Miami or Fort Lauderdale - What's The Difference


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North America » United States » Florida » Keys » Key Largo
August 9th 2008
Published: November 6th 2011
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Key Largo SunsetKey Largo SunsetKey Largo Sunset

The sunset viewed from our hotel when we arrived
Once we had had about as much pixie dust as we could handle, we drove down to the Florida Keys . We thought it would take forever to drive all that way, but due to the long, straight and relatively empty roads it soon passed. I was able to do over 100 miles at a constant speed on cruise control, which would be completely unheard of on the UK motorways.

It was amazing how some very basic things can be so completely different. We went to fill up with petrol (or ‘gas’ or whatever) and we were completely thrown. Luckily an American came to our help. If you need to fill up with ‘gas’ in America , you need to pay first, unlike the UK where you pay afterwards. Also some pumps need the bracket on the pump pulled upwards for some unknown reason.

Whilst we had no trouble remembering to stick to the right-hand side of the road, we had a lot more trouble keeping the right position in the middle of the lane – there is a natural tendency to drift over to the right, or there was for us at least. No real problem, except that one of those mailboxes, which Americans have outside their houses, has acquired a new dent in the shape of our wing mirror. Mind you, in the movies those things are always being taken out either by high-speed chases or by shotguns, so I don’t suppose they minded.

We had a little diversion to Miami airport to drop one of our friends off who was flying to the Caribbean. We followed the signs for “International Airport” and got to the terminal with loads of time to spare. It didn’t seam as large as we remembered. Luckily we waited for our friend to check that there were no problems with the flight as she came out a few minutes later with the news that we were in Fort Lauderdale International Airport and not Miami. It was a somewhat less leisurely drive to Miami, but we did make it in time.

Key Largo is the largest of the Florida Keys and the nearest to the Florida mainland so we had planned to stay there first. The first thing we noticed about the Keys is how like the Caribbean they are. The buildings, the plants and the pace all seemed very Caribbean-like, which made a very nice change from all the commercialisation of Orlando . There was even a power-cut one evening, which is something you wouldn’t expect in America, but is perfectly normal in the Caribbean.

Sailing is obviously very big in Key Largo. As well as having parking spaces for your car, our hotel also had parking spaces for your boat.

In the evening we went to Hodo’s Restaurant, which was fantastic. Absolutely massive portions.

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