1/5/17 – Remember to dress appropriately

Got up and did the usual of going down to breakfast before coming back to do sun creams. We had a mild trauma though when I put my beach bag on my bed and a cockroach ran out and underneath my mattress! Serious eek! I obviously ran next door to get Dad, who pulled out all the sheets and it fell on the floor, where it thankfully met the underside of Dad’s shoe. Finding bugs in the room always sucks, but your bed is definitely the last place you want them. Because of the bug tizzy, it was after eleven by the time we got down to the pool. It was scorching, so we started off on some sunbeds in the shade. Throughout the day, I read half of my next Kinsey Millhone book. It really is good to be able to read in bulk again.

After a while, we decided we wanted to be in the sun, so we moved forward to some spare sunbeds and got the cocktails on the go. The oldies came back from shopping and we all had a dip in the shallow pool, where they have marble sunbeds built into the water. I had a lie on my front for a while to try and tan up my back, since I always end up darker on the front from sitting up and writing, but it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable. We went to lunch and the mash was starting to taste creamier again, still with lumps, only smaller. Looks like it’s on the road to recovery. They also had some tasty pork chops and beef escalopes in amongst the usual stuff.

It was back to the sunbeds afterwards. Started in the shade again for a bit, having collared the two different sunbeds, before moving back into the sun. Broke it all up with more reading, more dips in the pool and certainly more cocktails. Only problem with the pool is that the entirety of it is always in the sun and never in the shade, so it’s never as cool and refreshing as you want it to be and more like getting in a lukewarm-to-warm bath. Still better than just roasting though, obviously. Eventually went back up to the room to shower and rather than trying to get more pages in, I got some Clannad in instead. I like having this freedom to mix things up more.

Had to be ready a little earlier today, because we’d made reservations at the steak house, which is down on the beach, so we had to get the bus down. Dear God, I thought the mini bus to Chichen Itza was bumpy. This was like being on a rollercoaster. Didn’t help that my sear was clearly broken and I was stuck in the recline position practically over this nice Canadian woman’s lap. Let’s just say we were glad to reach the restaurant. First restaurant we’d had all holiday where everything is served at your table. The starters were a choice of shrimp cocktail and mozzarella sticks. I opted for the latter, because I don’t like shrimp cold and I freaking love mozzarella sticks. Sadly, the mozzarella wasn’t overly tasty and was overpowered by the breadcrumbs. Still nice, but not as good as I was expecting. I have high expectations of mozzarella sticks from fast food places on nights out.

Before the rest came, Mom then decided she wanted us all to go down onto the beach to take some photos. I wish I’d known that before I’d put on heels and a very short dress that meant I couldn’t bend down to take the heels off, even whilst sitting. So I had to hobble across the sand whilst tugging my dress down all the while. I’m sure I looked like a right Essex girl. Back to the table please. The main meal I chose was a tasty steak with potato wedges, a giant onion ring and a lovely garlic and parsley chimichurri sauce, then my pudding was an apple strudel with ice cream. Could have been a bit bigger, but then maybe I’ve been far too generous with my own portions at the buffet.

We made it back to the hotel bar just in time for the entertainment. Tonight’s was a Michael Jackson show. Holy hell, was it good. I mean, I could watch good MJ impersonators dance all day long, but this guy really was excellent. He even had all the mannerisms and the voice down, as well as the moves and especially that moon walk. They had other dancers on stage too, but even though they were all good, I don’t think anyone was watching them. Sorry other dancers, but MJ always rules the stage. My only disappointment was that he didn’t do the lean in Smooth Criminal, like they had at Coco Bongos, which I think raised the bar for me a little. Nobody had anything on his moon walk though.

Back to the rooms after the show to read and watch some more Clannad before bed. First day without writing a single word! It was nice to have the little break after having to keep it up so hardcore, but I’ll probably get back on it, because I really do feel like something’s missing from my day if I haven’t written anything. We watched a bit of James Corden and had some serious British enjoyment that no American would understand over a little girl pretending to knight Nigel Farage and then telling him “my mommy says you hate foreigners”. I hate kids, but this is one kid even I can get behind. Pure gold.

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This little guy decided to join us for a cheeky bevvie. (They will have your drinks if you don’t watch them!)

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30/4/17 – When in Mexico…

Had a bit of a rude awakening when Mom came knocking on the door at seven, as they were going don for breakfast. Turned out my alarm hadn’t gone off because my old BlackBerry had died a death in the night, so we were suddenly up and rushing to get ready, knowing we’d just have to skip breakfast ourselves. Got all sun creamed and since we’d be wearing normal day clothes this time, I got to wear my new pineapple shorts. We didn’t have any drink left in the room, as it was refill day, so I ran down to the breakfast hall to fill up an empty bottle with the fakey pineapple juice, whilst the others went to the pick-up point.

We got on our own private mini bus, heading for Chichen Itza. Turned out the oldies had grabbed us some chocolate and orange muffins to-go from breakfast, aww. We had a quick stop at a shop before joining the highway. I had a giant Red Bull – first I’d had in six days. Not that I was counting or anything. Once we got onto the highway, it was just under a two-hour drive to Chichen Itza. I used the time to drink my Red Bull and attempt to catch up on writing, since it was the last day of Camp NaNoWriMo. This was made a lot harder by how goddamn bumpy the mini bus was (not to mention our driver was a bit of a maniac). I’m not sure my writing will even be legible when I get to typing it all up.

The Chichen Itza site was huge. We saw the giant step pyramid, which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the thousands of columns left standing, various ruins, the sacrificial stone mounds, one of the cenotes and hilariously, a huge open ground with stone rings built into the walls on either side, just like in the Road to El Dorado. Between that and the pyramid, we were sure this must be where it was based on. There were merchant stalls everywhere. I quite wanted to get a Day of the Dead skull for Kay, but whenever I found ones that weren’t tacky, the merchants just started haggling ridiculously. I get that’s what they do, but when they try ripping me off from the start, I don’t feel so keen to give them my business. I also don’t like having them bothering you when you’re just trying to look.

Chichen Itza generally takes between two to four hours to cover the whole site. We don’t fanny about and it was sweltering, so we did it in less than two. We went back to our mini bus and were taken to a buffet restaurant. Nachos, rice, spag bol and some lovely chicken on the bone. They had puddings too, so I had fresh watermelon and orange and then a melon jelly. So much more refreshing. It was then back in the mini bus and off to the cenote. As super pretty as the cenote was, the novelty wore off quickly for me. Maybe because it was butterfly central (they even had a butterfly as part of their logo, so I’m not just exaggerating) and I was on edge the whole time. Or maybe because it was still boiling hot, I’d gone down a hundred steps and only got one foot in the cenote before seeing all the catfish and quickly getting back up the ladder. So I couldn’t even cool off. Mom didn’t like it either, so we just had to wait around whilst Kel and Dad had a swim. Give me a proper swimming pool any day.

I felt ready to die by the time we were leaving. It was thirty-nine degrees by this point. I had a gross ice lolly that said it was lemon, but was mostly creamy, so I chucked that. Had a drink too, but it really didn’t seem to help. We returned to our mini bus and headed out to a town called Valladolid. However, we did one quick tour around the little square and were only there for all of five minutes, before we were going back to the mini bus once again. It was just too hot, with nowhere in the shade and nowhere to go inside. This time, we just started back towards the hotel. I desperately continued with my writing, even though it was sprawling across the entire page from all the bumps. Next time, I’m bringing my laptop.

It was gone five by the time we got back, so it was time to shower and try and get those last few pages done in between. Amazingly, I did it with ease and even got carried away and went 440 words over the 50K I needed. Now my only problem will be validating it online. Since I hand write my first drafts, I have to use a random text generator to create enough text to match my word count. That’s a lot of text to copy and paste – I don’t know if my phone will be able to hack it. Once we were ready, we went down to the bar for a quick margarita and then moved onto food. Most of the usual once again. Mash was still lumpy. They did have the beef tostadas from the Mexican restaurant though, as well as some glorious grouper marinated in salsa verdi. I’m very picky with fish, but I knew I could trust Mom’s recommendation on it, because she’s equally as picky when it comes to seafood.

Back to the bar again, so I jumped onto the WiFi to try and validate my novel. Had a few mishaps with the copy and paste not working properly, but eventually managed to do it. Woooo! Best total I’ve had from a NaNoWriMo month yet and this was the one where I really thought I’d fall too far behind to manage. I happily celebrated with some more margaritas and mango daiquiris. The entertainment tonight was a mix of various cultural, more choreographed dances. Pop culture obviously appeals much more to us, but they did manage to successfully catch mine and Kel’s attention when they did one dance to the Circle of Life. We’re always on the ball when we hear that little African introduction.

Came back to the apartment after and flicked through the various talk shows. We were talking about Jimmy Kimmel and I discovered Kel had never seen the “I’m fucking Ben Affleck” skit; only the Matt Damon one. Of course I had to put it on to show her, since I have random shit like that on my iPod. Also finished my Anita Blake book off. God, it feels good to be able to do whatever I want. I love writing, but having to worry constantly about word counts on holiday makes it feel like homework, which nobody wants on holiday.

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Consider me wonderstruck…

29/9/16 – All good things

Final get-up of the trip. Was a little earlier today, since w wanted to make the most of the pool whilst we could. The forecast is… sunny, yay. Got into my bikini, put together my beach bag and down to the pool we went. We found ourselves some sunbeds in the sun and we were well away. It was blisteringly hot.I started off reading and ended up finishing my Kelley Armstrong book, so I then switched to lying on my front so that I could tan my back. Had to take short breaks to go and stand in the shallow end to cool down every now and then.

When the sun disappeared behind the very big hotel, we figured we’d be best to go back to the room. We Skyped Kel, all showered in procession and got the rest of our stuff packed up. We moved everything downstairs and got a shuttle service to the airport. The first thing we wanted once we’d got through customs was food. Went to some little take-out restaurant place. I had what was supposedly Jamaican jerk chicken breast with rice and plantains. It definitely wasn’t jerk anything. Just a grilled chicken breast with a bit of sauce on it. I’m still not entirely sure what plantains are, other than that they’re not nice. It was filling enough though.

After that, we went to check out duty free. Always a good place for restocking our alcohol cupboard and Miami airport didn’t fail us. I got a big, fat 1.75L bottle of Smirnoff for only twenty-three dollars. Sometimes you’re hard pressed to get even a litre for that amount at home. They also had the fancy Belvedere stuff for only thirty-three dollars – again, cheaper than at home. Since I’d never tried it before, I decided to get a pink grapefruit bottle as a birthday present to myself for next week. We also got a refill on Cointreau, since we get through quite a lot of that when we do cocktail nights in.

We went to a little bar afterwards for mimosas, then I ran to grab some drinks from one of the shops before we had to board. Fabby in-flight entertainment once again. I’d watched half of Elvis and Nixon before we’d even taken off. Charming film, though they really couldn’t have got an uglier Elvis. At least Evan Peters kept it up on the eye candy front. Following the same actor theme, once we were up in the air, I decided to rewatch X-Men Apocalypse. I then got distracted by a spectacular electrical storm that we were flying by and managed to get some good photos through the window.

Food then came during X-Men. I forget how weird Air France food is. Bread roll, fine; wheatgerm and shiitake mushroom rice salad, eh; chicken and rice, ropey; apple sauce, okay; chocolate brownie thing, okay. Even the cheese was really weird. I remember Air France being better for the snacks, so maybe we’ll have to wait for that. The one upside was that I got a glass of champagne with my meal, so I guess I can’t complain too much. Unsurprisingly, I felt a little tired after the food and champers, so I decided to go with a movie I knew well, since it meant I wouldn’t have to concentrate too much.

That meant opting for Princess and the Frog, which instead succeeded in waking me up, as it made me want to have a singalong. Like any Disney, it also has its super sad moments. I already felt super emotional about leaving America behind and if I didn’t shed a tear over Princess and the Frog, then I definitely did over Big Hero 6, which I saved till last and watched afterwards. I have a definite love-hate relationship with that movie, very much like with Clannad. Serious adoration for it, but it still breaks my heart every time. Fuck you, Disney. I switched to writing after that and did another couple of flash fictions.

We landed in Paris after the eight hour flight and were now six hours ahead in time. These time zones really are so confusing, especially when you haven’t slept. The flight was then delayed half an hour. That always sucks worse when you’re coming home, because you have nothing to look forward to. By this point, all you want is to get home. Thankfully, the flight itself was only about an hour long. I listened to some music for a bit, watched some Psych and was so tired by that time, that I slept through on and off until landing. I kept doing that whole nodding dog thing, but at one point when I did it, we’d already landed. Guess it worked out to an extent. My ears are usually excruciating when landing, so I was glad I skipped that part.

Baggage claim and passport control were fairly simple and we were outside and in a taxi within twenty-five minutes. Thank god. It had been a long day, made worse by the fact that I’ve never been so depressed to come home. What with the fact that my closest friends don’t live so nearby – two of them technically living overseas – besides Kel and the dog, I really didn’t feel much reason to come back at all. My love affair with America is just far too great and seems to be getting stronger all the time. Maybe now it won’t be so much as saving for the next trip, but saving towards moving there on a more permanent basis. I need to hurry up and start getting my books published.

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Now that’s entertainment.

28/9/16 – KFC hunt, round two

Lazy start with another eleven o’clock check-out. Cue the slow get ready, get packed and whatever. We had an hour or so drive into downtown Miami. The satnav started playing up again – she must not like the oldies, because me and Kel never had this problem – so we stopped off at a Maccies to bum off the WiFi and use Google maps to figure out exactly where we needed to go. When we got back en route, the satnav decided to play nice again. Go figure. We wanted to get lunch first whilst we still had the car, so we pulled into a little strip mall that was only about five or ten minutes away.

There wasn’t a lot there in the way of eating, so we went into a Little Caesar’s, which we’d actually seen adverts for on the telly. It was a good choice. I had wings, which were okay. I like my wings dry and fried and whereas they weren’t covered in sauce, they were still a little sloppy from the marinade. But I also had their crazy bread bites, which were way better. Little garlicky dough balls topped with different cheeses and bacon. Now that is more my kind of food. We popped into a CVS over the road after and I restocked on Red Bull. Drove to our Best Western, as well as the final hotel, and unloaded everything. I then stayed in the room and read whilst the oldies took the car back to the Alamo. Bye, Harry.

We did have a pool at this place, but I hadn’t seen where it was and wasn’t sure how to get to it, as it was a huge hotel. By the time the oldies got back, it was closer to five and there wasn’t a whole lot of sun left, so it wasn’t really worth it.  carried on with my reading and then showered and got dressed to head back out in search of KFC. Hopefully, this round will be more successful, since we’re all still craving the real stuff. Since getting the car, we hadn’t done a whole lot of walking really, so it felt like quite a jaunt. Got to watch an electrical storm, as well as all the planes landing nearby on the way though.

We ate at the KFC, rather than risking the food going cold on the way back. This time, we made sure they gave us the proper chicken. They got it right and damn, it was good. They gave us biscuits as well. Now there’s a food that’s super tasty, but that sure as hell confused us the first time we had them. I mean firstly, they’re called biscuits and they’re absolutely not biscuits. Secondly, they’re actually scones, except they’re savoury. Weird or what? Still good though and would be even better slathered in butter.

The way felt even longer on the way back. Maybe because we were distinctly fatter. We had much drink to break out too, since we had to finish off everything that we had. That meant four bottles for me. No problem. The maids are gonna think we’re all serious lush-heads when they see our bin. Dad tried to put on the new season of American Horror Story, but I quickly made him change the channel as it wasn’t the first episode and I didn’t want any spoilers. The theme for the new season actually looks pretty good – hopefully a lot better than Hotel and without any Lady Gaga. Dad decided he was watching Thor instead, so I figured I was much better off with my iPod.

Watched more Psych, did some reading, played some Disney and had to do a serious packing spree of everything, bar what we’d need for tomorrow. Mom had asked if we could have a later check-out on the way back from the KFC, so at least we can spend a little time around the pool. Here’s hoping it’s sunny for our last day.

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This is what good fast food looks like. Can we have a Little Caesar’s in Birmingham please?

27/9/16 -Let’s go to the mall

Lazy start of reading, playing my Disney game and getting ready. We decided we’d go shopping first, since Mom wanted to go to a mall – I told her we could only go if she pronounced it right, rather than ‘mal’, like she kept calling it – and then we’d hit either the beach or the pool. We went to the Coral something or other mall. I really hate shopping. Mom wanted to look at clothes and homeware stuff, so I occupied myself by getting some more notebooks and also a pair of happy little pineapple earrings. Not a bad result, but I was still bored within the first twenty minutes.

When we came out, it was starting to rain, so we braved a dash to the car and then went off in search of food. We ended up in a place called Miller’s Ale House. I asked for an Orange Crush cocktail and gave the server my driving license when he asked for ID. He took it off to the manager, came back and said that they couldn’t serve me because it’s an out of country license. What the hell? My license is obviously not fake and it clearly shows my birth date on there, showing that I’m turning twenty-seven in a few weeks and am definitely long past the legal drinking age requirement of twenty-one. So even though I’m way old enough and provided legit ID like they asked, they still wouldn’t serve me. What bollocks. I grudgingly had to have pop instead. It kinda rubbed it in more that the pop was also called Orange Crush – it just wasn’t alcohol. Come on, guys. I got ID’ed at plenty of places and none of them cared that my license wasn’t American.

For food, I had garlic chicken zingers over a plate of fries loaded with cheese, bacon and spring onion. It wasn’t overly successful. They still managed to mess up my order and gave me blue cheese dressing instead of the ranch I asked for – yuck! I then managed to drop one of the zingers on the floor, which Mom found hilarious and wanted me to try kicking it underneath my chair at the people behind us. My mother, ladies and gentlemen. Clearly misbehaving.

After lunch, we drove a little way down the road and then stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts, because Mom was craving. I had a caramel apple croissant donut. Quite nice. A little like a mix between a donut and an apple turnover. Though I have to say I still prefer Krispy Kremes. It was still raining by this point, so our pool/beach plan was out the window. With nothing else to really do – other than finding another mall, which I definitely wasn’t feeling – we went back to the room for a while. More reading, more Disney game, a Red Bull and another episode of Psych, as well as Skyping Kel.

After an hour or so, it had finally stopped raining, so me and Mom decided to madly get into our swimwear and go down to the pool anyway. It was very cloudy and everything was wet, but it was still perfectly warm enough to sit out in my bikini, if a little pointless when there was no hope of sun. I watched more Psych and read more before it started getting late and we conceded we may as well just go back to the room. I hit the drinks early to compensate for the lack of sunbathing before we very slowly got ready to go out.

We went to a restaurant just round the back of the pizza place called the Parrot Lounge. Another place with a really nice bar. I had a Parrot Ocean Breeze, which was mango rum, blue curacao and orange and pineapple juice. Really nice, even if it looked physically like swamp water. I didn’t fancy much from the menu, so I went for the supreme nachos that are supposedly a starter. My god, it was definitely a good decision. They were friggin’ huge and topped with cheese, chilli, sour cream and jalapenos. The salsa came on the side, which suited me to a tee since I don’t like salsa all that much. Despite the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much around here, I definitely approve of the places we have found.

Came back to the room after for more drinks, more Impractical Jokers, more reading and more bed. Y’know, the usual. Even better as it was one of the particularly hilarious episodes of Jokers with the corn maze. Night all.

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I promise there’s nachos in there somewhere. And yes, I’m aware I mostly post photos of food.

26/9/16 – Bring on the pizza

Back to the more relaxed get-ups, since we didn’t have to check out till eleven. Slowly got ready and packed up before heading off to Fort Lauderdale. We’d gotten up and dressed a little late for breakfast, so we stopped off at a Taco Bell en route, as it was something I’d always wanted to try. Yet another disappointment, unfortunately. We all wanted a good nosey at the menu, since we’d never been there before, but we felt rushed because of the miserable cow behind the counter who clearly had no time of the day for tourists, as she was perfectly sweet to everyone else. Pretty sure that’s still racism. Stupid bitch.

I had a quesarito and a spicy potato taco from the savers menu. The quesarito was okay, but far too full of cheese sauce and got quite sickly. I had to pull all of the salad out of the potato taco and it wasn’t even a proper taco. It was just a tortilla shaped like one. I call bullshit. That is so not a taco, which is all I really wanted in the first place. Taco Bell experiment failed. Happily got back into the car to carry on and had a far more satisfying Red Bull.

Despite driving past where we’d already stayed in Miami, the drive up to Fort Lauderdale really didn’t feel that long. Only another hour or so from Taco Bell. We found our cute little apartment complex, Tropi Rock, which actually has its own pool for once. I most definitely favour pools over the sea. Something to do with the fact that I can actually get in the water at the pool, rather than just crisping up in the sun on the beach. We unpacked a bit, milled around a while and then headed out for a little wander around to see what’s about.

Apparently, not a lot. There was the beach, obviously, and it really was a beautiful beach. One thing you can’t flaw Florida on. It was also the first one we’d seen with protested turtle laying grounds. Lots of little triangles of sand were all roped off. We had a meander past some apartment complex and found that even above anywhere else we’d been to, Fort Lauderdale is absolutely lizard central. I even saw a huge one that was two feet long from head to tail. I thought it must have been an escaped pet as it was bright lime green and had a crest and a beard, but we saw more afterwards. Talk about exotic looking wildlife.

After the very hot walk that didn’t really enlighten us on much other than the lizard situation, we came back to the room for a longer while. I started reading my Kelley Armstrong book, showered (in the worst shower we’ve had so far) and downloaded a cool notes app for my phone that’s designed to look like a Death Note with the black pages and the same fonts and everything. Love it. That’ll do well for my writing notes. Got ready to then head back out in search of food. Mom had already researched it on her tablet, since there hadn’t seemed to really be anything around, so we were on the lookout for an Irish grill and bar called McShorley’s.

Unfortunately, this was another plan that didn’t quite work out. It had a truly lovely bar and atmosphere, but the barman Rob told us that they don’t serve food, although they’re happy for people to bring food in from the adjoining fast food places. Ah. We didn’t want to be rude and just walk out, so we all had a drink first. They actually had a few ciders – often quite a hard find in America – so I had a bottle of Magners. Mom had a pint of their draft cider, Woodchuck. It was actually really nice; so much so that I wished I hadn’t just gone for the one I was familiar with. Some guys then brought in a takeout pizza and sat at the bar with it, watching the American football. That just seemed like the best idea ever, but stingy Brits would never allow that back home.

We decided to follow their lead, so after we finished our drinks, we moved across the road to the pizza place, Primanti Brothers. I pretty much never fancy pizza as I’m not a pizza fan in the slightest, but the one the guys had got in the bar looked really good so for once, I was fancying. The smallest they did was a fourteen inch pizza – typical America – so I ordered one with sausage, ham, salami, onions and extra cheese. Oh my god. Best pizza I’ve ever had. Dad had two of the smaller slices since he’d only had a hot dog and I happily devoured the rest. Normally, I find pizza gets far too boring to eat that much in one sitting, but not this pizza. Serious hats off to the Primanti Brothers.

Since they hadn’t offered much in the way of alcohol, we went back to McShorley’s afterwards. I was delighted to have my own pint of Woodchuck this time. We moved into the side room, where they had a big fish tank, a pool table, darts, a few arcade games, checkers, giant Jenga and Connect 4, of all things. I played Dad at pool and almost beat him, but cocked up my last shot and ended up perfectly lining up the black ball for him. Boo. Him and Mom had a few games after that, whilst I entertained myself by making a tower out of the Jenga blocks and watching the tropical fish in the tank. They actually had one of those goofy yellow fish that looks like it has teeth, just like the one me and Kel were so amused by in San Antonio.

Came back for more drinks in the room afterwards. By this point, I’d moved onto Bud Straw-ber-rita Splash. Played with my Death Note app some more and then did what was becoming the usual wind-down of reading, playing Disney game and watching some Impractical Jokers. Larry!

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I could be talked into being a pizza fan after this. For size comparison, see the chair behind it.

24/9/16 – Everywhere she goes, Toni loves mashed potatoes!

Much slower get-ready today as we had a later check-out. Packed everything up and then went for a very poor breakfast that consisted of just fruit, most of which was tasteless melon. I just stuck to the grapes. We then Skyped Kel for a little bit before eventually leaving the room. It had been our most expensive, yet worst stocked room so far, but I was a little sad as the Key West had a hell of a lot of different Pokémon to catch. I’d say it was the geek in me that was sad, but that’s basically all of me. We’d had the option of going to the Key West museum as I’d seen an advertisement on a bus that they had the famously haunted Robert the doll, which weirdly, they’d been talking about in the episode of That Anime Show that I’d been listening to on the plane. I’d initially been interested in going to see him, but after Googling pictures, I swiftly changed my mind.

We finally thought to hook up one of the iPods in the car rather than listening to the radio, so we listened to my fifties and sixties playlist on the road. Had a several hour drive with a stop-off at some restaurant along the harbour for lunch. Couldn’t quite decide what I wanted, so I just ordered from the starters menu and had chicken tenders with honey mustard and mozzarella sticks. Yummy food, but shame about the server with the really bad attitude – though she did forget to charge us for our drinks – and the weird, cabbagey smelling toilets. Gross. We had a little nose out on the harbour afterwards and saw some beautifully coloured trumpet fish. We then got petrol from next door to the hotel and went back on our way.

Stopped off at a Walgreen’s en route, where I replenished my Red Bull stash – some of which I enjoyed in the car – and I wrote a couple of flash fictions. I8’ve barely done any writing whilst I’ve been here; it’s really not acceptable. Our satnav then had a mad moment when we got into Homestead and kept trying to take us to a Best Western, rather than the Super 8 that we wanted. We hit a seriously huge thunderstorm and had to wait it out in their car park, before sending Dad in to ask for directions. Thankfully, we found our real motel in the end. I do love Super 8s The first thing I did was fill up the fridge, yay.

Milled in the room for a while, did more writing, read, showered and broke out more of the Seagrams. There was an Applebees right in sight of our motel, so we knew exactly where we were going for tea. Me and Mom shared a pitcher of red apple sangria. Lovely, but the size was a lot more stingy than I remember. I then had an eight ounce sirloin steak with garlic mash and new crispy cheddar bacon potatoes. When it all came out, my mash was cold. And I don’t even mean it was lukewarm; it was stone cold. There was no other way to describe it. I hate to be the person to send food back – particularly as I was starving and it means you have to wait longer – but I like my mash to be at least warm. Sent it back, had to wait, then when I got it back, the mash was still cold. I was too hungry to care by this point, so I just ate it. Put a little dampener on the meal, but everything else was still lovely. With a nice peppercorn sauce, it would have been damn perfect. Sadly, steak sauces don’t seem to be much of a thing here.

Back to the room after that. Mom liked the Super 8, so she booked us a second night there in order to give us somewhere nearby to come and go from when we visit the Everglades. That was cool with me. Got more Seagrams on the go and read and watched Psych in between watching some interesting documentary on telly about cyber predators who killed and kidnapped young girls. Morbid, I know, but then when have I ever had normal interests?

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I’ve waited a long time to have these again. Jamaican me happy indeed.