Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Key West - The Conclusion

I know it's been forever, the past couple of weeks have been incredibly stressful and busy, but I have a feeling that at least the stressful part will cease soon. Maybe I'll get better at consistency soon! 
So I left off with having drinks on Sunset Pier our second day in Key West. We headed out in search of dinner. You can read about the first half of our vacation here. And if you want to read about the Ragnar Relay, the first post for that is here.
We checked out Kelly McGinnis' restaurant, but nothing on the menu struck our fancy.

After meandering around for awhile, we settled on Fogarty's, the food was great!

We decided to meander towards the hotel where Katie, Jerry, Andrea and Andy were after dinner. We ran into a fellow with some very well trained birds.

I was a little nervous with birds in my possession, more so after the big white one started nibbling
at my cleavage when the man asked him "who's a dirty bird".
But after that I figured he already got to second base, why not give him a lil pucker. :P

We continued on for a bit when Mark and I decided there was one place we just had to make sure and visit before leaving Key West. So we told the group we would meet them at the hotel after a quick detour.

You know we had to!

You can't see the picture behind us, but that was a picture of Jimmy Buffet in the background.
 After we had our obligatory margarita, Mark and I headed to meet everyone at Katie and Jerry's hotel room. We enjoyed conversation, laughs and beer with the group for awhile before we decided to retire for the night. Mark, Rik, Cynthia and I had signed up for para-sailing the next morning and I was beat! Here it was time to say most of our good byes, everyone except for the four of us were leaving early the next morning so we wouldn't have a chance in the morning. I made it a really quick good bye because I'm just no darned good at saying good byes without tearing up so we quickly said farewell and headed back to our room to hit the sack.

First thing in the morning we headed to the docks to get ready for our adventure.

Getting ready!

I really enjoyed para sailing!!

After our fun-filled adventure, we had brunch at a nice open air restaurant (I can't remember the name!)We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around, picking up souvenirs, taking pictures and savoring our last day in Key West.
Cynthia and I took a couple of cutesy pics as we moseyed around Key West.
We decided to check out a bar that Linda had recommended going to see called Captain Tony's, the walls were decorated with business cards and the ceiling hung with other decorations:
Mark had to leave his business card mark.

Interesting choice of interior design.


We decided to end the afternoon on the beach.

That was the most delicious drink I had in Key West! Strawberry daiquiri, mango daiquiri and pina colada! Yum!

A one legged sea gull!

It was quite lovely.

Our last sunset in Key West on the beach!

Love this pic!

Our last sunset in Key West!

Mark found a pretty flower.
We decided to end our night at a little pizza shop on Duval Street, this is our
"We are sad because our adventure together is coming to a close" faces.

After seeing Linda and Katie's massive cookies, I just had to get one! I had to get a pic before we shared  half of it after our pizza dinner. The rest I packed to take home to the kiddo in Oklahoma.

The notorious (?) traveling night club! A man on a cart with his boombox blaring.

After dinner, we all walked to where Mark and I had left our rental car and said our goodbyes. The rounds of goodbyes had been sad throughout the trip as different couples left at different times, but this was our last goodbye and therefore particularly more difficult. I even started to tear up some this time around. We made it quick though, no point in dragging out the inevitable and Mark and I started our drive to Fort Lauderdale. The drive back was so odd, seeing it backwards was cool after our relay down, I kept recognizing little landmarks and telling Mark "Oh this is where ____". We got to our hotel in Fort Lauderdale late night, probably close to midnight and checked in and cleaned up and got ready for our flight the next morning. Our flight was leaving at 6:00 so we needed to leave the room by 4:30 and did not want to have to rush around and get ready. We had everything prepared so that when we got up all we would have to do is put on our shoes and head out the door.

I was a bit sad to be leaving Florida, it had been an all around wonderful experience, but at the same time I was kind of ready to be home and get back to my routine. I was running on pure adrenaline all the way until we landed in Dallas. Even on only a few hours of sleep I was so wired I could not sleep on the flight. It turned out okay because Mark did sleep on the flight and drove home so I could sleep on the drive. That worked out quite nicely for me! When I got home I quickly got started on laundry and such tedious tasks that brought me back to reality... Vacation was over. :(

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Summary in Pictures...

I started to write a post about my vacation in Key West, but then I thought that another long, detailed post may get kinda tedious, so I decided to try and summarize the first couple of days with very little words and lots of pictures. A change in pace is always nice!

Our first morning in Key West, we met up with the rest of the group for brunch at the Six Toed Cat, named for Ernest Hemingway's cat. 
Immediately following breakfast, both Jens, Carly and Ada left Key West, this part was a little sad. :( We all split off for a bit after this. Mark and I headed back to our hotel and set about seeing if we could check out early without getting charged and finding a new hotel. I was completely unsatisfied with our hotel and it was way too far from everything. Luckily we got settled into a really cute and cozy hotel called the Key Lime Inn. It was not fancy, but it was set up cottage style, clean, everything was nice and well taken care of, and the continental breakfast was accommodating  The best part was that it was within walking distance of anything we wanted to do in Key West, we did not use the rental car again until our last day! I then changed into a sundress because Key West is just too dang hot for jeans! Then we set out to meet with the rest of the group. We decided to meet up at the Ragnar Award Ceremony. 
Of course, as celebrities we had to get some more pictures taken! :P This is with the team that won, you can't really tell here, but they were all dressed as super heroes.
There were feral chickens ALL over the place!
And feral roosters.
It seemed like the lives of feral chickens and roosters in Key West consists primarily of the chickens hiding from the roosters.

After that we strolled up and down Duval Street, seeing the sights. I just HAD to buy a mango margarita from one of the street vendors. Key West was SO awesome, all the restaurants, shops and bars open up to the street so you just kinda wander in and out as you please.
We met up with the rest of the group for dinner at the Southernmost on the beach restaurant. 
When we were leaving the restaurant, another Ragnar group recognized us as the From Fat to Finish Line team and came running up to talk to us and ask to get their picture taken with us. That was pretty cool!

The food was horrible in Key West... That's why I devoured just about everything I ordered. My drink? Why a mango margarita of course! (Mango drinks are hard to come by in Oklahoma dammit!)

Before dinner, Allison, Jason, Mark and I all went out to the dock and took a couple pictures. 
After dinner, we all wandered back down Duval street and had a couple drinks at a couple different bars. I, of course, indulged in plenty fold of drinking. I later found out that my stomach was not completely back from the escapades of the past couple of days and the seafood/alcohol combination was not too friendly to my poor tummy, but meh, I had a wonderful time!
We ended the night at this cute little wine bar. Jerry, as you see is being goofy, and Mark is probably talking tech talk, you can just barely see Jason on the left and Andy got cut out (sorry Andrea and Andy!) I had a beer... I think. Whoops! This was the only night that I really felt out and out tipsy. We were all winding down at this point, a day in Key West is like five everywhere else, so we were beat! 
We all dispersed and Mark and I walked back to the hotel. The fresh air was wonderful (both for the belly and my tipsiness). When we got back to our inn, we met another couple, of which the woman had done the Ragnar, too. We got to talking and she asked about my team, when I told her, she got excited and exclaimed over how I was on that team and how cool it was to meet me. Wow! If my head wasn't big yet, she certainly helped blow it up then! We then got to talking about our problems and how the heat sucked, etc., when she informed me (from what source I'm not sure, so I don't know how accurate this is) that many of the teams had been hit by the stomach bug. I had to wonder if that wasn't part of my issue! We then said our good nights and Mark and I retired to our room. I was out within minutes of hitting my pillow.

The next morning we opted out of breakfast with the rest of the group to a.) save money, b.) sleep in, and c.) save calories, for tropical beverages of course! We hit up the continental breakfast, got ready and hit the streets again. I dressed in the sun dress I had worn the day before, because I did not have the proper wardrobe for Key West, and our first stop was a little shop that had cute sundresses for a minimal price. I went in, tried on a dress, clipped the tag and walked out. (Oh, I guess I paid for it sometime during the process :P). Much better!

The rest of the group was getting ready for a trolley tour, so that's where we headed next! We saw all sorts of neat stuff.

The first Cuban consulate. 

Supposed to be amazing! We never did stop in, though.
They had statues like this all around Key West, they were really neat and I thought realistic looking!
The houses in Key West were made of ship wrecked boats. I loved the architecture. The dolphin trim seen here is called gingerbreading, many of the homes had this with various designs. 
We stopped at Garbo's Grill for a snack later on. Some cool peeps here. The man saw Mark's Social Distortion shirt and immediately started playing Social D on his radio. Tell me that isn't impeccable customer service!
The owner's badass van. A woman eating a taco while riding a burrito.

I ordered the most amazing fish taco!
Later on, half the group had drinks on Sunset Pier while the other half went on a sunset cruise.

Rik is missing from this picture because he's the one taking it.
After drinks we set out to find ourselves some dinner, the other half of the group wanted to get sushi and take it back to one of the rooms, but we were not really in the mood for sushi. I especially was excited to try another local good eats hot spot, so we opted to meet up after dinner. However, looking at this post, it seems like it is plenty long enough for now, so I shall save the rest of the vacation recap for the next post!