Monday, May 04, 2009

Southern South Florida

South, south, south. Through Miami and outer environs, and on into crocodile country. The bottom tip of Flahrida on the way to the Keys is part of the Everglades. I kept peeping out the windows waiting to see a 'gator or a croc. The highway was peppered with signs declaring stretches of road to be "Crocodile Crossing"s. Alas and alack, I sighted nary a one.

Halo took some pictures anyway. The drive down is breathtaking. There are miles of highway built over the open ocean, leapfrogging from key to key.
Once in Key West, we went straight to the beach, and Halo made sand castles. I helped.

We checked in to the Seashell Motel. Key West is stuffed with quaint B&Bs in old, pretty houses with verandas, but all the ones that we called were booked, and expensive anyway. The Seashell turned out to be a great find. Our room was big and airy and clean. There was a foyer of sorts outside our door with a cabinet stacked with games and books, and a table & chairs in the room for playing. It's also a hostel, and there were a few backpackers milling around the courtyard, speaking French and German.

We went downtown, walked around, looked at the water, ate pizza, and played pinball. Halo was pretty good at it! I miss pinball. Back at the Seashell, C. and H. and I played a rousing round of Sorry!

In the morning, we walked to a great breakfast place called Camille's. They have yummy buckwheat pancakes and, according to Zagat's, the world's best key lime pie. Friendly waitstaff and cool posters. Except the waiter talked Halo out of a buckwheat pancake, which he had decided for himself, and into a buttermilk pancake. It was the waiter's opinion that the buttermilk pancakes are more like "real" pancakes and that Halo would like it better. Cluck cluck cluck. If I were a macrobiotic mother, I'd'a gone batshit crazy on the guy. Luckily the kid was a loaner.

Key West has been home to many famous people, including Jimmy Buffet and Tennessee Williams. Its most famous past resident is undoubtedly Ernest Hemingway.

I wanted to visit his house, but was worried that it would be boring for Halo. But he loves the music of Matt the Electrician, a friend of ours, who has a song about Hemingway. So he was familiar with the name and game to go to "Hemmy's house", as he kept calling it. We played the song a few times, which is about not having read any of Hemmy's books. It's called "I'm Sorry Hemingway."

I needn't have worried. Hemmy's house is home to sixty cats, many of them polydactyl - having six toes on each foot. We kept a running count as we toured Papa Hemmy's home. Sixty six-toed cats. Leaping lizards! That's enough to keep any eight-year-old occupied.

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