For some reason, we expected poor weather and we got everything but - it must be 12 years since we were last in Florida and I noticed that many businesses and malls appear to have gone to the wall, and in many places an air of tumbleweed blowing down the main street seemed to prevail.
Despite being far from home and in theory away from the stress of Harry's death, I'd just start crying randomly....thank god for dark glasses, because I think I had these horrible haunted eyes most of the time. Blubbing would just erupt at any moment my heart wandered to what has just happened.
But there were moments of brightness, and the heat seems to have done my bones and health a lot of good. We landed at Orlando and immediately took the rental car down south towards the Keys, our old haunt without much of a backward glance, though we pinged from coast to coast as we did it - we stayed at Captiva and Sanibel islands, both world famous for magnificent shells that wash up on the beach (the only shells I found were in shops!) - before driving further and further south and ending up at Islamorada in the Keys, and later took a trip to Key West which is a bit like Disney world with performing cats and drunk transvestites
dragging passers by into bars. Clearly I have actually never been to Disney, but I think stuff like that would surely liven it up.
These cockerels were strutting their stuff all over Key West. There doesn't need to be a reason for it to be so in this place, it just is.
We stayed at Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada, somewhere we have been before and I was able to just sit and drink tea and be as miserable as I wished, which was a lot miserable some of the time. I was able to raise smiles for the massive Iguana who leapt out of the bushes and scared the living daylights out of me and made me shriek the first time which was only because he surprised me as I have met iguanas before and I know he meant me no harm. Sadly, no camera at the time but I did see this fab green creature lurking around my favourite lagoon pool several times. Cheeca Lodge has marked itself in my memory
as the hotel with the outside bath....you got to close curtains round you (or that was at least the idea in order not to frighten the rest of the world) and sit on the balcony in a massive round tub - bathing is listed as one of my hobbies so that made me happy.
Although we travelled together I have been spending a lot of time on my own because I am probably the worst type of company in the world....Mark would go off diving or swimming and I would feel totally free to stick my sunglasses on and just stare at the sea, or go and take another bath.
Rheumatology had given me my 'Christmas Dose' of steroid which I always feel compelled to beg for just before Christmas hits so bone-wise I was doing pretty darn well, despite the stress of what had just happened at home.
It was a lovely trip but badly timed, though I was not to know that at the time of booking several months before. We were saddened by the hardship that people are obviously going through in keeping businesses, jobs or just body and soul alive and were astonished by the number of people who seemed to be begging on the streets, it must be quite awful to be in such a situation and I hope life is able to pick up for them in the future.
There are no miserable faced pics because I wouldn't have any taken....I don't want to look back in a few years and say 'oh yeah, that was that really sad holiday'. We returned through a town called Sarasota which was just fab and Mark started dreaming about buying an apartment. Dream on, we need to eat instead! Enjoy the sunshine in the pics xx