Florida, USA

UpdatesPosted by Karl Kristian Larsen 19 Feb, 2010 05:12:50

This was the place I was going to splurge! I had reserved a nice-looking hostel on Miami South Beach, and I was really looking forward to the easiness and safety of a western city! But it turned out that on Miami airport and at the bus from the airport I met three of the most impolite public officials on my trip so far, and addition Miami South Beach felt like the most unsafe of the cities I’ve visited on this 1.5 month journey. BUT anywhere else the Americans were friendly as usual (Hi! How are you?). And those 2.5 days I spent in Florida were really fun and interesting, so no hard feelings to the US and their people!

The first day, the whole of our hostel went to a club. There was a pre-party in the reception and I actually got to know to other Norwegian girls (Nina and Camilla, the first other Norwegians I’ve met since Rio de Janeiro). At the club, there was also a VIP lounge, and Nina, Camilla and I managed to get in (mainly because the guard said that Nina and Camilla could go, and then they asked if I could go as well). Unluckily the VIP lounge were filled with elderly people (40 ish, if YOU are 40 ish, that is not soo old, it’s just a bit old to be clubbing) , so we didn’t spend to much time there, but nevertheless I’ve been in a VIP lounge at a Miami South Beach Club.

The day after I rented a car, I decided to do something really American – ride the highway! I did, in a Toyota Corolla listening to country while wearing my Ray-Bans (That’s American! (I think?)). My goal was Kennedy Space Center.

I arrived at the Space Center after 5 hours, and wow it was really worth it! I’m over the average interested in space, and for those that don’t know it, I seriously thought of a career within Space-Technology before I decided to go for Civil Engineering (OK, I dreamt of an astronaut, but that sounds nerdy). I got to see the launch pads, the assembly sites and more + more. Of course not close up, but I can say I was there! Besides, the Kennedy Space Center has a lot of cool attractions (not rides – but movies and “shows”). The following picture shows the exact computers that were used for the Apollo 11 flight to the moon in 1969 (“One small step for man, one… giant leap for mankind”):

But the cooler thing was that all the computers + big screens came to live in a simulation of what went on during the launch. (I have a video I’ll show when I return home). Also I saw a lot of real space artifacts and other presentations. I even tried a simulator that was giving us the impression of how a rocket launch is!

Next day, the Universal Studios of Florida was on the program! The entrance fee was whopping high (120 USD), but I was prepared for it. No matter what, the day was fun! I had 9 hours in the parks (both the ordinary and the islands of adventures) and got time to ride all the interesting attractions! One amazing thing was that at some attractions there were a “single riders” entrance ( “single riders” as in alone, not a marital status) – by going there I was able to skip most of the 30 minutes+ queue by being put together with other groups riding the attraction. One thing the Universal Studios was really good with was 4-D experience shows. You are sitting in a chair or a wagon that moves, often there is a 3-D movie, so you have 3-D glasses, and you experience real wind/water/fires as your wagon pass by. Pure fun!

(The "The Simpsons" ride was among the funniest!)

When the park closed I actually got the chance to experience something even more American than the highways, the country music and the theme parks – a pro wrestling show! I was free, so I though why not? Well, amazed I was! Seeing small kids shouting and cheering at the guys that were fighting! It was like a family activity, just as going to the football match in Norway! I stayed there for two fights (for those not used to Pro Wrestling, it looks like acting, but I’m not sure. Definitely the guys must feel some pain during these matches). One normal between two people and one cataclysmic with 5 fighters, 1 65-year old coach, 1 chair, 1 metallic-weapon-something and 10 security guards trying to stop the cataclysm. By keeping in mind all this was just acting, it was rather amusing the show they managed to put together. All of the show was filmed, and most likely I’m visible from the “ring”. Look for a guy in grey not as enthusiastic as everyone else, but still smiling. It was presented by TNA wrestling, and filmed 16th of February at Orlando Universal Studios if someone comes over it.

Then I used the night (to save accommodation expenses) to drive back to Miami airport, stopping at various gas stations for breaks and coffee! In total I had used 910km and 30 USD in Regular 87 (aka as gas/fuel/bensin/drivstoff) with my Toyota Corolla

(The photos from Miami Beach, Orlando Studios and the Pro Wrestling are found on the internet)