A Travellerspoint blog

Florida - more sunshine!

Key West and Everglades

sunny

13 Jan – Dan and I wanted to go and explore the Florida keys (which is a 5 hour drive away) in one day. Well to make a long story short we were not able to do that so we had to book into a motel 2am in the morning as we still had 2 hours drive ahead of us in order to get back home. We did not plan for this stopover so we had nothing. The motel we stayed at (Comfort inn in Florida city) gave us already toothpasted toothbrushes. We slept really well and had a great breakfast which was included in the rates. Anyway back to our ‘day trip’. We stopped along the way at interesting shops selling some great shell gimics.IMG_0886.jpg
The drive to Key west (which is the last key of the Florida keys, the southern most point on the continental USA, and only 90miles from Cuba) is beautiful. All the keys are connected by bridges crossing the blue ocean water. IMG_0888.jpg

We arrived in Key west at around 2pm and started wondering around. It is a really cute tourist destination and has heaps of great shops.
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Our first stop was at the market where Dan bought a Key Lime pie slice as Key west is famous for these. IMG_0916.jpg.
It is kind of like a lemon meringue but with lime instead of lemon. One of my highlights of Key west is that their taxis are pink, cool hey! IMG_0910.jpg

Duval street is the street were you find all types of shops, bars and restaurants including art galleries and cabaret shows. Dan and I have a new appreciation for art as we were shown what affect lighting has on some paintings. I just have to add that Dan went into every single shop on this very very long street which resulted in us leaving at only 11pm.
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At sunset they have entertainment and markets as Key west is also famous for its beautiful sunsets, which we did not see as it was overcast. IMG_0914.jpgIMG_0912.jpg
Before we left Dan also went and walked around the house of the famous author IMG_0929.jpg

On the drive back we stopped at a gigantic lobster IMG_0937.jpgIMG_0939.jpg (please note that this photo was taken at 1:30am).

14 Jan – Today we drove only 8miles to get to the Everglades alligator farm. IMG_0949.jpg IMG_0943.jpgIMG_0946.jpg

Here we went on an airboat ride through the everglades looking at alligators and turtles. large_IMG_0948.jpgIMG_0952.jpg During this ride the driver takes you on a fun ride where he speeds up and makes 360o turns. The people sitting in the front seat gets the wettest so that is obviously where Dan made us sit. Everyone in the front row were youngsters, with the exception of Dan off course, as we were the only ones brave enough to take on the water. The weather has improved significantly and it was 21oC / 70oF today, we actually wore T-shirts. Whoohoo!!!
At the farm we also watched a snake show, alligator show and alligator feeding show. Dan also held a baby alligator which was slimy and cold.
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On the way back we drove through Miami and I spotted a rather strange sign, please see photo attached. IMG_0966.jpg We also bought some cupcakes for dessert as Dean ‘made’ a bought dinner ;-). IMG_0967.jpg

15 Jan – Today Dan and I laid at the pool, which is at the apartments we are staying at, as it is a beautiful sunny day today. Dan was seriously white before we laid in the sun, and he is still seriously white, where I on the other hand have a little bit of a tan line going. IMG_0969.jpgIMG_0971.jpgIMG_0972.jpgIMG_0974.jpg

We went to watch the movie Sherlock Holmes tonight but only managed to catch the 10:55pm show as we went for a beach run at 7pm tonight. It was a very nice humid run, but a lot of hard work as we ran in the loose sand. The houses along the beachfront are amazing and very big.

Tonight was our last night at Dean and Audrey’s place. We had so much fun in this part of Florida and it is really an awesome lifestyle. Thank you so much you guys for hosting us and making our visit a great one. We owe you big time! O and thanks to Jessie (their teddy bear dog) for licking the sweat off Dan’s legs after his run :-) IMG_0978.jpg

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 18:06 Comments (0)

Florida - the sunshine state

Ft Lauderdale and Miami - Warm weather at last

sunny

The weather is absolutely amazing here. It is warm and humid, something we haven’t felt in a really long time so we are loving it. It really looks like a holiday destination at the beach, it kind of feels like we are on an island – like Fiji.

9 Jan – We slept so well last night from our big day on the road, when we woke up it was raining outside and it is kind off a little bit cold, which is a bit of a shame but I am sure the weather will improve quickly. Today we are just staying indoors, relaxing and updating our blog. I checked the lottery ticket given to us by Paul and unfortunately we are still poor students as we didn’t even have one number the same as the lottery numbers.

Tonight we joined Dean and Audrey and their friends for cocktails at a new bar close by. It was really fun and we got along really well with their friends (one a Aussie and the other a Kiwi).

10 Jan – Today was yet another miserable day so Dean and Audrey took us to the Sawgrass outlet mall. Wow what a treat. It is insanely big and the prices are quite good. We had to take Dean for 2 beers in order to bribe him to allow us to continue shopping. IMG_0803.jpg. These were some funky looking caps which had hair attached to the top of it. I also saw an old man wearing one which was very very weird.

11 Jan – Dan and I went to Ft Lauderdale today to go and explore. IMG_0805.jpg But first we went for lunch at the Cheesecake factory. I had a soup and salad and Dan had steak. It was really really good. IMG_0806.jpg.
There are a lot of draw bridges around this area in order for boats to pass through where a road has been built. IMG_0809.jpg.
On the water front we found a very cool bar that had heaps of nonsense attached to its roof. Anything, sea related, could be seen on the roof. IMG_0811.jpgIMG_0814.jpg
We then took the water taxi, which goes for 3 hours along side the mansions which are located on the river banks. We saw the house Demi Moore rented while filming Striptease, we saw Sunny and Cher’s home and some other beautiful houses. There was a house for sale which Dan and I are thinking about buying. It is right next to the water and a beautiful house which is on the market for 44 million dollars, and the taxes are only $44 000 per month. What a bargain :-/ large_IMG_0819.jpg
We also saw the sunset from the boat which was really cool. The sky turned orange and reflected on the water. IMG_0839.jpg

12 Jan – Today we drove to the famous Miami.IMG_0848.jpgIMG_0852.jpg
We went to south beach where the colourful cafes and bars are all located along Ocean drive and they all have the old school look.IMG_0847.jpg IMG_0856.jpgIMG_0857.jpg
We walked past Versace's house IMG_0850.jpg
and went for a run on the beach. The water is an amazing light turquous colour and the sand is white. IMG_0823.jpgIMG_0831.jpg
All the life guard houses are brightly coloured which make the beach look very very cool. IMG_0861.jpgIMG_0862.jpg
The water temperature is also nice and warm. After our run we went to the riverwalk boardwalk and watched the sun set while taking some great photos. IMG_0863.jpgIMG_0864.jpgIMG_0865.jpgIMG_0867.jpgIMG_0871.jpg

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Ps. The models in the windows in the streets of Miami are totally adjusted according to the Miami lifestyle IMG_0860.jpg

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 09:45 Comments (0)

Roadtripping to Florida

A long way away

sunny

6 Jan – While checking out this morning we met Paul (a very friendly Vietnam veteran) he was awesome. He gave us so much advice, a road atlas, about 20 phone cards and a lottery ticket. The draw is on 8 Jan, I will let you know how we got on. We then got back on the road and took to the state of North Carolina. It was a beautiful day today so we decided to get off the Interstate (which is the main freeway) and took the scenic route. The scenic route took us through the most popular town in the U.S. called Wilson ;-). IMG_0781.jpgIMG_0779.jpg
We decided to drive to the heart of Wilson, the GPS took us to the heart of Wilson (which was Walnut street).IMG_0783.jpg Back on the road we passed a tiny, quiet gas station where we filled up and met some great people again. Their accents were so different to any other accents we have heard in the states up to know. We chatted away for about half an hour telling them about New Zealand as some of them have never heard of it. Back on the road we got hungry and realised we only had $7 cash left so we went to Hardees where we were able to buy 2 bacon and cheese burgers and 2 apple turnovers for $4. Which meant we even had change left and we had a great lunch. We also drove past some cotton fields, where we stopped to take photos and have a closer look. It is amazing how the cotton just grows randomly on tiny sticks. IMG_0774.jpgIMG_0776.jpg
We had dinner at Applebees, where they had a special for $20 (We had to pay for this with credit card). This included one appetizer and 2 main meals. The food was delicious. I had an oriental chicken salad which was one of the best salads I have ever had. IMG_0788.jpg Tonight we stayed at the Carolinian inn in Wilmington, North Carolina. IMG_0773.jpg

7 Jan – Today we drove to South Carolina and passed the Tanger outlet shopping centre which had so many brand name shops and they were all outdoors. We walked around there for about 6 hours as there were so much to see and we couldn’t believe how cheap clothes and shoes are in this country. It would be a great place to give your wardrobe a make over for very cheap. Lunch was good old Taco Bell (Dan's favourite) 2IMG_0140.jpg

8 Jan – It took us 12 hours today to get from South Carolina to Delray beach, Florida (our next main destination). We crossed the state of Georgia and drove nearly all of Florida. We are just above Ford Lauderdale, which is kind off close to Miami just to give you a rough idea of our location. Here we are staying with Dean and Audrey. Friends of my parents from back in the day. My dad and Dean worked together even before I was born so they have known each other for about 27 years.

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 19:11 Comments (0)

Washington D.C. - The capitol

Amazing history everywhere

3 Jan – We are staying in the Washington International student centre which is right on the main restaurant and bar strip. Which meant that if you stayed there you got to sleep at around 3am when the bars eventually decided to close their doors. It was a horrible place to stay but the only one we could afford so Dan came up with a great idea. We received earplugs on the plane when we came over to the States and we still had them with us. So we slept with them the next night and it worked so well.

Anyway I still woke up super excited as we are in the capitol of the United States of America, and it felt like a dream. Our first visit was the White house,IMG_0452.jpgIMG_0454.jpg
then the war memorial around which I did a running lap against some serious winds, 4IMG_0449.jpgIMG_0477.jpgIMG_0504.jpgIMG_0582.jpg the Capitol building which features in many movies IMG_0471.jpgIMG_0520.jpgand the space and aircraft museum. Washington D.C. is really cool and there is so much history everywhere you go and look.IMG_0502.jpg There is a long strip called the Smithsonian in which you find all the museums. There are around 12 museums along this strip on either side of the road and you can walk between all of them and they are all free entry. The museums are amazing which make it really hard to believe that you can just go in and have a look around for as long as you want for no charge. The only thing they do when you arrive is a full body scan and bag check. This check is done everywhere, even the visitor information centre which is kind off a bit weird. IMG_0576.jpgIMG_0569.jpg4IMG_0542.jpgIMG_0543.jpg4IMG_0439.jpg

For dinner we went to Hooters.IMG_0529.jpg Hooters is that restaurant you always see on the movies where the hot girls wear the orange and white skimpy outfits which just cover enough. The food was not too bad but cheap and not very healthy. We tried the deep fried pickles for the first time as it is advertised a lot and we wanted to know what it was all about.IMG_0531.jpg Our finding: kinda weird but ok as a once off thing.

4 Jan – Today Dan wanted to go back and look at more things in the space and aircraft museum. But this is where I draw the line. I then decided to go to the Botanical Gardens and Indian American museum instead. We split for 2.5 hours (our longest time apart since we arrived in the states and we both loved it ;-) Anyway the Botanical gardens are amazing. They have a fairy garden which is really well done and the best of all was that it was warm inside as the whole garden is presented in a green house so I could warm up again. Dan and I then met up at the National history museum which is also the filming place of the movie Night at the museum – the battle of the Smithsonian with Ben Stiller. The museum was very interesting and they had a section with diamonds (heaps from South Africa), which were awesome. IMG_0577.jpg

As the sun was setting we went to the Lincoln memorial (the memorial erected for president Abraham Lincoln). It was stunning and so big but as we wanted to take a photo the camera battery died, which meant that we need to do another trip here in the morning to catch the statue in order to show you a photo. IMG_0589.jpg

On our walk back 8 police cars, 2 black limousines and then another 8 police cars drove up to us. The passenger of the one limosine wound down the window and guess who peered out. President Obama, he invited us over for dinner but we unfortunately just had Taco Bell so we took a rain check on his offer. Nah just joking. We did see all those cars but they all drove past and we can just assume it was President Obama. Or that is what we want to believe

5 Jan – We got up early this morning as it is our last day in D.C. and we still had so much to see and do. Firstly we went to the Iwo Jima World War 2 memorial (which was sculpted from a photo taken during the war and then made into a statue), so we have taken a photo again of the statue – it is a never ending story ;-).IMG_0610.jpg From there we walked to the Arlington National cemetry where the tombstone for President J.F Kennedy is found along with thousands of other people who died during the war. IMG_0618.jpgIMG_0614.jpgIMG_0623.jpg The cemetry is absolutely amazing as the white tiny tombstones just stretch for miles and miles. We then walked across the Arlington memorial bridge to the Lincoln memorial again to take a photo this time with a full camera battery.IMG_0634.jpg After getting our long awaited photo we went back to the car and drove to the Pentagon. We just drove around it and took some photos as there is no way we would be able to get inside.

From there we drove for about an hour to the Large space and aircraft museum which is close to the airport. IMG_0652.jpgIMG_0668.jpgIMG_0737.jpgIMG_0743.jpg The movie Transformers – revenge of the fallen was shot at this museum. For those of you who saw the movie the big black bird which comes alive as the old cranky dude is the first plane you see upon entry. IMG_0684.jpg They also have heaps of space things and a real space shuttle aswell as the quarentine capsule where Neil Armstrong was kept for 62 hours (something like that) to make sure he does not have any “moon bugs”. Dan was so excited to be amongst all those cool planes that he even went to the womens toilet by accident. I sat in the cubicle and then I saw shoes very similar to his pointing in the opposite direction – I then realised it was Dan emptying his bladder in the womens toilet. When I said “Dan do you know you are in the women’s toilet” he said, O I was wondering why there is no urinal. Silly man. After the museum we drove to Days inn, Virginia where we spent the night.

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 20:36 Comments (0)

New York City continued

heaps and heaps of people everywhere

snow

29 Dec – Today we decided to go up the very famous Rockefellar centre as we had clear skies all the way to Las Vegas (song from the Wedding singer movie). IMG_0270.jpg It is seen in many movies and heaps of romantic scenes are shot from the observation deck, called the top of the rock. But those scenes are obviously done in summer time as it is ridicilously cold up there. Once we left the elevator at the 96th floor or something like that a cold breeze came and hugged us. The wind was so strong up there that I struggled to balance and it was the iciest wind I have ever felt. My nose totally froze and I could actually feel it defrost once we were back inside, out of the cold wind. IMG_0348.jpg The views from above are great, you get to see the stunning Crystler building, central park, the big space where the twin towers use to be and the famous King Kong building, you know the building King Kong hang on and did his chest hitting manouvre (that building is called the Empire State building, which is even higher tuan the Rockefellar centre). IMG_0341.jpg IMG_0357.jpg

30 Dec – Today was our walking, exploring and site seeing day. IMG_0274.jpg We discovered so many cheap shops just a little bit away from the main strip and we got some awesome bargains. We also had lunch at a very cheap asian bakery and it was delicious. We went up to the Empire state building and once you look up you realise how high it really is. Macy’s is a big department store found everywhere in the states. The one in Manhattan stretches across a whole block and it is the world’s largest department store. It has a mens clothing section, a womens, children, baby, pet, kitchen, food, underwear, shoe, handbag, jewelery etc. section with each section being a size of a shop by themselves. IMG_0368.jpg

31 Dec – As we knew we would be up until late to celebrate New Years tonight we decided to sleep in a bit today, so we slept till 1pm. Ok maybe a bit to long but trust me we were seriosly fresh and awake when it got to new years. We went walking in Central Park for a few hours where Dan got snap happy and took photos for hours. IMG_0379.jpgIMG_0390.jpgIMG_0391.jpgIMG_0403.jpgIMG_0406.jpg It was really pretty in the park today as it snowed in the morning and everything was covered in fresh white powder. Once we got back home we bought dinner, a bottle of Sangria and 12 mini carrot cake cupcakes for our new years dinner. We then watched 2 dvds and took the train to Times Square for the world famous drop of the ball event where one million people are expected. IMG_0286.jpg We only climbed of the train at about 10:30pm which meant there were about 999 000 people in front of us. So we eventually got a spot in Time Square, we could not see the ball but we were still there. After the remaining 1000 people arrived we were standing in one huge crowd.IMG_0423.jpgIMG_0413.jpg Everyone was singing and cheering and having a great time even though it was snowing and raining slightly. We also heard the new song by Jay zee and Alicia Keys called New York. If you can listen to it on YouTube it is really really cool and they show a lot of places on the music video where we have been. When 00:00 arrived the ball dropped and fireworks were shot from it. This we got to see which meant that we were not that far away. We decided to walk home as all the trains would have been packed. Time square is on 42nd st and we were staying on 108th st so we had quite a way to go but the runners which do the annual New years Central park run at midnight were out and about and running in funny costumes so this entertained us a bit.

1 Jan – To our surprise everything except a lot of restaurants and the cinemas were closed today so we decided to go and see the Avatar movie in 3D. It is a really really cool movie for anyone interested in seeing it. Today was also our last day in New York so we packed and got our gear ready for our next journey.

New York is a really nice place and there is always something happening and thousands of great places to eat at and amazing shops to go and explore but it is so over crowded. There are people everywhere and everywhere you go and everything you want to do requires a massive queue. There are also millions of people everywhere but hardly any public toilets which are really frustrating. And you all know when it is cold outside you go to the loo more often. So I had to constantly walk around with a full bladder searching for a toilet. All the restaurants and cafes have toilets but only one so you usually had to queue for about half an hour and you had to be a customer which made things extra painful. So in a nutshell I would totally recommend New York but only for about 5 days and then you need to get out of there as the crowding really gets to you. That is my opinion of course!

2 Jan – Today we drove to Washington D.C. which I have to add is also freezingly cold.

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 20:18 Comments (0)

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