April 11, 2016

Florida, Pt.1

I'm finally done sifting through all the photos I took while in Florida {all 580 of them!} and editing and resizing them as well. 580 pictures were then narrowed down to 200 and about 80 or so photos (give or take) will be shown here on the blog -- in two parts. I hope you're ready to do some major scrolling action.

This first part covers our night in St. Augustine Historic District and the first two days in Key West. 

We packed up our mighty little hatchback and hit the road on Wednesday, March 30th at 5 am. We were two hours late as we had originally wanted to leave at 3 am. But I was up until 2 am finishing packing and making Piri's food and cleaning the house and wasn't able to get up in time. It also didn't bode well for the ride down. I passed out right after we passed Richmond, Virginia, and woke up somewhere near Fort Bragg, North Carolina. We arrived in St. Augustine at 7 pm - 13 hours of driving. 

The following day we left for Key West at 9 am and arrived at around 7 pm -- 10 hours of driving. 

Yangkyu did all the driving. Aside from sleeping from Richmond to Fort Bragg, I was up with him, talking, turning on different songs, radio shows and podcasts and ripping open lots of snack bags to keep him awake. I was also making sure Piri was comfortable and feeling well throughout the long ride. 

Piri does well in cars. He always has and so we didn't worry about him too much {and with old age he sleeps now most of the time in the car} but still, you don't want to keep your dog inside a car for too long. There were added hours to our driving because we made different stops along the way - to fill up the car with gas, stretch and give Piri pee and potty breaks.

And I forgot to thank you for all the podcast suggestions! We ended up liking This American Life the most. I had stopped listening to it a while ago but episode #545: If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS was so so interesting to listen to! HowStuffWorks was definitely neat but for some reason their voices kept making me fall asleep. Ah. 

Moving on! 

In St. Augustine Historic District, we stayed one night at the St. George Inn {I talked a little about it here}. We then went to Castillo de San Marcos, where I don't think dogs are allowed, but we kept him inside his carrier and broke the rules just a little bit.

Afterwards we checked out all the restaurants and small shops {most of which were closed, which was a shame because I had wanted to see the Panama Hat Company and eat at the Spanish Bakery} and enjoyed the night life that St. George Street {and the vicinity} had to offer.

I loved walking in this area - we got salted caramel ice cream and had planned on eating out at a restaurant but decided to do take out instead {tacos and burritos} to eat in our hotel room with Piri. He was iffy with his appetite when we arrived and I thought if we ate with him, that would help him to get something in his tummy. And it worked! Inside, we got some bath towels we put on the bed so we wouldn't get food on the blankets and Piri ate all his food with us {ok, so I used some of our tortilla bread to wrap his food with and that sort of did the trick}. 

It also ended up raining and so it worked out that way as well. We also saw a wad of money outside the ice cream shop and we brought it inside to let the workers know in case the person came back looking for their money. I hope they did! 

Technically we were in Key West for 5 days, but days 1 and 5 were travel days - coming in late and leaving early and so we only had 3 full days, which was more than enough for us.

We stayed at the Sheraton Suites Key West {also talked about a little here}. 

As it was our first time going to Key West, let alone driving there, passing through all the different islands and towns was truly exciting. The fun never wore off from when we got to Key Largo all the way to Key West.

Here's what we did during our first two days -- 

  • Frita's : Their chicken tacos are the best! Yangkyu loved their Cuban burgers. The woman who works there is so very friendly - we liked her and the vibe here so much, we went back on our last night at Key West.
  • The Best Coffee in Town on White Street : We stumbled upon this small shop because we needed to do laundry and it just happened to be right next to the one we went to. We tasted Cuban Coffee for the first time here and fell in love. We also enjoyed a ham, egg and cheese sandwich on Cuban bread and some authentic Cuban food we unfortunately can't remember the name of. The person who worked there was a little cold at first but warmed up to us and we went back about three more times to get coffee there and try different things. Very local feel.
  • Louie's Backyard Afterdeck : Only their outdoor deck/bar area is dog friendly and you cannot order food in that area. Only drinks. Not very friendly service.
  • Pepe's Cafe & Steakhouse : We had lunch here on the second day and it was super sunny and hot out. Pepe's has great outdoor seating area, which is dog friendly, and it's shady and cool even on the most sunny days. Service wasn't great but not horrible either. Also, we paid $6 (or $8?} for a fruit salad which ended up being so small and the fruit wasn't all that fresh but browned and old. Eecks. 
  • Duval Street : The first night we were in Key West, Duval Street wasn't as annoying as it was the second to last night we were there. We preferred Mallory Square over Duval Street where block after block just felt like one big drunken frat party. During the first night there, a drunk guy came up to me and Piri while Yangkyu was ordering food inside Frita's and he proceeded to make jokes about a dog being inside a stroller. I get this from time to time and so I just offered a small laugh in hopes he would just move along. But he decided somewhere between his last joke and me allowing it, that he felt he could go a bit further in being insulting and coating it as a joke. He proceeded to look at me {no.. maybe examine is a better word} and then to Piri and said "I mean you know, I thought it was a real baby in there. You know.. I felt bad because I thought it was like deformed.. *continues to examine me* like wrongly formed. Or maybe it has autism or something." My smile turned into a stone cold face. That's when he decided to walk away. A**hole.
  • The Dog Beach : This is right next to Louie's Backyard Afterdeck and is quite small {and dirty}. It's the only area in Key West where dogs are allowed on the sand and beach, leash free. Dogs are not allowed on any beaches in Key West. Piri got to enjoy a little bit of digging and sunbathed too, but Yangkyu was pretty disappointed as it really didn't have the feel of breaking out your beach towels and lounging there for hours on end. 
  • Higgs Beach Dog Park : Great dog park and it has separate areas for small dogs and big dogs. Piri played the introverted card, which I totally understand {INFJ here..}, but we met the friendliest people at this dog park. They made me even want to mingle and say hi. We went twice during our stay.
  • **Near Higgs Beach : I am not sure if there is a specific name to this place, but there is a huge sandy area in-between the AIDS memorial and the African Burial Ground near Higgs Beach where dogs were allowed to roam {a poop bag station is also on the premise}. We had a great time here as it was kind of something we were looking for - a nice sandy area, but unfortunately it wasn't exactly a beach.
  • American Dog Outfitters : We were greeted by a very rude male worker who told us to watch our dog because they had a couple of potty accidents {ok - so I actually do understand this and I always make sure Piri doesn't pee or any other accidents in pet stores, which he never does anyway but I always make sure, but the way he said it was just so off putting. This is what I kept on experiencing -- the way people said things were just really rude and crude. You can say anything to me, it's really the way you say it}. He then proceeded to talk about Chinese people to his colleague at the cash register while I was shopping. The woman at the cash register was friendly though and gave Piri a treat to take home. But overall it just left a bad taste in my mouth. I regretted shopping there afterwards {mostly Piri's food, treats and wipes}. 

Piri wasn't feeling too well during the first two days in Key West and so while it looks like we were doing a lot of different things, we were actually in and out of CVS and grocery stores and our hotel room more to have him rest and also make all sorts of meals in hopes that something would get him to eat {he was refusing to eat}. 

By the third day, he was feeling much better and eating as well and we were able to do more sightseeing. 

I apologize for these super long blog posts lately. I thought it would be better to get these done in a couple of posts rather than broken down into many. 

We'll be back with part 2 of our trip tomorrow!

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