A Travellerspoint blog

Gina's take so far!

This has taken me a while to get round to...

sunny
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WOW! Where do I start ... well the last 2 entries written by Martin are perfect accounts of what we've been up too, but I wanted to write a few extras!

Florida and arriving seems so long ago now - well I surpose it is nearly a month. We are spending money well too well in fact but fingers crossed Martin will have a job lined up when we get to Australia ? March - May time 2010. Our flight over was great it went quickly and I watched all the movies I wanted. Our hotel in Miami was nice not luxury but good for the price and great location near the beach. We walked all round the art deco district and chilled out by the beach - perfect start!

Next we went to the Keys for a spot of camping or should I say sauna baking in out small tent - too humid and hot we ran to a hostel after 2 nights! I have yet to spend a day without an itch from a mossie bite even here in Canada (we're currently on Lake Superior at a hostel in Thunder Bay). The Keys where beautiful though. Well Martin's blogs have told you all about them and the gadors in the Everglades Martin got a tad too close for comfort I think but me yes I only have to see one move and I'm running in the other direction.

Nashville was cool though it was a bit stressfull as we spent alot of time trying the find a car with no luck oh and also I had my first bribe of the trip believe it or not at Miami airport! some American airlines checkin guy asked me what I would give him if he sorted out getting our 3rd luggage bag on the flight for nothing???? It was hot I was tired so I gave him $15 silly me ok well I'm practicing aren't I I'll be better next time!

We hired a car in the end at Nashville after Martin played some great music live at an open mic in Nashville. We drove to Abi's in Wilkesboro North Carolina and stayed longer than anticipated but we where really pleased we did for 2 reasons spending more time with Abi and Eliav and we also found a car!!! There should be pics on the blog soon. We have been camping out in the stick with no mobile access phones or internet so have not been in touch much. At Abi's we got to get a real feel for southern USA kindness and hospitality. We spent some time with the lovely Wallace family - thanks for a great evening! We went for ribs and pork in the Mountains, walked in the mountains and saw the old town of Winston Salam. Oh on the way to Abi's we also got to drive through The Great Smokie Mountains which where beautiful. After a sad good bye to Abi and Eliav new car in hand and Martin's North Carolina's ID card!! We drove to Washington DC via the Shannandoh National Park (I haven't spelt that right I'm sure Martin will correct me in in his next blog). It is called the skyline drive and well worth doing - we would have liked to have camped a night or 2 there but we are on a tight scedule a tad! We stayed in a great B and B in Washington and got to spend 1 day looking round all the mounuments and I mean all of them plus go to the Smithsonians (well only 2 of them as we got carryied away in the air and space museum). Martin really enjoyed the fighter jet simluator where he got to turn us upside down.

After Wahington we had a bad drive (mad traffic and crazy drivers) to New York where we stayed with my lovely fried Rui and her partner Edrin and their 2 BIG dogs (gorgeous though). Had fun trying lots of tasty food and having our first pitcher of beer oh and our first USA hotdog. We walked lots saw most of all the sights we wanted and had bagels in central park, walked over Broklyn bridge at sun set (very romantic) - thanks Rui and Edrin we had such a good time with you guys.

From New York we headed across the boarder to Niagara Falls the Canadian side. The crossing was fine though we had lots of questions about the car and where we are going. The falls themselves are obviously stunning and yes we went on the maid in the mist boat got wet through - well I did as I was too lazy to wrap up properly. The town itself though is like Blackpool a bit tacky so we only stayed 2 nights. Now we are getting into camping time... we picked up some passengers in our car from the hostel David and Andreas from Germany and drove up the Bruce Pennisula to the bruce national park we camped for 2 nights and walked by Georgian bay and lake Huron.What can I say - it is a beautiful place. The only down side was there we're some noisy people on the site and no showers (I went for a swim in the Bay/lake instead). The sceanary made up for that though. We left via a car ferry across Lake Huron (which was stunning too) and Martin drove us to Lake Superior provincial park (we said good bye to the guys on the way).
Lake Superoir park was also yes you guessed it - stunning! we camped on the beach (yes it has a beach - well lots of beaches it is that big). We only stayed 2 nights but made the most of it by hiring a canoe for the day to canoe some of the coast line - yes stunning!! and now that that's us to today the 13th Sept after a long drive to Thunder Bay just for the night. I'll look forward to next time...

Posted by martgina 17:02 Comments (0)

The Grass is always Bluer on the Other Side

From Slow Cookin' in Florida to Music City Adventures in Nashville, TN

sunny 27 °C
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OOhhhkayy.... straight in - 2 days walking around in Miami Beach (we've stayed clear of downtown) was just about enough for us to get our bearings. We bought 2 cheap phones (they don't sell simcards on their own here) and picked up a small, compact economic car... by USA standards, that is! 'small' here means a Dodge Charger, with whells the size of Gina and an interior that would put some London Flats i've seen to shame. As for parking that juggernaut.....

Equiped thus, we drove all the way down the Florida Keys... a beautiful drive, alternating between remote hamlets and Tackyville style tourist villages. The end of the Road is Key West, so cheesy it must be seen to be believed. Needless to say, I liked it a lot! We really enjoyed the freedom the car gave us, and once clear of the Miami Freeways with their homocidal drivers and ambigous signage driving actually became a pleasure. This will be hard to believe to the UK motorist. I even got to grips with the Cruise Control!

And here's the first problem: During the day, one spends most time either in the airconned car or in airconned rooms of some kind. It is rare to be outside in the brutal Florida summer heat for more than an hour or so at the time. Then, nighttime comes. We pitched the tent. Temperature drops - to about 30 degrees C. Not a breeze. Outside, Mosquitoes rule, and as most of you will know they have a particular taste for our lovely Gina. Gourmets, they are.

2 nights of this and we were beaten - retreat to the mainland (Florida City) and a Hostel. Still sticky and hot, but bearable.

We went on a snorkel trip to the Reef, just to see what's out there - Some Barracudas, Conch (an endangered kind of Sea Snail, rarely seen elsewhere), Rainbow fish... in terms of variety, viz and colour it ain't Mauritius, but we've enjoyed it none the less.

In view of the heat and the Mozzies a taste of the Everglades was just about enough for us. We went on a Backwater boat Trip, a boardwalk over the Alligator-infested waters (got too close to some of them for Gina's comfort!), where we also spotted a Turtle. It was an amazing experience, and I wish we've had some time to come here in Winter when there's even more wildlife and the climate is more amiable.

A short flight took us to Nashville - Music City!!! It's amazing even from the air, how much the land changes. It's temperate here, still summerly hot but much dryer, cool in the evenings, the wet prairie has gone, there's coniferous trees and fields and mountains. From above, the lakes look like molten metal.

We've already had our first pup crawl last night - and probably our last, considering the drinks prices here! I'll try to get an open mic slot at the world famous Bluebird Cafe tomorrow, please wish me luck!

More to come......

Martin

Posted by martgina 08:58 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

M.I.A.M.I. !!!!!

Waves and Waffles

sunny 33 °C
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Just to let you guys know we've landed safely, and are having a great time already. Not too much to report yet but we've only been here for a few hours....

Yep, we've made it. We've landed in Sunshine state yesterday, so now our big, BIG trip has officially begun.

Everything went really smoothly so far, and even US immigration (I've heard numerous horror stories about how they treat people) were courteous, polite and efficient. It still galls me that my fingerprints are taken (where i'm from that's what you do to criminals) on entry but US policy is one thing; the officers at the border control are, after all, only doing their job.

So, now we're here and the fun can begin - our hotel is clean, perfectly located and offers all amenities one could wish for. Needless to say, it's also good value for money. Very importantly, the aircon works, because let me tell you, it's HOT here!!!

After arriving at the Hotel and cooling off a bit we went for a short walk along the beach (and yes ladies there are lots of Body Building Blokes running with their shirts off, just like in the movies), and in true American Style we've had Burger for dinner. I've discovered the delights of Bud Light (whazzzzUUUuuppp!!!).

This morning we've had filter (!) coffee in our room, followed by a substantial breakfast (we're giving the waffles a miss today but tomorrow we'll have Waffles with maple syrup for sure!). This carbohydrate-bomb has set us up well and truly for our ongoing exploration of the Art-Deco district this morning; we're also going to buy a cheap phone and sim card (you can't get Sims on their own) so soon you'll be able to call us. We'll email the numbers out when we have them.

That's all for now folks, hope all is well in your world - whatch this space!

Martin :-)

Posted by martgina 09:54 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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