It is my last evening in America, and I am in downtown Orlando. The rain is falling quietly and can be heard on the streets as cars pass by. I am on the 4th floor of a large apartment building, across street is the legendary Amway center. Pedaling through town on a Sunday night, I was quick to notice the road changing from asphalt to brick, small restaurants and bars giving way to high rises and night clubs.
Tomorrow, July 30th I depart for Bergen, Norway at 12:45pm est. I have spent the day getting supplies from the local thrift stores and Army surplus store. Warmer clothes are going to be essential as I head through Sweden, Finland and Russia in the coming fall. I picked up a pair of shoes and plan to toss out my beloved rainbow sandals once the temperature drops. It’s going to take me at least 32 hours to get Norway. My flight has three layovers and the shortest one is 2 hours. Cheapest ticket. My bike is all packed up in a cardboard box with all my tools, tent, and cooking equipment. I had to invest in scotch tape in that the box will be loaded and unloaded 8 times before I reach my final destination! I really hope everything arrives in one piece. Accommodations in Bergen have not be solidified, but I hope to spend at least three days there resting and seeing the city.
On Sunday I went to a missionary Baptist church about 7 miles from Orlando. This is a Gospel church, where 95% of its members are African-American. While locking my bike outside I could hear the sound of the pastor preaching to the members and the walls shaking in response to his prose. There is much emotion in this church, many members speak up doing verse, and there is almost no direct reading from the bible. Instead the pastor mentions a verse and explores the theme with personal views and life experiences. He begins with a soft voice which grows to shout. It is almost as if he is exorcising spirits out of the crowd. Toward the end of the sermon he begins to “hoop”. Singing prose followed by an accompaniment of organ, drums and bass. Soon the whole band gets involved and the sermons turns into an accompanied song.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my travels through the southern states of America, and thank you all for your moral and physical support. Next post will be from Bergen, Norway!