Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Key West

I had a lot of problem sleeping last night. Between the Academy boys jumping my brain and the fact that I was already phase shifted the wrong way, we basically went to sleep at 9 pm here, which was 7 pm at home, and my brain and body was used to going to sleep around midnight at home, or 2 a.m. here. But the traveling had tired me out enough that I was able to go to sleep at first, but I woke up at midnight here and couldn't get back to sleep until nearly 3 a.m..

Luckily, my real boys let me stay asleep until nearly 10 am here... and then shepherded me gently to the free breakfast. Hee.

We started with a little detour right next to the hotel. There was a fruit stand Harry Is Here, where they sold a lot of the local, tropical fruits. There were lychees ripe and right off the trees!! There were mangos heavy with perfume, there were softball sized ripe black avocados, there were papayas that were deep, blood red and so ripe you could smell them through the plastic wrap they were covered in. There were dark chocolate dipped coconut and key lime bars. There were jars and jars and jars of mango, passion fruit, and guava preserves, jams, and chutneys. There were bottles of tupelo honey for only $7 for a whole pound of the stuff. Yeesh. I couldn't resist that.

I bought one mango and ten lychees. The lychees were nearly golf ball sized, and leaking juice. They were gorgeous and when Jet peeled one he was like, "It really is a dragon skin on it!" When he bit into it, he held it up, it looks like a Dragon's eye, too!! It was. It was very, very tasty.

The lychees were juice and rich and sweet as anything. Beautifully translucent and the skin next to the pit was tender and firm. They were really, really good. But ten was all the three of us could eat. We stopped at a Winn-Dixie to buy a good paring knife (since I need another one anyway as one of the ones we have had a tip shatter off when it hit the tile of the floor) so we could really do a good job on the mango when it's time. I also got guava jam as the Hawaiian guava jam I have at home is nearly gone, also a bottle of mango preserves, and a sack of dried mango for Jet on the days he needs fruit. I also bought a bottle of Key Lime curd as our lemon curd is halfway finished already and I have plans for the whole wheat flour we bought at home from the farmer's market. Since Colorado is wheat country it's something else to have whole wheat flour that was milled the previous day from fields that are within miles of our house. It makes heavenly scones.

We drove south. Down through some of the everglades and then down into the keys. The causeway was very cool, and it was neat to be completely surrounded by water.

I took pictures everywhere. The tropical foliage is the classical stuff of ink paintings and the shapes of the leaves, the stems, the branches, the obscenely colorful flowers are things I don't get to see that often. I was taking reference pictures for nearly 95% of the pictures I took today.

Jet was very patient with the long car ride. He did his Dot to Dots, he took pictures with the digital camera that Kathy gave him for his birthday, and we had fun taking pictures of each other. We stopped for lunch and made a mild mistake, but ate lightly to make up for it. There were lots of interesting things and places along the way down, so we'll have plans for the way back up, too. So that's good.

We got to the hotel around 3. We dumped everything into the room, and then drove into Key West proper. We stopped at the Southernmost point in the U.S. of A. and got our picture taken by the marker. Then we drove a little further and parked where there was still parking and walked in. Walked right to the Key Lime Pie Shoppe, which was on Food Network, and I bought some key lime bath gel and a single slice of their pie, frozen, on a stick, covered in bittersweet chocolate. Jet enjoyed a good deal of it, John got a good taste. I ate the rest as we walked through historic town of Key West.

The architecture is gorgeous. An odd mix of Victorian with storm shutters and hurricane proof concrete, the foliage and trees are all terrifically storm weathered and so robust that it made me stop nearly every half a block to get the picture of something.

It's tourist town, mostly. Some flavors of the locale, but mostly shopping, food, and tourist things like Ripley's Believe It Or Not. There was a Wyland Gallery and we stopped in there, and I had my breath taken away by three ink paintings by a woman who pulled her own "rice" paper, the deckle edges still showing, and painted mountains and scrubby pine amid sky mists. Words cannot do the paintings justice. I just sat there, studying the techniques used, until the boys and the saleswoman found me. Good God. It's likely a couple thousands for the framed originals, but my brain is going... oh... it would be WORTH it...

We walked back to the car, went back to the hotel for a quick potty stop. The boys then went to find Hawaiian shaved ice while I wrestled with the stupid, bad wireless connection in the room. It didn't work. At all. Finally I gave up when they got back and we all went swimming in the hotel pool, instead. It was a good thing to do, and the water was so warm it was nearly sauna like. Tomorrow we'll tackle the ocean, but the pool was easy.

It is a strange, odd thing to own a Speedo swimsuit that bags in the middle now that I've lost so much weight. I need to probably get something else, but this one still mostly stays on and is usable.

Showers and then dinner time. We had a very long walk to dinner from where we parked, but it was worthwhile when we found some amazing star-like flowers with antenna like stamens that smelled like jasmine.

We went to the Conch Republic Seafood Company for dinner, and it was very good. I started with a mojito, which is really unusual for me. I'm not a big alcohol drinking kind of gal, but I was really unhappy about not being able to get the wireless to work and had a headache still from napping in during part of the drive. It was very, very tasty. Kind of like a mint julip, but with rum instead of bourbon, bubbling water instead of straight, and the addition of plenty of good, fresh limes. Sweet, bubbly, and tasty, it went down probably faster than I should have taken it, but I think I was a little dehydrated from the long walk in the heat, too. I also downed a whole glass of iced water. That helped.

I had the conch chowder, and it was tomatoey and tasty with chunks of potatoes and tender, ground conch. It was nicely spiced, and tasted of the conch rather than just the potatoes. John got the stuffed shrimp, which had crab stuffing in the shrimp and it was wrapped in bacon. Can't go wrong with bacon. It was one of the house specialty dishes, and was quite good. I got the seared tuna appetizer, and it was perfectly raw in the center, ruby red and gorgeous and dressed in a lime ponzu sauce, a side of wasabi mayo, some crisped wonton skins, and a seaweed salad. It was small enough, too, that I didn't feel overstuffed when I was done. Jet enjoyed his grilled cheese sandwich with a seven-year-olds abandon, and afterward he and I watched the fishes in the big bar tank for a bit before going out and meeting John on the curb. He'd gone and gotten the car very quickly.

I have over ten thousand steps today, plus the swimming, and blew great numbers. I suspect, though, that by being in a new place I don't need all the antihistamines I'm loading my system with, and I'm probably going to pull the non-long term acting ones just for this week. I wasn't taking anything when I was in Biloxi and I did a LOT of work there without even feeling tight. The Deep South is the last region in the US that I haven't lived in for enough years to acclimatize... so I suspect I'm actually safe from my allergies while I'm here.

We're back at the motel and it's actually 10:30, my computer is still on Mountain Time so that my springkink entries are still on my time. *laughter* But I just got called by John, and I should go back and get to sleep. I was glad to get things posted in most of the places I wanted to put them... Whew.
Tags: travel

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