Friday, July 06, 2007

From a Diamond to a Lump of Coal

I haven't been to Miami in quite a few years so when I went there to take my wife to a hospital specializing in eye care I was expecting to see at least a little of what it had been in my previous visits. Boy, was I surprised.

We stayed at the Radisson Hotel on Biscayne Blvd.. an area that used to be a "go to" place. Although the area still has a lot of the better hotels, they are completely surrounded by very seedy shops and very run down buildings. The streets are full of panhandlers, gang bangers and human flotsam. Every building has storm shutters that are pulled down during non business hours, not to protect them against storms, but to protect them against smash and grab robbers.

I needed to get gas so I went to the first gas station I could find, which was about 2 blocks from the hotel, and found that the gas transactions were conducted through a window made of thick bullet resistant glass or plastic. The area around the pumps was filled with men hanging around waiting for a gas customer to pull up and they would practically grab the gas nozzle out of your hand to pump your gas and then receive a tip. The smell of cheap booze and beer breath was palitable and overpowered the normal smell of gasoline. Naturally you had to pay before pumping but the attendant was so cowed by the vagrants he wouldn't even come to the window to make the transaction. Naturally there was no pay at the pump capability so you had to navigate your way through the derelicts to go to the window.

Fortunately I am a fairly large person who looks stronger than I really am so I was not hasseled by the very unhealthy looking gas pump hijackers. My wife was extremely apprehensive of me even getting out of the car and was p[robably was concerned about her own safety as well.

When it became apparent the station attendant was not going to conduct the transaction, I walked back to the car where one of the pump hijackers was holding the gas nozzle. I took the nozzle out of his hand, put it back on the pump and proceeded to get in the car. The hijacker said "hey man, don't you want gas?" . His breath would have killed the canary.

In the time we were in Miami, the only person I met who spoke unbroken english was the doctor. Everyone else spoke Spanish or Hatian French.

Next time I go to take my wife to the hospital, I will stay well north of Miami and make the drive into town in the traffic that closely resembles the chaos of Mexico City.

We should erect a fence 20 miles out from the Miami city limits and turn Miami over to Cuba. The Cubans own it anyway so it would be no loss to us.

I'm sure Cuba wouldn't welcome the gift of Miam since it is largely populated by people Castro shipped here from his prisons and asylums during the Mariel Boat Lift in the 70s while Jimmy Carter sat in the White House picking his nose.

Yes. I blame Jimmy Carter for the sad state of decay that is now Miami. Carter managed to take a diamond and turn it to a lump of coal.



Blogger Chad said...

Sounds like Oakland in the mid-80's (or Memphis from the same time frame). One of my basic rules in life is if you are in an area where the McDonalds do all their business through bullet proof glass you need to move along to another area. Unfortunately in Oakland that meant driving to Sacramento.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Thanks for dropping by Chad.

I seems that cities go through periods of decay and renewal with some regularity. NYC is a good example: in the 70s &80s it was filthy, bums and street hustlers abounded and the transportation services were abysmal.

Today NYC is much cleaner, subways and busses run pretty much on time and 3 card monte is not seen on the streets.

Miami on the other hand shows no signs of improvement in the foreseeable future. I think it will sink even further into decay and will never return to being the tourist Mecca it once was.

I think people will avoid Miami because it has become an extension of Cuba and Hati. Not that these immigrants are bad people, but because it is almost impossible to communicate with the locals. Miami will continue to decay until English is the primary language which I don't see happening anytime soon.


9:04 AM  

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