Miami, On A Budget, Public Transportation, Service, Travel Tips

The Bus

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.

On Christmas Day, around 6:00AM, just before turning onto the MacArthur Causeway,  while still being on Alton Road, I suddenly realized that I was the only passenger left on the bus. December 25, 2012.

On Christmas Day, around 6:00AM, just before turning onto the MacArthur Causeway, while still being on Alton Road, I suddenly realized that I was the only passenger left on the bus. December 25, 2012.

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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.

Canang Sari, a collection of daily offerings for sale at the Pasar Badung in Den Pasar. Bali has changed so much in the ten short years since I have been there last. There are more motor bikes, cars and hotels. But the Balinese people still have their customs and rituals. Daily offerings are made to express gratitude and to honor the gods, the ancestors and the underworld creatures. It is a serene undertaking and clears the mind and heart. Photograph by Andrew Kaufman.

Canang Sari, a collection of daily offerings for sale at the Pasar Badung in Den Pasar. Bali has changed so much in the ten short years since I have been there last. There are more motor bikes, cars and hotels. But the Balinese people still have their customs and rituals. Daily offerings are made to express gratitude and to honor the gods, the ancestors and the underworld creatures. It is a serene undertaking and clears the mind and heart. Photograph by Andrew Kaufman.

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Asia, Bali, Beyond Miami, Body Mind Soul, Concierge ABC, Indonesia, Tipping, Travel Etiquette, Travel Tips

The Ladies of the Back of the House

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Green, Miami, Off the Beaten Path, Outdoors, Sports, Travel Tips

The River of Grass, Florida’s Everglades

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.

Everglades Pelicans

Pelicans gather at the backwoods of Flamingo, the southwestern tip of Florida, located in the Everglades National Park, Photo by Andrew Kaufman.

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