02/22/2005 Alex Mumzhi (Florida)

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02/22/2005 Alex Mumzhi (Florida)

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North America on shoestrings
I call this report "North America on shoestrings" by analogy with famous Lonely Planet (LP) series. LP does not have book called "North America on shoestrings", it sounds ridiculous, but my friend Vladia and I proved that it is possible. You may remember Vladia, from the trip to Mongolia of 2003.

We went to Florida Keys on Feb 21. The entire trip was possible due to the generosity of my daughter Jennifer who gave to Vladia her bonus ticket on Independence Air Airline, where my daughter works. We arrived at West Palm Beach about noon of Feb 21. We assembled our Brampton bikes and we rode them to the bus station. When we took bus to the Leiton, a small town 67 miles North from the Key West. It was a complete darkness when we arrived. We rode our bikes to the Long Key State Park and took the only available campsite at the campground. I called this campground in advance and I have learned that all campsites were reserved, (the price is $30 per simple tent site). In the morning we did not wait until the ranger would kick us out and left campground. The campground is located on the ocean side of Long Key Island. We went on the Bay site. It was the same sea and the same bushes, but it was nobody there, while state campground was filled with sweeeeeeetest American retirees. They are nice people, but Vladia and I definitely did not belong where. We erected tents and went for snorkeling and some under-water hunting. I was eager to try my new under water gun. Most of people, especially Americans, hate the under water hunter, but admire fisherman. It is unfair, we shot many times less fish than fisherman and we risk our lives sometimes, while tricky fisherman are sitting at the safe shore and are cheating the poor, simple minded fish. Soon we get enough fish for dinner. The under-water gun proved to be much more efficient than the sling which I used before.

On my last dive I saw a piece of large fish under the stone. I did not have air anymore and I even had no chance to investigate what kind of fish was it. However hunter's instinct was stronger than the voice of wisdom and I fired my gun and immediately went up to the surface. Fish went in the opposite direction from the under the stone and it pulled my gun through the attached string with such force that I have to drop my gun. When I surfaced I found angry wounded shark who pulled my gun through the attached string to the open sea. I cannot afford to lose my gun and I grabbed the shark's tail.

Shark turned out on me and bited my breast and started to tear my flesh off, like sharks always do it in the movies.

It was terrible, even I did not feel any pain. In a few moments I realized that until I will let shark's tail go, the creature will continue to tear my flesh away. I let shark's tail go. At the same moment the one of prong from my three prongs arrow, which was stick into the shark's tail brook away. So, my gun fell down to the ocean floor and shark swim away.

When I came to the shore my breast was heavy bleeding. Vladia tried to help me, but thinking of you, I asked him to make the picture first, see attachment. Next day we went hunting to the same site. My wound looked bad but was not bleeding. I found the same stone and dived there. My shark was there. This time I fired to its head and Vladia and I pulled shark to the shore. One prong from my arrow, lost yesterday, was still sticked into its tail. We ate different shark's meals for two days. I know some of you will condemn us, but fisherman do it all the time and nobody condemn them.

We spent four happy days at that illegal camp site. In the morning of fifth day we made a fire to prepare our morning buckwheat serial. Our fire was too large and it was noticed by rangers. They came to our camp site and threaten to arrest us or/and fine us with large fine for trespassing on Florida State property, for making fire and for damaging trees. I know that in the situation like this you have to cooperate with authorities in order to avoid harsher punishments. And I helped to put fire down with buckets of ocean water. My friend Vladia is the most kind and gentle person in the world, but he has one dangerous hobbit. He likes to argue with authorities. At one moment when I came from the shore, I found Vladia fighting with the ranger who wanted to use our bottled water to put out the fire.

Ironically our punishment was ridiculously small. We was ordered to collect one bag of garbage from our camp site. That's it. As we learned later Vladia's Russian passport probably was the reason. The ranger who stayed with us until we finished the collecting thrash, told us, that it is many legal and illegal Russian emigrants working there and all of them are proved to be hard working and law obeying people. And all Russian women who work here are so beautiful that any of them can be a model, he told us. He became very emotional at this moment. So Russian women saved us again!!!

Alex Mumzhiu
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Marth 17 2005 11pm

http://www.foldabikes.com/CurrentEvents ... orida.html

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