Miami is like nothing I have ever seen before. Squat square houses with palm trees and urns, some ridiculously expensive and some held together with corrugated iron and string. All four of us got in the taxi yesterday after our nine hour flight and gawked. At the palm trees, at the houses and at the wide expansive of diverse land and the sea as we glided up and over it on the causeway onto Miami Beach. We didn't speak or sign a word, we just looked, drank it all in and it finally hit home that we were in Miami, we are actually here! We made it!
The flight yesterday was loooonnnggggg but luckily, we were with Virgin Atlantic, which meant every single passenger was plugged into their own TV/ entertainment device on the back of the person in fronts chair. We could even chat to each other via seat chat, I loved it at first and then went back to my book, after watching a few movies. God bless the new technological age- nine hours is a long time.
Americans are loud and I can't understand them. They yell indiscriminate things in airports ("Was that family circuits this way? I dunno,") Most are a little bit angry but so far, I have seen little deaf awareness. When I say deaf awareness, I mean how well people have reacted to Alison or how well they haven't.
The plane had closed captioning for movies but not for TV shows, which was alright. The cabin crew although friendly were a little clueless on how to act around a deaf person. The question of 'Can you lipread me?' was banded around after Arron volunteered to interpret. Much confusion. Also, tip for the future air hostess lady, if someone is signing to you do not lean in closer so you can hear them better. That won't work. One of the air hostesses apparently had signing skills a few years ago but had lost it all now. Great. However, she did try and gesture, something that was appreciated. There was little or no access to the announcements but were told 'if she isnt understanding then we can give her a personal safety demonstration', so at least there was a chance to lipread.
Going through security was a interesting experience. We went through in pairs and on hearing that Alison was deaf, the person stared at her intently and started doing the old, I will accentuate my lip pattern thing. It didn't work, it never does and the man looked like he was talking with a mouth full of putty. However, he was hilarious and lovely and helpful. The locals on Miami beach have been a bit oblivious too, judging on the reactions of most: some people are a little impatient, others more accommodating but this is only the same back in Britain. I would say there is not a large Deaf Community on Miami Beach. Miami is beautiful and varied in languages and cultures and the people, so far have been lovely.
Today was our rest day after having our body clocks thoroughly muddled with after the long flight. Tomorrow the fun begins, we are attending an ASL Coffee chat at Starbucks on the mainland. All welcome but everyone has to sign and speaking is not allowed under any circumstance. Very scary. And exciting. So for now, I am signing out, we are all happy, sandy, sun burnt (to say the least) and expecting another night of restless sleep in our two star hotel.