Cathie, Jon and Beth arrived in Miami around 1:30am on Friday morning. I picked them up, we spent the night in Miami and then headed down to Key West. The drive down is beautiful. On the way down we couldn't help but stop to see this giant road-side lobster. It was not real (hence the large steal beams underneath).
We stopped at a few cool places along the way, including the No Name Bar in No Name Key. It's a dive in the middle of nowhere and there are about 70,000 dollar bills covering the walls and ceilings.
Jon and I both left our marks.
We got to our hotel around 4, staying at the Crown Plaza right on the main drag, Duvall Street. We hung out by the pool relaxing before heading out that night. We were right across the street from Fat Tuesdays, and two blocks away from Kelly Caribbean Bar home of the greatest key lime margaritas ever, not to mention some really amazing wings. (They've got a fantastic happy hour there from 4-7).
Jon wanted to go to Key West because he'd heard it was full of cats. We didn't see a single cats, but there were roosters everywhere. Jon really, really, really hates all birds. There was guy who would let you get your picture taken with a snake or parrot on Duvall street. As we walked by, Jon was so taken with the snake that he didn't notice the birds - until they shrieked and Jon about poo'd himself.
On Saturday, we took it easy and hung out by the pool. It wasn't a huge pool, but it was nice. I'm not one whose big on sitting still, so I went for a run around the island. It was beautiful out and I figured I'd get some sun, so I didn't wear a shirt. As I got to the end of my run, I headed down Duvall street where I ended up in the middle of a Drag Race. The Drag Race consisted of a series of races between drag queens, in full gear. I'm pretty sure I won the race.
In the evening, we'd head down to Mallory Square to watch the sunset. Everyone on the island congregates there to watch the sunset and the entertainers. You get to see dogs walking on tight-ropes, one-man-bands, and Crazy Cat Guy, who I'll talk more about later.
It's a great place to people watch. We saw long neck guy on two different days (doesn't he look like Brad from behind?)
We saw reall-bad-sunglass-tan-line guy there, and then crazy cat lady below (her shirt reads "Cat A-Holic"). We thought should could be Anne V. in 10 years.
There are all these crazy statues around Mallory Square, and it never got old to pose with these.
My favorite pic is of the tourist taking a picture, with Jon and I mooning the camera. Genius, really.
As you wander Duvall Street, you see a ton of t-shirt shops, filled with some pretty funny t-shirts, most you couldn't wear anywhere but Key West. Jon was couldn't decide between the "I love weiners" shirt and the Kitty Cat shirt. There were some very funny ones that aren't quite suitable for this page.
Key West is full of some great bars. You can walk from bar to bar with your drink in hand and go to about any kind of bar you can imagine, all with the same laid back additude. Our favorites were Irish Kevins (hilarious singer and sing-alongs), Hog's Breath (great band, but packed) and Sloppy Joes (awesome bands with sing-along) and Big 'Uns, with the guy pictured above. This guy is as cool as I hope to be when I turn 50. He was a great singer and hilarious to listen to.
On Sunday we decided to spend the day at sea. Great idea unless you have 20-30mph winds. We got one of the package deals through Fury, which included Parasailing, Jet Skiing, Snorkeling, Kyaking and other water stuff. I brought my camera along and got some video of the event, not to mention a picture of my toes (which look a little odd in this picture). I'm pretty sure Cathie got herself a pedicure just in case we did this.
After parasailing, they took us out to this virtual island. We went jet skiing and then you could climb on these giant water apparatuses. This pyramid on the right was a bear to get up after swimming what seemed like a mile in choppy seas, only to slip off the side and almost rack myself on a rope they have strategically positioned at the bottom. Good times.
The waves were pretty brutal so snorkeling was a lot of work and not all that much fun. I was out for a while, following this big 'ol barracuda along (I even sang the song through my snorkel to see if he recognized it. He didn't.) On the ride back, they crack a keg of beer to wash the salt water out of your system. Good for me, not so good for the people who'd been throwing up over the side due to the waves. Luckily, Beth's a doctor and had given us all some good 'ol anti-nausea medicine fit for cancer patients.
One highlight was this guy's tattoo... Read it closely to check out the typo.
I gotta say, I love Key West! It's the most relaxed, laid back place you can go. It's beautiful and like being in the Caribbean, just without the poverty and crime. The bars and the people are awesome and it doesn't have the touristy feel, even though it's still there. We had lots of late nights where even at 2am the bars and people will still hopping. Staying right on Duvall street was nice, but in the future, I might stay a few blocks off in one of the smaller houses/cabins/bed-and-breakfasts.
On Monday morning we headed North and drove back to Miami for our last full day in Flordia.
You can see the rest of the pictures from the trip here.