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Read how a road trip across the Keys of Florida, to the southern-most tip of the United States, cultimates in an explosive sprinkle of sharp snap-shots and personal mishaps that will make you smirk and want to pack your bags.The North American continent is fraying out along its edges like a carpet and I'm leaping over an array of tiny islets. Land is no longer solid, is dissolving, and the intensity of the light stings me in the eye till it hurts. Everything is sureal and I'm dizzy with excitement.
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Snap Shots of a Journey to the Southernmost Point of the USA
I hop into the rented car at the Miami airport and instantly got lost on the tangle of highways leading out of town. I want to go south, to the Keys, and within ten minutes I’m half way to Fort Lauderdale, racing north. It looked so easy and after over an hour I figure it out as well. I hit the U.S. Highway Nr.1, the 2,390 miles long (3,846 km) road that follows the eastern coast of the United States from Maine all the way to Key West and, on passing a row of drive-in restaurants on the Turnpike Nr.1, by Homestead, I halt to congratulate myself on my extraordinary sense of orientation. Apart from two fast-food employees, stepping into the humid air of Florida to smoke a cigarette, there is only an Afro American kid on a rusty bike that’s too small for him slowly turning curves on the deserted parking place. When he spots me, he promptly peddles over.
“I need to feed my younger brother,” he announces by way of introduction, while his dark eyes stare blankly into mine.
“Give me money.”
I stare back, obviously expecting more from somebody, who has nothing to offer; no education, no hope, no future.
Reluctantly he adds a hollow sounding, “Please?”
Futility is written all over his face. He looks barely seventeen and drained of expectation. South of Miami’s glittering beaches there is nothing, only flat swampy land on the one side and the roar of the Atlantic on the other. Everywhere homes are up for foreclosure, the hostile Everglades stretch to the West and there is only the impersonal traffic on the Turnpike, a constant flow of vehicles rushing by, polluting the air of those too poor to move somewhere better. I pass him a few dollars and drive on.
The Everglades, also known as the River of Grass
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