Friday, July 20, 2007

Visitors guide to south Florida

GEOGRAPHY: For eons, South Florida was completely under water. Now, fortunately, this happens only a couple of times a year.

Modern-day South Florida is bounded to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, which provides the area with an abundant natural supply of people on rafts; and to the west by the Everglades, a precious ecological resource containing the world's largest known deposit of free-range muck. The only significant formation between these two major geographic features is Interstate 95, which was left here by glaciers, and when you see it, you will understand why.

CLIMATE: Thanks to its southern location and proximity to the Gulf Stream, South Florida is not subject to the constant nagging ''change of seasons'' that plagues so much of the nation. Instead, the region enjoys a year-round tropical climate that is very similar, in both temperature and humidity, to your armpit.

POPULATION: South Florida is a real ''melting pot'' whose residents come from all over the world, bringing with them a wide variety of languages, cultures, narcotics, etc. Despite our differences, we South Floridians are united by a common belief, which is that every one of us, regardless of race, or religion, or ethnic background, could be armed.

ECONOMY: The largest single industry in South Florida is pest control, followed by sprinkler repair, wiretapping, snake importing and begging at intersections.

SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Elections are held at regular intervals as ordered by the courts, with turnout ranging as high as 347 voters, of whom as many as 153 may actually be the same voter, who is not always technically alive. The officials elected via this process traditionally serve for three months or until they are indicted, whichever comes first.

Then we have new elections, usually resulting in the same officials being reelected, because South Florida voters prefer experienced leaders who will ''hit the ground running'' and not waste a lot of time shopping for defense attorneys.

DRIVING: South Florida traffic operates under international standards, under which each motorist obeys the laws of his or her individual country of origin.

The proud motto of the South Florida motorist is ``Death Before Yielding.''

MASS TRANSIT: Miami is blessed with a modern, interconnected light-rail transit system. If you figure out how it works, please let us know.

NIGHTLIFE: The hottest night spot is South Beach where, on any given evening, you'll find thousands of fun-seekers staying up until the ''wee hours'' in their never-ending quest to find a parking space.

Once you find a spot for your car (allow two days for this), you can take your pick among literally dozens of nightclubs that offer hot music, cold drinks and large men outside refusing to let you in because you are, no offense, from Iowa. Or, if you're in the ''mood for food,'' you can go to the world-famous Joe's Stone Crab restaurant and experience, as many thousands have experienced before you, a legendary, world-class wait for a table.

MUSEUMS: Right. Like you would ever go to a museum.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Probably our biggest tourist attraction is naked Europeans on the beach. To find them, walk along the beach until you start seeing people without any bathing suits; these are your naked Europeans.

When you see them, act cool. Don't stare or shout: ''Hey! You people are NAKED!'' Instead, walk back and forth past them 45 or 50 times, sneaking peeks while pretending that you're looking for some object that you lost in the sand. It helps if you periodically remark aloud: ``I'm looking for some object that I lost in the sand!''


Of course, this visitors' guide can only ''scratch the surface'' of the kaleidoscope of people and places and insects that make up South Florida. To really get the flavor of this fascinating community, you need to get out and explore it at your own pace.

So just kick back, have fun, and remember: Your pace should be 75 miles per hour, and your doors should be locked.

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