Saturday, January 13, 2018

Florida Keys

It is impossible not to be moved by the turquoise waters surrounding the Florida Keys.  The uptick in subtropical vegetation is equally inspiring. There is as well a Bohemiam sense of relaxation and indulgence. I suppose that for those who love it, boating and fishing are high on the list here too (live bait and beer are available almost everywhere). We spent last night at the Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa where we've stayed several times already. As we didn't leave the apartment on Daytona Beach Shores until after 4:00 pm it wasn't until 7:30 pm that we landed at the Resort.  The drive there was a rainy one but the traffic on Interstate 95 was tolerable. We headed directly to the dining room and put on the nosebag.  The repast was excellent as always (especially the fresh Florida Grouper). The Resort distinguishes itself for me as it is formal without being stuffy.  The staff make the guests feel like part of a family (and I understand there is a lot of repeat business as a result).

The drive to Marathon today was relatively easy though I missed an exit for the Florida Turnpike.  We had to endure more of the peripheral Miami traffic than we would have preferred.  But we got onto the Turnpike after 7 miles of purgatory.  Except for a delay on the Keys arising from what appeared to be an unfortunate car accident involving young drivers the journey was uneventful.  We stopped for lunch at the Hide Out (a dive on the beach outside Key Largo).  We both agreed the food was terrific.  The place was recommended to us by Kenny at the Visitor Centre where we made a Pit Stop.  I afterwards called the Visitor Centre to report that the advice had worked out well and the attendant appeared to appreciate the feedback.

The Courtyard Marriott (where we're staying in Marathon) is relatively new (about two years old).  The place is typically functional and convenient (there are for example laundry facilities available).  We have a suite with a kitchen facility.  Soon after arriving here I went for a swim in the infinity pool overlooking the sea then sat in the sun by the pool.  We'll likey take our evening meal here tonight just because it's easy and a pleasant environment.

Meanwhile I am seeking to catch up with myself.  Our trip here started somewhat precipitously because our apartment air conditioner sprung a leak.  We wouldn't have known about it were it not for the water having dripped through the floor onto the ceiling of the conference room immediately below.  A gentleman working there noticed the water damage.  Though the condominium concierge summonsed the refrigeration technician immediately it is clear that several days will be required to order and repair a part; and the unit owner or his agent will have to address possible water damage in adjoining private closets.  We thought we might as well abandon ship during these domestic concerns.  It is for this reason that we're in Marathon for the next two days because there was nothing available in Key West.  This is Martin Luther King Weekend and that is likely the reason the place is hopping.  We move onto Key West on Monday for the remainder of the week thereafter.  Our final destination there is Casa Marina where we've roosted before.  We booked that reservation months ago.

This evening - after thinking about where we might dine - we rounded out the day by slipping downstairs to see whether the poolside bar/grill was in operation.  It was not. The hurricane shades were drawn over the bar portals, lights extinguished.  We therefore moved inside.  In an area off the lobby of the hotel is a modest restaurant operation.  We have seen similar places before at other hotels - simple food for relatively quick order.  Unusually there was a chap performing live music.  Next to him was a woman who danced rhythmically and occasionally played small percussion instruments to accompany him.  We later learned the two were married to one another.  They were both black, seemingly (based on his accent) from the West Indies.  He looked remotely Rastafarian and in fact pointedly referred at one point to Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and his Messianic import. It was but the introduction to what subsequently evolved as a philosophical theme, the highlight of which was an analysis of the deeper meaning of the Wizard of Oz.  In a nutshell our entertainer asserted - between musical numbers - that Dorothy had refused to submit to the purported authority of others (whether the Wizard of Oz or the Wicked Witch of the North) and by relying upon her own native powers was able to remain untainted and to "go home" (which he implied was the ultimate goal of us all).

I approved of this amateur production.  Many times I have felt disappointed with myself for not attending concerts or theatre more regularly; and though this hardly qualified as an evening at the opera here was a bit of talent without the fuss or grandeur.  And with a very unexpected dose of philosophy! Our performer provided an insight into a children's story which I had never fully appreciated.  I also amused myself to wonder whether he consumes alcohol or nefarious combustibles.  He certainly appeared disarmingly sober.  His language was colloquial but without being in any wise offensive.  I wondered if he and his wife had children; and even whether he was in his other life an educator or professional of some stripe.  It is so easy to misjudge some people who don't make a point of proving themselves.

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