23/9/16 – We’re gonna need a bigger boat

Usual early up and get ready to get the rest of our stuff packed. Only this time I had to get Mom to try and help me put my hair into pigtails. That was fun, since Mom is nowhere near as perfectionist as Kel, which is what I want when it comes to my hair. Safe to say it took a few tries. We then loaded up the car and went off on our way further down the Keys. Once again, the drive was beautiful. Had to go across several long bridges and at a few points, the road narrowed out so much that we were driving the with the sea right on either side of us. Apparently one side if the Gulf of Mexico and the other is the Atlantic, but I’m rubbish at geography, so I couldn’t tell you for sure without Googling. Either way, the water was so incredibly still and flat that you could see the sky reflected in it to a point where you couldn’t tell where one left off and the other began.

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Now that’s scenery!

We stopped off at a Walgreen’s because Mom said that Auntie Lynne had requested us to bring back a specific toothpaste, of all things. I ended up having another mad shop when I found more DC stuff and bought a Harley Quinn makeup bag and lipstick, a mini Deadpool plushie and more Red Bull, of course. We then didn’t get much further down the road before stopping at an IHOP for brunch. Now this is what I’m talking about. I had to have my usual country omelette – ham, cheese, onion and has browns – with a side stack of pancakes and plenty of strawberry sauce. I also had a lemonade mixed with lime and mango syrup. Yum yum.

We made the rest of the drive uninterrupted down to our room in Key West. Another really cute place. Our ‘hotel’ building is like a small collection of massive houses with a pool and lots of front and side porches with swinging chairs on them. However, it’s also the first room where we haven’t got a fridge and we have a lot of drinks to chill. Thankfully, there was an ice machine out by the pool, so I did the first trip to fill up the ice bucket and then try to fit as many drinks in as possible. We had a quick settle into the room before going off to explore.

First off, I felt like I was in a Zelda game, because there were escaped chickens just randomly around on the streets – and some baby chickens, aahh. We headed on straight down towards the harbour. We walked past a pool party where a guy and girl were fully recreating the dance-off scene from White Chicks with Run DMC playing and everything. It was hysterical. Of course, technophobic me didn’t know how to find the video camera on my phone, so by the time I did start recording, they were just finishing. I need a tutorial for my phone, even after a month of having it.

We stopped off at the Key West Lime Shoppe for key lime pie and a lime slushie, mmm. Gotta have things where they originate from. We sat in a nice little courtyard with a koi pond. The shop itself was really cute. They did lots of lime flavoured sweets, sticks of rock, soaps, drink making kits… It helped that they were playing Red Solo Cup too. I sand along whilst Mom bought a proper, easy-use lime crusher so that we can make even better margaritas back home. We have our priorities straight. From there, we had a wander down the harbour, right along the waterfront. It didn’t have the same fishing village type feel as Key Largo, as it was much busier. Still totally welcome atmosphere though. Buzzing, but not crowded, not like poor new Bourbon Street.

We took great enjoyment in watching some very exotic fish along the edge of the harbour and that was where the excitement then came in. We saw more wrasse and Sergeant Majors, some electric blue wrasse-like fish, big fat jellyfish, a beautiful blue and yellow angelfish and some giant, giant tarpin. We saw a huge one lurking in the shallows and looking super evil before it disappeared under the dock. We were trying to point another one out to Mom, who couldn’t see as well, and then the show-off flashed all the silver on its side, right under the surface of the water. It was four foot long! But then whilst we were distracted waiting to see if it would surface again, Dad spotted a seven-foot nurse shark, right under our feet! Talk about seeing something exciting in the wild.

We headed back up one of the strips from there. Saw a Senor Frogs, which made me giggle as it makes me think of Impractical Jokers, as well as a shop that had a lurid pineapple design painted across the window that looked totally Psych-esque, as well as lots of real pineapples in the window. I went in all excited, but then they didn’t actually have anything pineapple themed that they sold. Boo the false advertising. On the way back to the hotel, we walked alongside a huge cemetery that was all built above the ground like Lafayette. It seems to be a real imitation of New Orleans here. They do Creole cuisine, have several bars named after Bourbon Street and some of them even do Hurricanes. Not sure why the similarities are there when the places aren’t even close.

We got back to shower and get ready. I broke out my last Mike’s Hard Lemonade that I’d managed to cool some in the ice bucket, which I then had to down on the way because the oldies suddenly put a speed on and were ready to go. We went to a nearby Peruvian restaurant called Inca’s. We really are getting around. Our server Jessica was so lovely and shared drunk sangria stories with us when we ordered a pitcher. For food, I had Peruvian styled fried rice, which was rice fried with chicken, spring onion and some kind of salty, soy tasting sauce. God, it was so good. I scarfed literally every single grain.

We all agreed none of us wanted to walk past the cemetery again in the dark, so we headed off towards one end of the town, which is actually the most southerly point of the states. However, when we realised how long of a walk it was, we changed our minds and hit a bar instead. Big mistake. The moment I walked in, it was very easy to tell that it was a smoking bar. Good god, it was disgusting. I hate the lack of smoking bans here. I had to breathe through my mouth the entire time I was in there, so I passed on having a drink as I wouldn’t be able to taste it. I actually went to stand outside for a while for some fresh air, but when the same middle-aged guy somehow found a way to walk past me three times and told me twice that I was “too cute to be out there by myself”, I swiftly decided to go back in and watch the oldies play pool and just go back to mouth-breathing. It was actually quite funny when Dad then ended up playing some crazy woman from Kentucky.

Came back to the room after that and did some more planning for the trip going forward. I then read some more Shock Wave and broke open the Seagrams before bed. The next move is afoot.

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The fake Psych shop that lied to me.

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11/1/15 – Just a little bit spesh

Got up and pottered around a bit to get ready, but we all convened and went down for breakfast. I had the full breakfast again and since I had more time this morning I was able to fully utilise the help-yourself-to-other-things. So I had yoghurt with some jam and a few pieces of toast. They even had Marmite! Win. I’m definitely a love-it kinda girl. We had to wait for the oldies to get ready again so Sar came to chill in our room for a little bit with us. We saw some old school episodes of The Bill on telly and all had a laugh over some guy with a massive conk. I mean seriously, it was huge.

We went for a walk along the front of the hotel and then headed into town. It was pretty dull to be honest. It seems to be a bit of a backwards, old-fashioned town in that loads of places close on Sundays. Everything was mostly big chain places too – not necessarily cute, novel little shops like you’d expect. So I found myself getting dragged into places like H&M and Bon Marche. Good god, I could do this at home and at least find excuses to get out of it. I really don’t do clothes shops. I did manage to find a cute little narwhal teddy in one of the card shops though. Since when do you ever find narwhal anything?! Obviously I had to buy him. I may call him Jeff.

We stopped in a cafĂ© for a quick drink, then wandered back down onto the harbour front in search of food. Had cheesy chips at a place called Chandler’s Chippy! Group approval for the name. Whilst the oldies were still sat nattering we went next door to the arcade and spent a few quid on the 2p falls. Didn’t really win anything but it was fun and highly addictive. Walked even further down the harbour and finally got my whippy ice cream that I’d been craving. Something about the sea just always makes me want ice cream – no matter the temperature. It did start to get freezing cold then though so me and Kel decided to head back, leaving the others to check out some department shop they’d seen earlier and wanted to check out.

When the others got back we reconvened in Mom and Auntie Helena’s room and had a bit of a mini picnic of cakes and chocolates (I had a cheeky Red Bull too). We also played silly buggers trying to fit four of us in one of the single beds. We’re such a spesh family. Me and Sar then decided it was time to go for a swim. I had a bit of a trauma over my lovely nautical bikini not fitting me anymore, which is like a double-edged sword really. Yay that I’ve lost that much weight, but boo because it cost me nearly thirty quid. The pool was pretty damn cold but we warmed up by doing our own version of aqua aerobics, playing with the foam noodles and having weird races like only being able to swim with one arm and one leg. The lift then decided not to work when we wanted to come back up, so we had to scale four flights of stairs in our towels. Awkward.

There were four in the bed and the little one said there's no bloody room to roll over!

There were four in the bed and the little one said there’s no bloody room to roll over!

Getting ready for tea was slowed down by the fact that we discovered Aladdin was on telly. Totally in my top ten favourite Disney films! I had “hail the conquering hero” as my text tone for god knows how long. Went down for tea and it was all lovely food once again – actually our best meal all round. I had the sense to save at least half of my bread roll for my tomato soup this time. We had roast chicken for main with roast and baby potatoes (also veg but of course I skipped those). Then pudding was a strawberry, blackberry and raspberry mousse on a soft biscuit base with cream. I’m really big on cream and mousse type sweets, so that was to die for!

Migrated into the ballroom for our now traditional and last rounds of bingo to find Terry and Maggie waiting for us. New friends! Still didn’t win at bingo, sad times. Also had our last fun with quacking, sad times again. As a bonus round we were given sheets with pictures of different road signs and had to name them all. None of our group did very well at it. It’s terrible really when most of us are drivers!

After all that was simulated horse races, which was lame but fun. I had Long Put out of Fourth Tee, Flash in the Pan by No Hope and Bolt out the Blue. Sar won four squids on the first round, Mom won eight on the second and Auntie Ann won three on the third. Bolt out the Blue was actually winning for most of the last race but then just disappeared at the end, boo! All the winnings went into the kitty to be split amongst all of us, so overall we won most of our money back bar three pound. I can live with that!

We sat chatting for a while and had some more drinks, before we started returning to the rooms one by one. Kel was already in bed watching Not Another Teen Movie when I got back so I pottered about packing everything that I wouldn’t need in the morning so that we could leave our cases outside. For some reason the hotel insist on putting your cases onto the coach for you – you’re not allowed to do it yourself – but for that they need you to have them outside your rooms at seven in the morning. Pfft. We took our chances with leaving them outside all night and having the extra hour in bed. Priorities, yo.

My god, we actually look like we’re really enjoying bingo. Quack.