tell me a story: August 2020

This does not happen very often but there is the occasional times in the year when both 30 Minutes in the Life and Tell me a Story go live on the same day and at the same time. In the 30 Minutes in the Life I shared Day 1 in Key West. In this blog I will share day 2.

As I said in the other blog we decided to head to Key West for the weekend. At some point you get tired of not seeing anyone, not doing anything other than working at home and not going anywhere. For Rich and I traveling is something we are trying to do more of and so to be stuck at home has been challenging especially for Rich.

We booked into a local hotel overlooking the harbor area and it turned out to have the perfect view. It also had a great swimming pool that we were able t cool down at, given that the summer heat in South Florida is so oppressive. I spent about 2 hours in the pool chatting with the 4 other guests escaping the heat. I love Key West with it’s authentic buildings and quirky well know stories. Key West has so much character and here are a few of them buildings that share it.

Day 2 saw I head into the town area. I was on a mission to find Mango Body Wash. The hotel had it in it’s showers and oh my it was so good. Rich wanted some T-shirts and I was also hoping to find some bath bombs that I had found in the hotel as well. I found the mango bath wash, he got is shirts but I bombed out on the bath bombs.

Roosters, hens and chickens are a common sight wandering around Key West. Six toed cats is another interesting view in Key West. It was sad to see the iconic Sloppy Joe’s closed. However, it did seem that it was temporary.

After doing the necessary shopping, we decided to head to the local Key West First Legal Rum Distillery for a free tour. If you are in Key West check it out. The tour is about 15 minutes and it is just a small warm area that you walk through. It’s awesome that they have ceiling fans to cool you down.

Step 1 tells us that they use Florida sugar cane in crystal form from the juice to create a unique flavor that allows us to drink a clean, clear and flavorful Legal Rum.

Step to the Tanks 1, 2, 3, 4 are where the cooking beings. This is their recipe buried beneath the floor with all the old bottles. The bubbles are the yeast breathing as it eats sugar and turns it into alcohol. The more vibration the more production, so they play music at night to keep the yeast moving.

Step 3 tells us that the brown wash that comes from the fermentation tanks, has the alcohol “stripped ” out of it. It’s like a magic trick, first it’s brown, now it is clear. All alcohol comes out of a still clear

Step 4 tells us that now that they have the stripped alcohol, they will distill it again 6 times. Why? They want the Legal Rum to come out in a lower proof so that it has flavors butterscotch, banana, and hints of vanilla. It says they also don’t want to give us a hangover, so all impurities are taken out.

Step 5 tells us that High Proof Legal Rum goes into the Chefs pot, travels through the copper which is filled with carbon activated charcoal. Rum should be warm in your chest, not burn your tongue.

We had the opportunity to taste raw rum and to do some rum tasting. I tried Coconut Rum and Key Lime Rum and Raw Rum. My favorite even though I typically like Coconut Rum, was the Raw Rum, and we left with a bottle of Raw Rum and some sampler Rums.

If you want something interesting to do on a hot day in Key West definitely check out the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery.

Beyond that we meandered along the wharf taking in the ships and views along with the opportunity to check out a healthy school of tarpon. We stopped for a cooling beer and watch the tiki boats heading out again.

Lastly Key West is always my favorite place for sunsets. Like I said in the other blog that I was disappointed not to be heading out on a boat but at the same time I did not want to be among the crowds. The sunset did not disappoint.

Key West Harbor from the Marker Hotel

Being Key West refreshed me for the next few months. We have at least one more travel trip this year unless Covid puts a stop to that. I have found a cabin in the woods in Georgia. We are hoping that we will get to see the changing colors in the mountains.

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a quiet month for blogs however, this is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artist has for you this month. My friend Lupji Photography is up next and I can’t wait to read what he has to share.

30 minutes in the Life: August 2020

And so the year goes on. A few more weeks and we will be back to the birthday months and they run back to back, September, October and November. Who plans like that? Me I guess. Another month of working from home, and seeing so few people. Lots more zoom calls, and relying on the television to show us what is happening in the US. At some point we decided that we needed to get out.

I did some research. Key West is a quick drive for us – 4 hours and we are there. I decided to stay at The Marker Hotel which is situated right on the harbor area and upgraded to a harbor view room for a two nights stay. We very rarely stay in a hotel but it was our anniversary weekend and I felt like staying in something a little more formal. I will give you a heads up – this is going to be a longer post than normal.

It’s good to be back on the road again. We headed down early on Friday morning and to be honest the roads were pretty quiet. We expected a quiet Key West. It’s always good to see familiar landmarks. The first image tells me I am close to Long Key State Park, just north of Marathon. Seven Mile Bridge tells me that Bahia Honda State Park is not too far away. Seeing the boats in the ocean, just remind me that Key West is not far away.

We were early checking in and so we headed off to the beach area. It is not a very big beach and there is a lot of seaweed so not a favorite of mine. However, I love the change colors that we see in the ocean typically caused by the seaweed, depth of water and light. I have been at this beach before when we spotted a shark swimming around. Did I go into the water this time around? Nope but I did work on changing my color again. I am fortunate that I automatically tan. However, I have to be honest, summer is oppressive this year and 2 hours in the sun and I was done. We headed off to eat, and then made our way to the hotel. Air conditioning was on my check off list. Just a side note, one of the things Key West is know for is the Roosters, Hens and chickens wandering around the town. It was quite neat to be able to see the chicks at the beach. Another thing Key West is known for is their polydactyl cats which is a cat with anomaly. The 6 toed cats are also know as Hemmingway cats. Story goes that Ernest Hemmingway was given a 6 toed cat by a ships captain. Apparently while not all of the cats have 6 toes, they carry the gene that will allow them to give birth to a 6 toed cat.

Heading back to the hotel I spotted this tiger. I have never seen it before and I thought it warranted a picture.

Once we cooled down and felt normal again, we ventured out into the heat. It was close to 4pm and we were looking for a place to grab something to eat. We tend to stick to a variety of starters and so finally settled on a restaurant where we could sit outside and enjoy the food. I have to give a shout out to the White Tarpon in key West. Head there for Happy Hour and it is so worth it. We shared calamari and group starter, a mussel starter and peel and eat shrimp starter, along with two glasses of wine and 2 rum and coke. All of that for under $40. The food was good and that probably was the best deal that we got down there. Beyond that we meandered through the wharf are back to the hotel.

Something I have never seen in Key West before, but love that I did, was a pair of manatee. You can read more about them here They are definitely gentle creatures of the water.

Heading back to the hotel, the boats are starting to fill up for the sunset cruises. I was a little disappointed that we did not do a cruise. Sebago is one of our favorite groups to head out on, but to be honest, I am not ready to sit in crowds. While this boat was not crowded, many of the other boats were. I love to be out on the ocean watching the sunset. This time around we were just going to accept that watching the sunset would be from our balcony of our hotel. One of the interesting things we saw was the floating tiki hut. I think it could be cool to do something like this.

And last but no least, we headed out to the balcony to get comfortable and settle in to watch the sunset. No actual sun and the same static pic but the colors were amazing.

I have another blog going live today so look out for Day 2 in Key West. We spent some time visiting a rum distillery, along with walking the town, and taking in the sunset again.

Please stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Ivana A L’ala who visited the city that I was supposed to be visiting this week – Dubrovnik, Croatia. I cannot wait to see her pics, even if I have to wait a whole year to once again attempt to head to Macedonia, Croatia, and Berlin.  Check out her Facebook page as well.

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