Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Va-cayman-tion 2012: The Cruisening: Day 4 - Key West

Today, our breakfast began as I wish most breakfasts did: complimentary room service. The menu was limited, but we selected a few things. Gregory lavishly asked for TWO salmon plates and a bagel and TWO cream cheeses. I pish-poshed that idea and ordered a yogurt and whole wheat toast. By the time it was lunch, I was fucking starving. The yogurt was about half the size of a human yogurt, and by your order of whole wheat toast, they assume you mean one, as in a plate with a single slice of whole wheat toast on it. Is there anyone who doesn't get bread in a pair? I can understand if it's really thick French toast, and then you might have only one slice, but come on. Bread slices come in pairs. Which brings me to Why, Orowheat? Why do you slice your loaves into odd numbers? I always throw away the nastiest heel, but still, who out there uses one slice of Orowheat at a time? You advertise yourself as sandwich bread, but you are smaller than average sandwich bread, so maybe you should change your marketing to Finger Sandwich Bread.

I am digressing. We needed room service in order for us to be ready to go for the first of our three stops: Key West, Florida.

The area of town as soon as you exit is a big tourist trap, however there are some things that make it unique. First of all, there are wild chickens everywhere. And a lot of the hens also had baby chicks that were peeping adorably. It is hard for a baby chick to do anything not adorable. Oh! It's shitting on me, oh! it's pecking the eyes out of that dead raccoon, oh! it is stealing my identity and charging up my credit card, but it is so cute with its wittle yellow fuzzy feathers!

And there were roosters, complete with pinky shiv, some with a big bravado announcement of sunrise, a big ole cock-a-doodle-doo, to you Mr. Tourist. Um, it's noon dumbass. Other roosters sounded like they were in the process of being slowly run over with a steam roller. Like that dog toy the dog has all but destroyed, where it once made a piercing squeak, now a brittle wheeze that can signal only one thing: failure.

We walked down one of the main streets, stopping occasionally into all the crap-shops (not that the shops themselves were crap, but they sold lots of crap), browsing a menu, since we all knew we would have to eat at some point, and keeping a lookout for spontaneous points of interest.

We walked down toward the end of the street to The Southermost Point of the Continental United States. If you didn't read that in a god voice with lots of reverb, try it again. But just before we got there, we stopped into a butterfly shop. Jill loves butterflies (and turtles and hummingbirds), and I was like, whatever. They had a bunch of dead ones on a variety of beautiful, however grim, displays, and it was really neat to see. Well it turned out this place was more than just a chachka shop. It was also a conservancy and for $12, you can walk through the garden habitat.

Do this.

Do not miss doing this.

I was skeptical at first, but I was thinking, well, it might be kind of cool, lot of butterflies and all. I can tell you, it's cool. It's awesome, in fact. Being surrounded by butterflies is a little bit magical, having these bright colors flitting and flashing all around you. It's kind of like being in a fairy wonderland. That might have turned some of you off, but this experience is really cool. There is something about it that doesn't quite seem real, but it is something that exists in nature.

After this we begrudgingly left to get on with our day and we walked down to the end of the street to find a large cheaply painted buoy with the phrase, Southernmost Point of the U.S. on it. The line was really long to get your photo taken in front of this thing, so we passed on that and stood in front of the fence. So the pictures where we look like prisoners in a seaside reformery, are actually us standing at the southernmost point in the continental United States. Technically there was a rock that jutted out into the ocean, and I could have stood on that, but that would have involved scaling the fence, and I'm guessing due to the existence of the fence, it's not allowed.

Next was lunch, which I needed badly. I even paid $3 for a coconut in the interim, which a guy hastily drilled a hole into and then jammed a straw in the hole and handed to me. It was refreshing and delicious, but it wouldn't sustain me for long. We ended up at a restaurant and bar called Sweet Tea. I got meat loaf because I wanted a meal, dammit! It came with some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever had. Not too smooth, not too lumpy, buttery, and with skins, plus it was made of red potatoes. Gregory ordered a white-truffle mac and cheese that was sooo good.

After a quick re-application of sunblock, we rolled out into the sweltering humidity and headed for the Hemingway House. I had some cats to see! And they were all polydactyl. No not pterodactyl. We weren't be dive bombed by winged cats, though that would have really livened up Hemingway as an author for Michael Bay to adapt to the screen. It was a really neat experience and there were many cats, however none of them wanted to cuddle, and you're not supposed to cuddle with them, or touch them or pick them up. How in the hell am i supposed to cuddle with them, then? They were sleepy, and couldn't seem to be bothered anyway, probably because it was 90 degrees and 100% humidity and they are in Key West wearing a fur coat.

It was nearing time to return to the ship, so we walked back, but before we journeyed aboard, we stopped at a toy shop in the tourist trap. It was pretty cool, but most of the toys were for young children. HOWEVER, the merch was not the draw to this place. It turned out the shop owners had a KIKACHU, which was this cute little animal, the likes of which I have never before seen nor heard. It was a little cat-like, and about the size of a cat, but it had some slight monkey-like features. It was a little girl and she was fuzzy and adorable, but very shy and basically squirmed out of her owner's arms and ran to the cash wrap, and hid in the shelf with the cash drawer. Occasionally peeking her little face out. I wanted a picture, I wanted to hold it, and I wanted it. Add it to the list of animals that I'll have in my private zoo someday. Hopefully the tiger won't eat it.

We returned to the ship and opened up a bottle of William Hill Merlot 2006. Lots of berries (raspberry and cherry) and a very nice finish. It is surprisingly big for a Merlot. I look forward to trying it tomorrow when it is fully open. After dinner, we attended one of the cruise shows: the Newlywed Game, and they had a newly wed couple, a couple married 25 years, and a couple married 50 years. This was one of the funniest things I have seen in my life. My face and voice hurt from laughing and screaming. If you have an opportunity to see something like this, you won't regret it. Unless you have no sense of humor, like the people in front of us, in which case, there's no hope for you to survive the zombie apocalypse, so start eating a lot of barbecue sauce and begin the marinating process now, because, you are going to be good eatin'.

Tomorrow is a full day at sea as we work our way toward Grand Cayman. So I plan to do a lot of nothing tomorrow, maybe sun, maybe swim, maybe sit and stare at the water.

Oh! the water! last thing, where we are off the coast of Florida, the water has this deep navy blue color to it. It is beautiful. It's how water is supposed to look. When we first took off from the coast of Florida it was teal, but here it's almost indigo, it's so dark blue. Beautiful to watch a gold and red sun sink into. Good night.

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