For the last ten years, I have been traveling by public transportation. Seven out of those ten years, I traveled from Miami Beach to the Mandarin Oriental, located on Brickell Key, south of Downtown Miami and the Miami River. Rain or shine, weekday or weekend, Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, I was at the bus stop at 5:30 AM to be on time for my 7:00 AM shift. I would place my bicycle on the bus rack and then bike back in the afternoon.
Hotels always have a front and a back of the house. You can compare the back of the house with going backstage at the theatre. As the traveler you will never see the back of the house. This is where you find the employee entrance, the employee hallways (at the Fontainebleau Hotel the employee hallways consisted of a fascinating labyrinth in the hotel’s basement where I often got lost), the employee elevators, the employee uniform room, the employee locker room, the employee cafeteria, the laundry room, the loading docks, offices and lots of storage areas. My favorite storage area is where Housekeeping keeps its soaps, shampoos and body lotions. This area always smells so good. In the employee hallways you will further find all types of message boards with postings celebrating the employee of the month, employee schedules, shopper report results, announcements of upcoming trainings to hotel rules and laws.
One of Florida’s unique destinations is the Everglades National Park, a World Heritage Site, a national treasure and Florida icon. Unlike most of the National Parks in the USA, it has a remarkably flat landscape (you will see no mountains, canyons, or hills) made up of a shallow sheet of fresh clean water spread across an infinite prairie of sawgrass. The river flows slowly from Lake Okeechobee in a S/SW direction into Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Florida’s signature puffy clouds provide for stunning visuals as the majestic cloud formations reflect off the wetlands. This is what all of South Florida looked like just over a hundred years ago. It is the only subtropical preserve in North America and the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles live side by side.