It's Raining Mormons... in Miami
I was in Miami for a few days this week, applying for an emergency visa so I can go on my long-anticipated trip to Brazil, which is almost entirely paid for, yet missing one very important stamp in my passport to make it a reality.
Because I couldn't find a bike to rent anywhere in the downtown area, I ended up walking the entire city, running all my errands on foot, from the Brazilian Consulate, to the American Airlines ticket counter at the AA Arena, to the visa expediting service who will deliver my passport to me when I change planes from SFO to Rio in Miami on the 28th.
Meanwhile, since my vacation started early, I decided to start reading the book I had planned to savor and review here on VV while I was away: Bicycle Diaries, by David Byrne. So far, I'm enjoying the read (sorry, Adrienne). It's as if I'm having a conversation over coffee with David Byrne himself, pontificating about all things urban, and about the effects of history on our modern cities. I must admit that I was expecting more bicycle than diary, but nonetheless, his points of view as an Everyman who chooses to see and live in cities by bicycle offers a refreshing take on a travel diary.
So I am hooked.
It seemed ironic that I started reading his book in Miami, since the first chapter consisted of a litany of descriptions about the most (in Byrne's opinion) un-people friendly cities in our country: Detroit, MI, Columbus, OH, Sweetwater, TX. What stayed with me from his writings as I walked all from one neighborhood to the next, one of the only pedestrians on the sidewalk, were two questions Byrne has posed in his first chapters: why has the "international style" of architecture (poured concrete and identical windows) become so popular around the globe, and why is cycling considered to be a poorman's form of transportation in many developed nations?
So conditioned am I to photographing stylish cyclists, I thought for sure I would see some hot and ripped bodies cruising around Miami on two wheels. But no, the only cyclists I managed to capture were these Mormon Missionaries:
Later, after traipsing along broken sidewalks for hours along the harbor, I finally caught the tram to the bus to go back to my friend's gated community in Key Biscayne. I noticed a few other individuals waiting at the bus stop.
The lyrics to one of my favorite Talking Heads songs quickly came to mind: "Don't leave me stranded here, I can't get used to this lifestyle!"