Key West, Day 1

I finally arrived and got my room. The person at the front desk was so much a dog lover that she let Lily get away with being a bit of a pain. She also gave her two treats, when she should have only given her one. She offered to help me get my bags up to my room, which was in the back and on the second floor. The bags were not so much an issue as the dog and the crate. I had her take Lily and my smallest bag while I hefted the crate and a bag and my laptop backpack. Rather than hauling all that upstairs at once, I had her wait with Lily while I went back down for the crate.

After she left, and Lily stopped pacing, I opened the crate and it fit perfectly. I grabbed the car and headed to the garage, where I was told I can park for $10 a day while I was there if I displayed my tag I was given. Easy enough. Followed directions on my Garmin, purchased for the trip. For some reason, the GPS is not a fan of updating fast enough and didn’t know which way I was pointing so I went the wrong way and turned a few blocks out of the area I wanted to be in. Since everything in Downtown Key West is pretty much right next to everything else, it was only a few blocks to get there.

With the car parked, I grabbed a few items that I did not take to the room. Most of them were for Lily, like her additional leash. I gave her some water and we headed back to the room. And then I realized I left her food and water bowls. We went back, grabbed more items, and then headed to the room again. Once more I forgot something, so we headed back a second time. This time, she was pooped, and so she did, deciding to leave her mark on Key West. I picked it up and, luckily, there was a dumpster on the way where I dumped her crap. We made the last trip to the car and went to the room. I later discovered I left my watch charger behind, so I will still have to go back to the car.

Upon reaching our destination, I decided to connect to the WiFi so I didn’t burn out my data plan. I had intended on getting unlimited with my carrier but had I done that, I would not be able to tether (more on that later). The clerk said to connect to all three of their networks and I was only able to see two. Of the two, one of them did not connect to the internet and the other had a weak signal. While I was playing, Lily hopped up on the bed and kept me company. I was not a fan of this, but she looked cute and tired, so I let her get away with it.

I went to my go-to site, BringFido, to see where I could eat and take Lily with. It was practically useless, initially with the WiFi issue, but then because all the reviews were over a year old. Apparently, Key West passed an ordinance that said restaurants needed to be licensed to allow dogs into the establishment per the FDA. There was something like that at home. Anyway, the general idea was, some places that used to be pet-friendly might no longer be and because it is Key West and they are a bunch of rebels, laws be damned if they are licensed or not.

Lily and I walked down Duval Street (the main strip in Key West proper). I passed several places with patio dining, like Fat Tuesdays, and the Hard Rock. Because of what I read on BringFido, it seems that there was a good chance I would be placed in the smoking section and as we headed out, the couple in front of me was smoking. I’m not a fan. I can tolerate vaping as far as the smell goes, but these were cigarettes. So, in the grand tradition of being me, I avoided those places. I kept walking and it got quieter. The live bands died out and the restaurants started to thin. There was a place that had a placard for dinner and it had a French name, Le Petit Paris.

I figured because it was French, it might be asking too much that it would allow a dog to dine with me. Not at all. The hostess gladly welcomed me, and Lily, when I asked if they were pet-friendly. As we were seated, a place of my choice, not backed into a corner, as some places I read do, we were given a menu and a few minutes later water for Lily. I asked for a beer, as I was walking and not driving anywhere for the next few days.

As I was driving into the Keys, a friend of mine called and asked what I had planned when I was there. I said I had a few things, but nothing too grandiose. My first goal was to get a blackened grouper sandwich. Might as well get it as fresh as possible and this was one of the places where they fished for it. So I saw that Le Petit Paris has that on the menu. They also had hogfish as an option. Honestly, I’m not sure what hogfish is offhand. I have heard of it and know I have seen a live one in an aquarium, but while I was sitting there, I didn’t know. And as far as how it tasted, I’m pretty sure my knowledge was aquarium only and not from a menu. When the waiter came back to ask for my order, I was greeted with the most unexpected reply to my question of “Which would you choose?” He did not hesitate to say hogfish. He said it was much better than grouper, and cutting to the chase, he was correct. A simple sandwich of blacked hogfish, scattered arcs of red onions, and some lettuce. There was a tarter/thousand island dressing on the side, but due to the catsup nature of it, I passed. I’m sure it was good. There was also a side “salad.” Since I asked for no tomatoes, I got mixed greens and more onions in a pepper vinaigrette. I like them so that wasn’t an issue, it was just lacking for being mentioned on the menu.

Having seen the dessert menu when I ordered the meal, I debated whether I was going to have something there or an ice cream that I passed on the way. As I was already seated and saw the mention of dark rum, I opted for the bananas foster. It had a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top that I expected to melt by the time I got to it. Some fluffy beast was wanting it too and it delayed me digging in. When I did get to it, I was not disappointed. The rum was light enough to not feel alcoholic and strong enough to have a rum flavor that I don’t normally experience when having bananas foster.

As I paid for the meal and left, Lily decided to see what the last couple in the restaurant was having. She sniffed on the table, and I pulled her away. As with most people, they said it was fine. I didn’t think so. In general, she was pretty good during the meal. She had several onlookers, and being as large a dog as she is, she scared several of them just from her presence alone. She sat in the middle of the walkway, no matter what I did. I called her over with treats and as soon as she got one, she moved back to position. She did do her catching trick successfully once, but that was mainly my fault because I didn’t want her in the aisle so there wasn’t enough distance between us.

After the meal was done and Lily harassed the couple, we left to go back to the room. I decided to chill before I write and turned on the TV. It was between a show I usually watch with subs on and halfway started or something in Spanish, with Spanish subs. I opted to connect my Roku and connect to my server. In the process of connecting the device, I discovered some TVs do not have enough room for one of those devices in back. I made it work and got the system to power on, but the TV’s USB connection, where it was getting power from, did not output enough to keep it on. I connected to the wall and it worked. The thing was in storage for some time, so I knew I needed an update, but also knew I had issues with the WiFi so wasn’t expecting much. I was able to update without issue and tried to connect to my server. Unfortunately, due to the amount of time in storage, I needed to enter a new code to connect. Did so, got in, and could not see my server. The other two people I share with were fine, but I wanted my own system. It was the whole point of having the setup I have. At this point, Lily had crashed for the night, I was getting frustrated, and the WiFi still was not working with my phone. I did not expect it to work better with the computer. Because of that, I opted to read a bit. As I started to read, the days travels finally caught up with me and I went to sleep. A party animal turning in at about 9 p.m.

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