When the first train after Francis left Miami on Saturday, the tracks towards New Orleans were still damaged. I decided to do the tour I had as a rough shape in my mind the other way round and take it up to Washington DC next.
Though the trip took 26hrs, it was quite entertaining. The first day I met a nice mexican guy in the restaurant on the train. We kept talking about ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ till the late evening when he had to get off. As the seats are quite comfortable I managed to get a fair bit of sleep over the night.
After a simple breakfast in the morning I just enjoyed the nice senery passing by, sometimes playing around with the linux on the laptop.
Arriving at Union Station right in the heart of Washington, it took just a short taxiride to the hostel, which immediatly felt comfy for me. It’s more some kind of shared accomodation with an interesting owner. He spent quite a while in arts and in architecture and so we surfed the net together (free wireless internet in the hostel) looking for interesting housing concepts using shipping containers.
The days after the strom I sticked together with the others from the shelter, staying at the same hostel.
One day we rented a car to go to the Florida Keys for snorkeling. (renting a car for 5 of us was way cheaper than eny organised bustour) Near Key Largo we went on a boat which took us to a reef ashore. Compared to the reef I saw in Thailand years ago, this was quite alive and populated by heaps of different colorful fish. Though the water was quite muddy (maybe still because of the storm?) snorkeling was great fun and we enjoyed the rest of the day at a nice reopical beach in the national park. (Mo even managed to get a fresh coconut from a palmtree! ;-))
What looked like a severe cat 3 hurricane a few days ago, clamed down on the way and when Frances hit Florida it was just a minor cat 2 hurricane. Just like any usual autumn storm in Germany.
But the experiences at the shelter were a thousand times worth all the trouble!!! After Tom helped me and some other backpackers form the hostel to get to North Miami Beach Senior Highschool, we reported to the redcross as volunteers, and started working that day. First it was just getting people registered when entering, the next days we helped whereever a hand was needed. The handing out of the food each day was a big thing, as people started queuing an hour before the kitchen actually opened, so we had to sort them and get it all done in a civilised way, elderly and handicapped first, then families with young children followd by the rest.
As most people were really friendly and thankful this was a nice experience, some kids even drew a picture saying thanks for the help and stuff like “When I grow up I wanna be like you!”.
As the “storm” is over, we moved back to the Tropics Hostel, enjoying a shower and a room with just 6 people in it.
Cheers, Tim. (aka Tally – a nick one of the kids gave me 😉 )
Well … when I left Charleston yesterday it wasn’t clear that there would be a hurricane closing in on Miami, so now I’m facing evacuations and will join an american guy (Tom), going to a red-cross shelter in some school in north Miami.
I’ll try to keep this updated, but I expect broken power as well as phones and internet beeing down.
Cheers everybody, Tim.
*blown away ;-)*