Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!
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The Bahamas, USA (East Coast), Canada 2013
(20 Sep 2013 - 15 Oct 2013)

 

Day 5

Nassau-Miami-Marathon (24 Sep 2013)

 

 




Good Morning Bahamas! After breakfast at Bimini Market, we left for the Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) for our flight to Miami (MIA), a city that has acted as the backdrop for various movies and TV shows.

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What’s special about NAS is that it offers US pre-clearance facility, i.e. you actually clear US Customs and Immigration right here before leaving The Bahamas. US border preclearance also exist in Toronto, Aruba and at two other airports in Ireland. Coolz!

Vance: And it is also at this airport (NAS) that I have got a full TSA patdown (AKA Frisking) and every single item in my carry-on extracted and examined in details! I wasn't worried but it wasn't a very good experience. Maybe the airport security felt that we have too much time to burn because we checked in 3-4 hours in advance! :S

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Rum Cake is a specialty of Bahamas, delicious and moist, these Bundt-shaped cakes come in a number of different and tasty flavours. Of course, HHF brought one (Bacardi) rum cake back to Singapore.

Vance: We are just at the early leg of our trip.. so the Rum Cake is going to go all over the US East Coast and Toronto with us!!

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Vance: Warning: These are meant for kids. Adults, don't try it at home!!

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Vance: Today's Wifey Birthday too! :) [Check out the message on Facebook! *wink*]

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Departed Nassau for Miami via American Eagles 3495 (Flight 4 of 9, Flight Time = 55 mins).

Vance: Its an Embraer ERJ-140 (ERD). Small but pretty comfi aircraft for short flights. Just aged a little. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/American_Airlines/American_Airlines_Embraer_ERJ-140.php

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Finally we have visited The Caribbean. Farewell Bahamas!

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Glimpses of Miami Beach! We reached Miami International Airport (MIA) in no time.

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To get to the Miami Rental Centre (RCC) from MIA, take the MIA Mover (A shuttle train located on the 3rd level).

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Collecting the rented car from Avis.

Vance: Its one Expensive Rental!

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An antique car on display at the RCC. Cars in the olden days are definitely much simpler!

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Red, Yellow, Silver… Any of course it’s the yellow car that was chosen for obvious reason *wink*. Finally a chance to drive the Bumblebee aka 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS that we didn’t get to drive in our 2012 USA trip. A must do for the die-hard transformer fans (like Vance).

Vance: Its actually Fiona who coax me into this (expensive) rental!!

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Best part : Our 2 bulky luggage can actually fit the boot of the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro!

Vance: The Camaro is advertised to carry only 1 large and 1 small luggage. I was expecting to dump one of our luggage into the (tiny) back seats. But will some arrangement (and luck), they fit into the (big car but TINY) boot nicely!

For the record, this is the Chevrolet Camaro 2SS 2dr Coupe 6.2L V-8 with 426hp and 420 lb-ft of torque and does EPA MPG 16 City / 24 Hwy.


 





 
Next stop is South Miami Beach (30 mins drive from Miami International Airport).


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Great and reasonable priced French lunch at the Otentic Restaurant (Located in 710 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33139). Understand that they are relocating down the block to a larger location soon.

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We started with their glass of Chardonnay and an excellent olive spread for toast. We had Escargots de “Bourgogne” which was served with homemade garlic butter that’s absolutely delicious and fragrant.

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The crepe was tasty but was too salty for our preference.

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The Crème Brulee was creamy and certainly left us with a really sweet aftertaste. We like the small but cozy atmosphere with comes with really prompt and warm service. Otentic Restaurant is highly recommended if you are visiting South Miami Beach.


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We finally got our pre-paid SIM card with unlimited data plan in a small mobile shop near Otentic (We couldn’t get our prepaid card in both international airports (MIA and JFK) in this digital age?! How ridiculous can it get?)

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Miami Beach has turquoise waters and white powdery sandy beaches, no wonder it’s such a popular holiday destination. Good news for those who enjoy people watching, the beach is flooded with cool hunks and hot babes sunbathing! No wonder Miami Beach is always crowded!

Vance: Seriously, all the good looking people (not only Americans) are here! Really a feast for the eyes, whatever your (sexual) preference!

Time to move on to Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago in southeast USA, beginning at the south-eastern tip of the Florida peninsula (south of Miami) and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands.

Vance: With no muscles to show, we (or actually, I) decided to head for the Keys! :)


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Ref: http://www.floridakeys-keywest.com/images/florida-keys-map.jpg
 


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The 126 miles Overseas Highway (US1) connects the numerous islands of Florida Keys, so when you are driving on the Overseas Highway, you are surrounded by nothing but the sun, sea and sky. Absolutely picturesque experience that you can never imagine, definitely one of the most spectacular drives in the world.

Vance: Especially in an all-American "Muscle Car", it makes the experience a truly enjoyable one!

On our way to Florida Keys, we tried to save on tolls (which can be really costly, US$9+ per use for Avis) and ended up being caught in the traffic jam. Toll roads in Miami do not accept cash, you need to flip up the SunPass machine installed in the rented car when you pass through the toll roads.


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Vance: Which was a lesson learnt, especially we are running on a "tight" schedule. (Actually I think we did too much people gazing at Miami Beach :P). The plan was to arrive back in Hotel before sunset and have a good dinner and break for the night. But we were held up by rush hour start-stop traffic in Miami downtown.

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Vance: Though we are going to drive into the night, but we were greeted with an amazing Sunset which we will not witness the beautiful sight if we drive into the keys early! (Didn't regret taking an extra look at the Bikini babes at Miami Beach :P)

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Finally reached The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Marathon at 8PM! We're given a room on Level 2 facing the pool.
Pros
: Great location as Marathon is half way through the Keys, right smack in the center. Hotel is newly renovated and rooms are spacious. The Tarpon Creek Marina is located just behind the hotel, really convenient for those who enjoy snorkeling in Florida Keys.
Cons : There is no guest laundry onsite. Supposedly, there’s a Dinner Package at Tarpon Creek Bar & Grill or the Barracuda Grill when you stay 2 nights at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Marathon. Basically one can get $25 credit just by showing the receipt from either restaurant when you check out (US$25 credit will be applied to your final bill). However, when we checked it with their counter staff (Jarrod), he was not sure and couldn’t be bothered to check with his colleague. In fact, he yawned when he was talking to us. That really left us a really bad impression of HIE. :(

Looking forward to tomorrow where we will visit Bahia Honda State Park, Fort Taylor and Key West! :)

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Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!