happily into his orthodox beard. I did not even go on to beat him about the head with my view that patriarchs, of whatever stripe, makes the lot of women at best mediocre, at worst, vile, and then thank whatever gods may be for what they, as men , have wrought . Just goes to show how laid-back you become in this town.
I will miss the buses themselves. In rush hour they are filled with workers and scholars, tough, sunburnt women in hard-hats, going home from construction sites,beautiful schoolgirls yelling into their cellphones, strangers making faces at dark-eyed little Latinos sitting on their mothers' laps. Men wearing t-shirts with daft messages on them. One singularly robust lad had the word "Affliction" emblazoned across his chest. Why?During off-peak hours the bus becomes a Cuban Wrinklies' Club . The talk is lively and entertaining , even if I cannot understand a word ,and the hefty African -American bus driver treats us as if we are elderly babies in a vast pram. But more regrets tomorrow. I'm off for my last ride.