Key West, Florida
There was a request for my appearance. By snail email. My sketchy itinerary is flexible. I've got alot of time & not much else. It's a fine day when anyone wants to see me, plus I'm headed that way anyway, so I accept. Off the Isles no more than a patchwork of sand bars strung together between the Atlantic & the Gulf. Back to the southern home stumbled upon my way. Vagabond again.
Unfortunately, I get into trouble everytime I step off the bus. When asked how I'm getting there, the only answer is "Experimentally, and slowly." Somehow between 1:30 & 9, I only made it 60 miles to Florida City, to catch the last bus South that doesn't even go all the way to Key West.
I broke the rule & Panicked. Eating cheetos half crying/laughing on the side of the road kind of panic. The kind that makes the bus driver feel sorry for you, wave the 2.50$ fee & lend you his phone. I called Cameron in Key West to tell him my situation. He is hard pressed cause he works at 6am & Marathon Key is 50 miles out of town. He says he'll come get me, but he'll be late.
After waiting till 12, I find a place to crash on the side of the road. Not too far from where I'm sure some creepy looking spiders are hanging out. When I finally get to town the next day, he answers the phone with "Hey! You're alive!" When I wasn't there at 1am he checked with the cops, the local jail & put out a search warrant for me. Not only that, but it was a shit day to be a coast guard. As usual.
Key West is a 2x4 mile island. There's not much to it. I was expecting it to be different - there's no coming back from Fantasy Fest, but I hardly backtracked once. Almost everyplace I went to I'd never been before, whether it was a gay club, kareoke, Navy base, or on the water.
(Damn, I still haven't gotten to ride the mechanical bull!)
When I started walking through town, I got the feeling of a plastic Mexican resort town, except that it's in Florida so there's more pink flamingos. That's why everyone in Key West owns a boat. You only realize this when you are on the water. Everyone needs a getaway from the island & the demands of Duval Street, a clever temptress.
The water has that surreal blue that only comes from Disney movies. The wind that's deafening. My buddy Cameron is obsessed with fishing. There's a picture of him on the postcard sent out to all the homes in Alaska reminding them to renew their fishing licenses. Despite being hella tired, hella resentful, & bedridden for an entire day, he takes me out on the water. Snorkeling, fishing & drinking. In paradise.
Because of some flak I got about drinking too much & the possible nudity during Fantasy Fest, I'm just going to say that our night out on the town involved Key Lime Martinis. :P Yummy!
Leaving again means doublechecking who's winning our race to Australia. We could both go buy a ticket & leave in a month, or tomorrow, but we're both sitting exactly where we were when the race started. So we laugh somemore.
Wake up just late enough for the 9:45 bus, but 2 1/2 hours early for the 12:20 one. Sigh. So it goes...
Back up to Boca Raton to visit my other family/friends in S Florida. Hoping to get there at a reasonable time never works, & I'm leaning towards a 10:45pm arrival. Me & 3 other passengers of the Tri-Rail train conspire dubious plots against the Florida public transit system - by calling a cab, which also doesn't work.
These characters are Eduardo from Peru, who owns a travel agency there. Javier from the Bronx whose parents are from Ecuador, who works for TravelZoo. Yessy from Honduras who's had the longest day of all of us as the kitchen manager at a high class lounge called the Blue Martini. She was called in early cause a girl crashed on their couch last night, woke up & refusing to pay her tab (14$), & instead broke 6000$ worth of shit, including planters in the mall. Yessy's brother works for the Secret Service & she showed us a picture of him with Barack Obama, a picture he took in night vision & she has a presidential pen he gave him/her! Plus, her house is haunted & she has a picture of a ghost from Halloween! We had a killer train ride! All of us had great stories to share - we should've had a campfire!
Neither Brooke nor Bryan worked the next day, so it didn't put them out at all to come get me from the train station. It was so nice to see Emerson, their daughter, again. We played a bit before school & she showed me her new pet snake. Taking Daniel's advice about staying at least 2 nights everywhere has been so great that I felt so bad just staying overnight with them. They always tell me not to worry & drop by whenever I've got the chance.
I have the most amazing friends, without a doubt.