Aside from spending endless hours at the pool, burning on the beach (not personally, but most definitely for my Caucasians comrades), eating out at every touristic American establishment and partying at every given chance, as a collective we all came to America to not only experience the above but also the ‘beyond’.
In order for us to accomplish the beyond two astronomical events must occur, we must all be granted the same day off and all agree on what we want to do, with the latter being the most complicated. Attempting to organise transport, a destination and activity amongst 12 people can often be mistaken for a sequel episode to Lemony Snickets; A Series of Unfortunate Events! If it isn’t failure to make a conclusive plan, it’s the plan being too expensive, its people dropping out or suffers of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) wanting in last-minute.
Alas, we have still managed to string something together and never fail to look back and laugh at our sheer debilitating attempts to do something extraordinary.
Despite history unable to stop itself from repeating, when the moon turns blue and all 12 of us get two consecutive days’ off together, there is no chance in China that we will allow those days go with no extraordinary event take place.
As if rehearsed everything began the same, we all had different ideas and motives for this great blessing the Lord had bestowed upon us, from re-attempting to go to Orlando Disney (tried and failed), renting an apartment in Miami (to lavish for some, including myself), a trip to Delray beach (not lavish enough) or visiting Fort Lauderdale (only other viable option).
By the Saturday, smaller groups had formed and made plans for themselves, by the time Sunday came around, my apartment seemed to be the only ones with no definitive plan. In the evening we had a small gathering and by 11:00pm we had booked two cars including one 7-seater to log us all down to Key West. By 11:40pm we were on our way to pick up the hire cars, then by midnight a spanner was found in the works. 12 available seats, 13 confirmed passengers, somehow in the spontaneity and excitement of things we miss counted and the option to hire a second 7-seater was no longer available. By 12:20pm messages and phone calls were flying around The Fountains (our apartment complex), with stern words with no one was willing to drop out, obviously. So, it was decided we were heading to Key West at 5am with everyone on board, the prospect of being squished for the next 5+ hour road trip of course was far from appealing, however with great joy comes great sacrifice.
But I couldn’t relate because I was riding shotgun (LOL)!
The trip down was more or less plain sailing, there was a little traffic coming through Miami, but overall it was a pretty straight forward journey. Pit stop at McDonalds, periods of karaoke, followed by synchronised snoring and anticipation for the days ahead.
We arrived at The Inn Key West, in good time as well as good faith that they would have an additional two rooms to the one originally proposed before the influx of interest for the trip. We were promptly checked in with all rooms adjacent, we dropped our bags and met with the concierge (for what is to follow, he will be referred to as Count Olaf) who managed to get us a great deal (so we thought) for a boat party that evening entitled Commotion in the Ocean, as well as a full day of water activities the next day before we headed back home. Spaces were booked and deposits paid, so a few of us wasted no time and headed straight to IHop next door, before retreating to bed before the evening festivities.
Eventually we arose from our slumber only to find most of the other guys had already head out, so we got up, freshened up, got pretty and made a move. When we arrived our group were in a fierce stand-off with the lady at the desk regards the Commotion in the Ocean, long story short and with a lot less profanity, old Count Olaf took our money and sold us a dream. Turns out the price he ‘guaranteed’ was for both days in fact was for the water sports only and we would have to pay an additional amount for the boat party. Despite our initial disappointment, we looked over only to see a ‘live band’ and members of a more mature generation set sail, we soon concluded that the universe was looking out for us and continued on to Plan B.
With it only being around 4:30pm, there was no room for sadness, when happy hour was in full swing for another 3 hours. So on the wagon we got, we went on an epic bar crawl throughout the keys strip, managed to stop and get souvenir T-shirts, made friends, visited a naked bar (to our twisted disappointment everyone was dressed), got split up, got reunited, peaked way to early and were happily tucked up in bed by 11:30.
Day 1 in Key west = Major success.
Day 2, waking up was not hard knowing what we had planned for the day. Boat pick up at 10:00am, for a full day of parasailing, Jet skiing, snorkelling and a playground in the middle of the ocean. The day started great, when we arrived and explained how Count Olaf fooled us, we were refunded our deposit, which worked out great as we could use the money for pictures and tipping the crew.
It wouldn’t be hard for me to write another 3 pages, but I won’t because my generation suffer with short attention spans and reading is for geeks. So instead, I’m going to change-up the game and invite you to watch what we were able to capture from our trip to Key West.
But first, the one thing that was impossible to catch on camera and can not go untold, was mine and my roommates near death experience, also known to others as snorkelling.
Let me first draw your attention to the image to my left. This represents how we expected snorkelling to be, in calm, shallow water, an abundance of sea life to see and the chance to be a real life mermaid. Sounds great no ?
Now turn your focus to the Image on my right, this image represents what snorkelling was really like! The water was rough and wild, I inhaled 3 gallons of salty sea water through my mouth and returned in through my nose. I used the life guard as my personal floater, as did my roommate who I’m sure left nail marks in his arms.
However, I must say after the failed attempt, I refused to use the stigma of black people being unable to swim as an excuse and tried again. On my second attempt the lovely life guard even offered to swim out further with me, in my mission to see at least one Aquatic creature. Although I struggled to calm my breathing down enough to stay submerged in the water, I’m still proud to say I tried.
As for anything we didn’t catch on camera, most likely it was for the best.
They don’t want you to Jetski, they don’t want you to smile, Major Key”
– Dj Khaled