Thursday, October 11, 2012

Key West!

Today marks the second full day of our Key West adventure.  It is beautiful here, and it reminds me of Maui in number of ways…..although more of a run-down Maui, to be honest with you.  It is quite touristy of course, which is no newsflash to anyone, and I guess that has actually changed over the years.  We have met a number of people that come here regularly that say since the cruise ships began stopping here (about 10 years ago) it has actually gone slightly downhill.  But overall it is a nice place.  The people are super sweet and seem genuinely so, even those that are providing service.  Often when you come to a place that is overtly touristy you get the hard sell from the shopkeepers, service people, etc.  When they great you it is more in an effort to pull you in.  Here, I have noticed, when you are greeted it seems genuinely sincere, that they are really glad to have you in their little town.

Getting here was not a major adventure, more so because it was such a long day.  We were exhausted by the time we got to Big Ruby’s Guesthouse where we are staying.  And because we got here so late the front desk was already closed for the night.  They were gracious enough to leave us with instructions how to get our keys and find our room…..which in itself was a whole other adventure.  The rooms are not numbered or named, and there are several buildings, none of which is uniform in shape or size.  So, being as tired as I was, I had some issues reading the map that was provided.  Ultimately I got us to our room which is nice and comfortable.  Thank God the air conditioning was already turned on for us.  The staff is extremely friendly, very accommodating, and the surroundings quite inviting. 

Because Big Ruby’s is a “gay guesthouse,” we are meeting a lot of people (guys) that we would not normally.  This certainly is the gayest vacation we have ever taken, which sounds really shallow and stupid, but it really is true.  We aren’t the typical club-going, circuit party boys.  It isn’t the crowd we hang out with and really don’t have a lot in common with.  Again that sounds shallow.  BUT the people that we have met over the last two days have been so amazingly nice and fun.  They come from all over the world yet seem to think it took the two of us longer than it took them to get here.  So far we have met couples from London, Luxembourg, Chicago, and several guys from Connecticut that included a guy from Poland in their party.  Every single one of them has been super nice and has been a pleasure to just hang out with in and around the pool.  Oh, we even met some guys during the nightly happy hour last night from Washington DC toting a bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon, which naturally caught our attention.  So we bonded over wine.  J

We are here for 9 days and came with nothing specific scheduled.  Although we have since booked several excursions based on things that we thought looked interesting during our trip research……the first of which will happen this afternoon.  I am not going to give it away because it is going to be something really cool and big.  But needless to say it isn’t something you get to do every day.

We did spend our first day just walking around town, up and down Duvall Street, which is the main drag in Key West.  Lots to see, most of which is the most touristy stuff of course.  But it gave us the lay of the land and a chance to stretch our legs after the three flights the day prior.  We ducked into the Butterfly Conservatory, partially to get out of the rain storm that we could see coming and was on top of us in the blink of an eye.  I haven’t seen rain come down that hard since we were in Tahiti.  The conservatory was something I wanted to check out when Adam mentioned it to me because Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo has a butterfly exhibit that I always enjoy, although I think he kind of mentioned it as a joke.  So it might have been dumb luck that the rain started as we approached the front of the building and we were forced to take shelter.  In the end we both absolutely loved it.  They had a ton of different butterfly and moth species that they raised.  You could see the stages of development of each in a room they had off to the side which was kind of like a little laboratory.  We certainly took our sweet time taking a ton of pictures and videos. I haven’t reviewed any of them yet, so I am hoping they came out.  I am sure they won’t really compare to actually being there though.

We then took a quick turn off Duvall to hit the “southernmost point in the continental US.”  I use apostrophes because any time this monument is mention Adam is quick to point out that it really ISN’T the southernmost point, and does so with a smirk on his face just to drive me nuts.  Oh, Adam. 

Once we came back to the guesthouse we took a dip in the pool and then went for a quick bite to eat before happy hour.  We went to a wine bar called Vino’s with a huge selection and a very nice South African bartender.  The main room was pretty full with the exception of one really large table that we didn’t want to occupy since it was just the two of us.  So we politely asked to sit next to a couple of the front porch and share a small table with them.  Good choice!  They were down from North Carolina, and we compared notes on what adventures to do during our stay.  Kayaking seemed to be one of their favorite things and we have since booked a guided kayaking tour for Saturday morning when our buddy Melanie and her boyfriend our here joining us for the weekend.  That will be fun!

After Vino’s, it was back to Big Ruby’s for happy hour……more wine and conversation with our worldly friends.  We got a great recommendation from the guys from DC for dinner and quickly set up a reservation.  It was a Tapas restaurant called Santiago’s and the food was fantastic!  Great recommendation and it was just a quick 10 minute walk/stagger away.  Once we finished dinner we decided instead of hitting the town we would go back to Big Ruby’s and hang out in the pool and hot tub, which we did for a short time by ourselves.  Then all the friends we made earlier and a few more started to filter back in and join us.  What a great day…..what a great night.

Now it is time for me to get ready for the big adventure!  Stay tuned folks……lots more to come!

Key West Prologue

(The first paragraph of this is a bummer but please continue to read and it will lighten up significantly. I promise. It felt necessary to start it this way though.)

It has been more than a year-and-a-half since I last blogged. The last post was the day we put Gizmo down. That day still sticks with me, and I imagine it always will. Actually I did write a blog post the following day titled “The Mourning After” but it was just too painful to post. It has been really difficult for me to let go of that, but I think that is a good thing. I still reflect on her life and what joy she brought to us over the years. You would think it would be easier to move past since we have Boris and Oliver in our lives, but that really isn’t the case. It is hard for me to explain. I guess the easiest explanation is that for any parent each child is different. To me it is the same thing even though I am dealing with dogs and not little children. Anyway, the Boys certainly are not a replacement nor were they meant to be. Boris and Oliver are the most interesting little individuals in their own right. But back to why I haven’t blogged in so long……I think I have to admit to myself that actually putting something on the page past my closing dedication to her makes me have to admit to myself that she is gone and that I have ultimately moved on. In my heart, I haven’t and never will. I will never let go. I miss her every day.

Today marks another adventure. We are on a plane bound for Miami, the second flight of three in our journey to Key West in honor of Adam’s 40th birthday. We booked this trip so long ago that we can hardly contain ourselves. It is hard to believe we are FINALLY on our way to some rest and relaxation. I love traveling and, due to changes within my company, have done significantly less of that over the last year, much to my dismay. I think it actually surprises people to hear me say that considering I was doing a fair amount of traveling for quite a while there. But this time it is all for fun. Neither of us has been to Key West before, and this will be my first adventure to Florida. The best thing about this, at least in my opinion, is that I am actually traveling with someone, and that someone happens to be the person I spend the majority of my time with. Somehow it seems that we don’t get to go on these big adventures as much as we used to, but I think the reality of it is that we still do. I have a feeling, because I travel for work now and do so 99% of the time on my own, we still travel together as much as we always have… just seems diluted due to my work travel.

It was really hard to leave Boris and Oliver this morning, and not just because it was 4:00am and we were exhausted from having to get up so early. I jumped out of bed as soon as the alarm went off and began the last of the tasks in preparation for our house/dog-sitter to have as comfortable a stay as possible. I didn’t let the Boys out of their kennel right away because it was so early and I figured they would want to both just sleep……or, at the very least, Boris would. Most mornings you almost have to drag his hairy butt out of that kennel in order to get him going. That dog loves to sleep. It is amazing how much Boris and Adam are alike in personality whether or not Adam recognizes or would even admit to. When I finally did open up the kennel door they both very enthusiastically jumped out ready to receive their morning scratches. I was a little surprised to see Boris have such enthusiasm at that ungodly hour of the morning knowing that he got maybe half the amount of sleep he normally gets any given night. Somehow he knew something was up I expect. They both did. They followed us around this morning and got even more excited when Adam and I put on our shoes and the packed suitcases made an appearance downstairs in preparation for our awaiting ride to the airport. I gave them a few smooches each and headed out the door. While I am confident they are in goods hand with our dog-sitter, this is the first time we have ever let anyone other than my Parents take care of our animals for this extended a period of time, so that is hard for me to digest. I know my Parents will treat them in the exact same manner as we do, and I cannot imagine anyone that doesn’t know them the way we do will treat them quite the same. I guess any parent would have the same concern leaving their kid in the hands of another. We are sure it will be fine……as long as he doesn’t let them take advantage and manipulate him…..which they are sure to attempt to do. I am sure we will come home to a story or two about how they tried to rule the house in some comical way. Part of me is hoping for it actually. I will know then that they were happy in our absence.

So we are descending to Miami as I wind this down. I am getting anxious to get to our final destination for some fun and relaxation with Adam. More to come.......