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Elephants at the North Pole..

March 3, 2012


I entered the Flythomascook GPS Competition:

My friends and I went to the USA for a holiday in the 1980s, backpacking across Florida. We felt like pioneers, as this was when Freddy Laker first introduced ‘cheap’ transatlantic flights making it possible for three 19 year-old boys to visit the delights of Orlando and Miami Beach. Back then we didn’t have the luxury of satellite navigation technology and relied instead on our naïve teenage experience. This proved, on a few occasions, to be slightly wanting as we found ourselves in a some sticky situations. The most memorable of these was during a ‘quick’ walk to the Dunkin’ Donuts shop near our motel in Miami. We took a few wrong turns and soon found ourselves in shall we say, a less desirable part of town. Three pale skinned teenage tourists looked as out of place as an elephant at the north pole!

We carried on walking looking for a tourist information office or friendly Bobby on the beat who could direct us back to our motel (we really were that naive). Soon we came across a big, old looking building with a sign on the door reading ‘Community Services’. Entering, we hoped someone could help us get back to our motel. That’s when we realised we’d walked into a church full of evangelical Christians praising the Lord Cheeeeeeesus! Before we could make an exit we had half a dozen African Americans welcoming us into their congregation. “Sorry”, I said, “We were looking for someone to give us directions

”“The Lord had brought you here, he has directed you to us”! said a big, smartly suited guy with a huge, broad smile.

Being typically British and not wanting to offend anyone, we endured 2 hours of Pentecostal singing, healings, we saw people lying on their backs babbling in unintelligible language, plump ladies with hands in the air and swaying side to side. For three 19 year olds from Kent it was very surreal and extremely embarrassing. Finally the community church service came to an end and the congregation curious of these three white boys from the UK fired question after question about ‘where we were all from’.

Eventually, we made our excuses to leave but, the Pastor (or whatever he was called) said “Now, we can’t have yo boys walking the streets in downtown Miami, I’ll drive y’all back to yo Motel”

A few minutes later we were indeed back in our room and completely exhausted! It’s a shame that that morning Marty McFly didn’t turn up back from the future in his DeLorean with a Sat Nav, it would have saved us a lot of trouble!

But, the worst thing was that we never did get our Dunkin’ Donuts!


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