Thursday, 26 November 2009

Day 16 - Miami, USA

I've generally been staying in hostels on this trip – it's a good way to meet people and stay in touch with the area – but I usually book a private room as I need some space to work, this is the first time I'm in a communal room, and it's not conducive to a good night's sleep.

Not that I was guaranteed a decent kip after last night anyway. The entire hostel walked up the road for a private party at a Miami Beach club, and, of course, it was only polite to join in. As it was, it was a great opportunity to meet fellow travellers: I made lots of Aussie, Swiss, French, American and Cayman friends as well as a large group of Germans who were convinced that they were going to win the world cup next year! Fools!

So it was with heavy eyelids that I awoke this morning, with the aim to visit some of Miami's museums, but as I walked towards the entrance of the hostel a huge clap of thunder stopped me in my tracks; the heavens had opened and there was no way – even with my rainforest waterproofs – that I was going to face this deluge!

By late morning the rain finally looked like stopping so I decided to set out - my goal was the Haitian Heritage Museum in downtown Miami, which was the main reason I came to the city (as well as that it was a convenient stop-off between Hispaniola and Hawaii). It was a 10 minute walk to the bus stop from the hostel, and it was after only 6 minutes that the skies began to dump their load again. Running to the uncovered bus-stop, I looked at the timetable – it made the London underground map look like mere childsplay – and I was getting wetter. A taxi drove past and I took the simple option. It turned out to cost me twenty dollars, compared to a two dollar bus ride home, but at the time I thought it was worth every penny.

The taxi took me to where I asked - to where my iphone told me the museum was – but it turned out this was nowhere near the museum itself, and worse still, when I finally found the building, it was “under renovation” - argh – the only real reason I was in Miami and I couldn't get there. Still, the lady curator allowed me a little peek of the exhibits and gave me a whole bunch of literature on Haitian culture.

The return bus took me back to Miami Beach, on the corner of Washington and 41st; the next museum was on Washington and 14th, so I presumed we were close. Wrong! Turns out 27 blocks is quite a long way in the US, still, I took most of the walk along the beach and, although it still threatened massive storms, it was a fabulous walk with little company. (pic).

I visited the Bass Museum of Art and then attempted to see the Wolfsonian – which, it turns out, is closed on Wednesdays – so overall, with only one out of three museums visited, it was a bit of a disappointing day, but it gave me a great look at Miami in general, and I'm hopeful for a more successful day tomorrow – it's thanksgiving, and I'm off to the horrendously named “Seaquarium”.

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