The Traveling Duo

Travel! It's good for the Soul...

Florida Keys - According to Me!

Where was I? Oh, we stayed overnight in Naples, Florida…the clean city! We woke up a little early than usual, I was excited about the travel from Naples to the Keys via Homestead. Our overnight stay was in Marathon, one of the bigger Island in the Lower Keys. The breakfast was great, my husband got a lot of breakfast sides, like oranges, cereals without milk, muffins, and all other stuff…he’s just like that. Finally we got out of the hotel and started to plan our route. We wanted to get to Homestead through a highway just on the north part of the Everglades. It’ Highways 41/90. It goes through some Native American villages. Alligators was my concern but the fact that this villages advertise of some Gator Delicacies, my concern was lessen!

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The drive was very scenic and very eerie at the same time, not because I may see a ghost on the road at noontime, but because of the fact that there are a lot of big creatures that maybe lurking around, ready to come out and say “Hi” to us in their own peculiar way! We would pass by some guys who were fully “dressed to kill”… and even some guys who, as far as I can tell very worried about their heads getting bitten by mosquitoes! My only guess is that under the thick cap, there is no hair to hide their yummy-pinkish-bald-heads!

Then as we were getting deeper into the forest, we would see camp sites, where we could go out and see the wild. We decided to stop on one. What we did not expect was a moat that was filled with baby and adult alligators! It was a sight…until my husband’s nose started dripping! I mean it was dripping water… he has some allergies, every now and then, but his nose was like a water hose! We were laughing all the way to the car, it was very weird but we never found out what caused it, I joked around saying it was a Native American’s curse…LOL!

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NOTE: Every now and then you’ll see these notes I made. These are advises and alerts for you to head (or not- if you think you know better than me! LOL). When you go through this highway, you have to mind your speed. This highway is manned by the Native American police, and they have their own law. You have to follow what the road signs says…you are in their territory and you have to follow their rules, or else you’ll be thrown to the crocs! NO, JUST KIDDING….these people are very nice, they are very tourist friendly!

This highway is what I would advise you to take, if you’re not in a hurry, if you’re a little daring, with a good driving car, and full tank of gas! It was a very good experience for me and my husband overall. We took Krome Ave, when we reached Homestead going South, there is really not much scenic views to see but you’ll see the lifestyle of the people…(a polished way of saying- you’re going through the city). Krome Avenue is where Historic Homestead is too, their Historic Street…which is very near to Highway 1 going towards the Keys!

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My experience with the Keys are always great! But this time we have the whole day ahead of us, and the next day if I wanted to linger around. It’s always a very interesting drive. At least we make it interesting because if you won’t you’ll get bored with the traffic! Oh, don’t let me start talking about the traffic, and the people who causes them! We finally reached Key West at about 1 pm, we were hot and hungry! We decided to eat at a shack, it looks rundown but Maaan, the food was great!!! There are always a lot of people coming in and out this restaurant, and it’s Italian! After lunch, we wanted to walk around the beach and the pier nearby, then we went down to the Southernmost corner of United States of America! Well, there’s a lot of confusion about this corner, a lot of people saying that it’s not…but who cares, there was a line of people!

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We ended our little tour at Duval Street where everything is happening, passing by Earnest Hemingway Mansion/Museum. Took some pictures, bought some sponges and sweat some more! Then we headed back towards our Hotel which was in Marathon Florida… we were very tired when we get to the room, and before I closed my eyes, I whispered in my husband’s ear, “Do you realize we are sleeping in the middle of the ocean?” He kissed me and smiled, “your wish, my dear…your wish came true!”

A Long Short drive To Naples, Florida

Hi everybody, I have been wanting to write about my Florida journey for a week now, but every time I sat down and actually start hitting the keyboard, my thinking gets in the way! A lot of emotions comes pouring in, it seems like every piece of item or experience I had on the trip talks to me in my head all at the same time trying to be the first one to be talked about…weird, huh? I don’t know if that’s the ‘multiple personality’ thing that is kicking in, or maybe it’s just an excuse because the other side of me is shouting “I’m just too lazy to put it into writing!”

Naples– is located on the south western part of Florida, not the most southern, but one of the cities by the Gulf of Mexico. We did not spend a whole lot of time in the city, but we drove around a bit for me to say its a very nice and clean city!

We left home after we got the car rental at about 10:30 am on a Saturday, we took Interstate 75 all the way down, by noon we were almost at the outskirts of Macon, GA. It was a very smooth drive, the Chevy Impala was very comfortable and spacious. Rashid and I always have fun talking about all sorts of stuff when we are alone, we better be because we will be stuck with each other for the next 6 days! :-)…

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Rashid would say, “Hey did you know that Bono was hitchhiking again in Canada, a few months ago?”as if I did not know about it, or he did not send me the news through email a few weeks ago. I would say, “Yea I know, he should stop doing that…times are a-changing, he was lucky it was famous Canadian hockey player that picked him and his friend up, not like some psycho!” as if I did not told him already when he sent me the news….things like that! ;-)…

At about 4 pm we already crossed the Florida border. We decided to stop by the Welcome Center, we usually don’t because our trip was already planned, where we’re going and what we’re going to do at a particular time of the day (that’s what you get when you marry a man like my husband…) but what the heck, we stopped by anyway. I needed to use the rest room and Rashid needed some free orange juice!

NOTE: I f you’re traveling to Florida for sightseeing I advise you to stop by a Welcome Center, get some Brochures that are available, even if you already planned your vacation, there are very useful maps that you can get for free, not to mention the free orange juice, and a good stretching if you have a bad back!
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At about 6 pm we were passing Ocala, Florida and by 8 pm we were in Tampa, Florida. We were planning to see Ybor City’s famous 7th Avenue, walk and just experience it, but we decided since it was getting late and I really wanted to see the Sunshine Skyway Bridge while it was still daylight, we just drove on. We got off I-75 and took I-275 going through St. Petersburg (an Island city on the coast of Tampa). The bridge connects the the Island with the Southern part of Tampa. I enjoyed it so much, we decided to stop by and we went through another bridge just parallel to the Sunshine Skyway where a lot of people were fishing! Took some pictures…it was great!

We arrived at our hotel in Naples at about quarter past 9 at night. We were exhausted, but the drive was awesome, and the ocean we saw, the breeze was so refreshing to me that I could not wait till the next day. We cleaned up for the night, ate and off to bed… and of course, whatever happened in the bed is a whole different story…of course I’m not going to tell you! 

Savannah Squares

The Squares in Savannah are very famous today. It serves the residents and tourist cool place to rest while walking in the heat summers of Savannah. They’re very beautiful and full of history some of them are even haunted…but we really do not know what they were for when they were first built. The first four squares where Johnson Square, Percival (now Wright Square), Ellis Square, and St. James (now Telfair Square). It was to provide the colonists some space for their military exercises. Studies suggest that the—

“layout was also a reaction against the cramped conditions that fueled the Great Fire of London in 1666, and there is speculation that Oglethorpe’s military studies had made him familiar with the similar layout of Beijing (or “Peking,” as it was formerly spelled).” - Wikipedia
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Lower New Square was laid out in 1734 and was later renamed for Capt. John Reynolds, governor of Georgia in the mid 1750s. Reynolds was in fact an unpopular governor and it is said that the celebration held upon his arrival in the colony was rivaled only by that held upon his departure. The square contains a bronze statue by Marshall Daugherty honoring John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Wesley spent most of his life in England but undertook a mission to Savannah (1735–1738), during which time he founded the first Sunday school in America. The statue was installed in 1969 on the spot where Wesley’s home is believed to have stood. Upper New Square was laid out in 1742 and was later renamed in honor of Georgia founder General James Oglethorpe. — Wikipedia

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In the 1790s, Savannah grew rapidly and six new wards were established in the 1790s alone, including the four that now comprise the northeastern quadrant of the Historic District. The new wards expanded the grid by one unit to the west and by two to the east. Due to space restrictions these new wards are slightly narrower east-to-west than the original six.

These are the Squares:
Washington Square, Franklin Square, Warren Square, Columbia Square (where the famous Davenport House is located), Greene and Liberty Squares.

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Expansion of Oglethorpe’s grid of wards and squares continued through the first half of the 19th century, until a total of twenty-four squares stood in downtown Savannah.

These Squares are:
Elbert Square
Chippewa Square (The “park bench” scene which opens the 1994 film Forrest Gump was filmed on the north side of the Square.)
Orleans Square
Lafayette Square
Pulaski Square
Madison Square
Crawford Square
Chatham Square
Monterey Square
Troup Square
Calhoun Square
Whitefield Square
Chippewa Square

On my next post I’m going to talk about the Cathedral of St John the Baptist and Forsyth Park as well as the Cemetery.
Thanks for bearing with me…till next time!

Savannah, my Favorite

You want to truly experience what Savannah is all about? Do it on foot, it’s a great exercise too! Last few times I’ve been there I visited Bonaventure Cemetery, walked around the graves and marvel at the way the gravestones where designed. If you are visiting Savannah because you just want to get drunk by the river, you’ll probably wonder what the heck is the importance of this Cemetery. "Google it!"

Savannah River Street
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Historic District will offer you a lot of insight of the lifestyle of the people living there in the 19th century, you may not be able to glimpse how the slaves lived but you will be able to at least imagine how they worked and were treated by just looking at the historic houses that still stands, they look stunning, regal but lonely and eerie at the same time.

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There is a lot to talk about that it will not fit in one post. There are a lot of history to tell, a lot of photos to share as well. I may not be an expert of historical studies but I will try to tell the experience I had when I was walking around Historical District, call it: A Foreigner’s Experience of Savannah… 

Little Pieces of Heaven

I like walking! I like to think and contemplate about anything and everything when I’m walking. I get my best ideas for songs, I get to pray, I remember stuff when I’m walking. I used to have long walks when I lived in California. One reason was because I did not have a car to go to work, earlier on. Another was the walk was very enjoyable by the canal between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach were we used to live after. I also used to own a vintage Fuji professional camera which I prefer using than my Canon. Early in the morning are always refreshing. Nobody around except a few walkers and joggers, but the best things is you get to see the sunrise!

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It is an amazing experience to be able to capture a moment, and then to be able to look at it every now and then when I am feeling drained and tired. Somehow it brings back the feeling of the experience from that particular moment in my life, I may feel the same intensity but I get to contemplate and remember how God has blessed me tremendously!

Newport Beach, California

It reminds me of the quote by Lao Tzu that says:
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

 

The Road Most Traveled

I sometimes think about my travels all through these years here in the US. I have been to both sides of the coast... I used to live in Newport Beach, CA and I like going to Tybee Island in Savannah, GA (that's the nearest coast to me now). We once cross traveled from here (Atlanta, GA) to Lake Havasu, AZ and back in 4 straight days... I was not the one driving mainly, but it was a remarkable one. 

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THE DESERT: When you see the sun setting down between those red mountains in the desert, it has a very soothing glow that almost embraces you when you close your eyes. Then in the middle of it all...you'll hear the howling of coyotes from far away and a distant roar of an RV trailer passing by. I loved those times when I was in the desert. You sometimes think of the past-- if the ground I'm standing on could talk; souls that have died-- could tell me how they lived and claimed this land, dusty, dry, mean, cruel-- as their home. 

There are still Natives (modern) who lived there, and believe me, they value their presence, for at least the ones that I knew and encountered. The desert is rough and unforgiving, one goes to Las Vegas in a tour bus in the middle of winter season, and they think they've "experienced" the desert...I respectfully disagree. Try getting off in some local town, or city and spending there for a day or two...try ordering Chinese Food in Winslow, AZ in one of the gas stops. Try driving in I-40 in Gallup, AZ in May...you may pass through a snow storm! Of course, the Grand Canyon is a whole different experience! I wanted to go there for the longest time, and when finally I was standing in one of the peaks....of so many plateau-like peaks of the canyon, I was overwhelmed with the vastness of it, I became conscious of how small, tiny I am...smaller than a grain of sand.

We went to this small mining town called Oatman, it's in the Black Mountains of Mohave County in AZ, it had a very interesting history, the name itself is interesting: it's in honor of a girl from Illinois, who was captive by an Indian tribe and became a slave, she was later sold to I think, the Mohave Indians and adopted her as a family, her name was Olive Oatman, you can Wiki it if you want more info... of course. History said that Clark Gable often comes by and play poker with the miners... I could see why some people fells in love with the tiny place like that. It's in the middle of nowhere...it's rough, dry...but it has it's beauty. I will go back to visit definitely if ever we venture that way again!

I was once surprised when I woke up and looked around, of course my husband was still driving, I thought we passed the desert already, but I know I never slept that long, just maybe 15 minutes...we were at this Alpine-like town, pine trees were flourishing all over the place, I asked my husband where we are, he told me we were in Flagstaff, AZ ... I can't believe this is in Arizona! It's amazing to me that in this wild-rough Arizona desert is a patch of land, up high that is so different that the rest of the desert cities...it almost look likes a Paradise lost...

The kids in Newport Beach

When we think of California, we always think of the pines in San Francisco areas... the beach, Mediterranean weather, ...but almost 20-30% of California is desert. A lot of people live in the California deserts...try venturing EAST, rather than just up and down (north and south... stopping in parts of San Diego where the trees are getting lesser and lesser! LOL). Try visiting some parts of the San Bernardino areas... then, Baja California, it's beautiful there! Or just go to Palm Springs, CA...it's where mostly tourists goes if they want to see a desert in California! 

Bottom line is....do not be scared to venture out, try some place that is not in your "Famous Travelbook Guide" you may find a place where real history happened! ...Happy travelling everybody! Do not forget your sunscreen lotions and your bottle of H2Os!