Friday, July 31, 2009

Key West, or Cayo Hueso

I was invited on a two week vacation to Key West with my boyfriend and his family that I just finished. It's a great place and I think two weeks was probably the perfect amount of time, as we got to see pretty much everything and didn't have to rush getting things in.

I took the plane from New York to Miami to Key West, with a short layover. On the way down to Key West, I was sitting next to the man who would open Hemmingway Days - a playwright from Canada who was decked out in full Hemmingway garb, including a pith hat he had in one of his carry ons. He told me that this was the best way to see the Keys - to flyover and watch the shallow waters change color. And it was really beautiful - I was glad to have a window seat.

Joe drove me back to the house that his brother, John, had rented. It was a great little house in the old town with plenty of bikes for everyone staying there. There were stained glass windows and it was brightly colored. It was fabulous and John gave Joe and I the master bedroom because it was just the three of us staying there both weeks - their oldest brother, Rich, and his girfriend, as well as their parents, were only staying for the first week and their friend Ryan was only staying for the second - so he thought it would be fair to give the two of us the giant bed and adjoined bathroom. Also, so that Joe could clean his gaping moped wound that he received in Europe in peace. There was also a pool and hot tub behind the house which were really enjoyable to have, especially on hot days and cool nights.

Throughout the two weeks we were there, we went to the Hemmingway House (mostly to pet the cats - we didn't take the tour, I'm personally not a big fan of Hemmingway but I do love cats), did a Duval crawl (the major tourist/bar street in the old town side of Key West - full of all kinds of bars, including a clothing-optional one, and all kinds of dumb stores selling the same T-shirts), biked all over the Old Town, the Key West Butterfly Conservatory (you can buy some pretty amazing butterfly "sculptures" - actual butterflies arranged in plexiglass cases to hang on your walls), went to beaches, kayaked, took two different sunset cruises, chartered a boat (which I got seasick on... unfortunately), went and watched all of the different street performers at Mallory Square (including the Cat Man.. he's crazy), going to a drag show (always a great thing to do, I promise) and all kinds of other things. Oh, and we saw the Today show being filmed. We left after like half an hour because 6 or 7 am is way too early and I wanted to sleep.

One of my favortite things in Key West were all the great restaurants. I think probably my favorite was a little "mostly vegetarian" restaurant we went to three times. It was always really good and really filling - and I'm not even a vegetarian! Cooking some of our own meals turned out really well, too.

It was nice to go someplace different, relax, see people that I haven't been able to for a while, and just have fun in such a crazy and unique place as Key West. It was good to bike everywhere, too, because here in suburbia it's cars everywhere. Having bike lanes is also nice, when you can get them.

The trip back was a bit stressful as Joe and John left before I did and I had to take the keys back and also make sure I got back in time for my taxi. (I was supposed to leave the day before, but my flight was cancelled for some kind of mechanical problem and for some reason I got booted to the next day. They told me I could rent a car to Miami but I wasn't about to drive 3 or 4 hours. It gave me another day with Joe, though!) The flight was fine and I got more of my amazing book (Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o [Kenyan]) read.

Now I'm home and ready to get back into the swing of things and hopefully get sewing again! (And maybe knitting, too!)

Me on the weird foldable bike I rode around Key West
more photos of Cayo Hueso

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