Category Archives: Florida

Tail end of Florida, and home (for a while . . .)

I spent my last day in Florida, a place I have lived in and visited regularly since 1967, making discoveries, which is so cool.  Guess what? There are wild monkeys in Fort Lauderdale! It’s true! I saw one! I also saw countless iguanas lurking and slithering, fascinating to look at – baby dinosaurs! – but wreaking havoc on the defenseless ecosystem. Crazy.

Florida was my last stop on this two-month trip; my next flight takes me home to Hawaii. I’ll be happy to see family and friends of course, but the road lures me; I feel the tug to travel again even before finishing this trip. In the meantime, until I board anther plane (or maybe ship?), I’m going to treat my home state as the travel destination it is, play tourist, and blog about it.

Until then, aloha!

P.S. It was pointed out to me by a very clever person that while in Malta, I held a falcon . . . Get it? Maltese Falcon!

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Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.

Miami Beach Art!

I checked off two more bucket list items today – visits to the Bass and Wolfsonian museums – and I also took a trip into my past.

The Bass has been closed for a long time, and when I planned this trip, its website mentioned October 9 as the grand reopening, but it turned out it was actually today. I worried that with the free admission perk and long time closure, it would mean entry lines snaking around the block, and you know I hate crowds, but today was my only chance. As it happened, there was no line, and I was actually the first person through the door, and gee, did that give me a thrill!

The museum is not large, but the modern collections are eccentric and exceptional. One huge room consisted of dozens of life-like clown mannequins. Another featured mimes recreating famous (but not materially present!) sculpture! I LOVE MODERN ART.

Next I visited a building I briefly lived in in the very early Eighties. It is now a luxury hotel. I talked my way into a visit of a suite and the rooftop, and got a discount for a future booking to boot!

Lastly, I visited the Wolfsonian museum. Its mission is to “illustrate the persuasive power of art and design” which does not at all capture the sexiness of its Art Deco works and exploration into how objects act as both agents and expressions of change. It’s a wonderful place.

And speaking of sexy, I did not visit the other kind of sexy museum, the one dedicated to Erotic Art, although I snapped a photo of its entryway.

Here are some photos:

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Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.

Sunrise, Vizcaya, and some serious rain

While I was waiting to check in at the hostel yesterday, enthusiastic staff were encouraging everyone in line in front of me to join in on their ‘VIP’ party plans for the night, promising famous DJs! multiple bars! (including transportation to and from, because of the) unlimited alcohol and bar snacks! only $15 for women, $25 for men! They did so, that is, until I stepped up to the counter. This is very much not like the European hostels I have enjoyed, but rather party, alcohol, sleep-all-day central, and they rightly figured I would not fit in. When I first went to my room midday, the bunks were full of immobile, snoring young women. Later, as I was readying for sleep, my rowdy roomies were just prepping for their night out; similarly, drunken revelers were staggering bleary-eyed in the common areas and last chance hookups were forming as I was starting my day – at my early morning visit to the 24-hour Walgreens, condoms were popular items. All night long I heard gleeful shouting and high heels clicking along the hallways. No chance for a jet-lagged, time-change sleep catchup, as along with all the noise, these bunks shake anytime anyone moves in or out. I’ve sagely booked another place for my next two nights.

Out walking the beach early morning, I got to enjoy the thing I love best about South Florida: warm night breezes coming off the ocean. Ahhhhhhhhh . . . A flashy sunrise on a nearly-empty beach was a special treat. Plus, a herd of dressed-up runners soon converged on the boardwalk. Cool!

My first priority of the day was to visit Vizcaya, a 100-year-old estate set right on Biscayne Bay. I first heard of this place many decades ago from my maternal grandmother, who moved from the North East to Miami in the 1950s. I’ve wished to visit for years, and today I finally made it. But poor Vizcaya, she’s been battered for years by the tropics, and the recent hurricane damage is still very much in evidence. I was there only a few hours before an intense storm suddenly unleashed heavy drenching rain and wind, and I can fully understand how she is down at the heels. I had to walk a few miles in this downpour to return to the metro station, trudging through water several inches above my ankles – I don’t know if my Clarks will survive this outing.

Here are some photos:

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Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.

South Beach!

Goodbye, Europe. Hello, Miami Beach.

I’ve arrived in South Florida, just a little tired after the long, but smooth flight and the time change. I’m staying in a six-bed hostel room with a group of lively Latinas here in advance of a salsa cruise! If that doesn’t sound like fun, I don’t know what does.

Here are some photos:

Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.