Friday, February 10, 2012

The Adventures of Dustin & Sara: Key West - Part 2

 For Part 1 of our Trip please click here: Key West Trip - Part 1

11-10-11: We wake up, well rested, and we order ourselves some room service for breakfast (our package included free breakfast). Sara gets an old faithful for her, Eggs Benedict, and I decide I'm going to be adventurous and get the same. I'm not usually a "however those eggs are cooked" kind of guy.  The food comes, and we sit out on our balcony, overlooking the ocean. Already in the morning, it is hot and sunny. A beautiful Florida day, a day you don't want to waste four hours in a car in, but that's exactly what we are about to do. But, no matter, there's too much excitement to get to to Key West. We pack up the car and we head out. See you Fort Lauderdale!

Stop, pull over, fucking GPS on my phone is froze......and....come on stupid thing.....there....see you Fort Lauderdale!

The drive around Miami was your typical highway driving, then after Homestead, there was a lot of, nothing. We had entered the bottom part of the Everglades. Much like flying over it, it was, a wasteland of sorts. I just hope to not hit a gator, or crocodile for that matter. Then after some swamp/waterway/wasteland there it was the first key, Key Largo (yes, the god damned Beach Boys song entered my head). I was excited, but, it looked like a run down tourist trap. Part of me wants to stop and get some Key Largo memorabilia, but, no....quicker to Key West, quicker to fun in the sun.

On The Drive
I wish I could report the loads of fun we had on this drive. But, the novelty of seeing both the Gulf and the Atlantic at the same time in a dazzling blue color scheme quickly wore off. There were lots of bridges, and some towns that really just slowed us down.  Most of the Overseas Highway is a two way road, so, when you got behind someone slow, well, it sucked.  Seeing the sun, and the water, just teased us after awhile. We needed out of the car. We even just grabbed Wendy's for lunch in Marathon, just to keep things moving. I didn't even really realize that we went over Seven Mile Bridge until after we were off of it. I was a sad panda for this, because I didn't get to annoy Sara with a 'True Lies' reference. "TAKE MY HAAAAND" (Ah'nold voice).  On one island (key) there was this Key Deer endangered area. Don't worry warning signs, I don't want to hit a deer either, but maybe these retard deer shouldn't have stranded themselves on an island, just saying, let's let evolution do its thing. Besides, we looked them up, they're just small white tails. I assume they're small because they're malnourished, from living on a tiny island in the hot Florida sun. Anyways, more bridges going over channels with stupid names, blah blah blah.  Oh yeah, there were a retarded amount of hawks in the sky too.

Oh hey, we're getting into Key West! My brain now is now doing it's "I'm about to drink a mojito dance", but first we need to check in. Our hotel, The Inn at Key West, is a decent place. A super nice pool area, and we had thought it was going to be a private patio area (it was, sans the room above could look down, sad), but overall a decent place.  It's not situated in Old Town area, but we had figured that the island is like, 5 miles long, that any cab ride would be cheap.  Well, I'll say this to anyone thinking of going to Key West, spend a few extra dollars and stay right where all the action is, you'll be glad you did.  But, remember I mentioned the awesome pool area? Yeah, we get ready, and head there first.

Drinks by the Pool
It's mojito time. Now, you might think that going somewhere tropical and having a mojito seems cliche, but I'm 90 miles from Cuba.....I feel that it is a very appropriate drink.  Sara has herself a key lime martini.  Both drinks are fantastic. Yes, I'll admit, her foofoo (fufu?) martini was a delicious drink that I envied to have. The keylike limeyness, the graham crackered rim goodness, the alcoholicy niceness. Oh well, I'll have another mojito.

I was told by someone, that Key West is a place for Europeans to visit. That seems weird to me, why Key West? Why not the Bahamas or Jamaica or something? Well, first afternoon in Key West, and sure enough there's speedos....which of course means Europeans, French it sounded like. I want to make statement to any European readers, STOP WEARING SPEEDOS!  Also, stop being creepy. Another time when we were at the pool, we spot this guy, just blatantly staring down this girl, almost standing over her...staring. Peripherals buddy, peripherals.......errrr...I mean, gross dude.
Pool Area

After some time in the warm pool, and a couple drinks. It's time to get ready and head to Duval Street. For those unfamiliar, this is the party street, where everything happens. We dress appropriately for warm weather, hop in a grumpy cab driver's cab, and he drops us off. Party time.

We start to walk Duval St., and it's too hard to decide what we want, so many bars so little liver capacity.  We find Sloppy Joes, the famed bar that was Ernest Hemingway's favorite spot, but we want to sit outside, so we scoot across the street to a little bar that's basically an open air bar. Only two things of note here, one, there is a sign on the wall saying RIP to a racing boat crew that died the day before, and two these guys bought a Corona and put a shot of tequila (as well as a lime) in their beer. I forget what they called it, but, I just remembered I want to try this.

We then find Fogarty's Flying Monkey bar, and they have fresh fruit frozen drinks with high alcohol in them. Well, if you're going to drink grain alcohol, you might as well have fresh fruit with it we decide....makes it healthy!  I'll be honest, I wimped out and got a drink which only had Bacardi 151 in it...for shame, right? It was a nice outdoor area at Fogarty's, but we've hardly explored, so I check to make sure we could carry our alcohol on the street.  Funny thing, the guy said about the same thing as they did in Ft. Lauderdale, that it isn't technically legal, but no one cares.  Good enough for me, as I left my pussy pants packed securely in my suitcase.

We walk to one end of Duval St., then the other. Taking note of which bars we might want to stop at, and where we could possibly eat. Our overproof frozen drink is proving to be a great starter.  Finally, we decide on a spot to eat, a Cuban restaurant, El Mason De Pepe's.  Neither of us have had Cuban food before, so it sounds like a great idea. You know what they say, when closest to Cuba, eat as the Cubans eat.

I grab a Presidente beer, Sara gets some liquor drink and we're handed bread, apparently, I've been missing out on Cuban bread my whole life, all sliced, buttered, put back together deliciousness. We decide we don't really want to gorge, and want to try a few things, so we just get a few appetizers and have a sort of tapas style meal.  One meal was different meats stuffed into plantains, another was this fantastic sausage dish, and lastly conch fritters. Yes, I know that isn't authentic Cuban, but damn it, we want to try it. Everything is great, the waiter, the atmosphere, the food, the drinks, all of it!

After we leave, we find a fritter stand that has $2 cans of Miller Lite, or better yet for me $3 tall boy of PBR (I'm not a hipster, I've long liked PBR). After more walking and finishing our beers, it's time for another bar stop.  We see the Bull & Whistle, which has an upstairs patio overlooking Duval Street. This seems a perfect spot, so we walk inside and head upstairs.  I'm already thinking of hitting the bar, when Sara points me to another set of stairs...a rooftop bar! I love me some rooftop bars, so we walk up.  It seems as if it is its own bar, called Garden of Eden or something, whatever.  Sara marches through, but I spot a sign that seems odd. It said something to the effect of, "no cell phones or other recording devices allowed, and no sex" .... no sex? I shake it off, thinking it's just one of those kooky bar signs.  We walk to the edge of the rooftop and you can't see over, well, what's the point? Anyways, we go to the bar get some drinks, and the TVs are playing, porn of sorts. One channel is showing people painting nude bodies. Ummmm? Then a light bulb hits me, it's a nudie bar! Everyone there at the time had their clothes on still, so, we took the opportunity to leave without having to endure any psychological trauma. I decided that there's probably more nudity during the day, when people can soak in some rays. I'd joke with Sara for the rest of the trip about going, but I assure you all, I didn't want to.  The majority of the crowd was older, rednecky type. Rich rednecks is what we figured, and I didn't need to see any leathery 60 year old bodies.  Next!

Store front window, let's just say those were giant
We drink our drinks on the patio on the 2nd level, then move on, but first order of business, is to get a sweatshirt for Sara.  See, at night, in November, it gets a bit chilly, even if we are just about 2 degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer. I'm sure everyone has been in a tourist t-shirt shop, well, they're mostly cheap junk. I wanted to get a fun Key West T-Shirt, but every shirt that wasn't gaudy as hell, was made of the rubbery paint that washes off in two washings.  After numerous stops, we finally find a nice sweatshirt, ah, warm Sara.  I will say, on our adventures of these shirt shops, we commented on the always ridiculously tacky shirts these shops have "got pot" "fuck the cops", etc..... After specifically saying, "who the hell would ever wear a shirt that says 'Super Bitch'"? A man turns around and excitedly tells us, "MY WIFE".  He gets his wife to turn around, and sure enough, there's a sparkly Superman logo with the phrase "Super Bitch". We try to save face, and say it's funny, and blah blah blah....but seriously lady? Classy.

Where our next steps were exactly, I'm not sure, (and for the rest of this blog, my timeline might be a bit off). I'd say we either went back to get cheap tall boys or we went to Sloppy Joes, So, I'll just speed through the non essentials. We stopped at Sloppy Joes. They had decent beers on tap, which was nice, a live band, which is always fun....and a bajillion people (record scratch). It wasn't the most enjoyable time we've ever had because of the large crowd. Plus at this point we've been drinking all day, Sara has on her sweatshirt and I have on my best "I'm a tourist" shorts and polo, all in a sea of people dressed for a night we decide to bail, there's plenty of other bars to drink at.

Smallest Bar
Oh, you know how I made it a point to mention the annoying people at the airport baggage claim, yeah, guess where they were? Being drunk and obnoxious in Key West on a golf cart (a normal way to get around).

We stop at a couple other places, the most notable is the Smallest Bar, which made the world's weakest drink I think.

We head back to get cheap beer at the fritter stand, then find a spot tucked away that has series of bars/restaurants. We find a table and drink away. There's this giant party going on at this bar behind us, and it appeared you had to be on a list by the way the bouncers were checking. But, it was all of the redneck people. Was, just strange to us, but, we didn't want to immerse ourselves in that anyways. We just drink and enjoy each others company for a little bit and rest our feet. We make a plan to grab more cheap beer, and head back to the patio bar at the Bull & Whistle.

Drinking from Above Duval St
We spend a significant amount of time there, watching the drunk crowds below us, enjoying ourselves. It was nice.  But, after a bit of relaxing, I'm ready to hit the streets again. I tell Sara I am going to take us to the dueling piano bar I saw. I don't think she really knew what to think, apparently had never been to one. But, I'm still considering it her birthday, and since we didn't go to the piano bar in Beach Place like I wanted to, I'm still itching to embarrass her.

Nipple Bite
We're obviously inebriated on our walk this time, as we start taking photo ops with a statue of an Indi....Native American. I then decide I needed a cigar, a Cuban cigar of course. I begin to plead the cigar shop owner that she needed to go into the back and get a Cuban cigar for me, I knew she had it, and I wanted it. She guaranteed me multiple times that she didn't have true Cuban Cigars, but this Dominican cigar was made from Cuban seeds. I wasn't sold, and kept pleading my case....I lost, I bought the Dominican cigar, and it was good.  .... What is this contraption on the street? Why, it's....a payphone! Yep, we need to make a call. It's decided that we need to call my friends Mike & Andrea. I make a decision that Andrea would be the most likely to answer, so we plug in the quarters and dial away. ... Well, she didn't answer, but we left a great drunk message, from a payphone, from the street, in Key West! Who does that anymore? We do, that's who!
The Payphone

We walk into the piano bar. The crowd is fairly light, but there's a couple groups in there, one I think is a bachelorette party or something, maybe another birthday girl. All I know is I fill out the card for them to sing a birthday song to Sara and I enjoy my Yuengling and cigar while I listen/laugh.

Dueling piano bars usually get a mixed review from people. It seems you either like them, or you don't. I personally like them. It's fun, it's spirited, it's usually pretty funny to me.

He Did Flatter Me in The Song
After some time, and many laughs later, they finally invite Sara to sit on the piano, and begin to sing "You've Lost That Loving Feeling". It's everything I want, vulgar, funny, embarrassing! At one point another birthday girl hands Sara her rose, with her mouth, to Sara's mouth, it was funny and awkward.  A girl that we spent a large night talking with, who was a wasted mess, was trying to convince me to get on my, no lady, no.

I know I didn't do the piano bar story justice, but usually late in the night, you need everyone involved to tell the story, to piece it together. I assure you all though, it was a great first day/night in Key West.

We hop a pink cab back to the hotel and sleep it off.


Southernmost Point
11-11-11 - Happy Veteran's Day! We get up, feeling alright thankfully. Today is going to be a lower key day. We partied hard Thursday night, today we do tourist things. So, we shower, call a cab, and head to the Southernmost Point in the continental U.S. Thankfully, our cab driver is super friendly this time.  He asks if we're in town for the world championship speed boat races? ... Suddenly the rich redneck crowd makes sense, he tells us about the crash that killed a crew, and suggests we go watch the races if we get a chance. Thanks Al, your a good ambassador of the Friendly Cab Co.

Rum Monkey
We wait in line to take our pictures with the giant buoy. Read some history, and then start walking to find a lunch spot.  Basically we were on the very south end of Duval St, so we know there's all sorts of food spots. It's warm, bit windy, but warm. I kind of wanted to go to the original Margaritaville, but Sara was right, it's a chain, ew, chains evil. We eventually stop at a cafe looking place, eat some pretty good upscale lunch items and have a couple of cocktails for some "hair of the dog".  Of course those cocktails lead to us wanting to have a few more drinks. I say we go check out the boat races.  We walk all the way back to the north end, catch a glimpse of the boats, but decide our first order of business is to get a drink out of a monkey.  Sara suggested it, but I for whatever reason was being weird. I eventually came to my senses and thought, "why wouldn't I want a strong rum drink out of a coconut monkey!" The races actually seemed to be finished, so we moved to a spot along the water and enjoyed our drink and our view of the water. In hindsight, that little 16oz tasty drink, got me kind of buzzed up.
Live Statue guy

 We then go explore an area we missed the day before, nothing too fancy, but we do spot a man in military fatigues painted in gold (to look like a statue) holding a flag. It's a nice Veteran's Day tribute, and was pretty cool. The only time he moved was to flick a kid a piece of candy. Which is a lesson for everyone, don't take candy from strangers, unless they're a military member....wait, what? Then we see there is a big memorial of all of the wars and how Key West played in integral part. Was cool.

The Beer at Kelly's
We hit a couple of shops, drink a couple of beers, eat some conch fritters, catch a glimpse of the Veteran's Day Parade going on, sit down for another beer, and that's when I decide that there has to be a brewery of some sort on this island. The locals were telling me no, but my phone said that there was, and it was right around the corner.  So, we walk to this place called Kelly's Carribean Bar, Grill,  & Brewery. Really a nice place, cozy, a really cool outdoor seating area for dining, but, we want to try their beer. They only make three, a golden ale, a red, and a wheat.  I get the red (Havana Red), and Sara get's the Southern Wheat. Both are very good in my opinion (I tried the gold as well, also good). We enjoy the beer, laugh at some dominatrix Barbies and then decide we're tired and that it'd be a good night to go to the pool & hot tub. We had to be up pretty early for an adventure at sea on Saturday, so we both know it needs to be an easy night.  We pick up a 12er of Miller Lite at CVS after failing to spot the Dramamine (in case Sara gets sea sick) and find a cab in the hectic crowd after the parade finishes up.

Dominatrix Barbies
The plan for dinner was to go to a nice restaurant around our hotel, but neither of us craved anything, so we just ordered Thai food for delivery. It was delicious and just what we needed, some comfort food of sorts. We have some beer, go out to the pool, wait for a group of people to leave the hot tub. That group never did leave the hot tub, so we went back in the hotel room and drifted off to sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day on the sea. Snorkeling, Para-sailing, Jet Skiing, Water playground.....
... Let's just say, you'll want to stay tuned for the harrowing adventures!