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.

10/5/15 – Our ideal kind of lazy day

We had a lazier start this morning, which worked out well as Kel didn’t get up till midday. We’d decided to skip breakfast this time as it would mean we would have only got about six hours sleep. I got up about half ten, compensated by eating some popcorn and watched an episode of Fullmetal, then I showered whilst Kel was still asleep. She woke up after just in time for me to dry my hair. Did a little bit of writing in between getting ready, then we made our way down to Emi’s apartment block for one o’clock. Emi’s mom Tamara had insisted on cooking lunch for us all. Her dad Konstantin and her younger sister Iliana, who now lives with her husband, joined us too.

We all sat round the little table in Emi’s room, which was cute, if a little awkward.I always find sit-down meals with people I don’t know mildly uncomfortable, but with the language barrier it was even more awkward. I couldn’t even convey my appreciation of the food properly! Emi mostly mediated. Konstantin doesn’t really understand any English. Tamara knows a little and Iliana apparently knows a fair bit, though doesn’t feel so confident speaking it to actual English people. She did have one moment thought where Emi was saying that I was clearly ready for cake and she added in perfect English, “I can see it in your eyes”. Then later on Tamara decided to demonstrate what she’d learnt from her English books and came out with, “I live in the zoo. I’m bimbo.” So cute and funny! I think the whole family’s combined English is just incredible anyway – particularly when Iliana learnt from online gaming and Emi learnt from watching movies and TV shows. Probably the most entertaining way to do it!

The food itself was great, though I quickly learnt that Bulgarians clearly like to serve a lot of things cold that we would normally have hot. It did nothing to hurt the excellent taste though! We had a chicken noodle soup to start and a type of Bulgarian salad that was thankfully put in the middle for everyone to help themselves, so I could get away without having any and not look like I was leaving anything on my plate. I am a no salad zone. After that was mash, pork steak with onions and a type of herby meat patty thing that was really, really tasty. Best of all though was the cake. It was triple layered with lots of cream, mascarpone, blackcurrants, strawberries, kiwi and banana. I don’t even like banana but it was really incredible. The sponge was just so soft and sooo good! I had some really nice cherry juice to go with everything too.

The rest of the family went off to do their own thing after food, whilst we stayed in Emi’s room to chill. Oh, I totally need a job working for Red Bull. Emi gets the best perks – she just had loads of free Red Bull in her fridge!She then doesn’t drink it because she doesn’t drink fizzy drinks, so it all got donated to me, including the various flavoured ones. Woohoo! I had a cranberry and an original in quick succession, then we started on nails.

Nails with Emi always takes a very long time as she’s such a professional. By long time I mean around five or so hours for the both of us. Not that it’s boring of course. It’s us – we can always find inane chatter to fill the time with. I got into trouble because I kept moving and then me and Kel kept making each other laugh. Hey, we were the good kids in school – we need to act out at some point in life. Whilst Emi was working I unleashed my perfect brainteaser on them that I came up with before. You have to hum/whistle/du-du-du the theme tunes to Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman and the A Team in turn, in that order. It’s perfect because it’s movie related and I can actually do it myself, but it seems to stump everyone else.

Emi finished off my amazingly perfect Harley Quinn nails, complete with a “hello puddin'” on my ring finger, and we sat back for more chill time. Of course I was the only one hungry again, so Tamara nicely heated up some more of the mash and meat patties for me. We then all had more cake. God, I really do love that cake. We talked more film stuff, as we do, then watched some of Men At Arms and saw them build an incredible Hylian shield! Want! Then they joined up with a Super Fans team to make a set of Final Fantasy kitchen knives. Sheer awesomeness.

We’d been quite horrified whilst we were there to hear it start raining, thundering and lightning-ing. Especially when it had been so lovely on the walk down – more shorts and tank tops weather and not even muggy this time! Thankfully it had died down and the thunder and lightning had stopped by the time we were leaving, though we still had to loan a brolley from Emi. Sharing a brolley only works completely if you’re sharing with someone who’s the same height. Otherwise you get one person getting rained on more and/or one person getting hit in the head, which was obviously what happened with us. We also had the added fun of having to jump some giant puddles in our very non-waterproof shoes.

When we got back I broke open one of my cherry Carlings that I bought yesterday – home away from home and it only cost the equivalent of about 50p! Watched another episode of Fullmetal (oh Hughes, you really break my heart), did some more writing and we both marveled over some pictures online of Kenan and Kel in the present day. Kel actually grew up to be really attractive! Damn. Wound down for bed from there. I don’t think I can hack skipping free breakfast two days in a row!

Hello puddin'!

Hello puddin’!