Sunday, April 22, 2007

Crandon Park Marina, FL

0 nm
Wind: NE 15-20 knots, gusting to 25

I made it to the grocery store today, taking the bus into Key Biscayne with Lise. This town is a whole different world--I felt like I had actually wandered into the celebrity world from yesterday’s magazines. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in a city with this much money. I was in my beat-up boat clothes and sandals, a baseball cap, still unshaven and unshowered, with Karl’s gigantic, stinky, trail backpack so I could cart groceries back on the bus. I felt like an alien from another planet. Every woman I saw was a size two at most, and most had overt breast implants and plastic surgery. The men were rotund and old, with women who looked about half their ages, but that might have just been the botox. Every second car on the street was a BMW or Mercedes, and the rest were obscure European SUVs I had never heard of: Porsches, Volvos, Audis.

Even the grocery store, a normal Winn-Dixie, was a creature apart. I had looked at their saver brochure that Lise had, and they had good prices, but when I got there it felt like an elite boutique grocery store, with artisanal wines, breads, and cheeses, staff plying me with grilled South American sausages, and misted fresh herbs displayed in artistic piles. What was funny about the whole ordeal was marching around the designer-attired fifty-year-olds with their premade arugula salads with a grocery cart full of cabbages, flour, onions, and canned beans. People looked at me, and then at my cart, with a vaguely shocked expression, and then averted their eyes. I started in the produce section, and having not seen a vegetable in three weeks, I over-loaded. Twelve pounds of onions (literally), three giant heads of cabbage, six tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, five pounds of oranges, three pounds of apples. I completely covered the bottom of my cart with produce. Then I attacked the canned and dry goods, the cheese aisle, bread. By the time I was done stuff was falling out of my cart, and I hadn’t seen a single person (other than Lise) who had more than five items in their fancy black-coated double-decker urbanite shopping carts. Here I am, a frontier wife among designer women. I should have looked for salt pork, chipped beef, and black-strap molasses. I almost did.

We then had to wait an hour for a taxi to take us back to the marina. Evidently the taxis around here have better things to do than to drag dirty cruisers and their groceries back and forth to their boats. So I certainly experienced some culture shock. Lise and Marcel kept going on and on about how everyone here spoke Spanish, but it still was a surprise to me. I expected the Spanish in the Miami area, but what I didn’t expect was this type of Spanish-speaker. Yet another stereotype with holes poked in it. Most Americans, I imagine, think of the Spanish immigrants in the US as illegal Mexicans, but these are high-class Latin Americans from all over the globe. According to our taxi driver, all of the upper class Argentinians, Chileans, Colombians, and Costa Ricans move here to live, and this city has one of the highest per capita net worths of any in the world. I felt like I was in a bizarre foreign country I had never heard of. When I asked passersby for the time, they struggled for the English words, like I did in France. It was a strange role reversal.

We shared another dinner with Lise and Marcel tonight, to which we were able to contribute at least a little, and they shared their electronic charts with us. I was thrilled to discover that their electronic charts work on our Apple. Maybe we are ready to go to the Bahamas. We’ll see. If the weather holds...


Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm happy to be reading about your adventures again, and of course the accompanying introspection: doubts and revelations that make it all somehow more real to me, across the sea. (Like my rhyme?)

Miss you!

Anonymous said...

your shopping experience reminded me of going to a supermarket after being in the Philippines for 5 years and being overwhelmed in the cereal aisle. I loved the post!

stacy fleeup said...

Hey County and Marzipan!! A sunny hello from your Wrightwood/PCT friends. Clark and I think about you guys often, and I keep him updated on all your adventures as I follow you electronically (does that make me sound like a stalker?!?). I always smile when I think about you guys, the way you embrace life's uncertainties and adventures, being nomadic explorers... makes me long for that ability sometimes (unless you post about a mis-adventure, then I just giggle and am thankful I am where I am!!).
Keep living and learning. We wish you the best!!
Clark & Stacy

Ellen, John & Sophia said...

Yep, welcome to South Florida, where Spanish IS the first language. I had the very same feeling when we got to Crandon park- like I had left the USA for once and for all. Do they still have the blaring dance music on the weekends? It drove us out of there fairly quickly!

Ellen, John & Sophia said...

ps- some friends of ours are in the Dominican Repub. right now and are blogging about it- check it out: I hope you're not blogging because you're sailing!!

Anonymous said...

Well now that you have sucked us in to following your adventure, you go and get lost. How are things? Have pitty on us poor souls that must work and dream only. So drop a note let us know how you are

S/V Gaelic Air

Anonymous said...

Looks like they must have hooked up with the Skipper and Gilligan for a 3 hour tour. Either that or they decided to head to the azores.

Hey guys, how about checking in so we can hear more about the places you have been to.