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|
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|
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.
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 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!
|NO SEX IN THE BAR!|
|Store front window, let's just say those were giant|
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 out...so we decide to bail, there's plenty of other bars to drink at.
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 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|
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.
|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|
... Let's just say, you'll want to stay tuned for the harrowing adventures!