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All Pinzur, All The Time

Thursday, September 30, 2004

I'm still here...

... and slowly returning to the blogosphere.

My recent absence can largely be blamed on, what else, hurricane season. The Herald sent me up to Jacksonville, my old turf, to cover Hurricane Jeanne. I spent some of that time down in Melbourne, where the damage was pretty serious. I took a few digital pictures, which I'll try and post this weekend.

The worst I saw was a young couple who own an organic grocey store and cafe in a strip mall. The front of their store is floor-to-ceiling windows, which they covered with plywood. But the storm was so strong that it yanked the metal window frames away from the building's steel skeleton. The result: half the store's front walls were laying the parking lot. The worst part was that the only reason the other walls stayed standing was because they had just been installed - replaced after THEY were totalled in Hurricane Frances. They spent around $50,000 cleaning up and replacing inventory from that one, and expected Jeanne's tab to be just as high.

I actually drove through some of the storm's outer bands, getting knocked around I-95 in wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph. A few scary moments, but you haven't known driving freedom until you've done it in a rented SUV with full insurance coverage paid by the company.

We're also in Security Hell here in Miami today. Obviously, we've got the presidential debate at University of Miami, so the city is crawling with Secret Service. We've been seeing Army choppers (Chinooks, I think) flying all over the Dade and Broward County airspace. And, just a few blocks away from the debate site, the Herald is hosting its annual Americas Conference, which includes presidents and prime ministers from many Central American, South American and Caribbean nations.

Hopefully, the world around South Florida will return to normal (as normal as Florida gets) next week.

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