Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!
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USA
(West Coast)
(27 Jul 2012 - 19 Aug 2012)

Day 9

San Diego (04 Aug 2012)

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Good Morning Williams! We are leaving you for San Diego today :)

It’s would be a looooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggg drive (800 KM) to San Diego today! Commendable efforts by Vance who did all the driving himself!

Vance: Glad to be assigned Driver and You are Welcome! :)

1st break at KingMan (Safeway Store – Starbucks). We saw this jumbo-sized cheese balls pack…. Hhmm… How long will I take to finish this?

Vance: [On the Cheese Ball Thingy] On a 800KM drive in a single breath. Why not?

 

On the way to San Diego, I asked Vance why we didn’t rent a “Bumblebee” aka Chevrolet Camaro Bumblebee. Since Bumblebee is not available in Singapore (Left Hand Drive), why didn’t he opt for a more unique driving experience? He explained due to budget constraints, he didn’t considered renting it at all… Hhhmmm… I’m going to force him to rent Bumblebee if I have a chance to… Hehe :P

Vance: You mean this one that can transform??? They have got this for rental??!

(Above) Hotlink from http://2011-camaro-pic.blogspot.sg/2011/03/aliff-x26amp-bumblebee.html

 Next, lunch break @ Panda Express, Barstow. Panda Express is one of the largest chain of Chinese Fast Food restaurant in US, serving American Chinese cuisine. The chain offers a variety of food such as the popular Orange chicken, Mandarin Chicken, Kung Pao chicken etc. Combo meals are served with fried rice, steamed rice, chow mein (Fried Noodles), or mixed vegetables. If you have craving for Chinese food in US, Panda Express is definitely one of our recommendations.

Vance: Gourmet Chinese Food -> Should read as -> Economical rice; in Singapore/South East Asia :P
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_rice

 

Fortune cookies!

We arrived earlier than expected and proceed to the REAL premium outlet (Las Americas Outlet Mall which is literally on the Mexican border). Why do I say it’s real? Outlet Malls in the States are well-known for offering huge discounts for brands such as Coach, Kate Spade, Timberland etc. In terms of physical size and discount offered, the outlet mall in Malaysia (Johor Premium Outlet aka JPO) fares ridiculously bad. There’s limited brands and variety in JPO and for brands like Coach, items on offer are still expensive.

There’s 125 outlet stores in Las Americas Outlet Mall and for the shopaholics, it’s almost paradise here! Most importantly, there’s Victoria’s Secret Outlet and Disney Store Outlet here that’s not commonly found in other factory outlets.

 

 

US is famous for having these ‘‘Factory Outlets’ and here are some tips that we would like to share for shopping in these premium outlets. Sign up for free VIP Club membership where you will receive exclusive online coupons and vouchers for a free VIP coupon book. Print out the redemption voucher BEFORE departing and exchanged it at the information counter at the outlet that you are visiting. The VIP coupon book provides a whole list of discounts for various brands and these VIP discounts are usually on top of the existing discounts provided by the shops.

Vance: Psst.. this was my idea! [VIP thingy]

Somehow, family/friends/colleagues/relatives would definitely get you to buy something (like Coach or Kate Spade) for them (if they know you are heading to US). If you find it difficult to say no, get them to list you at least 5-8 (or above) options. Factory outlets typically carry past season (or even older) stock, hence you may get not be able to find what they have requested.

Another factor to consider would be the Sales Tax (VAT or Singapore’s GST equivalent) that varies from cities to cities in US. In Singapore, most items are quoted including GST. However in US, prices generally exclude sales tax. So do add the taxes to your purchases for an apple to apple comparison.

We have compiled a list of 2012 Sales Tax rates for the cities that we visited below :-
San Francisco – 8.50%
Las Vegas – 8.10%
San Diego – 7.75%
Los Angeles – 8.75%

Using the above as a guide (since Sales Tax are not refundable even for tourist), we would recommend you to get hold of your loots from San Diego. In short, do your homework before you travel. This will save you lots of time and money :)

Having fun at Disney Store Outlet…

Vance: And these 2 “animals” (among many others) came back with us!

Times up. Checking into Motel 6 (San Diego Downtown). No frills, decent room with modern fixtures. The only complaint we had was the limited parking.

Vance: And the Flight of series of stairs I got to climb/decend to get our luggages from Car <-> Hotel!

Space saving ideas!

Looking forward to our visit to the USS Midway Museum tomorrow :)



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Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!

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