Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Paradise Found or Lost?

I am trying to remember how I got to the part where I arrived in Key West for the first time. One of my close friends was getting married, or at least she was engaged and told me it would be a destination wedding. It was so far off at the time, I agreed to be there for the beachside nuptials. I did remember throughout last year that I was going to Key West but honestly, I was just thinking "Florida" and I wasn't really all that geared up for it other than to see a friend marry. I couldn't picture how grand it must be and why everyone was making such a big deal out of it when I told them I was going there. I guess having left the country for a lot of my vacations I couldn't see how another state could be all that unforgettable.

Flash forward, my husband dies about 5 months before the wedding. We had discussed going and if we could use our timeshare before he passed but he wasn't that anxious to go either. He had other reasons for not wanting to go but still, he was not eager to get things moving in terms of securing our timeshare in Key West. As time got closer I debated on going to the wedding at all. I didn't know if I'd want to sit through a wedding having just buried my husband months before but I also needed the time away. Sun, sand and sharing a wonderful time in a friend's life, I suddenly found myself needing to go instead of just wanting to go. I booked my trip during lunch at work, happy to find the deal of a lifetime on

I went back and forth on the trip from there. I even bought traveler's insurance just in case I wanted to back out. I couldn't even explain my flip-flopping. I was just so unsure about going somewhere to just have a good time. The day came and I got on the plane. I was anxious to see what Key West looked like for the first time since the trip got mentioned. The flight was uneventful until my boss kept calling me about issues at the office and I had to stand on the tarmac at Miami Airport outside my puddle-jumper trying to explain what needed explaining. Now I was stressed. I got on my little plane and looked out the window the whole way there. Beautiful turquoise water and lots of little islands. Palm trees that I love so much were waving everywhere below. Someone please land this plane already!

I got off my little plane and walked in the teeny tiny airport. I was laughing as it reminded me of the airport on the 80's sitcom "Wings". They even have Cape Air there! Seems odd but true. A short cab ride and I was at my hotel, which was about a billion light years from downtown. I discovered the reason why all the hotels in downtown were so booked. Turns out if you are planning a wedding, try to plan it not on Parrot Head week. The drunken, mid-life parrots had booked everything within reason on the main street. I checked in and headed towards Duval St. It was not at all what I thought. It was lined on both sides with people and bars. I needed to wait for my friends so I sat down at a little outside bar called The Tree House. So appropriate. I ordered a drink and people watched. As far as I am concerned I could people watch for hours so I was not watching my time at all but eventually my friends made their way over to where I was after several text messages.

The best day was the day I spent by myself actually. I got a massage and a facial and went shopping by myself. I felt as though I really got to take this little 4x2 island in and I fell in love with it. So much goes on here. Art, Culture and an eclectic mix of people and tourists. It keeps walks around Key West interesting. I love art and there are plenty of galleries to stroll around in. The only thing that annoyed me was the cliche Wyland galleries.

The wedding was beautiful and the bride was glowing. It was a very small beach wedding but the intimacy of the whole thing was very special. Palm trees were right on the beach and the water was calm. If you want a beach wedding, this is the place to have one. You couldn't ask for better scenery. She had what she wanted for her wedding and that was what was important. Another thing to love about Key West. Beautiful sandy weddings and they happen on Smather's beach nearly every day. Brides line the beach. Some weddings elaborate and some very small. Doesn't matter, everyone looks perfect. I am always happy to see couples marry. So much hope for the future in those faces as they stand across from each other holding hands.

Now I am here for the 3rd time in a year. I've been here for 3 months. The novelty of being here in The Keys has worn off some. Maybe because it is just getting "normal" for me to see the things that enchanted me before. The people watching is still fun. It always will. be. There are at least two cruise ships full of clueless tourists that get dumped off to wander around for hours aimlessly. If you don't mind darting around them and saying "excuse me" a lot it is kind of entertaining. Although, waking up to palm trees, roosters and beautiful flowering trees and vines do make the day start off fresh. Maybe I need more time at the beach, not sure. Maybe I need more friends or some more focus. Could be that. I am hanging out where most people long to vacation. Imagine that? How can you love to visit but feel so "same ole, same ole" if you spend more time here? My opinion will probably change tomorrow but for now Key West is a beautiful place that feels like it is getting ordinary. Nevertheless, the chickens keep me and Carli pretty occupied on our walks and I love being warm and having some color on my skin.

1 comment:

  1. Brittany,

    You are living the dream! Sounds so wonderful.