March 12, 2012, by Mark
In true caveman style I have taken myself away from the Internet for a week or so whilst on Spring Break which I must admit we should all do from time to time. But I am back now and hope to give you a double dose of American university life in this post.
It seems along time ago now but my final week before break was a rather hectic one with lots of work to be handed in as well as mid term exams before I was set free. I also got my first taste of being involved with American radio with WTJU the equivalent of University Radio Nottingham – URN where I present a show. Volunteers and not students largely run the station but I am getting a taste of the American style and will hopefully be helping out on various shows in the coming second half of the semester.
Once all was complete the real adventure could begin. Now, Spring Break is a holiday many are aware of but actually know little about. It is what is says; a break in the Spring semester but contrary to popular belief many simply go home to recuperate, but the other half take a vacation with many chasing the sunshine. Due to distance and the vast country on my doorstep going home wasn’t a consideration.
So we gathered an international troop of ladies and gentlemen that comprised of New Zealanders, Irish, Australians, Americans and two of us representing Nottingham University the British. Together we rented a beast of a car and used one of the American’s cars and set off south.
We travelled through the states of Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia where we stayed in a dodgy looking motel straight from a horror movie. It was great fun. Surviving the night we had a waffle house breakfast, a true American fast food eatery proud of the fact that it stays open 24/7 even during hurricanes.
We drove onto the beautiful Flager Beach right on the East coast it was here that the American’s car didn’t feel right at all. So whilst four of devoured some of the best fish and chips I’ve had in a long while, the car owner took the car to the shop. A few hours later it became obvious the car was defunct at least for the week and meant the other car in our convoy had to head to Orlando to rent another vehicle. To our horror the four of us were stranded at the beach bar, it was a tough afternoon and then evening.
Eventually we were rescued by one the Australian in a new rental car and continued south. We stopped to collect the American now without his car who had made it to his auntie’s nearby, a lovely and extravagant lady. Eventually in the early hours of Sunday morning we made it to the city of Miami.
The next few days were spent enjoying Miami and soaking up sunshine. We relaxed on the famous South Beach, playing American football and then experiencing the renowned nightlife in the evenings. Thursday saw us back on the road heading to the Southern most point of the United States, known as Mile 0, Key West. Here we had a splendid day, sunshine and general chilling in a delightful town, concluded by another wonderful fish dinner.
We left the craziness of Miami behind on Friday and drove north to West Palm Beach where my current roommates previous roommate lives. We spent the day living the true Florida lifestyle, sunning ourselves on his private boat and swimming. We concluded the day in an open-air fish restaurant, undiscovered by tourists, which was a real gem. The fish was to die for, as was the cheesecake that followed. Before retiring to bed we jumped in the pool and hot tub, it really was a tough day at the office.
The next day we headed further north and stopped at the famous Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral. We went the simulators and wandered amongst the gigantic rockets before getting back on the road. Driving in rotation we ploughed through the night and made the remaining twenty-four hour journey in one epic effort, arriving early this morning back in Charlottesville.
I encourage anyone reading this post to go out and explore the world on your doorstep. However large or small the area around you, go see and explore something you haven’t before. You never know what you might find…
– Mark J Richardson
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