Saturday, June 24, 2006

Back from Florida

We took off from Duesseldorf bound for Florida on LTU with great expectations and trepidation. I was visiting my father and his side of my family for the first time in about fifteen years.

What causes one to discontinue communication with one’s family for that long? What is so bad that requires one to isolate one’s self? I don’t know and I imagine it varies from person to person. Every individual has a unique set of life experience and what causes one to isolate oneself from their family ranges from mundane to serious. I can say that I probably chose to isolate myself from my family under the guise of “coming-out.” I assumed my family would take issue with having a gay son, grandson, cousin, etc. Meanwhile it was I that had or made an issue out of my homosexuality. However, in the end it didn’t matter. It felt like old times again—it felt like home.

I am writing this posting while flying back from Florida to Duesseldorf on air-sickness bags. Then I will type this rough draft into Word and upload it into Blogger when I arrive home.

Now on to the lighter side of our trip. After the family reunion, my partner Matt and his sister, Annette, drove south to the Florida Keys as you know from my last posting. After zipping through the Everglades with a few stops for lunch and to see some alligators and after driving through the western edge of Miami we arrived in Key Largo. We had no reservation that Sunday evening so we drove down US 1 until we spotted a nice-looking hotel. The hotel ended up being the Largo Bay Marriott Resort. The rate was $150 for the night, but that was a walk-up rate so I am sure it is better if you book in advance on their website.

The next morning we continued our road trip from Key Largo on our way south to Key West. I had read online that the best beaches in the Keys were located at Bahia Honda State Park. That led us to take a pit stop in the park and to relax in the water. I have so say the beach was nice, but the old highway that is unused and just built next to the newest one is an eyesore. Why don’t they tear it down? It is just there rusting away in the salt water and rain. Is there more to it than I know? Has it helped create a great coral reef? We continued our journey have about an hour and a half of swimming.

We arrived in Key West on Monday afternoon and when we tried to check-in at La Te Da our room wasn’t quite ready yet so we stored our luggage and headed to their outdoor bar. We enjoyed some cold beers under the ceiling fans while our room was being readied. After about 30 minutes we informed that our room was ready. We meandered our way by the pool, through the lounge chairs, up the staircase and then reached the wooden staircase leading to the second level of the property. We climbed the steep stairs and reached a set of French doors leading into our room, room# 29. As we entered we were pleasantly surprised about how large our room was. The décor and furnishings were again like that of a high-end Caribbean Resort. The wooden floors were charming and it a nice condition. We even had a whirlpool bath tub that would fit two comfortably. The downside of the room was the bathroom. It looked as if it had not been renovated since the late 80’s. The worst part of all was the air-conditioner. It barely cooled the room and with the high humidity we could barely sleep at night. There was a card prominently placed in the room that warned not to turn the unity down below 72 degrees F. It ominously warned that if you did the unit would completely malfunction and it would take hours to repair. We found out on the last night that this warning card is simply to frighten you so as to save the hotel on cooling costs because we decided to turn it down to 68 because we reasoned that it was our last night any way, let’s try it. It did not shut down as warned and it was actually much cooler and we ended up with a good evening’s sleep. I just wish we had done this earlier. So, if you’re staying at La Te Da, just turn down you’re a/c unit as low as you want and be comfortable at night. I have to say the staff was always nice and friendly. The food and drinks were average, but good. The property needs to upgrade the bathrooms and the air-conditioning. Until that is done we would never stay there again. For $250 a night you think you would feel comfortably cool at night while on the sub-tropical island of Key West.

While in Key West we went to a drag show at Aqua. The three entertainers were great. I highly recommend their drag show. What is a trip to Key West without a drag show?

Overall it was a great trip. If you haven’t been to Key West I highly recommend it. Just try to go between September and February when it is cooler and less humid. Then there will be a lot of other visitors, but I say, the more the merrier! It’s great to be home, too.


Blogger Expat Traveler said...

James it sounds like a wonderful trip. I didn't catch how the family meet up actually went? alright?

Sounded like a lot of fun but yes the heat. IT's way better from sept to feb. just as in mexico and hawaii.

5:40 PM  

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