A Travellerspoint blog

Beach, boat and booze

sunny 32 °C

Today was a free day to do whatever we wanted, known as BTE or better time elsewhere. I slept in to about 8:30, had breakfast and then watched the French Open final, Federer versus Nadal. Unfortunately, Nadal won in 4 sets but it was a close, competitive match.

After the tennis finished, I went out to lunch at the hotel. After eating, I chucked some sunscreen on and went out to the beach. The water was really nice and warm but incredibly salty, the saltiest water I’ve ever swum in. It stung my eyes and burned my throat; not pleasant. The water was quite shallow too; I could sit on the seabed 40 metres out from the shore. I spent about 2 hours at the beach, it was really relaxing.

For dinner tonight, I went out with the group to Bubba Gump Shrimp, the home of Forrest Gump, in the Bayside Marketplace. I had coconut shrimp with rice; it was absolutely delicious! After dinner, a boat cruise on Biscayne Bay was organised. I cruised down the bay for a couple of hours as the sun set on Miami, drinking unlimited, free booze and partying the night away – it was heaps of fun and a great way to finish off Miami. It wasn’t the last thing for the night though. I went on to Nikki Beach, a club right on the beach with beds and lounges in the sand – it was a sweet place.

Miami lived up to its reputation of sun, beach and fun! I didn’t get time to explore Downtown Miami, Little Havana, Little Haiti and the many parks, which I would’ve liked to have done. Miami itself is an enormous, spread-out city and I only saw a small part of it in Miami Beach. I look forward to visiting the city again one day and spending more time there soaking up the culture, history and sun!

Posted by mccardj 14:16 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged boat beach booze Comments (0)

Welcome to Miami!

sunny 33 °C

Today I headed for the sun and beaches of Miami! On the way I stopped off in Port St Lucie. In no time at all I was in Miami. Miami is known as the ‘magic city’ because of its rapid growth which visitors remarked the city grew so much from one year to the next it was like magic. About 70% of people in Miami speak Spanish. It is also the centre for the drug trade and is the largest cruise ship port in the world, the port is often called the ‘cruise capital of the world’.

For lunch I visited the Bayside Marketplace, a marketplace containing over 150 shops and covers part of Biscayne Bay, and had crab cakes. I then drove across a bridge to hit the Miami Beach district, an island between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Downtown Miami.

When I arrived in Miami Beach, I walked along the most popular beach, South Beach, also known as SoBe. The beach was filled with people swimming in the water and tanning on the beach. The sand was pretty white, a bit shelly and quite compact. I walked along the Lummus Park Beach Walk admiring the many palm trees. Afterwards I hit the main shopping drag, Washington Street, checking out the many top-end shops.

For dinner tonight, I went to Mango’s Restaurant with the group, which is located in South Beach across the road from the beach. I had fettuccine alfredo, which I hadn’t had before and didn’t know what it was – I wish I hadn’t ordered it. It was chock-a-block with cheese, butter and cream – I felt quite sick afterwards. It tasted like macaroni and cheese.

Following on from dinner, I went out with the group to a sports bar called Finnigan’s and then went clubbing in Mansion, a club that definitely lived up to its name; it was a mansion! There were several, large, open, high-ceilinged rooms playing either R&B or techno. Because I don’t like that music too much and I still had a stomach ache from the dinner, I went back to my hotel early.

Posted by mccardj 14:15 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged beach miami Comments (0)

Universal Studios in Orlando

sunny 32 °C

Soon I was on the bus and on my way to Universal Studios and Harry Potter.

When I arrived at the park I bought an express pass which meant I could skip the enormous queues and jump to the front of the line. It was a great move because of the time saved. I started my day at the park by taking some photos of New York, a replica of the The New York Public Library. The group wanted to do two rides, Revenge of the Mummy and Disaster!, but I wasn’t feeling up to going on any rollercoasters at the time so I had breakfast at Starbuck’s instead.

I walked past a reproduction of San Francisco with San Francisco Bay and Fisherman’s Wharf sign on my way to the first ride – Jaws! Jaws was actually quite tame, it involved getting into a boat and cruising around a small lake with Jaws rushing out of the water trying to eat you.

Krustyland was next. I did The Simpsons ride again; it was the same as in Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Afterwards I rode the Men in Black Alien Attack ride which involved shooting aliens from my seat as I passed them. It was really fun but there was some spinning which made me feel dizzy and sick, but I got through it unharmed.

While my friends rode the Hollywood Rip Ride RockIt, a gigantic and terrifying rollercoaster, which I did not do because I cannot stand being turned upside down, I checked out some of the shops around the area with another friend who doesn’t like rollercoasters like me.

We had finished most of this park so it was time to hit up the other park – Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This park was much larger than the other park so I only had time to explore two worlds. I was really excited about the first because it had a cool, colossal Greek statues out of the front of the ride. It was Poseidon’s Fury, where I toured the remains of Poseidon’s ancient temple – to my surprise there was no ride.

Now for the moment I was anticipating all day – Harry Potter. The entrance to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was Hogsmeade. It looked very real and magical. I didn’t stay long in Hogsmeade because I headed straight to Hogwarts and the best ride of them all – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This ride was by far the most popular; I lined up for 1 hour in the boiling heat! The wait was absolutely worth it! It started by walking around Hogwarts, seeing the talking paintings, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and Professor Dumbledore’s Office. There were short videos from all of the main characters, Harry, Ron, Hermoine and Dumbledore. It was very exciting; I felt like I was actually in Hogwarts! After my walking tour through Hogwarts, it was time for even more excitement – the ride! The ride took me on an adventure around the Hogwarts’ grounds, including flying with Harry through the air, exploring the Forbidden Forest and fighting off the dementors.

Following from Hogwarts, I headed back to Hogsmeade to do more exploring. I tried Butterbeer, a frozen, sweet non-alcoholic beverage made from butterscotch – it was extremely tasty! Ollivanders was next on my list. There was a small show from Ollivander himself then I browsed all of the wands on sale, from Harry, Ron and Hermoine to Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape and even Lord Voldemort himself. I bought Harry Potter’s wand.

I was Harry Pottered out and the day was ending so I walked back to the exit and left. I had heaps of fun at Universal Studios. I will return one day to ride on all the rides!

Posted by mccardj 22:24 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Toga party in Kissimmee

sunny 32 °C

Today I left Tallahassee for Kissimmee, which is just outside Orlando, with a brief stopover in Gainesville. Orlando is the most visited city in the United States for one reason: theme parks! Tomorrow I will be hitting up Universal Studios!

Tonight I had a toga party by the pool in my hotel. I dressed up in a red toga; I looked like a monk! I needed help from Danni to dress me because I had no idea how to wear a toga. It was a lot of fun wearing one. I had a barbecue by the pool and then jumped in and mucked around in the pool – it was heaps of fun!

Posted by mccardj 22:21 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged toga Comments (0)

Airboating with alligators

sunny 32 °C

Today began by walking through the French Quarter. As the name suggests this district was first settled by French Canadians from Nova Scotia. I expected the French language to saturate this district but there was very little French unfortunately, however, I did find the street signs were written in French (for example, Rue Bourbon) and a shop sign read ‘ouvert’ – I felt like I was back in Montreal for a second ☺. For a snack I had a beignet. French for ‘fried dough’, it is a pastry made from deep-fried dough, like a doughnut, with cinnamon – it was really nice but too unhealthy. During my walk through the French Quarter I looked at the gold statue of Joan of Arc, Jackson Square and Saint Louis Cathedral, the French Market and New Orleans Mint which is now a jazz museum. For lunch I visited my first IHOP (International House of Pancakes) on Canal Street and had four pancakes with bananas and strawberries – it was very delicious!

That afternoon I was in for a thrill adventure – airboating with alligators! As soon as I arrived at the alligator farm I visited the tank containing the American alligators. There were about 15-20 alligators in one tank, mainly small gators and one albino one – it was really cute!

Later it was time to jump on the airboat. I cruised down Bayou Perot, passing through marshes and open water. We had only seen glimpses of a couple of gators halfway through the cruise so I was taken to gator alley, the home of Elvis the alligator. I soon found him. To coax him to the airboat, the tour guide threw marshmallows – yes alligators apparently like marshmallows! – into the water for the alligator to eat. There were soon a few alligators, about 2-3 metres long, surrounding the airboat for a feed – it was an awesome sight! My tour guide then grabbed a baby alligator from an esky and passed it around the group to hold. I was very eager to hold it and soon had it in my hands. To hold a baby alligator, without it biting you, you hold it around the neck and at the base of the tail – it was quite easy. The baby alligator was a treat to hold. I even kissed!!

I tremendously enjoyed the airboating cruise on Bayou Perot and playing with the alligators. It was my favourite part of New Orleans.

First time activities:
• Riding on an airboat
• Seeing, holding and kissing an alligator

Posted by mccardj 16:12 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged alligator airboat Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 51) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »