Key West, Day 3 (Part I)

The morning started with a walk, which had become our habit. A fruitless habit, as Lily was not doing her thing on schedule. I’m not sure if it was the change of scenery, or she was that interested in what she was seeing around her, but other than the room, she was not really doing anything outside. I started to avoid Duval Street because it was very crowded for me to have her leave a mess on the sidewalk, so we extended our walks to a few blocks down and then back again. Because I wasn’t sure if the place I was planning on going to was pet-friendly, I really wanted her to do her business, so I could crate her.

As she did not do anything on the walk, I decided to risk having to go somewhere else. I was recommended to the place I wanted to go for breakfast from a friend who raved about it but warned me they had cats and chicken there. After looking at the map and Lily’s reluctance to “gift”, I decided she was going regardless of the animals. We got to the restaurant, later than I wanted to but still early. They had several doors, each pointing to the next and eventually around the corner. We got to the main entrance to Blue Haven and had to walk in further to get to the host/hostess podium. I asked my special question, “Are you pet-friendly?” and got the look of What are you, nuts? Of course, we are. They had two people working the stand and one of them mentioned that they had a husky.

While waiting, I discussed the husky/malamute similarities, as he pet Lily, and how they act with the host, but he got called away to do his job. Right as he was leaving, a lady, with her daughter, asked me about Lily’s gentle leader and if I thought there was a place she could get one. I mentioned Pet Supermarket, as I was there the day before. We discussed that Lily didn’t mind hers, but the lady’s dog ate theirs. The kid was playing with a cat on a perch, while I spoke to her mother. They were mentioning the cat seemed a bit out of sorts. I understand why, as Lily plays rough and would make the cat a bit addled as she stepped on it pressing the air out like a CPR dummy. But, Lily didn’t care.

We were seated, and I saw they had a designated dog area. The table next to us had an older couple with their two poodles, one a miniature and the other a proper. My waiter, Pete, quickly got me a limeade I ordered, fresh squeezed per the menu, and then asked if Lily wanted water. I said yes, and he grabbed a bowl from the stage that was next to our seat. Pete was a dog lover, had a great smile and energy. Nothing bothered him during the course of the meal. I don’t know if I could have had that much patience, let alone a smile, that early in the morning.

Lily started acting up because of the dogs at the other table. She eventually calmed down by getting interested in a chicken that was across the way. She had her bowl in front of her, hung under my seat, and started at the chicken most of the time. I was able to place my order, as Pete read off the specials. I didn’t even let him finish the second item when I told him I wanted it. Surf and turf benedict. It was chopped lobster with filet mignon cooked to order. I verified there was no tomato well after placing the order.

While waiting, two couples sat at the table next to me. They had traveled from up north and were happy they made it before the storms. I think they mentioned they might have been stuck in the Keys, but they didn’t mind, and the weather was just fine for them. They also discussed gun control and how proud they were of their kid’s father (pretty sure one of them was on their second husband) bought their son an AR-15. I was tempted to say something, but Lily was keeping me occupied. She was getting antsy and barked every time the dogs at the other table moved. She would settle and then they would move, and she would get riled again. This happened throughout the meal making it very difficult to eat. And the meal did show in a reasonable time.

The surf and turf arrived at the table nice and warm, but with Lily hopping about, it was cold by the time I got to it. Prior to that, the lobster meat was cooked so as not to be chewy. Tender and sweet, it went perfectly with the hollandaise. I’m a fan of my eggs cooked medium, but that is not the norm when it comes to poached. I loved the way mine came out and it was perfect for me. As was the filet. Pink in the center, and enough char to add flavor, but not burn. This was all accompanied by fresh fruit and went down well with the limeade. After the couple left with their dogs, I was able to finish my meal peacefully and get the check.

Because we were so close to the Southernmost Point, the chief reason for going and one of my six reasons in general, we headed there. I got a bit mixed up, because the GPS didn’t update, and I was looking at the area and not street names. To get back on track, I headed down a very residential area and found where I was going as there was a crowd forming down the block.

If you have never been or seen pictures, of the Southernmost Point in the continental US, it is a large nipple coming out of the ground near the water. It is pained in maritime colors and very gaudy, with stripes of black, red, yellow, and white. I can imagine it being worse, like pastels or neon, but for general appearances, it is not a pretty site. If it weren’t so south, it would be a roadside attraction like the biggest ball of yarn, or South of the Border (Pedro says, “Chili today…”).

As we approached, I saw all the decals people left on the road signs in the area. There were coconuts with straws lining the gates for the hotels on the way as well. A small line was formed to have anyone that wanted their pictures with the post. No one had to guide anyone. There weren’t signs saying to make a line. There was just a line of people, politely waiting for the opportunity to get to the bump. I find this amazing as this could be a once in a lifetime experience for some (not me, I had been there several times before), and there was order by people from other countries without signs in any. People go crazy when trying to get into a store as it opened on certain days of the year to buy crap they wouldn’t want to by any other day, and they will be able to do the same craziness the next year and the year after.

We got in line behind an Asian lady, who was on her own. Behind us was a couple. I mentioned the plan to take Lily to Alaska to the couple and they had some interesting comments. They were not believing that Lily was cooler than we were, and I almost started an argument but held off. They were nice enough and waited patiently in line. The Asian woman asked me, in broken English, if I could take her picture. I warned her that it might be a bit shaky, as Lily was pulling on one of my arms. The first picture was a bit of a struggle, as Lily pulled with all her might and I wasn’t budging. After the first shot, she got the idea and let loose a bit. I took several portraits and switched to landscape, all while one arm was being tugged.

We switched places with the woman, and she took pictures of Lily and me. Lily was very interested in what was going on in Cuba, as she kept looking toward the ocean. After a bit of wrestling, I was able to get her to look at the camera. The couple behind me helped too by pretending they had a treat. As I had an actual one with me, I should have given it to them, but I wanted to get out of the way as soon as possible for the next picture takers.

We walked off, and I didn’t look at the pictures. I did see a quote in the cement that I wanted a picture of, and took, as well as a native blowing a conch, signifying the Chinch Republic. I received a text from a friend and started to respond, but Lily didn’t want that to happen, so she pulled and got out of her gentle leader. A gentle leader looks like a muzzle to most but makes it easier to control the movement of the dog, like a bridle. I often hear people say that my dog must be vicious because she is wearing it. I just laugh because SHE IS VICIOUS. 😊 Specifically, if you call her a wolf… or a husky. As we were leaving, I saw the Asian woman checking her picture. I think she was OK with them.

On the walk back, I was able to finish my response to the text. We walked into one of the tourist shops because I had an agenda to get a few items before I left. The first place we went didn’t mind Lily but didn’t have what I was looking for. Neither did the second. We continued back to the hotel and I saw an Old Town Trolley station. They were the same company that owned the Ghost and Gravestones tour. One of my goals was to do a ghost tour and that was the only one I knew of. I purchased my ticket for that evening. Opted for the second tour just in case I had issues getting there. I then asked if I could go into the shop with Lily. The lady waiting on me responded, “I see no reason why your service dog couldn’t go with you.” I informed her that Lily wasn’t a service dog, but after the week so far might as well have been. Up to this point, we had not been separated.

I walked into the store and looked for a car decal, as it was one of the items on my list of things to get. They did not have any either (it’s what I was looking for at the other two stores). I did find a book about Robert the doll. An autographed copy at that. I grabbed one for my friend that couldn’t make the trip, because she was home sick, and one for me. I also grabbed another item that might be something greater than it was when I bought it. But that is another story for the future.

As I was looking at the signs, Lily had enough and crashed on the ground. She was so completely wiped that she was spread full-bodied across one of the isles. She even had her tongue on the floor lapping at the tile to cool her off.

Shortly after leaving the store, my watch chimed that I had reached my step goal for the day, and it wasn’t even 10 a.m. We headed back to the room and got some water for Lily. She had a little and then plopped down, for the count.

My room had a sign in it saying they were eco-friendly and would prefer you use the water bottles that were complimentary for tea or fruit-infused water they had in the lobby, rather than dumping and getting another bottle. I liked the idea and headed to the office to do so. Lily was still crashed, and I told her I was leaving her there for a few minutes and she jumped up and came with me.

I also wanted to tell the office the internet was still having issues. They informed me they knew. They said they were getting a whole new system. I said I could probably fix it in the meantime, but they said they were not authorized to allow it but would look into it. Spoiler: I never heard anything. They did take me to see where it was located. They kept their networking equipment in their guest bathroom. I informed them I have seen it before and it was better than some I have seen. Lily was offered another treat and found one in their garbage. They asked me if I wanted a dog-friendly guide to Key West. I could have used that earlier in the week, as it included the place I went to breakfast. I didn’t see it until much later, as it was caught in my spam filter.

We headed back to the room and after seeing the internet was dead again, I took a nap. Lily was keen on this for a second. She barked at me and I asked her what she wanted. She had finally peed and pooped on our trip back. She had water and just had a walk. She also had more treats than she should have. Lily’s reply to y question was going into her crate. I even closed the door. She was still staring at me as if she wanted something. I covered it with my rolled-out bag, and she was happy. She finally went to sleep.

I realized I would not be able to make the sailing trip I wanted to do because I had timed things wrong. The rest of the plans were to go to Mallory Square, sail on a tall ship, and visit The Restaurant Store. So far, none of those things were happening because, except for Mallory Square, I wasn’t sure if any were dog-friendly.

I took a nap and was awoken by texting a friend and then another a friend calling. After I finished both of those, I wrote a long email to another friend. I figured, no internet, no stories, might as well make the best of t. The real best of it would have been writing this then, but it happens. After the email, I headed to Mallory Square to get a very late lunch and see if we can make the sunset celebration. More on that later.

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