The otterbox case is super sturdy, has a rubber lining around the edge so you know it's making a waterproof seal when it's closed, and it's big enough to fit a wallet, keys, phone, and other knickknacks. It is a little heavy, but hey, that's what you have to deal with if you want something this size.
The iPhone case is actually better than I expected. It comes with a strap so you can dangle it from your neck.
The way it works: there's a bit of extra material that extends beyond the bottom of the iPhone that seals with a zip-top. Then you roll it down.
Then you velcro the rolled down zip top piece and then there's a second velcro piece for added seal. It really does protect your phone. The real test will come when it's submerged a few feet underwater though. I'll be using my old iPhone 3GS just in case.
And though lots of people wrote that this strap is too big and slips off, I think putting it around my "bicep" (HA!) will be better as far as not being in the way and not falling off - though I can't believe anyone is dumb/lazy enough to just let their valuables float off their arm. Hold onto that strap, dummies!
Henry Flagler, who was a super ambitious railroad and oil and real estate tycoon and Rockefeller's partner in Standard Oil, had a winter home in Palm Beach called White Hall. A few decades ago, it was in danger of being destroyed, so his granddaughter repurchased the property and turned it into a museum. It's a really beautiful and luxurious home - can't believe he only spent his winters there - and it's a really nice place to visit if you're in the Palm Beach area. Admission is $18 for adults (I think it's $10 for youth, $3 for kids, and free for tiny babies).
They recently built a pavilion to house Flagler's personal railcar, Railcar No. 91, and you can take a walk through that as well.
Flagler is credited as the founder of Palm Beach and Miami, since he is the guy who developed these cities so kudos to him! If you ever have a chance to visit (or stay at) the Breakers Hotel (formerly known as the Palm Beach Inn) I highly suggest you do so. Here's a link to my eats blog: I ate at the Breakers Seafood Bar.
I took a ton of photos and kind of picked out the "winners" to make a pretty messy photo montage. I loved the really French palacial style of many of the larger rooms and I also loved how all the bedrooms had decorative themes (like "the pink room" and "the blue room" and "the gold room").
ACK! Even though way back when I booked my trip to Turks & Caicos, I decided not to rent a car, I'm starting to realize that it might be prudent to rent one anyway. We plan on packing a bunch of food to bring down to eat for breakfast and lunch but I've saved a bit of money for a lovely dinner every night (+ other fun stuff). [[The trick is to put aside a little bit of money each week - even putting aside $20 each week will add up]]. Anyway, I've started looking up delicious restaurants and it seems that most of them are too far to reach by walking and I've read many warnings not to go wandering around on foot at night.
Avis has the lowest rates that I've seen so far - around $38 per day or $250 per week, for the lowest priced car. And when you consider that one taxi ride will usually cost you about $20 (each way), a rental car is practical. Also, since my sister and I are most excited to snorkel, having a car will mean we'll have easier access to some of the more remote beaches.
I'm still looking up prices and advice - a few people say to rent a 4x4 because of the potholes and less-than-idea road conditions. I'm leaning towards renting a car for just part of the trip, but we shall see!
Since Tropical Depression Debbie (Downer) gave us some gloomy weather for our Miami trip, we didn't do much beach-ing. However, we were able to explore South Beach, get some delicious food, and my Marriott points gave us a free day at the spa, which was amazing. We did end up using both the bus and taxi. The bus was easy and cheap, $2 paid in the little machine by the driver. We didn't end up using the South Beach Shuttle (we just walked everywhere) but we did see the bus stops all over and the shuttle itself as well. Taxi drivers are intense and aggressive on the road but as long as they run the meter, I have no problem with them.
If you are ever in the Palm Beach area, I highly suggest you go to McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary. It's located in a residential area - which may throw you when you're heading over - but it's actually a pretty large space with lots of animals.
The special and fun aspect of visiting a place like this rather than a zoo is that the tour size is small so you get a great view of the animals and even get to interact with them. We were allowed to hold a tropical bird (can't remember its species - I'm not really big on birds), a honey bear a.k.a. kinkajou, a Burmese python, and we had the option of holding a tarantula but my arachnophobia drove me away from that one.
It's $25 per person (which you pay via credit card when you call ahead to make your reservations) and it was well worth it. Profits and donations all go towards taking care of the animals and since there are quite a few large felines and giant tortoises, it costs quite a lot to feed these guys. It was a really special experience.