Thursday, March 10, 2005

Key West Pub Crawl or "The Liver is Evil; It Must be Punished"

I promised cruise stories, complete with pictures, so here we go. (I'm going to attempt to make most of the pictures pop up in a separate window rather than including them as part of the blog page, so the main page loads quickly. I've never done that before, but what the hard can it be? Most of them will be between 30 kb and 100 kb, so click 'em if you want to see 'em.) When we last left our heroine (that would be ME) on the cruise, it was Tuesday, March 1, and was typing from the ship, about to go get a massage and facial. I did just that and it was rather fabulous. A cute little girl from South Africa, who didn't look like she was strong enough to massage a butterfly, never mind a SturdyGirl woman like me, did a wonderful job with both the massage and facial. It was amazingly relaxing and made me wish I had a masseuse on retainer. It must be nice to be filthy rich, don't you think? Sadly, my sister, Sandy, had a less wonderful experience. The woman who was doing her massage and facial was running late and kept her waiting, then hustled her back to the room with no apology or explanation, barely talked to her, and in the end gave her a drink of water in a cup that dripped. NOT relaxing! And I feel bad because I was the one who talked her into it. "Hey Sandy, we should do the massage/facial thing at the spa...wouldn't that be fun?" Ha....last time she'll listen to ME, I bet! About the time we were finishing up at the spa, we were pulling into port at Key West, Florida. J and I wandered out into town for a couple of hours, but didn't stay long because we, along with 4 of our 6 traveling companions, had booked a Pub Crawl later that night. I had two goals that afternoon: to eat a piece of frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick, and to buy a pair of shoes, as the pair of slides I'd brought for my main daytime shoes were proving less comfortable than anticipated, even though I WORE the damn things a LOT last summer and they were FINE!! But when I wore them around the ship on Monday, they felt like they were rubbing the soles of my feet raw. Therefore I had a Legitimate NEED to shoe shop. J's goal for the day was to stay out of stores and have a rum drink. Because we didn't have nearly enough of those onboard ship. Heh. We managed to combine our goals admirably. I found my frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick and carried it across the street to a waterfront bar where J ordered something with rum and we sat and people-watched a while. I also met a man dressed like Elvis, who called me Priscilla and told me he still loved me. I told him the feeling was mutual, but it was obvious it would never work between us,what with him being dead and all. After leaving the bar, we were walking down the street and a large man with a beard, who must have been 80 years old if he was a day, smiled sweetly at me and said "Don't worry, honey, I'll be home for dinner." I said "Good, you know how I worry." People in Key West are very friendly, yes? Shortly after that we wandered into a little market area where I found a lovely man selling lovely shoes out of something that looked an awful lot like a garden shed. It was tiny, but the shoes were great. I restrained myself, however, and only bought one pair of sandals...rubber soles, black suede straps, with BEADS on them. Very comfy too. I'll show you a pic later when I post my shoe self-portraits. :-) After finding rum, pie, and shoes, we headed back to the ship to nap, eat pizza, and change clothes, before heading back into town for the pub crawl. We each got a t-shirt with a bright (mostly lime-green) pic of a cocktail on it and the logo "The Liver is Evil; It Must be Punished". So if you see what looks like gym towels around our necks in the photos, it's the t-shirts. Dad and Merle opted not to go, but my sister, Sandy, and her husband, Andy went, as well as Andy's parents, Ron and Linda. There were probably 20 - 25 people in crawlin' group. One more thing I should probably mention before I continue with this story...I rarely drink alcohol. I think I drank more on this trip than I normally drink in about two years time. So I was drunk FAST. So, anyway..... First stop: Billie's. I'm pretty sure Billie's is where I took a pic of my mom petting an iguana when we were in Key West in 1999. The bartender was surly and the drinks were cheap, but they guy playing guitar was good, even if he DID ignore my request to play "Smelly Cat". There was a line of bras hanging over the bar, presumably donated by female patrons. I was disappointed in the bras. Nearly all of them where WHITE and UNADORNED. I mean, come on, ladies! If you're going to go to Key West, get drunk, and start throwing your underthings at the bartender, plan ahead and wear something pretty! Where were the black bras? The red ones? The pink ones? The ones with lace or ribbons? What could've looked very festive just looked like boring laundry hanging on a clothesline. (For what it's worth, mine that night was blue, but I chose to keep it.) Sandy, who was smart enough to bring a camera along, took this pic of me, Linda, and Johnny (sitting on Linda's lap!) at Billie's. Then the CrawlLeader (who I referred to as HornyGuy) blew his conch shell and off we went to bar number two. I liked bar number two. Second stop: Two Friends. Two Friends had lousy drinks (my so-called pina colada tasted like someone had poured rum into powdered Sweet Tarts) but a great bartender. Her name was DEB and she drew a picture on my t-shirt and signed it. People were singing karaoke and a quiet-looking middle-aged bald guy in our pub crawl group hopped up there, surrounded by a group of women and did a kick-ass job of singing "Down on the Bayou". At some point during the song one of the women yelled out "He's our gynecologist!". The rest of us were all looking at each other and saying "huh?" So Sandy and I talked to her later and she was serious. They were a group of friends who had gone to high school together in Louisiana, and chose to go on a cruise for their 40th reunion and the man singing was their gynecologist. I have to say, there's not one guy I went to high school with I would trust to be my gynecologist. But whatever. He put on a great show. We hated to leave Two Friends, but eventually HornyGuy blew the horn and off we went. This is J and me at Two Friends. Third Stop: Uh....the names were already starting to get a little fuzzy at this point. We had someone take a pic of our whole group in front of a sign, so you'll see the bar's name if you look at the pic. Something about a schooner, I think. Here's Johnny, me, Linda, Sandy, Andy, and Ron. This was the bar where a rather large blonde woman made what might have been a pass at me. She walked up and stood between J and me and asked for a hit of his cigar. While she was asking, she leaned over me and was patting my ass (something he couldn't see from where he was). It is a mark of how drunk I already was that I didn't even say anything to her, just looked at her and thought "my, that seems inappropriate". J declined to share his cigar with her, but told her he'd give her the rest of his drink if she'd go away. She considered a moment and allowed that seemed fair, then took his drink and stumbled off to the bathroom (which had some interesting wall graffiti, btw). This was the bar where Sandy decided to hug me, hold the camera out in front of us, and snap a pic. I think we were going for A Look, but I can't quite remember what. Don't her nostrils look nice and clean? :-) Somewhere along in here...either just before Bar Three or just after, I got very excited about this sign and INSISTED that Sandy take a picture of it for me. I'm a little fuzzy now on just WHY I was excited about it. Maybe it's because in my fabulously amazing (hardee-har) NaNoWriMo story, a couple of the characters were reading a book called "Passion's Pirate Soul". Maybe I thought someone had captured a bunch of pirate souls and was displaying them in jars. Maybe I thought it was a museum featuring pirated music by Aretha and Ray. I really have no idea. I just know I HAD to have a picture of this sign, so...there ya go. Anyone ever actually been there and want to tell me what the hell this place is?? :-) Fourth Stop: I have NO freakin' idea what the fourth place was called, but they made a good rum punch and had really good dance music. Not that I was capable of dancing at that point, but if I had been, they had really good music. This is J and me watching other people dance. Fifth Stop: We gave up. Sandy, Andy, Ron, and Linda went into the fifth bar, but J and I decided to call it a wrap and head back to the ship. Want to hear something amazing? I KNEW HOW TO FIND THE SHIP!! People I didn't even know were following us, trusting me to know the way (because HornyGuy proved piss-useless in that regard) and I did it. Yay Me!! Wanna know how I did it? Well I'm gonna tell you. Earlier, when I was still sober, I noticed that we passed a large brick building that had signs all over it that said "Artists in Season". Having the kind of mind I have, my immediate thought was "Are the nice, fresh, in-season artists being served with lemon and dill or what?" I still have no idea what those signs were really about, but my weird mental picture stuck even though the alcohol haze. The building was tall enough that I could steer toward it, take a right around it, and TaaaDaaa! There was the ship! I was ridiculously proud of myself. Stay tuned for more....

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