So I left Florida in a hurry. I'd started to feel suffocated and not my normal self at all. And it didn't help that Frank was paying for everything. And I really didn't enjoy the whole guided thing. It's not me. I like the freedom of living in a truck and fishing on my own. That's what I do all the time and anything else is simply second best. And so I holed up in a swamp for a few days until some money came through. You have to feel good within yourself, right? And a swamp isn't such a bad place. At least not during the day.
It's interesting how that one decision now changes the rest of my summer. The plan was to head back to the UK for a month and visit Denmark before heading to Montana. The plan now is to hang out with Bruce for a few days and then head over to Montana, possibly via Canada. I'll travel back to New Zealand via Europe. That makes more sense I think, although I may surprise myself yet.
Sex, drugs and Tarpon.
It's been a while since we've had a real Vortex. Hey, I've been writing about fishing and life's been easy. But it was Frank's fault; we got pretty drunk that first night while discussing forward creep and Frank took me to a strip club. I've never been to a strip club before, cos, you know, I've lived a sheltered life and I'm a nice guy. Strange thing is I get the impression they're quite acceptable here in the States. It's illegal to sunbathe topless on the beach of course but strip clubs are fine yeah, like that makes sense. And true, a girl I met in Texas immediately invited me to one, which although didn't happen, did pave the way forward in my head.
I want you to imagine something: you finally see your boyhood fantasy woman and she's stripping for money. Pop.
Hey, it could be worse. Maybe she's a hooker as well, takes it all ways, knows someone called Big John and injects Heroin. American Dollars the new religion.
"But she earns 500 bucks a night, so it's ok, Paul"
Do I give you the impression that I'm feeling a little disenchanted with Florida? Well, I wouldn't wish to give you that impression some of the friendliest people in the world live in the Keys. They may not answer your good mornings or thank you for holding the door open, but deep down inside that money-distorted mind is a good heart. I was thinking about selling the car and living under a bridge with the normal people. It was close but instead I drove for three days and now I'm somewhere where people smile and not just for a bigger tip.
Oh and talking of tips, apparently I committed a bit of a faux pas in the restaurant when I asked the headwaiter if I could bum a pen. Instead, I should have asked the coloured boy standing in the corner. Luckily Frank saved the day and tipped the boy. Silly me not to have realised there was a social structure amongst the waiting staff. Bring back the class system, that's what I say. I'll be doing this more often by the way, so if you think it will embarrass you be sure not to invite me anywhere. Not that anyone over here is going to talk to me after this Vortex and that's because:
The honeymoon is over.
Jason asked me what I was expecting, which was a really good question. I think I was expecting something less artificial. Hippies smoking pot, a happy-go-lucky gay scene, innocent women, a relaxed friendly attitude to life, smiling happy people: an alternative culture. And all I found was what money can buy.
So it was a mistake. It was great meeting up and fishing with Gordy, Tom and Greg but that's all.
I'll add some stuff to the saltwater section soon and I'll try not to be too damning about it.
They love me here in America by the way.