Time to go…

We leave Key Largo on Sunday morning, April 23rd.  Today is the middle of the month and our townhouse rental contract ends April 30th. The moment feels providential. This morning we plan to do critical grocery shopping, collecting mostly prepared foods so that we can gauge our consumption more accurately for the remaining 7 days. Perhaps there is on  the agenda one last pasta dish with sautéed mushrooms, thin slices of filet mignon, green peas and whipping cream. I’ll also fill the car’s gas tank. We’ll use only a drop of fuel in the coming week so we’ll be prepared to go. Our first stop after leaving here is the beloved St. Augustine, Florida where we’ve visited before.  It will be our final gander at the North Atlantic Ocean before heading inland. And of course the singular hamburger and fish joint (Obi’s Fillin’ Station) across the road from the hotel!

We are pleased that we’ve already made arrangements with our estate agent to return here next year.  Having turned over the pros and cons of this place several times, the overall assessment comes up favourably. There is no other spot we’ve wintered (Hilton Head Island, Daytona Beach Shores and Longboat Key) that we haven’t enjoyed. But this one is most suitable and convenient. Private parking immediately in front of the townhouse; no elevators to deal with; outdoor showers at the beach and the pools; a place to wash the salt sea air from one’s car; a convenience canteen (where I bought my now favourite long-sleeve BWB casual white pullover with blue Pelican logo).

Key Largo has a distinctive Bohemian flavour. The hot, clear weather predicts a laid back atmosphere.  Everyone here is tranquillized by the subtropical balmy air. There is a persistent festive ambiance, as though no other purpose prevails. The narrow scope of deep sea fishing and snorkelling limits every other character of the island. For me the absorptions have been sunbathing, swimming and tricycling. I would have liked to have taken a short boating cruise upon the sea but that will have to wait another year. And if my knees had worked better I would have liked to tricycle about the island instead of confining myself to Buttonwood Bay. I’m leaving my tricycle here, hoping to see it again upon our return in November. Swimming in the sea has been my favourite pursuit but it doesn’t afford the prolonged (though monotonous) sunbathing I do by the pools.  Probably a good thing. I’ve been getting far too much direct sun (my facial skin is showing the imperfections wrought by sunburn).  Besides swimming in the sea stimulates the same results, including both sides of one’s carcass as I reverse my positions from floating or paddling upwards to diving or paddling downwards. The salt water is cooler than the pools.  I like the salty taste and it feels more nutritious and improving to my skin. On occasion I miss the robustness of the ocean (as we have had in our other ventures, including Longboat Key on the Gulf of Mexico) but it’s unlikely that I will cross the Overseas Highway for that purpose.  Presently I confine such alternate expeditions on the ocean side of the highway to Cindy my hairdresser, Key Largo Fisheries (fresh local catches and Key Lime pie) and the Circle K gas station (which, by the way, has been owed since 2003 by Alimentation Couche-Tard in Laval, Québec). Our ambitions are immediate and mundane preoccupations only.

My afternoons have been absorbed in reading and writing, accompanied by chilled tea and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Or chilled coffee (which inevitably keeps me awake until three o’clock in the morning when surprisingly I sometimes communicate by email with friends who endure a similar disruption for whatever reason). In a world where there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, the magic never suffers.