Key West

I spent the majority of the last week on the first of two scheduled vacations this month, essentially my last hurrah before I seriously have to get into that whole "gainful employment" thing that is kind of expected of an adult in modern society. In case the title didn't tip you off, this particular vacation was in Key West, Florida, the southernmost enclave of the mainland United States. Although "mainland" is probably pushing it with Key West; it is an island after all!

We flew to and from Key West, with AirTran. That went better than expected, really, although given prior experiences it would have been difficult for anything to have failed to meet my pathetically low expectations. Security, in particular, was perfectly manageable, although I guess we've reached the point where sending people through those full-body scanners is standard operating procedure? I don't know how I feel about that. On the outbound flight, though, the amount of people waiting in line caused them to divert some people through the metal detectors (including me), and Key West "International" Airport doesn't have the scanners yet.

Oh yes, the Key West airport. That was the single scariest landing I have ever been through; I think the 737 we were flying in is the largest thing they could possibly land on that airport's one runway, and we pretty much bounced our way down the runway when the pilot brought us in. About the only way that landing could have been more uncomfortable is if the plane had actually crashed, I think. Well, thankfully that didn't happen.

Key West itself had an almost small-town atmosphere to it; I guess when your available living space fits into an eight-square-mile island, that's somewhat to be expected. Of course, there were a large number of tourist accommodations; also unsurprising given that the island's main industry these days is tourism. We were staying in a condo that was one of the nicest places I've ever been able to stay in, although all of the DVD players were disconnected for reasons I couldn't quite fathom. Duval Street, the main tourist area, was within five minutes' walk, so there was no lack of access to shopping, bars, or food. And there was a nice swimming pool, and then of course there were the two much larger swimming pools that we call the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean within walking distance of the place.

Needless to say, I got sunburned. Quite severely. After being diligent about putting on sunscreen, no less. I was more than a little ticked off about that, in fact. But, I got to go snorkeling in the ocean for once, which was a nice change considering the only other place I've ever gotten to use the thing was in North Pond up in Maine of all places. On balance, though, I did about as little as possible; swimming pretty much every day, all sorts of good food (including a wonderful Japanese restaurant with sake), and lying around enjoying all of the free time I had.

It had its downsides; particularly, my efforts in participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this fine month of June are effectively shot to hell by now. But I can still try, I guess... if not for scheduled vacation #2. Key West was planned and executed by my grandparents as a kind of family reunion-style vacation before I and my brother had to move on into adult life, you see - fun, certainly, but not what I would have set up if I had chosen it.

Scheduled vacation #2? Is mine. (Well, mostly, anyway... more explanations will probably be forthcoming...) Watch this space - it might take until Sunday, but trust me when I say I won't fail to blog about this.

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