Category Archives: USA

Carolina Mint

Ivan, Lil Dave and I left at noon on October 13, 2012 headed from Savannah to North Carolina.

We stopped at Ruby Tuesday in South Carolina for lunch.

There are lots of billboards on the freeway for the South of the Border about 100 miles before you reach it.  So, you think it’s a big deal.  I remember Ben our tablemate from the Disney cruise told us about it.  I drove us there and it really wasn’t much. 

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The highway stop has dining, shopping, gas stations and a Reptile Lagoon.  It is located south of the border between South Carolina and North Carolina.  With the big buildup to it, you would expect it to be a big theme park or something special.

Ivan started driving and we arrived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at 6:20 pm.

We were staying in a house that was surrounded by trees.  The older couple were named David and Ruth.

Later, we went to dinner with my cousin Shobee who’s studying Chemistry at UNC.  The Mint is an Indian restaurant.  We started with poppadoms with chutney and onions.  Ivan and I shared a tandoori salmon and a vegetable jalfrezi.  Shobee had a tandoori salmon.  The food was delicious. 

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We chatted about traveling, life and Chemistry. 

Ivan and I went back to the house and watched the USA The Inbetweeners before going to bed.

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Punch Tour

At 11:30 am on October 12, 2012, we went to breakfast at Cobblestone Café with Blaine.  Blaine and I each had the seafood omelet while Ivan got the crab benedict.

We chilled at the apartment for awhile.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went on the Old Savannah Tours which is on a trolley.  The tour wasn’t that exciting.  It was just driving around Savannah and telling you what the trolley was passing by like houses, churches and government buildings.

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It’s a get off and on trolley, so we stopped at The Pirate’s House since Ivan was getting bored by the tour guide.  Here, Ivan and I shared a Chatham Artillery Punch.  It’s a local drink that’s really strong filled with all types of alcohol. 

We got back on the trolley and was dropped off where the trolley started.  Ivan and I thought Blaine’s tour was more exciting than the trolley’s tour.

It was time to head out with Blaine for dinner.  Unfortunately, Blaine couldn’t find his wallet, so he ended up staying in.  He thinks he left in the cab that he took earlier.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to River House for dinner.  Lil Dave got a banana fettuccine.  Ivan and I shared a crab cake and salmon with shrimp.  Ivan and I each had a Chatham Artillery Punch.

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This place created the drink and it does tastes better than the one we had at the Pirates House. Our dessert was apple cobbler which was too stodgy. 

We walked down River Street find find a bar to get a drink.  We went to Wet Willies for a Call A Cab drink.  It’s a strong daiquiri drink.

We walked to 51 degrees.  Ivan read online that this is the best club in Savannah.  It’s not much.  We liked the third floor which had house music, but nobody was there.  The second floor was playing r n’ b and rap and was filled with people, mostly black.  We danced here even though we don’t really like this type of music.

Later, we drove back to the apartment.  There were more couchsurfers staying at Blaine’s.  It was a guy and a girl from South Florida and Blaine’s friend Cat. 

They were drunk.  Ivan ended up hypnotizing Blaine.  He was deeply hypnotized.   

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Savannah

Iva, Lil Dave and I checked out of Casa Yallaha at 11 am on October 11, 2012.

Ivan drove us to Present Moment Café for breakfast.  Ivan and I shared banana and pecan pancakes with blueberries on top and a hemp bagel with hummus and avocado.  We got a chocolate banana muffin and a pack of hemp bagels to go.

We started driving towards Savannah, Georgia at 11:40 am.  We stopped at Ross and Wal-Mart at 12:30 pm.

At 1:15 pm, we were back on the road.  We arrived in Savannah at 3 pm.  There was time to spare before we met up with the couchsurfer we were staying with for 2 nights.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked around downtown on Broughton Street. 

Ivan drove us to the couchsurfer’s house at 4 pm.  We met up with Blaine.  He has a big apartment with just him living there.  He’s a designer for the interior and exterior of airplanes.

Blaine drove us on a great tour of Savannah and Tybee Island.  He really knows his Savannah history.

Blaine took us back to his apartment. 

Later, Ivan and I went to the Olde Pink House which was Blaine’s recommendation.  He said we had to try to Crispy Scored Flounder.  Ivan and I started off with crab cakes with fried green tomatoes.  A lovely strawberry arugula salad with pecans and goats cheese was next. 

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The big Crispy Scored Flounder was our main entrée which was so very tasty with the apricot sauce.  It’s expensive at $27, but it’s enough for 2 people. 

We walked around the bars on River Street, but it was quiet – so we headed back to get rest.

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History, Jail and Murder

On October 10, 2012, Ivan and I did laundry at the B&B. 

We walked to the St. Augustine’s downtown area.  Ivan and I had lunch at Schmagel’s Bagels.  I got a Jammin’ Salmon wrap while Ivan had a vegetable wrap and an everything bagel with hummus.

We walked down the street to The Hyppo which sells gourmet popsicles.  Ivan got the spicy hot chocolate while I got pineapple and cilantro.  Both popsicles were tasty.

We went on the St. Augustine Gold Tours.  Peter who runs the tour company grew up in the same city as Ivan’s mum.  Peter took us around the city.  St. Augustine is the oldest occupied city in America.  He talked about Henry Flagler an oil millionaire who made St. Augustine into a travel destination.  We also heard about the legend of the Fountain of the Youth. 

We heard a lot about the city.  Peter seemed to like the coquina which is sedimentary made out of the fragment of shells.  The coquina is quite resilient when used to create walls.  The tour was good, but it seemed a bit jumbled. Ivan thought he should have started at the beginning of the history of St. Augustine.

After, we walked around St. Georges Street.  Ivan and I got a raspberry and dark truffle and a datil pepper chocolate at Whetstone Chocolates. 

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Lil Dave got a banana truffle.

Later, we went to the Oldest Sore Museum Experience.  In the front of the room there was a store that sold candy, medicine and products like a a milkshake maker that shook a container up and down.  In the back, there were more things like telephones, washing machines, sewing machines and vacuum cleaners.

Ivan added on the Jail tour for $3 for each person.  We went to visit the Old St. Johns County Jail.  Our guide was a man named William Ungrie.  He was dressed in a black and white jail outfit.  One of the other guides described him as looking like Santa Claus on meth which was a very accurate description. 

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He told us about how the women were separated from the men.  The women were in charge of all the cleaning and cooking.  The men and women never saw each other.

The toilet was a bucket that was emptied by throwing it out a window. 

The men worked really hard digging ditches.  Their cells were separated by whites and blacks.

There weren’t any windows in the jail and bugs and rats got in. 

We also saw the recreated gallows outside.

William really enjoyed his job and was very interesting to listen to.

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Ivan drove us to Present Moment Café for dinner.  It’s a raw food restaurant.  We shared the kale avocado, sunrise vegetables and mango samosas.  The cacao torte with rum bananas was delicious.  It was a wonderful meal.

Our last tour was the City Walks’ History, Mystery, Mayhem & Murder! tour.  Alan was our guide.  He told us real-life stories that occurred in St. Augustine.  Alan was born to tell stories.  One of the stories was about Dr. Weedon who became friends with a dying Seminole prisoner named Osceola.  He befriended the prisoner.  After death, the doctor convinced the Seminoles that he was going to make a death mask of Osceola.  The doctor ended up chopping his head off and putting in a glass of formaldehyde.  He would scare his kids with this head.  The head was given to one of the kids, but he wanted nothing to do with it.  It was donated to the Surgical and Pathological Museum.  There was a fire at the museum and the head wasn’t found.  So, I wonder who has the head now. 

This was a wonderful tour that was very entertaining.

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Busch Gardens

Ivan, Lil Dave and I checked out of the hotel on October 9, 2012.  We left at 9:30 am headed to Tampa. 

We arrived at Busch Gardens shortly after 10:30 am.

Busch Gardens is known for its rollercoasters. 

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Ivan and I rode all of the rollercoasters except one since it was just a standard rollercoaster.  My favorite was Mantu. 

We got the train which takes you around the theme park. We saw many animals like giraffes, rhinos and zebras.

Ivan and I fed the small kangaroos.  It tickled when they ate off your hand since their teeth are a little sharp.

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We went to the Lory Landing which had lots of birds.  Ivan had birds all over him while he was feeding them a weird white bird smoothie. 

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We walked around and saw some funny statues that I had to take a picture with.

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Our last stop at the park was Iceploration.  It’s a show about a boy who is taken on a trip by his grandpa to places like the Serengeti and the Great Barrier Reef.  It had ice skating and colorful costumes.  The show was average.

Ivan started driving us at 5:30 pm headed to St. Augustine, Florida.  We arrived at 9 pm.  Ivan and I checked in to Casa Yallaha. 

We drove to centre.  Dinner was at Cellar 6

Lil Dave got a flat bread with banana and honey.  Ivan and I shared flat bread ahi tuna, crab cakes and bruschetta. 

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The food was really tasty.

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Taken Musical

Ivan, Lil Dave and I slept in on October 8, 2012.  Traveling can be so exhausting that sometimes you do need a break to recharge.

I drove us to Sweet Tomatoes for a late lunch.

Next, we went to Downtown Disney to catch a movie.  We saw the movie Taken 2 which was your standard action movie.  It was too far fetched. 

We walked around Downtown Disney. 

That night, we went to a musical revue called Hoop-Dee-Do Revue.  The show is located in Fort Wilderness.  There’s no parking right by the show.  You have to park at the reception area in Fort Wilderness and then catch a shuttle bus to the show. 

Fort Wilderness has lots where you can park your RV and camp out in the wilderness.

We let the guy who handed us the menu know that we were vegetarian and he said the chef would be over to talk to us.  The dinner includes salad with corn bread.  We got unlimited drinks which Ivan and I chose rosé.  Our server was putting the beans on the table.  We told him we were vegetarian. We told him that we told a guy, but that guy never told him. 

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We munched on the corn and mashed potatoes while we waited for our main to come.  The chef came over and asked us what we’d like.  The pasta was just boring marinara.  Ivan asked about fish.  He said he could do a salmon with grilled vegetables.

The salmon was a huge portion with grilled cucumbers and squash.

The show had lots of singing and banjo playing. It was an average show.

Dessert was Ma’s Strawberry Shortcake which was delicious.

At the end, each table was given a big washboard to play.

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Indian Manta

On October 7, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to IHOP for lunch.  Lil Dave got banana pancakes.  Ivan got a vegetable omelet with pancakes while I got the blueberry pancakes with scrambled eggs.

We headed to water park Aquatica and rode a few water rides. 

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It was a hot day out.  There are two lazy rivers here which move you along at a good pace.  We had a good time at the water park.

At 5 pm, we drove to Sea World.  Keep your receipt from Aquatica and your parking is free at Sea World. 

We went on their new fun ride Manta.  It’s a a flying roller coaster and your spine is parallel to the track.  It does feel like you’re flying really fast.

We went on Journey to Atlantis which was ok.

Ivan and I went on Manta again since it was a wonderful ride.

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We checked out the Turtle Trek 3D which has a 360° dome as your viewing screen.  It covers 20 years of a turtle’s life. 

The last show we saw was Countdown to Halloween with Sesame Street friends.  It was cheesy and was aimed towards kids.

Later, we had dinner at the Indian restaurant Aashirwad.  Ivan thought we should have cuisines that we won’t be eating in South America in a few weeks.  There was a great spicy chutney that came with the poppadums. 

Lil Dave got a tandoori banana dish.  Ivan and I shared Haryali Tikki (potato cakes), Tandoori Salmon and Kerala Fish curry.  The food was delectable.

Source: Manta photo

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Treasure Cove

On October 6, 2012, the Disney Fantasy was back in Orlando, Florida.  Ivan and I packed our backpacks. 

We got off the ship at 8:05 am.  We thought Immigration might be long, but there were so many people so it was really quick.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I got the shuttle to the airport.

There, we got a rental car at 9:45 am.

Ivan drove us to Discovery Cove which was close by.  Ivan booked a package that included access to Discovery Cove, Sea World, Aquatica and Busch Gardens.

Discovery Cove includes food, drinks (including alcohol) and even sun tan lotion.

It was time for lunch.  I had the mahi mahi while Ivan had a veggie burger.  Lil Dave had a banana pasta.

We got a wetsuit vest which is mandatory.  The sun tan lotion was really cheap stuff that didn’t rub in which made me look white. 

We went in the The Grand Reef which is a reef with lots of fish and big stingrays. 

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The sharks were behind glass.

Next, we headed to the lazy river Wind-Away River which was really slooooow.  Ivan thought they’d be fish while we were in the river, but there wasn’t.

There really isn’t much to see at Discovery Cove.  I don’t think it’s worth it for the normal price of $169.  There is an extra charge if you want to touch the dolphins, but it’s not worth it.

We checked out the Explorer’s Aviary, but there weren’t many birds inside.

Ivan and I had more food.  Ivan and I each a veggie burger.  We shared a good brownie and a carrot cake which were better than the desserts on the Disney Fantasy.

Ivan asked about parking at Sea World.  A guy said we should stop by the Information Desk.  A lady gave us a free parking pass for today for Sea World.

Ivan thought that we should check out a few shows today at Sea World and come back tomorrow.

We saw the One Ocean show featuring Shamu. 

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The show has the killer whales jumping and twisting all around.  It’s funny how they splash the people in the Splash Zone.  Some people get mad and freak out.  They should be smart and NOT sit in the Splash Zone then.  It’s only water anyway!

Next, we saw the Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island Show.  It featured sea lions and an otter. 

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The two shows were pretty cheesy – not as good as Disney shows.

We drove to Rosen Plaza Hotel where we checked in.

Later that night, we went to Treasure Tavern dinner show. 

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It’s a really funny variety show with comedy, magic, singing and hula hooping.  We got a four course meal with soup, salad, salmon and a lovely chocolate cake.

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Relaxing Orlando

Ivan and I woke up at 6 am on September 28, 2012.  I went back to sleep.  Ivan took a bath and walked around the area around the hotel.   I woke up at 9:45 am.

I worked on the blog.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked to TGIF’s for lunch.  Lil Dave had a banana penne dish.  Ivan and I shared the Spinach Florentine flatbread.  We each got a dragonfire salmon with was lovely.

There’s a nice lake right across from the hotel.

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It was a relaxing day.  Ivan and I used the internet and I worked on the blog.

Dinner was at Denny’s.  Ivan had the lovely vegetable skillet again while I got a good grilled chicken sandwich with avocado, chopped onions and tomatoes. 

Ivan and I watched part of the weird movie Saint John’s of Las Vegas before going to bed early at 9:30 pm.

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Travelling to Orlando

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up early at 8:15 am on September 27, 2012.  Ivan packed his backpacks up.  We had a boiled egg at the apartment.

We got the bus to the train station and then took the metro to the airport.

Ivan and I shared a mushroom pizza and a pretzel.  Lil Dave had a banana pizza. 

Today, we were traveling to Orlando, but we had one stopover.  Our plane left Munich at 12:15 pm headed to Philadelphia. 

The plane arrived at 3:30 pm.  We proceeded to Immigration and then had to collect our luggage and then drop them off.

Ivan and I each got a vegetable burrito.  I was feeling like a zombie since our flight was almost 9 hours long.

The plane left Philadelphia at 6:30 pm and we arrived at 8:35 pm in Orlando, Florida.

There was a free shuttle to Marriott, but Ivan was too tired to wait for it.  We got a taxi to the Marriott Orlando Airport hotel.  The area we’re staying at has lots of hotels and restaurants.

We walked to Denny’s for dinner.  Ivan and I each got the vegetable skillet which has veggies, eggs, spinach and potatoes. 

We watched some tv for awhile and then went to sleep early at 10:30 pm.

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