This was my first adventure completely on my own and I can’t wait until I have the time to go somewhere again. While the trip wasn’t the best due to lack of planning on my part, I still enjoyed the time by myself in an “exotic” location.
My first attempt to fly down to Fort Lauderdale on December 31st ended with the flights filling up and my bags going without me. It was a disaster, but that’s the way it works when you fly standby. On January 3rd I decided I needed to go somewhere and the flights to Florida looked great there and back for the 4th. It didn’t take much thinking to decided to go.
I almost bailed on the entire trip once I got to Minneapolis. I had gotten sick on the flight and there was no baggy anywhere to be found! Thankfully this was just as we were landing. Once we landed I needed to clean up, change clothes, clean my hair, and hoof it all the way across the airport in 20 minutes. Challenge accepted.
I made it to the gate right before they closed the door. Once the plane reached 10,000 feet, I was beginning to regret my choice to stick out the three and a half hour flight. I made a beeline for the lavatory. My face looked like one of those cartoons that turns green when they are sick, now I understood why someone asked me if I was okay.
Nothing happened and I just sat in there for a while, enjoying being by myself away from the other passengers. Not more than 20 minutes later I was back in the lav and I ended up falling asleep for a little bit. Oops. By the time I got out, there was a couple people in line. Sorry people.
Once we landed, I was feeling better. I had gotten a little bit of sleep and some overpriced airplane food. I waited for my luggage, which they had made me check in Minneapolis. I got my bags, I went in search of the rental car center.
Now, for those of you that have been to a major city to rent a car you know that they have shuttles to get you there. These shuttles are usually painted with the logo of the company who operates it. Not in Fort Lauderdale. It’s a city bus with no rental markings. Once I had my Jeep Compass, I was on the road headed south.
The drive was beautiful! I was definitely a little nervous before getting onto the bridges over the ocean. I was afraid the lanes would be narrow like they are on the Mackinaw Bridge, but it wasn’t too bad.
I didn’t stop anywhere on the way down, since I was running on maybe two and a half hours of sleep. I was just determined to get there, check out the beach and get some sleep.
I hung out at the beach until sunset. I was going to go swimming, but the water was not the best. I was expecting clean clear water and it was cloudy. That was the first sign that Key West isn’t the paradise that everyone makes you think it is.
That night I needed to really wash my hair since I didn’t get it really clean in the sink at the airport. I waited until after dark to head to the wash off shower at the beach. Once I was done and made my way back to my car, there was another car parked behind mine and someone calls from somewhere, “Where in Florida are you from?”
I jumped, let out a little scream and searched for the source of the voice. The lights in the car came on and the man repeated his questions.
“Uhhh…” I stammered.
“It’s okay, don’t be nervous,” he said. As if that would make me less nervous. I’m certain that is a famous line in every horror movie ever made before something really bad happens.
I stayed on the sidewalk a good ten feet from his car, I was polite and gave him nonsense answers. We parted with him saying, “Maybe I’ll see you around.”
Or not, I thought. “Maybe,” I replied.
I hopped in my car, locked the doors and drove off without buckling up. I even zigg-zagged through the town in an attempt to loose him in case he was following.
That night I slept in my car in the grocery store parking lot. It was creepy! I kept the car on the whole night and was ready to sit up, put it in gear and drive away if need be.
I set my alarm bright an early so I could watch the sunrise from the beach. The alarm didn’t wake me up though. The ginormous rain drops pelting my car did though and the sun rose behind the clouds.
I wandered around the island looking for non touristy areas and didn’t find many. The whole island is geared for the tourist. Once you get down to the dock where the cruise ships come into port it is 100% tourist.
On the other end of the tourist sections of the island, it wasn’t as crazy touristy, and there was less people around the area. Parking was expensive though! $20 for a couple of hours! While wandering around the dock waiting for my dolphin/snorkel tour with Fury Water Adventures to begin I found a treasure shop.
Days before while at home I had seen a program about the Atocha, a Spanish Galleon that had sunk off the coast of Key West in the 1600’s. I was beyond excited to see that this little treasure shop had some of the treasure from the Atocha.
The chunk of coins is how they are when the treasure hunters find them. I asked the woman at the shop if it would be more valuable in the chunk or as individual coins. She said, “Each coin has a different value and the value isn’t known until they clean them and break them apart from the chunk.” It was all very fascinating.
I checked in to the tour and waiting on the dock until we were allowed to board. I took a few pictures, found a father and his ten year old son smoking cigars, watched the other boats come and go, and took photos of the tarpon. They were massive, at least five feet in length.
Soon enough everyone was boarding the catamaran to go on the dolphin/snorkel tour. I brought my fancy schmancy camera with me hoping that I would be able to take some photos. Let’s just say I am thankful I brought ziplocks to keep it safe.
We searched everywhere for dolphins, but much to everyone’s disappointment, we couldn’t find them. Did you know that it is illegal to swim with wild dolphins in Florida and you could be fined a ridiculous amount of money as well as spend five years in jail? This applies to feeding them too. These folks take their wild dolphins seriously. I would advise you not to mess with them.
The snorkeling was so so. I was expecting more color. It was all pretty much the same under the sea green color. The sponges were cool though! Just an FYI, they don’t look like Spongebob, not that I expected them to. They were shaped like bowls. Fish would hang out in them and it was just a cool sight to see.
However, we did get to see a lot of sail boats and even a pirate ship!
All in all, it was a fun trip. Would I go to Key West again? Probably not. The only reason I could see going there again is if I were on a cruise ship and Key West was a port of call. Should you make the trip down there? Up to you. I will warn you, no one seems to comprehend sidewalks or road rules and parking is hard to come by!
Have you ever been to Key West? What did you like? What didn’t you like?