Key West 2002

Friday, July 26, 2002

We returned today from Key West.  I intend to post a short record of our trip here — along with some photos. The photos will take longer because they have to be developed (no, I don’t have a digital camera yet). More to follow…

We left Key West around 10:00am.  Before leaving the island, we drove by the post office and mailed an assortment of postcards for friends and family (if you didn’t get yours, I’m sure it’s still in the mail…).  The drive back took so much longer.  Going 45mph through the keys doesn’t set a good pace for the return trip. We stopped at the Glades exit (north of Ft. Lauderdale) to have lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. [That’s one of the things we miss about Houston.  Because we lived in the Galleria area, The Cheesecake Factory and Eatzi’s were both just minutes away!]

After arriving home, we unloaded and kicked back for the rest of the day.  Our neighbor watched our house and picked mail while we were gone, so we sorted mail, paid bills, read through some magazine… ahhh… back to life as we know it!

Thursday, July 25, 2002

We finally made it to Mallory Square to see the sunset! And, yes, we even brought the camera!  I took a few photos using both the normal and panoramic setting.  Let’s hope they turn out well.  That, obviously, was in the evening though.  Thursday morning we went to visit the lighthouse and take a few photos of places we had missed the previous day.  After that, we pretty much just relaxed and rested by the pool.  It had rained the day before and was cloudy for most of the day, so the pool was nice and cool.  Later in the afternoon, we ventured back out to Duval and had dinner at Sloppy Joes.  Then it was on down to Mallory Square. Mallory Square itself was crazy.  Tons of people and nearly as many street performers and vendors it seemed (here’s a photo of how many people show up for the sunset). 

Thursday, July 25, 2002 – The Sunset

The funny thing is that living in Melbourne, we never get to see the sun set over water.  Just an odd thought.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Wednesday was the day for photos.  We didn’t take the camera out all week and decided to get everything all at once. We took thetrolley tour from the Southernmost Point up to Mallory Square — it sounds corny I know, but it was pretty fun.  The driver told stories all through the tour.  It’s true that there wasn’t an off switch, but it was interesting and entertaining. We also saw the Hemingway House. That night we ended up having dinner at Seven Fish at the corner of Olivia and Elizabeth (according to one of the guest journal entries: 36 paces from our gate).  Another great meal!  I had the gnocchi with mellow blue cheese and sautéed fish. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Another blur.  We played tennis in the morning.  Unlike the coughing man on Sunday night, this time it was man who kept falling down (face first!), cursing himself, wandering around, and then repeating the cycle.  People would come up, check on him, and then seem to offer money or other assistance.  It seemed to me to be a scam, but what do I know.  We only played an hour or so and then called it a day.  🙂

It’s amazing how quickly the day can fly by when all there is to do is lounge by the pool and read.  I’ve forgotten how enjoyable it can be (despite the fact that it still stresses me out a little).  The event of the day was probably Cafe Marquesa.  More about that later.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Monday was a blur.  What else can I say.  There was small restaurant along Duval that was outdoors and cozy.  Stephanie was being nibbled on by mosquitoes initially, but she was saved when the server brought the Cutter spray from behind the bar.  It wasn’t a spectacular meal, but it was relaxing, soothing, and pleasant. the rest of the time we were either in the pool or near it!

Sunday, July 21, 2002

For brunch we walked to Blue Heaven, which is just south of Duval around the marketplace area. Turns out the bartender recently moved to Key West from the Midwest.  We had an interesting conversation with her and learned a few things (apparently, there’s lots of people who show up pretty early to have bloody mary’s in Key West and they seem to like Blue Heaven).   After that, we walked around and checked out more shops.

As I’ll mention again (I’m sure), the weird thing about this vacation was that we didn’t have anything specific planned.  Unlike other vacations (Europe, trips back to Houston) where everything was scheduled and planned, we didn’t plan on doing much other than relaxing by the pool and catching up on reading. As it turns out, that’s pretty much what happened.  The house was great — nice, light, airy… and private.  As one of the previous guests indicated in the guest journal, “The outside shower took a little getting used to, but no more than the private swimming pool at night!”

We played tennis Sunday night and had an interesting encounter with the locals.  The tennis courts are located in a public park in the middle the island.  The courts are well-lit, but the surrounding area can get pretty dark.  Anyway, we were volleying back and forth and suddenly hear a cough.  There was this strange man sitting on a bench (in the dark) watching us play tennis. He kept coughing, hacking, and staring our way.  There’s no way to describe it other than that he was lurking.  Besides the lurker, the players on the other courts were displaying pretty poor etiquette by cussing, shouting, and yelling throughout their matches.  We played through the set and then left.  It wasn’t bad, just a little unusual. 

Saturday, July 20, 2002

We left the house at 7:13am — it was a good sign of things to come! We made it to Ft. Lauderdale in good time averaging about 80 mph all the way down.   By the time we were south of Miami, we dropped down to the mid-70s because of traffic.  We stopped just north of Key Largo for gas, reset the electronics, and managed only about 45 mph the rest of the way.  That scenery was incredible.  The water was amazing.  I don’t think we took a picture, but it was spectacular. 

We made it to Key West and went straight to the house.  It’s located on Elizabeth Street just two blocks north of Duval (and only a block off Truman). We spent the remainder of the day in the pool and just lounged.  We both managed to get a nice little burn before the end of the day.  Melbourne may be bright and sunny, but Key West beats it hands down.

That night we decided to walk down Duval to Mallory Square and check things out.  We ended up having dinner atMangoes on Duval. They had this great appetizer that was a variety of mushrooms that were sautéed and served with goat cheese and lightly coated with white truffle oil. Combined with the bruschetta and wine, it was great. 

As it turns out, we never made it all the way to Mallory Square that night. We were able to catch the end of Hemingway Days at Sloppy Joes.  We ended up seeing the winner (one of the winners?) at Blue Heaven the next day.

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