Sunday, February 26, 2012
Saturday, February 25, 2012
There wasn't any rough waters this time and the food was fantastic. On Friday, there was a chocolate buffet on the Lido deck. The best thing on the plate was a chocolate layer cake called Chocolate Carrie. I swear I overdosed. I went back to our room and slept till dinner. I even passed up dessert at dinner that night. Would I do it again? Of course!
Nick brought his scuba gear and used it this day. His other plans didn't pan out and he was disappointed that he was not able to make a real dive. The rest of us just hung out on the beach. This day was the one the kids had been looking forward to every since we left home. Andrea kept running back and forth crying, "I'm on the beach, I'm on the beach." Yes, they did have fun and were worn out on the way home.
When we got back to the ship, we learned that departure had been delayed for two hours. Nicole and I went back ashore and looked around. We didn't find much to buy though. That was a hardship. We went thought the Straw Market which is a major tourist attraction, but neither Nicole or I were very interested in the hats and bags available. We might have found them interesting another time, but not this day. I did however, get my Hard Rock Cafe pins and a picture of Nicole in front of the Parliament Building. I guess that is enough to expect from a spur of the moment visit.
I have to say that this was the best possible choice for us. The chef for the beach club is named Dawkins. He had the most wonderful Bahamian accent and we learned to make good food. The cooking area waws outside on the deck near the bar. No one should have the opportunity to be thirsty after all. We made conch fritters, cracked conch and rice with pigeon peas. We also learned how to make a drink with gin, coconut water and condensed milk. That one sneaks up on you. In addition to this we were shown how to do coconut pralines and conch salad which is like seviche. It was the best. I don't know whether it was because it was all so fresh or that we made it and ate it right then, the food was fantastic. Theresa and I made the dishes again when we got home. We had to substitute mussels and scallops for the conch, but it wa still good.
The beach is beautiful as well. There was a little market area set up next to the beach club where you could buy souveniers. The result was that you were not bothered by lots of people coming up and down the beach trying to sell you stuff. There were a couple of ladies selling jewelry, but they were very nice and it would not be part of the experience without the vendors.
It was surprising then that once we got away from the old touristy part of Key West how much was still familiar. There have been major changes, but we still recognized much more than we expected to. First of all was where we lived. We owned a mobile home for the first several moves, and amazingly enough the mobile home park we lived in is still there. When we moved down to Key West, the highway was closed at 11:00 at night for two way traffic, so large trucks and mobile homes could go up and down the highway. It appears that mobile homes are not allowed to be brought into Key West any more because there wasn't anything in that park newer than twenty years old. Considering the risk of being is a mobile home in a hurricane is equivalent to trying to ride out a tornado in one, that was a smart decision. But affordable housing is doubtlessly scarce and the occupancy rate looked to be close to 100%. We could have bought the home on our old lot for $19,000.00 Thanks, but no thanks.
We next went up the Keys to check out the location of the old Cudjoe Key Air Station. It was located on the gulf side of Cudjoe Key and the reason we left was that the station was closed. We thought we might find rubble, or for a while from what we could see, a waste transfer station. Ray was not happy about that idea. Instead we found the remote old base being extremely noticeable due to the presence of a white dirigible. It turns out the station is now being used for observation of boat traffic in the Keys and Florida Straits. In other words, they are hunting drug runners. Sort of cool, huh? We wanted to get a closer look, but the do not enter warnings were a quarter of a mile from the gate and we decided not to push our luck. We didn't need to be arrested and miss getting back to the ship.
We also stopped at Bahia Honda State Park. Ray and I spend a lot of weekends there, snorkeling and hanging out with other people from the Air Station. The park has beautiful beaches, great snorkeling and was a short drive from Key West. Looking back, I don't think we realized what a treasure the park was while we lived there.
Last of all, we wanted to drive the Seven Mile Bridge again. In 1969 we had a Corvair Monza and a German Shepherd. The road was two narrow lane and the longest bridge was seven miles over the water. I remember being more than a little nervous about driving over the water with just a metal railing between the car and a twenty foot drop. You got used to it quickly and enjoyed being able to pass on the bridges when the tourists slowed down. A number of years back the highway was replaced with much wider two lanes and concrete side. There is absolutely no sense of danger at all. I would guess that it good, I know there has to be a lot few accidents. But back in the day, the fear was part of the mystique of living in the Keys. I will say that looking at the old sections that remain reminds me that the fear was absolutely justified. That was one narrow road.
Key West this time wasn't your usual tourist visit, but we had a great day.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
I bought the Holiday Glitter Book pad of Christmas paper by MME and have used the heck out of it. My Christmas cards were a struggle this year and this paper really helped my mojo get going with those. This is the page I made with it of my grand kids in their Christmas Outfit. I love retro paper even though I am not a retro shabby chic scrapper. But it works.
I will be teaching again in a month or so. Carmen Ned is opening a new store and I will be working there. I have really missed teaching and being around scrappy people. I am really looking forward to it.