What To Do In Wynwood With No Money

Hi there!

So, today is supposed to be #traveltuesday and therefore I should post a photo, blog and everything in between that is travel related. Since my last trip was to Miami where I attended Social Media Week which was held in the hip and cool Miami Ad School I had no excuse to not show some photos but I was pretty much broke so this raised an important question: what to do in Wynwood with no money?

Luckily I was staying at Manuel´s bachelor pad which is conveniently located in Midtown, that made my morning commute easy because I could just walk there, however the weather was not by my side those days and it was just downpour rain… still that didn´t keep me from walking and taking photos whenever I was able to do so.

Here is a disclaimer:

I hate Photoshop and basically any photo editing software, I think it had something to do with my university teacher and/or the fact that back in Venezuela one of my first jobs after graduating was as a photojournalist for a major newspaper where photo editing was off. I could maybe balance colors a bit or ad some contrast but that was pretty much it, photos were not touched by photographers so you just had to rely on your own skills to get a good set of photos, remember, those were the days when if you had a 32MB memory card and a 10mpx camera you could get away with it.

So, back to Miami, it was raining, I had a few good 9 blocks to walk every morning and afternoon and no money, the answer of what to do in Wynwood without any money is pretty simple: photograph until you can photograph no more!

what to do in wynwood for free

Out of the Closet. I´d pass this store on the corner of Biscayne Blv. and 29th street everyday and thought it was cool that they offered free HIV test. Nuff said!

things to do in miami for free

On 29th street and about a block west from Biscayne Blvd. I passed this railroad and got my first doze of street art of the day.

things to do in wynwood for free

You can call me baby.

things to do in wynwood for free

Nice garage!

things to do in wynwood

Don´t you just hate it when a car blocks your photo? Damn!

things to do in miami for free

“Protect Yo Heart” I promise I will Steve-O.

what to do in miami for free

I just loved the trees and the colors.

things to do in wynwood miami

Again, where am I? Oh, Wynwood!

things to do in wynwood

White walls, black ↑, black&white stripes, red shades… couldn´t help it #selfie

things to do in Wynwood Miami

Aparently shoe stores a big thing in Wynwood, who knew.

things to do in Wynwood

I could not go further away to get this shot, I swear.

places to visit in wynwood

According to Wikipedia (and my friends) the once average puertorican neighborhood known as “Little San Juan” or “El Barrio”, Wynwood gained notoriety when graphic artists and designers found spacious and cheap spaces to live and work about 10 years ago, which turned the once working class latino neighborhood into an up&coming area delicious for real estate brokers and investors. Probably one of the best examples of neighborhood gentrification in the US, just behind Brooklyn.

things to do in wynwood for free

The Bric House Grill and probably a shoe store, I can´t remember.

what to do in miami for free

Devoured by nature I suppose.

And now a few more photos from Miami Ad School. This bright pink building is just so cool, I love it!

Miami Ad School Wynwood

Mural inside Miami Ad School Wynwood

mural miami ad school

Murals Miami Ad School Wynwood

Someone had some mushrooms aparently…

miami ad school wynwood soccer field

These are my #nofilter photos of Wynwood on 3 rainy days. I still have tons of photos of the amazing street art I found in Wynwood just a couple of month before, on a kind of nicer day (weather wise) but I can´t get past my broken spirit of those days… yet! But I know I will because I always do.

I hope this #nofilter #noedited photo blog didn´t disappoint you and you´ve got a cool reference of what to do in Wynwood for free when you get there! If you want to look at other pictures from the other trip and just random photos (kitty photos included) check out my Instagram account, you are not compeled to follow me!

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How To Stop Caring About Others And Book A Ticket To Miami For Social Media Week

The first time I heard about Social Media Week was about a year ago, I was scrolling down my facebook Timeline and found a blog that mentioned it. I was interested and looked further and I found out that they were going to held an event in Mexico City in about 6 months, so I started following the event in different social media outlets, I even… I even signed for Newsletters

social media week Miami

There, I said it; I was hooked; I loved getting their e-mails every week with cool and interesting things about social media, how the different generations are facing change, the Braincandy video series and I kept on sharing their stuff and learning from them. Then the Mexico City event schedule and info was released, I asked my Boss permission the answer was a plain NO.

I was bummed and at the time I was in a money shortage so, I kept it cool and waited for my weekly Newsletter patienly.

Last year a low cost mexican airline launched this direct flight from Cancun to Miami, it was cool and since I was able to get an american tourist visa very quick I booked a cheap flight and spent my 1 week vacation there. That was back in July and 2 weeks after I returned home the dates for Social Media Week Miami were released and I was excited to say the least… but still I had to wait to get all the information and insights on the price tickets, the speakers and the topics, I was determined to go.

So about a month ago – August – when the tickets were finally for sale and I could check out the schedule I said to myself “I HAVE to go” so again, I went to my boss, told him about the dates and the speakers and basically everything and I said “We HAVE to go” and he went on saying “I just asked to go to a SEO related event in New York, they said no – his boss – so I´m afraid the same is going to happen with this“.

Needless to say that I was mad, how could a company just focus on what´s urgent and not on what´s important and long lasting ROI? It was stupid and I felt really bad. The mexican working laws do not favor employees in most cases and most employer´s point out that employees should be grateful to have a job that pays the minimun and gives them the minimun benefits (such as social security and some medical coverage).

Thought, I am not here to discuss the mexican law because:

1. I am a foreigner living and workin in Mexico legally and

2. Because I decided to not give a f*&k and book a ticket anyway.

Luckily for me, I had some money left in the bank from my vacations, and started the search for a cheap flight and the tickets… also for a credit card because since I don´t have the permanent resident status I cannot apply for a credit card…

A really good friend lended me his card, I found a really cheap promotion on Interjet and got my plane tickets and thanks to my good friend – and Miami host – Manuel Gago I got a promocode that helped me get a lower price for the full 3 day pass for Social Media Week Miami. I was all set, yay!

So I approached my boss, he looked at me like saying “Are you sure?” but then by the look on his face he was actually kind of happy that I decided to go anyway, he said “I have no problem, just so you know, Human Resources are not going to pay for the days you are away, it will be deducted from your paycheck” and I said “Fine!” then he said “I wished I could trade places with you

So, I´m super excited to jump on the plane next Tuesday and live 3 full days surrounded by the best of the best of Social Media and how it affects us as human connectivity is growing as these new platforms and technologies develop. I´m also very happy because I´ll get to see my friend Kelly a.k.a The Sober Señorita whom I met here thanks to social media and will be attending SMWMiami as well, we are going to have so much fun!

So, I have to pack now, see you in a few days!

Getting My American Tourist Visa Or An Excuse To Go To Merida

I had a “indefinite United States visa” when I was a kid but those were the early 90s, Venezuela was a politically stable country and venezuelan tourist were always welcomed to the United States and basically any country in the world. My mom got ourselves some nice visas in 1992 and that was the year of my first trip to the United States. The indefinite visa off course expired after 10 years.

Fast forward to 2015 and here I am, in my early 30s, living only an hour an a half flight away from Miami where many of my best friends live and I had no visa! I knew it wasn´t very complicated to pay for an appointment to apply but to do so I had to go to Merida Yucatan first to get my american tourist visa again…. what a sacrifice!

I intended to do that within the first couple of months of 2015 but due to * cough * Cancun´s inmigration office my temporary residency card renewal was long overdue and I didn´t get the card until March so I had to reschedule my visa appointment to late March. It didn´t matter, I still got to travel during the nice weather season.

The cozy Art Apart Hostel in Merida

The cozy Art Apart Hostel in Merida

My old friend Adrian was visiting from Venezuela so he took advantage of the situation and travelled with me. We stayed at a hostel called Art Apart which is conveniently located down town. It is an old colonial house with high ceilings, hammocks, art pieces which makes it a little bit kitsch and quirky but was very clean and relaxed. It also had a nice pool in the backyard that i didn´t use because I went sightseen the two days I stayed there.

So, first things first: after arriving in Merida and taking a taxi to the hostel I had a torta for lunch, got a shower and headed to the United States CAS center to get my fingerprints and visa photo done. You can´t take any personal belonings with you such as your cell phone, keys, pens or anything basically but your printed appointment confirmation and your passport. Luckily I got there 1 hour earlier and I had time to walk around and discovered a beautiful colonial squeare with a church and huge trees, the perfect place to ease my mind before the appointment.

Merida sights while making time until my appointment

Merida sights while making time until my appointment

Then I got to my CAS appointment and was done in 5 minutes which left me thinking “why was I so worried and stressed?” I headed back to the hostel and waited for Adrian (he had left to a cenote in the outskirts of Merida), once Adrian and I met at the hostel we decided to walk around downtown and have a nice yucatecan dinner. I was eager to go to “El Tucho” a place where I had been before that has some comedy shows, amazing food and you only get to pay what you drink so, I could use a few beers and have nice treats but… it was closed! Maybe because it was a school night it was closed at 8 o´clock 😦

Casa Montejo and historical center

Casa Montejo and historical center

Still I knew of another place nearby called “La Chaya Maya” that was supposed to be excellent and at a reasonable price so we headed there and to my surprise, the had Mucbipollo! Mucbipollo is a traditional yucatecan dish reserved for Dia de Muertos so it is only available around late October and early November but at La Chaya Maya they prepare Mucbi all year round, I was SOOO happy!

Dinner time at La Chaya Maya.

Dinner time at La Chaya Maya.

Since Adrian wasn´t feeling good I decided not to have a beer but instead had a huge class of delicious Agua de Chaya, he ordered a pumkin soup, had totopos and had a nice chat while dinning. The waitresses of La Chaya Maya are all dressed up in beautiful yucatecan huipiles, their hair is all up nicely and elegantly held with a “peineta” probably something inherited from the spanish conquer times.

Merida´s Historical center at night

Merida´s Historical center at night

After our dinner we continued our stroll in the historical center, I got the chance to take Adrian to some of my favorite buildings in the area such as the old Yucatan University building and the Church of the Third Order. We also passed a few theatres and Casa Montejo; we then went back to our hostel because I had to get up early for my visa interview the bnext morning.

Since I was in Cancun time instead of central Mexico time, I got to my interview appointment an hour earlier! I should have changed the clock the day before but nooooo, I didn´t think of it! Anyway, I had the chance to get some coffee at the Oxxo around the corner and got to talk with some nice people there, discussing about politics and other current affairs until it was time for me to return to the United States Consulate for my interview.

Once I entered the consulate I had to wait for a little while, they basically give you a number and members of the staff will come to the waiting room and get a bunch of people and take them to the interview area. There were families there, students, young professionals as well as United States citizens who live in the Yucatan area (that means, the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan) that needed passport renewal and other documents.

The Chilam Balam and us goofing around

The Chilam Balam and us goofing around

Even though this day was a little bit longer, it was easy and painless. I was very nervous and felt all happy and grown up when the nice official who interviewed me said “your visa has been approved, you will have your passport delivered in Cancun within the next 5 days”. By noon I was back at the hostel and checked out but they nicely let us leave our packpacks there so we could go to the Mayan Museum before travelling back to Cancun.

Mayan temple replicas at the Mayan Museum of Merida

Mayan temple replicas at the Mayan Museum of Merida

We took the bus just outside the hostel and within 25 minutes were climbing the stairs to get to the museum. It is a super modern facility with air conditioning and two main exhibits, the permanent exhibitionis entirely devoted to the ancient mayan civilization and has a nice collection of artifacts discovered in the different sites, it also sets the differences between the mayan language in the different states where this ethnicity lives on in Mexico and you can also get to know facts about the major sites as well as replicas of mayan trademarks like the “The Throne” of the Ek Balam Acropolis or the ball game rings of Chichen Itza.

The Mayan Museum in Merida is a very modern and comfortable space

The Mayan Museum in Merida is a very modern and comfortable space

The temporary exhibition was all about the great meteor of Chicxulub, according to history and geological data, there was a meteor impact 65 million years ago around the town of Chicxulub which may have been one of the causes of the extintion of dinosaurs and also one of its consecuences are the cenotes throughout the peninsula. After spending the entire afternoon at the museum it was time for us to get to the bus station and return to Cancun.

Gracias Merida.