What To Do On A Rainy Afternoon
You’re stretched on a towel on the hot sand, feeling the intense Florida sun work its magic on your pasty northeastern flesh, when you suddenly notice an ominous-looking dark cloud invading the air space. You glance at your watch: 3 pm. Time for the daily summer downpour! Your fellow beachgoers begin packing up their things and getting dressed. A rumbling of thunder rises behind the pastel rooftops of Ocean Drive…
This, no doubt, wasn’t the kind of afternoon drama you were hoping for on your South Beach vacation! But it is nonetheless an inescapable part of the daily routine of summer in the sub-tropics. May through September is considered the rainy season in South Florida—however, there’s a silver lining to the storm clouds: the skies, no matter how threatening, will most likely be sunny again an hour later! In fact, sometimes the sun keeps shining even while it’s raining.
If you should find yourself on the receiving end of Mother Nature’s venom, here are a few places you can go to escape until the skies are blue again.
SEX MUSEUM, ANYONE?
Who says sex isn’t for the Weamish? The World Erotic Art Museum, or WEAM, for short, is the perfect place to show up in a damp trenchcoat. Located at 1205 Washington, this popular South Beach attraction features 12,000 square feet of what is quite possibly the world’s largest collection of erotic curios and art. Naomi Wilzig, noted author and Jewish grandmother, opened this pleasure palace in October 2005, after amassing 4000+ paintings, sculptures, bronze statues and other assorted procreative creations, ranging from the first century AD to the present time. The $15 admission is worth the two hours or so you can spend perusing these pieces!
THE WOLFSONIAN: ONE STOP PROPAGANDA SHOPPING
Nazi recruitment posters are alive and well just down the street at the Wolfsonian Museum (1001 Washington Ave, South Beach). Housed in a former warehouse used by snowbirds of the 20’s and 30’s to store their valuables during the summer months, this collection specializes in the Modern Era (1885-1945), with a particular penchant for relics from the Industrial Age, whether they be household appliances, works of art, or propaganda-laced children’s books.
When you’re done checking out the collection, the gift shop/coffee house is an excellent spot to reconnoiter while you wait for the raindrops to cease their pitter patter.
CATCH UP ON YOUR EMAIL—FOR FREE!
Although Miami Beach has its share of Internet cafes, why blow your dough surfing the web, when you can do it for free at the Miami Beach Public Library (227 22nd Street, South Beach)? Even non-residents are welcome to bring their own laptops for free Internet access or to use the library computers for up to two hours. All you’ll need is a state-issued ID to get a guest card.
Besides Internet time, the library also loans out DVDs to locals, in addition to the typical literary offerings.
Rest assured: this not your grandma’s library: this flashy new building has taken a cue from Barnes & Noble and opened its own coffee house in the rear. For more information, click here.
LINCOLN ROAD ART CENTER
Art appreciation need not be relegated to dusty museums in South Beach; you can observe the next generation at work in the three-block-long Lincoln Road Art Center (800, 810, and 924 Lincoln Road, South Beach). Founded in 1984 by a handful of local artists on this once-blighted stretch of South Beach’s famous pedestrian shopping street, this 60,000 square foot mini-artist’s colony contains scores of private studios, as well as exhibition galleries and art education classrooms.
PUERTO SAGUA, YOUR PORT IN THE STORM
Get a taste of old Havana while you’re riding out the rainstorm at South Beach’s Cuban institution, Puerto Sagua (700 Collins Avenue, South Beach). This 50’s-style diner offers all the Cuban essentials: flatbread sandwiches, arroz con pollo, black beans, fried plantains and papaya milkshakes. The best part is the prices are among the most reasonable you’ll find on the Beach. And while you’re noshing on your ropa vieja, be sure to check out the back wall, which features a captivating relief mural of life the way it was outside the original Puerto Sagua in pre-Castro Cuba.
A DIP IN THE SEA
You’re already wet, anyway, so you might as well go for broke. Assuming there’s no thunder, lightning, rough tides or fierce winds, one of the choicest ways of enjoying the summer rain is in the water. While everyone on the shore is running for the cover of the lifeguard stands, it’s often fun to enjoy a shower with your swim, feeling the pelting of the water on your back as you cocoon into the liquid blanket all around you. It almost feels like you’re under a waterfall.
FAST AND FURIOUS
Though the afternoon monsoons can appear daunting, they are almost invariably short-lived. Soon, the birds will be warbling again, welcoming back the tropical sunshine, the oppressive heat of the afternoon momentarily vanquished as it transforms into steam rising from the asphalt. While it is true that into each life some rain must fall, in South Beach it can be a welcome event.
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