I'm back from Key West, safe and sound and none the worse for wear. What a whirlwind it was. 11.5 hours to get there and the same coming back. I traveled down on Tuesday, landed shortly after 9pm and went immediately to the pool for beer, Captain Morgan and more laughs than you can shake a stick at. When I got there, I didn't know who was who from the bride's side, so I hugged all my own relatives and started making the rounds meeting and greeting Heather's family. I got to one really "happy" chap and shook his hand. I asked how he fit into the mix and he said, "I don't." He (John "Bakes") was from England, his wife Dollie is an American and they live in Mass. They were traveling with their Italian friends, Mario and Maria and just joined in the wedding festivities. We ended up getting kicked out of the pool area. I'll add that to my list of life firsts.
Wednesday morning, a bunch of us girls decided to rent bikes and peddle around the island. As I was toodling down the street a rather large bus passed me a little too close and I had a thought. There was no attendant on this ride to insure my safety. My life was in my own hands. We went all over and then my brother, sister, brother-in-law and I went out again that afternoon. Very much fun and a great way to see the sights. My BIL, Woody, wanted to take his ride off some sweet jumps but all we could find were speed bumps. My sister kept calling hers her hog. Too dorky. We had lunch at Margaritaville and toured the lighthouse and museum. We went to the Southernmost Point of the USA and down to Mallory Square. That night we all went to the Sunset Pier to watch the....sunset. Lots of drinks and fun there too. Then we went to Two Friends Restaurant for dinner. Heather and Carl had gifts for everyone and gave toasts too. Seemed slightly backward, but it made for some wonderful memories and a few tears. Then the kids went back to the motel with the grandparents and us younguns went bar hopping. We visited Captain Tony's and did a little bra shopping. Then we hit Sloppy Joe's, but no bartender meant we moved quickly onto Irish Kevin's and the live entertainment. He was funny and scary all at once. If you had to go potty, you had to go past him and he'd shine a spot light on you and make rude comments. I held it for as long as possible but in the end I made a dash. I thought that I'd surely fall under his radar. His rude comment to me....Run Forrest!! I told Ellen I didn't know if I should be insulted or relieved. Irish Kevin's motto is I came, I drank, I don't remember. Surprisingly, I do remember and I felt pretty chipper the next morning.
On Thursday we rented a golf cart to get around in and Dad took Mom and me down Duval Street to do some shopping. Then it was off to the wedding at the Hemingway House. Gorgeous and relaxed are the words that best describe the afternoon. Just so fun. When Carl and Heather were pronounced Husband and Wife the people on the house tour clapped along. So funny. Carl and Heather signed their marriage licence at Hemingway's desk in his studio. Very cool. We had cake and champagne and then took oodles of photos. After that we took the golf cart back to the motel, but poor Dad got turned around and we were well and truly lost for a little while. We had a very good tour of parts of town we might never have seen otherwise. We eventually ran into our street and found our way back and made it down to the pier in time to meet our group and get on the catamaran. There we enjoyed spectacular views of the sunset, free beer and champagne and more laughter and fun. After the harbor tour we went to have a bite to eat. I don't remember the name of the restaurant but we ordered some interesting things. A favorite of Carl's and mine since our St. Kitts trip is the conch fritters. I also tried Gator Bites (alligator). That's another first for me. The taste was not an issue, but the texture was too rubbery and gristly. I didn't hate them, but probably won't eat them again. I passed on the dolphin. That I can not do. After eating, the grandparents again took the kids and we strolled along Duval Street and hit some shops. We didn't drink any more and actually went to bed early.
Friday morning I was up and had breakfast by the pool then it was time to head to the airport for another 11.5 hours of travel time home. I made it in just after 9:30pm and was glad to tick another fun and safe adventure off my life list.
Life firsts for 2008
1. Getting kicked out of a public place
2. Ate Alligator
3. Climbed a lighthouse
4. Stood at the southernmost point of the USA
5. Saw a six toed cat
6. Got lost in a golf cart with my farmer dad driving and lived to tell the tale