Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Winter? In Key West?

It's been cool and overcast here of late, long pants weather, but that hasn't seemed to have affected life very much.

Marty and Kathy arrived on Monday afternoon, got set up at the Mermaid & Alligator a few blocks away, then came for dinner here. We ate tilapia and broccoli and carrots & onions and shared a bottle of wine, talked, got caught up on what's been going on in our families. Later we walked Duval St., stopping in a few shops but not buying anything. We went as far as Greene St., Sloppy Joe's corner, then cut across town on Elizabeth St. and back to the guest house via Windsor Lane by the cemetery.

They brought us in to have a look around at the guest house and their room. It's nice, cosy, with a large in-ground hot tub dominating the garden area, everything decorated for Christmas, quiet music playing in the background. Their room was small but comfortable and quite prettily decorated. Janet got them a "rate" on the room with the managers, who often send guests to the Chicken Store for a visit. The house serves a full breakfast in the morning. M&K said that breakfast on Tuesday was good, quiche and a variety of breads, fruit and beverages. Satisfying.

The three of us did a tourists' walk of the town on Tuesday (Janet was working). I picked them up in the car and we drove to the Caroline St. parking garage, left the car there, and walked the waterfront from the Ferry terminal to the Hilton docks. We stopped at the Half Shell raw Bar for lunch, then at Schooner Wharf where we tarried and listened to Raven Cooper, Bubba Lownotes and Richie Cialino for about one beer. Raven is always a treat to listen to, Bubba and Richie are two of the best rhythm accompanists in a town full them.

Janet had scored passes for two people on either the Fury for a snorkel or sunset cruise, or on the Discovery glass-bottom boat. We chose the Discovery and arrived just before the two o'clock sailing. There were approximately 30 people in line waiting, tourists mostly. We saw an unusual number of Japanese in the City today, most likely from one of the three cruise ships that were tied up at Mallory Square, the Hilton Pier, Pier B, and at the outer mole. The trip was not very interesting. The water remains murky from the hurricanes. There didn't seem to be many fish on the reef either, certainly not any of the larger ones, sharks, rays and the like that one might see at other times. I found it mildly amusing that the boat's crew didn't say anything about viewing conditions until after the boat pulled away from the dock but hey, would you if it was your boat and tourism was down for such a long time this season?

The plane that went down in Miami the day before delayed cruise departures through Tuesday evening, so the ships we had in port were most likely returning from Mexico.

We got back in by 3:30 and walked back to the garage for the car. "$10 to park", Marty said, "we could have parked at the Hilton all day for $9". It hadn't occured to me, but I could have parked on the street for free, since the City suspended meter fees once again for ten days. I dropped them at their guest house. We met up again on Duval St. at around 6:15 and had dinner at the Old Town Mexican Café, then walked back to the house.

So, in the Real Key West at least, it was just another day, doing things we'd do in almost any kind of weather except a heavy rain. The switch was doing them with someone else and getting to share the moments and places that we can have almost any time we want to. As the saying goes, "life is good in the fabulous Florida Keys".

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