Well this is my last day in Florida. Instead leaving Monday, I’m going to leave tomorrow morning hoping to avoid some of the winter storm they are predicting for Monday. By the way, if you’re going to be a mooch, pick a chef to mooch from. I’ve been staying in Tampa with Jeff that owns The Inn on the Mexican War Streets and used to teach culinary arts. Not only do I get a free bed, Jeff makes a gourmet dinner every day.
You shouldn’t be prejudiced. When I first moved down to Florida, I went to Key West several times and had a great time. I remember when they started allowing cruise ships to dock and what a change. Thousands of people disgorged into the streets, all of a sudden all the gift shops were owned by the same people and just had those cheesy items made of little sea shells, logo’d mugs, shot glasses, etc. I did this twice and gave up on Key West and have trashed it since. Finished up early while in Key Largo and thought, why not take a spin down and see what it’s like. I must say I was impressed. First of all, access down the Overseas Highway has been amazingly improved. There were so many vehicles entering Key West that I was thinking they don’t even need the cruise ships to make the place obnoxious. And true to my MO, I turned left instead of right and ended up going the wrong way through north Key West. What a change, this massive highway winding around the edge of the island up there and all the traffic as well as all the big development continued my negative attitude of what to expect when I got down to Duval Street. It’s great to have low expectations because I was really impressed that Duval has returned. There’s a number of major developments on or around Duval, but overall, it’s pretty much the same with a lot of unique restaurants and shops again. Mallory Square has definitely change with two other big resorts joining the Marriott that’s been there forever, but over all I really enjoyed the evening in Key West. I’m no longer prejudiced and Key West has my stamp of approval. I’m sure the Conch Republic will sleep well tonight.
While in Key Largo, I did pick up a few things, but mainly came up with several pretty exciting ideas. Any of you that have visited The Parador over the holidays would have seen the coconuts I spray painted and the painted holiday scenes on them:
This artist I met, John Smith, does these in tribute to the AMC series The Walking Dead, I’m thinking about doing a Día de Muertos, Day of the Dead. I love those whimsical creations:
Also, he had an interesting take on the palm frond creations I’ve made in the past:
He cuts the fronds into shapes he plans on using and then soaks them in water until they soften. Then he puts weight on them until they dry flat and then paints them:
Well, I will back at The Parador Inn soon and will have lots to do getting caught up with bills, mail, etc. I’ll write again soon,