Random Thoughts on Key West and Life in General

Random Thoughts on Key West and Life in General

If you have been following this blog for a while, and many of you have, I thank you.  Certainly you noticed I have not posted in some time.  I announced recently, with great pride, the acquisition of a Cruise Planners franchise.  Yes, that’s right, Mrs. SirOzzy and I bought a travel agency.  Travel, as you know, has always been one of my many passions and now I do it professionally.  I foresee a lot of “Research & Development Projects” in my future.  For the last two months I have been focused intently on the process of beginning a new business.  Please visit our new website www.sirozzytravel.com  Someone (maybe it was me) once said, “If you find what you love to do, you’ll never have to work again”.

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While we have been celebrating , Sir Ozzy was not particularly fond of seeing us leave on our last trip.

We were patiently waiting for our rental car to be ready for the drive to Key West.  The valet parked it out front and was putting on a finishing shine when we were approached by another gentlemen.  With company shirt and clip board in hand, he smoothly asked if we would like an upgrade.  “How can we get an upgrade when we have the nicest car on the lot?”  We watched him retreat to the 3 Spring-Breakers and read his lips as he said, “no deal.”  And off we went in our convertible Camaro.

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Much has been written on Key West and the drive on the Overseas Highway.  But, after reading the story of a man who walked to Key West all the way from Seattle, Washington, my drive pales in comparison.  He is still there, just look for Darth Vader playing a banjo on Duval Street.

Here are a few suggestions for things to do in Key West:

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First things first, a lunch at Snook’s Bayside Restaurant in Key Largo is a MUST!  Be careful not to miss the turn, it will sneak up on you on the right hand side.  Get the Lobster Reuben and enjoy the amazing view.  The next 100 miles will be the fun part.

BREAKFAST

Island Dogs Bar.  I had the Daily Hair of the Dog Pizza.  This very well may be the most perfect remedy for a hangover I ever had.  And how about the Good Morning Dog?  A bacon wrapped hot dog with fried eggs.  This place has got breakfast figured out right!

Blue Heaven.  This is the most popular breakfast joint in the Keys.  While you are waiting for your table, make sure you belly up to the bar and get a Bloody Mary.  And enjoy the live tunes.

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While we have been celebrating , Sir Ozzy was not particularly fond of seeing us leave on our last trip.

Starbucks.  I know, I know…who the hell goes to Key West to get Starbucks? Well, we got a couple drinks and a breakfast sandwich and walked over to the pier behind Mallory Square.  We enjoyed the peace and quiet while watching pelicans dive for their breakfast.  Hey, don’t knock it.

LUNCH

Here’s the thing about Key West, there are about a million restaurants up and down Duval Street and all around the surrounding area.  Where ever you are, you are within walking distance of everything.  Flip-flops and tank-tops are perfectly appropriate attire at any restaurant.  If you can’t find a good lunch in Key West, well, you ain’t looking.  A good starting point is Sloppy Joe’s.

DINNER

Sure, there are some good, fine dining restaurants in Key West.  But, if I wanted extravagance, I would have stayed in Miami.  Ninety miles from Cuba is all about Happy Hour.

Alonzo’s.  A great view and even better Garlic Oysters.

Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Grill.  The best chicken wings on the island, and owned by Kelly “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” McGillis.

Fogarty’s.  Huge portions of American Comfort Food served in an outside seating area.  Great spot to eat dinner and people watch.

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While we have been celebrating , Sir Ozzy was not particularly fond of seeing us leave on our last trip.

DESSERTS

Better Than Sex.  Need I say more?  Leave the kids at the hotel.

Kermit’s Key West Lime Shoppe.  Self-proclaimed best Key Lime in the world.  Has a few awards to back it up.

ACTIVITIES

Key West Cemetery.  Grab your jogging (or in my case, walking) shoes and head on over to the cemetery first thing in the morning.  Look for the tombstone that says “I told you I was sick”, and  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, you’re a jerk.”  This could be the most fun you’ll ever have in a cemetery.

Take a Trolley.  It’s always the best way to get acclimated to a new area.  And these are especially enjoyable with the fun stories told by the guides.  The night time Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tour is one of the best tours I’ve ever had.

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Mallory Square Sunset Celebration.  Loaded with street performers of all types, including acrobats, jugglers, musicians and dog trainers, this is what separates Key West from everywhere else in the world.  Celebrate as another day ends and night begins.

We were sorry to go, but San Juan was calling our name.

Enjoy The Journey…

And please visit my new website Cruise Planners  and LIKE us over at Facebook

 

 

 

 

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How To Prepare For A Caribbean Cruise

How To Prepare For A Caribbean Cruise

Check The Batteries.  Make sure the security and smoke alarms are operating properly in the house.  My trigger-happy, shotgun-wielding, vodka-swilling brother-in-law will be house watching while we’re away.  I do not want him to put a hole through the front door when he hears a low battery chirp coming from the system.

Bring Sunscreen.  I’ve been told the Caribbean Sun is different than regular sun.

Bring Booze.  Think you can’t bring alcohol on a ship?  Try 20 or so shot size bottles mixed in with your cosmetics in each suitcase.  It works every time.

Bring Sunglasses.  Your eyes will be bloodshot.

Bring Chargers.  Don’t forget cellphone, laptop, kindle, ipad, ipod, and game system.  A Caribbean cruise is certainly no time to disconnect from the World Wide Web.

Print Documents.  Make sure you print everything, especially the ones that are already downloaded on your cellphone, you never know when the battery will die.

For The Ladies.  Make sure you have an extra suitcase for your shoes.  You will need 7 pairs of flip-flops, because God forbid anyone sees you wearing the same pair twice at the pool.  Bring your favorite walking shoes for land excursions, and your second favorite, and your old favorite in case they don’t work out.  And bring the new ones you want break in too.  You should bring a different pair of heels for dinner every night, and that really nice pair for the night you just might have dinner near the captain.  And don’t forget your slippers for your stateroom.  All told that’s 19 pairs of shoes, plus the ones you are wearing, 20.  That should do.

Eat.  While most people prepare by going to the gym so they can look great in that new swimsuit, I have reached that age where I really don’t give a shit what I look like.  I practice eating for a couple weeks because I don’t want to look like a lightweight at the buffet.

Make Reservations.  The breakfast, lunch, midday snack, and dinner buffet may not be enough.  Reservations are required early for specialty restaurants.

Clean House.  Make sure your own house is thoroughly cleaned before you leave.  Especially the doghouse, you just might find yourself in it.

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Enjoy The Journey…

The List

Class 5 Whitewater Rafting in Costa Rica.
Class 5 Whitewater Rafting in Costa Rica.

We all have lists.  Shopping lists, to do lists, playlists, best of this, best of that, there are all kinds of lists. When I was a kid, I would come home after school to a list.  Sometimes that list would be 4,5,6 pages long.  Sometimes the list would reference other lists. Whatever it was, I never wanted to do anything on that list, so I started making my own.  Here’s what is on my list:

  • Catch a big fish.  And I mean a REALLY big fish.  I’ve caught beautiful Mahi-Mahi, doormat Fluke, and monster Striped Bass. But I’m talking Old Man And The Sea stuff.  A 1,000 pound Marlin or 500 pound Tuna.  Maybe when I catch the big one, I’ll want to go bigger, or maybe not.  I’ll know when I get there.
  • Climb a mountain.  Why?  Because it’s there.  Kilimanjaro and Denali both come to mind as feats that are clearly in the realm of possibility.  Maybe after one or both of those, Everest could be put on the list.
  • Run with the Bulls.  I’ve been fascinated by this since I first saw a painting of a Matador.  I was probably 5 years old.  And then I heard about this event in Pamplona, Spain.  It’s just something I have to do.
  • Write a book.  Still working on it.
  • Go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.  Will probably never do this, but it sounds like fun to me.  I’ve always joked that my last words on earth will be “Hey, watch this.”
  • Swim with Great Whites.  Jaws is my favorite movie of all time, it scared the shit out of me.  Great Whites are the fiercest, most powerful creatures on earth.  Of course my preference is to be in a steel cage.
  • Surf all 7 continents.  So far I have surfed North America, South America, and Australia.  Asia, Europe, and Africa are all achievable given my rate of travels.  But there is only one person that’s ever done all 7.  I want to be in that group.
  • Take an African Safari.  Camping in the Catskills, watching squirrels run up and down trees, that’s alright.  Watching a black bear catch a fish in a mountain stream in the Adirondacks, yeah, that was cool.  But now I want to go big.  Bring on the lions
  • Eat sushi in Japan.  I like Sushi.  I want to go to Japan.  Simple.
  • Run a marathon.  I’ve done the Big Sur Marathon in California, and the NYC Road Runner’s Marathon.  My desire to run another one is about 2%.
  • Get the lead role in a play.  As a returning adult student, I performed in the Southampton Players performance of The Lion In Winter.  I had the role of Henry II.  Good times.
  • Escape From Alcatraz.  I’ve always had a fascination with escaping from a prison, I have no idea where that came from.  On Father’s Day, 2002, I swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco as part of the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon.
  • Take a great photo.  I’ll know it when I get it.
  • Explore the Galapagos Islands.  Darwin seemed to enjoy it.
  • Learn another language.  Why can’t we just all get along?
  • Learn to play an instrument.  I’ve always wanted to be a Rockstar.
  • Smoke a fine Cuban cigar.  In Havana.
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail.  All of it.
  • Get high in Amsterdam.  All you goody-two-shoes can just glance past this last one.

Over time, things have been added to and taken away from my list, things change.  Life happens.  Motorcycle across South America, train ride across Europe, and swim across the Long Island Sound are all things that I’d love to do, but at this point make the B list.   A fine French meal in view of the Eiffel Tower, a good glass of wine in Tuscany, and paint a masterpiece also come to mind.  The real beauty of my list is that it is my list.  I get to approach it and check things off as I see fit, in my way.

So what’s on your list?

Nice fish, but not the big one!
Nice fish, but not the big one!
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Enjoy The Journey

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At one time or another we have all said, “I want to travel the world.”  Maybe we were talking about retirement, or that year before we go to college, or just a childhood dream.  Or maybe we just want to run away.  Whatever it is, so few of us are ever so fortunate to actually “travel the world.”

What does it really mean, to “travel the world”?  I suppose it means something different to us all.  When I first began to think of it, I thought of a backpack trip across Ireland and running with the bulls in Pamplona.  “Travel the world” was something to be crossed off my bucket list, like climb a mountain, catch a really big fish, and write a book.

With every trip I take, the world gets bigger, not smaller.  Travel leads to new discoveries, new places, new people.  You are more likely these days to find me sipping drinks in the concierge lounge of a five star city hotel than backpacking across Europe.  It’s taken a tremendous amount of mistakes and bad decisions to accomplish what I have.  I have no regrets, but many lessons learned.

Traveling is not easy.  That’s the first lesson to learn.  There was a time when I could throw a toothbrush, extra t-shirt, and a pack of smokes into a satchel, walk out the front door, and go on my way without a care in the world.  That no longer works for this adult.  What’s the best bag to bring? What goes in the bag? Airlines? Resort fees? Passports? Visas?  Who’s going to watch Sir Ozzy?

This site will be a place to write about my vacations, journeys, excursions, adventures, daytrips, and some funny stories.  I’ll review hotels, cruises, and restaurants.    Tips, tricks, advice, suggestions, hopefully over time you’ll be able to find it all here.

Enjoy the journey…