Friday, October 1, 2010
Driving through the Everglades on Tamiami Hwy 41. p
It's early Monday morning after my even earlier "walk of shame" and I now find myself on the road driving back on down to Boot Key Harbor. This all after having been enlightened on not just the correct pronunciation of Tamiami... as in State Highway 41, but also how the name came about.
I had for some time in my totally discombobulated mind been at a total loss on how to pronounce the road-signs stating Tamiami. Not only had I all along been mentally mispronouncing the name, but I also had incorrectly assumed it to be the name of some obscure and long forgotten Indian tribe somewhere out in the Everglades.
But no. My dear friend from Marco Island with the enticing swimming pool enlightened me as to its correct pronunciation and explained to me that Tamiami was simply short for Tampa-Miami.
Tamiami is a two lane road cutting across the Everglades. There is little more than low growing brush and swamplands on either side of that road... and I only thought that west Texas was as forsaken as it gets.
All I ever heard from the locals down in this part of Florida was that there were plenty of alligators to be seen sunning themselves along the Tamiami highway and since I have yet to see my first gator, I had my eyes peeled looking out for one.
Well I still have yet to see an alligator and I'm beginning to believe all the talk of alligators languishing throughout that swamp is but a myth at best and an outright fabrication at worst to get tourists to purchase gator trinkets and stuff.
I drive on past a billboard along side of that two lane road. It's trying to entice me to turn off up ahead and wager my money at the Turner River Preserve Casino. For all I know it very well could have been the same casino that claimed a slot machine had malfunctioned and thereby refusing to pay out millions of dollars of prize money to some little old lady who had been playing that thing day after day.
No thanks... I'm not interested and I'm not stopping.
I keep driving and see a crow the size of a turkey intently feeding on some roadkill. That bird hardly moved as I drove on past.
I later drive on past some forsaken place called "Indian Village" and later on past "Clyde Butcher Big Cypress" whatever that might be, and then on past "Shark Valley"... yeah right... Sharks in a swamp?... go find some other gullible tourist to tell that story to.
Up ahead just on the outskirts of Homestead I stop off at a 7-11 for a quick pit-stop. A sign on the glass door advertises "Alligator-Snake Ice cream" of all things. Thanks but no thanks... I believe I'll stick to Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream if you don't mind.
Homestead wasn't anything like I was expecting it to be. I well remember Homestead being decimated by Hurricane Andrew awhile back but was still somewhat surprised by all the Plant Nurseries alongside the road.
Homestead had a Latin American feel to it... all the business signs seemed to be in Spanish and many of the businesses along that road were adorned with flags from every Central and South American country.
I even spotted the Puertorrican flag among the many flags and we all know that the reason why the Cuban community living in South Florida happen to love Miami is because they believe it to be so close to the United States... wtf??.. ha..ha.
I finally drive on down to the upper keys and the scenery has vastly improved yet it seems as if I've hit one traffic light after another. Traffic doesn't seem to go faster than 35 at best with all the road construction.
Eventually I make it on down to mile marker 50 and that can only mean one thing... my four hour drive is over with and I have a car to get around in!
Incidentally, Tamiami is pronounced Ta-MEamE if you figured it out already.