With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

Take Your Personality with You When You Leave the Train*

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 18, 2010

July 29-31, 2010

All Pictures

fun on an @

Demelza is coming!

Did I ever tell you about DD? I’ve known her for years. We met in the first grade and have been in the same class from then until 10th grade. You know her. Or at least you know some of her work. She used to edit this blog, in her spare time.

The last time I saw her was back in… 1996. I was on spring break from high school and flew back to St. Croix to see my mom. We went kayaking and swimming one day and had a great time. Unfortunately, I can’t find any of the pictures we took back then.

She came up to see me for a weekend. It’s funny, but when you have a good friend that you haven’t seen in a long time and then you meet that friend again, it’s like the time and distance melts away. I felt like I had last seen her a few days ago. And she looks great! Other than her being taller than she was the last time I saw her, she looks the same.

I wonder what skin care product she uses…

Free Metromover

Bienvenidos a Miami

Since I had to drive into Miami to pick Demelza up, I thought Mark and I could see some of the sights downtown. We parked by Bayfront Park and walked around. Then we saw the Metromover trolleying around above our heads.

We had already paid for 2 hours and had more than an hour left. We hopped on the mover to see where it would take us. The Metro Mover is completely free and there is no driver; it’s all automated.

We got off at the Freedom Tower. There was a torture exhibition there, but I didn’t feel like paying the entry fee. So, we got back on the free mover and returned to our car. Our next stop was South Beach.

South Beach in Miami

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for a swim. It took us 20 minutes just to find parking. We walked along the shore for about 10 minutes then headed back to the car, then to the airport to pick Demelza up.

dinner at a diplomat’s house

It’s in the eyes; yes, the eyes.

The JET Programme hosted a pre-departure orientation at the Japanese consul’s home. It was actually the orientation for group B which was leaving the next day. I am in Group C, but I am the only one in group C. So rather than having me go solo at group C’s orientation I was invited to the earlier one.

Miami’s Japanese Consul General and me

It was splendid. I got to meet some of the teachers who would be in my area. One of them would turn out to live in the same building that I will be moving into. I met the Consul General and had a great dinner. There was only one thing wrong.

Mark eating Indian food at the Japanese Consul General’s home in Miami

Demelza was in town for only a few days and this orientation took half a day of my time. I was allowed two guests, but they had to be strictly family and significant others only. Mark, my boyfriend could come as my significant other, but Demelza could not.

My mother, the stubborn woman she is, would not let me go to the orientation without Demelza. “You can’t just leave her at home after she came all the way here to see you!” So Demelza came. I wasn’t going to mention anything about who she was to anyone there. I’d never seen any of these people before and most of them, I would never see again.

my “half-sister” and me

Everything was going great until a lady, one of the JET’s mom, asked, “How are you two related?” I stood there just blankly staring at the woman. I’m not a very good liar. She continued, “I just know you two are related. Are you cousins?”

“We’re half-sisters,” Demelza spoke up. “Yes. Half-sisters,” I repeated with a cordial smile. “Half-sisters,” I said once again to make sure the lady believed me. “I knew it!” the lady said, “I could see it in the eyes; yes, the eyes…”

The Miami JETs

She left, no doubt to brag about her astounding ability to spot relatives. Demelza turned to me and whispered, “I practiced that on the ride over here in case someone asked. I hope I was convincing enough.”

“We love public transportation!”

Traveling With the Masses to See the Fishes

Mark and I had been using my mom’s mini van to get around. But this day she needed her van. Staying at home all day didn’t seem like any fun, so we opted for public transportation. Our destination? The Miami Seaquarium!

I was excited. I had never used public transportation in Miami before. Outside the US, I’m all about buses and subways. In the states, I  either have or borrow a car.

The buses in Miami come with free wi-fi.

I looked online and the cheapest option for us was to get a 5USD day pass. We could have gotten an EasyCard, but since it would only be used for one day, the EasyTicket was the better choice. Online there is a list of places where the EasyCards and EasyTickets can be purchase. The one nearest us was at a Sedano’s grocer.

The next day my mom dropped us off at the bus stop. I felt like I was 12 again. All that was needed was for my mom to kiss me goodbye, tell me what time I had to be back, and to warn me not to talk to shady looking characters.

Mark is cool today.

We had no trouble getting to and from the Seaquarium, partly because as we were waiting for our bus in Homestead we overheard a conversation. There was a guy in a distinct blue shirt and he was telling his friend that he was going to Dadeland South Metro Station. That’s was our first stop. So we just got off when he did.

To our surprise, he and his uncommon shirt was on our return bus. It was raining outside and in the darkness of night we couldn’t see out the bus. But, we knew we had reached our destination when Mr. Blue-Shirt made his way to the back door of the bus. He, without knowing it, helped us get off at the right stop once again.

Mark getting friendly with a stingray

The Seaquarium was great. We made a point to see every show that was offered. It took us 3 hours to get there by bus, so we weren’t going home without seeing everything!

Demelza and I after being splashed by dolphins

That’s how Floridians roll.

Here is a little insight on the behavior of Floridians. Floridians love to be in control of the weather. Take a Floridian up north, no matter what time of year, and he or she will complain about how cold it is. Put that same Floridian back in Florida and he/she will breath a sigh relief for surviving the cold then proceed to turn the AC to max power.

I haven’t gotten to the truly astounding part yet. When the Floridian has cooled down, the knob on the AC will not be changed. Instead the Floridian will search in a purse or backpack for an “emergency” sweater and put it on. If you ever see a person driving around in their car in the summer with a sweater on, that person is most likely a Floridian.

I am now a Floridian. The Seaquarium is outdoors except for a few cafeterias. It was very hot. The day started out with us making sure to sit in the non-splash zone at shows. Then towards mid-day I wanted to stand right next to the water so that I could be splashed. I needed to cool down and the dolphins did not disappoint.

All Pictures

* The Metro Rail announcement as I heard it.


The United States of America

How to get there:

You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.

I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.


  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)






  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

Bayfront Park

How to get there:

By Public Transportation –

For driving directions click the link on “How to get there”.


1075 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, Florida 33132


  • 305-358-7550



  • The park is free to enter.
  • Events might have entry fees.
  • You have to pay for parking.


  • sunrise to sunset


  • You have to pay for parking.
  • There are many public parking spots across the road from the park.
    • It cost 6USD for the first 2 hours and 3USD for every hour after that.

Freedom Tower

How to get there:


600 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132


  • (305) 237-3010



  • truth@freedomtowermiamimural.com
  • freedom@freedomtowermiami.org


It depends on the event


  • Tu-Su 12:00-19:00


  • You can park along Bayfront Park and walk or take the Metro Mover to the tower.
  • Events

South Beach

How to get there:

  • 25°47’41.2″N 80°07’32.2″W

There is no address but here is what Wikipedia has to say about its location:

“It is the area south of Indian Creek and encompasses roughly the southernmost 23 blocks of the main barrier island that separates the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay.”




  • Free, but the restaurants and bars here are a bit over priced.


  • You can’t close a beach this big!


Miami Seaquarium

How to get there:

  • 25°44’03.4″N 80°09’53.2″W


4400 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Fl 33149


  • (305) 361-5705



  • 3-9           28.95 USD + tax
  • Adult      39.95 USD + tax
  • Parking  8.00 USD
  • Buy online and save 2.00USD
  • There is a 50% discount with an IATAN ID card.
  • If you are driving, please remember that there is a 1.50USD cash toll fee to get on to the Rickenbacker Causeway.


  • 9:30 – 18:00 Everyday
  • Last show starts at 14:30
  • Ticket Booth closes at 18:30


  • This is one of the places in Florida where you can swim with dolphins.
    • The fee is about 90USD. Check out the Seaquarium’s website for the details.
  • You may want to bring your own lunch; it is allowed. The food here is not that good and grossly overpriced.
  • If your bring your own water bottle you can fill it up for free at any of the many water fountains around the Seaquarium. Otherwise, purchase one bottle from a machine (3USD) then refill that at the water fountains.


2 Responses to “Take Your Personality with You When You Leave the Train*”

  1. Demilove said

    This, of course, is my favorite post!! I had such a Blast at the dinner and the Seaquarium!! I could always enjoy an adventure with you guys and look forward to the next one, which will not take as many years to occur…btw, I might have left some of my personality on the train!! LOL


  2. […] I had to get back to Miami for some paperwork and pre-departure prep by the end of July. […]


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