Travel is not easy peasy. My brain, after I began thinking about what to do on a layover of nearly eight hours in Miami, is can attest to that.
Let's break it down: to ensure the best price to New Orleans, we split our trip into two parts. First, we flew from Lisbon to Miami and then, independently, from Miami to New Orleans. This meant that any delay in the first flight, or customs, or immigration, could screw everything up - we had no safety net.
Not wanting to risk more than necessary, we decided that the best idea was to make sure that between the expected arrival in Miami and the flight to New Orleans we had... a bunch of time, there's no other way to put it. It would have seven and a half hours (a bit more, because the flight usually arrives before the scheduled time) to get out of an airplane, go through all the controls, do whatever we want, go through security again and arrive in time for boarding on the second flight.
All of this, of course, after an eight-hour flight, and a five-hour time difference.
The first idea was to go to the city center and spend two or three hours there (depending on how long it would take) walking around. It was quickly discarded because we had all our luggage with us - we like to travel on carry-on only, and we took advantage of it and paid less - and we expected a lot of heat.
After that, we decided we were going to Five Guys for lunch. It was a simple plan: to go to the Wynwood area, have lunch, and go back. And we were (at least I was) fully convinced that it was the plan we were going to follow. We just did not expect to arrive in Miami with a full stomach and too tired for a bus ride that could get close to 50 minutes. Each way.
It was only at the airport that we decided to change plans. I had read, somewhere, a text about long layover options at Miami. One of the suggestions looked like our thing: a Burger Museum, very close to the airport. I mentioned it to Rui, and it was settled.
Bags on our backs, bus tickets bought and, in a blink of an eye, we were at Magic City Casino wandering around trying to find the mentioned museum. We didn't know what to expect, so we didn't know what to look for, either. Which would not hurt if we were not melting in the parking lot of a giant casino. It was so big that there was a shuttle that taking people from the cars to the casino door - which in fact saved us, giving us a ride to a rather disguised door of an ice cream shop. In the back, there it was, the entrance to our museum.
The Burger Beast Museum is the size of a large room, no more than that. It houses the collection of the food blogger Burger Beast, who has become obsessed with burger-related and other fast food chains artifacts after he received a Burger Chef's sign. After years of collecting and keeping things at home and at the office, he was invited to show them at the Magic City Casino. And there it is, the museum we have today, a place that, together with Wall's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop, contains more than 3000 objects.
For us, many chains and restaurants mentioned in the museum are unknown. Yes, we know McDonald's, Burger King and Arby's, but we've never heard of Burger Castle, for example. That does not stop us from being very eager to know all those places - and to eat at those prices, since many of the artifacts have menus with decades of life.
The entrance fee (10 dollars *plus* taxes, remember that detail) is worth the minutes spent inside to discover the relics of a world that, although familiar, is a long way from us. And the conversation with one of the owner's friends, just "giving a had", who tells us about the Portuguese friend who has a sustainable tourism company (he's called João, but try to understand an American saying that name) and confesses us what his favorite burgers are. «In terms of fast food chains, I think my favorite is Wendy's. And that story of not freezing the meat, which I always thought was marketing... it's really true and it makes a difference."
Appropriately, there is one on the other side of the road. And after the hunger with we grew while strolling through the museum, that's where we're going to stop. It's true, the burger is really good.