talk dirty to me so I can see

Airport toilet paper. You know, that ever so soft, plush, feels good on your ass stuff. The close your eyes and imagine it gently wiping the shit off as it glides over... OK, that is hurting my virgin ears, stop! Next topic please! Last night while I was searching for my camera charger, I found a pair of eye glasses from two prescriptions ago (roughly 3 years and I think the same as I have in my snorkel mask). I thought, “Hmm, I'll bring these along as a backup just in case.” So I tried them on. Holy crap, I could see again. My last eye doctor appointment did not go too well. I was nervous, sweating like a pig and almost passed out. Yes, I hate doctors and I cannot stand anything near my eyes. I have almost passed out watching someone else put contacts in. The net at my last visit was the Doc telling me that he could only correct my vision to a degree and it would not be 20/20. All based on that “is 1 better... or 2” method which is airport toilet paper. I accepted, shelled out way too much money for a new pair of glasses and went on my airport toilet paper way. Back to last night. I switched back and forth between my current prescription and this old pair a few times. I was still convinced that the old prescription allowed me to see in greater detail at a distance. The new (relative new) pair was ok at distance and complete airport toilet paper close up. I decided that I would need to drive in the older pair to determine if it was the beer, the correcter (making up words) prescription or airport toilet paper. I'm still sporting the oldest pair, drove to the airport in them in a constant worry that I would have a headache after an hour. Here we are, 8 hours since I put them on and I'm feeling nothing like airport toilet paper. This is probably not a fair test though as I'm 3 beers and 2 bloody marys into this vacation, so I'll give it some more time. Worst case, I have my newer pair and absolute worst case, my snorkel mask. That shall be all for now, I'll let you return to whatever airport toilet paper thing you were doing. Cheers!

Oh the hats in Chi – happy new year

The beginning. Pajama party. The end. 2013. You have been good to me. Challenging. But good. Thank you 2013. Dear 2014, you better be fucking amazing. And epic. And completely amazing. And epic. My third year in Chi for New Years, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's snowing out, the air is thick with alcohol. It's New Year's! It's a stay in party. An all week prep for a warm cozy night with old friends and new friends, all good friends. I love this crowd. Especially when they put up with my southern ways. What a spread. The food, simply amazing. The wine. The beer. The whiskey (see, they do know the southern boy). North side Chi-town hardwood floors. Perfectly cleaned with love and elbow grease. The reward. Purple Cowboy! The whole place smelled of heaven. It's the end of the year. It's actually an end to a lot more. It's a start of a new year. A start of a new adventure. They say you can either sink or swim. And I say that you cannot do either if you don't get in the water. So I jump in. My life is changing drastically in the next few weeks, and in times like these, traditions of being with true friends as the ball drops, yeah - that's what keeps me alive and awake. He drinks a whisky drink The future is not always certain. But I do know that the days will march on. And if I choose to not react and simply let time fly by. And if I choose to have no passion. And if I choose to be in the audience rather than the show. Well, then. Fuck me, I'm screwed. He drinks a vodka drink People are real. I swear. Cross my heart. I just found out myself, therefore will completely understand if you have a hard time believing me. Really, they are living and breathing the same air as you. Even in 3D (without any special glasses), which is pretty cool if you ask me. But because of this, it also means they can get hurt. Which also means that they will bleed. It can happen. He drinks a lager drink Men shoveling snow. It's still snowing. Are you chasing your tail? Is anything ever complete? Back home it is leaves. Do I rake every time a leaf falls or do I wait until they are all laying dead on the ground.  If you wait, will the sun melt the snow, the wind blow the leaves away. I don't have time to wait. It must be now. He drinks a cider drink Smile. Do you know how fucking much it means to someone when you smile at them. Even if it's just a friendly passing smile in the airport. There's energy. Compassion. Love. A simple "Hey, how are you.?" Get your heads out of your text message. In person. Be there. In the NOW! He sings the songs that remind him I think this year has taught me one big lesson Love me, hate me, I don't care. But regardless, I will love you in some capacity. I've had the deepest conversations with people I had never met before. Partially because I just wanted to talk. Something on my mind. I'll never see them again, so what does it matter. I no longer believe in bull shit. Let it come out. You have friends and family when it becomes a life issue. But really, who is to say that a random stranger can't offer another view point that opens up the reality and help. Unbiased. Honest. True. Brutal sometimes. Of the good times Southern comfort. Some nights. I count my blessings every day that I wake up in a bed. And every cup of coffee I pour myself. And every pair of jeans I pull over my tired feet. He sings the songs that remind him Maybe I don't have the best plan. But I have a plan. And that plan is to work hard and play hard. And worker harder. And I refuse to go down without trying. And if I fail. Well. Then I try again. And if I fail. Well. Then I try again. And one day... Of the better times The year 2014 will not be easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But. It will be real. And real is what I want. Need. Crave. So here's my real. Right in front of me. And I cannot do this without family and friends. Those that listen to my crazy ideas and support me. They may not believe in ny ideas, but they believe in me. It's balls to the wall. It's try to keep up or I'll leave you in my dust. To the hats in Chi, I love you. I live on the edge of insanity. You put up with me. I may act irresponsible. I'm the most grounded person you will probably ever meet. I got this shit. Yes, I fuck up often. I'll admit that when it happens. I'm out there. Trying. For me. If you want to go for a ride, hop in. Cheers & Happy New Year, Me (10)

Push

Ten minutes until the next train. Silence in the station. That guy over there, probably just looking to get out of the elements. The lady with the stroller, gently rocking it back and forth as her child gently sleeps. Her, fashion diva, long thin legs decked out in matte black boots. Him, his suit without a wrinkle, perfectly done bow tie. And then it came. The train. Air rushing out of the tunnel, first barely a breeze. Then whipping to hurricane like forces as the train nears. Push. Push the air. Steel beast guided by tracks that feed the heartbeat of the city. Push the air out of the confines of the hole you speed through. The hole carved out of stone. Blue sparks light the darkness as you rush to stop. I step onto your floor and you push again. But now I am inside and can no longer feel your power. Only the gentle rocking, like I am in the stroller. And the silence becomes the click clack of your wheels on the rails. And the air you push touches someone else at the next station.

This doesn’t suck

What happens when you step onto a 45' cat with 8 people you don't know and sail close to 100 miles in a week off the coast of a country roughly the size of New Hampshire? "This doesn't suck" "...isn't fun the best thing ever?" "Everything that kills me... makes me feel alive" "Has anyone ever seen a baby pigeon in NYC?" Destination, off the coast of Placencia in the Stann Creek District, Belize, Central America. Except for the first day and last day of my ten day escape, there was no internet, no phone, no television; my virgin unplug from the world exercise. I am often criticized for traveling alone. It's not safe. You will be lonely. What if something happens to you? None of these are true. Although a guy I met at the airport waiting for my return flight described Belize City as a shit hole, Placencia, on the other hand, was full of laid back wonder and amazement. And I met many awesome people. From Ana at Laru Beya where I stayed the first and last night who is now a texting friend (think old school pen pals) to Charlie. She was from Whales and staying at Toms Cove for three weeks for advanced dive certifications and gave me the biggest hug when I left in the dinghy and she completed final checks of her gear before embarking on her first ever night dive. Of course there was Captain David and First Mate Patries. Their expert sailing experience saved us from a late night storm that caused our anchor to lose hold. We were heading straight for the reef. I'm not sure how they were able to navigate and reset the anchor in the pitch black night with 40 mph wind and pouring rain, but they did, and I'm still here to tell the story. I cannot forget my sailing mates. Todd and Rhonda, Wes, George and Diane, and Jim. We stepped on the boat at 5 PM Saturday and by Sunday morning, after the first night on the boat, had a well oiled machine of social interaction and fun. The problem, though, is that so much happened. I set out to, as I typically do, with the plan to blog about everything. The problem? I can't. I can't find the words. I've talked to a few people, I've shared the photos with my kids. But every time, another story comes to mind. I went camera crazy during the beginning of the trip, but as the week went on, I found myself taking fewer and fewer pictures. I started to breathe slower, I started to observe more. While I came back with over 1000 photos, they were whittled down to a little over 400. Every one of them has a story. I was disappointed in most of the underwater ones, not sure what happened to the settings on my camera this time. Even the ones that did turn out decent will never capture the true beauty. The 64 million shades of blue. The way the sky blends into the water. The rich purples of fan coral. The blues and yellows of trigger fish. Only the naked eye can truly see the colors, your Retina display has nothing on what I saw! The best I can do is to share a few memorable experiences of the thousands I had. 1. I swam with sharks. Nurse sharks to be exact. Yes, I had a few irregular gasps for air in the snorkel at first, but after that, seeing them glide under me so gracefully, it was relaxing. My mask has prescription lenses in it, but they are not exact, so my depth perception in the water is a little off. I found out after we were out of the water that the depth was only 4-5 feet and those sharks, yeah, a foot below me. 2. Eagle rays are magnificent creatures. Six foot wingspan gliding right under me, I could feel the push of the water. 3. Sea to table. Harvesting conch which turned into the 1st course for dinner as conch ceviche. 4. Eating the conch "nerve" which legend has it, is a natural Viagra. This turned into "Oh Patries, I'm feeling a little frisky" and a great laugh for everyone on board. 5. Intro dive. In 40 feet of water, I made it to a depth of 2 feet. Time for certification this year for sure. 6. Lion fish are invading the reef, eating everything and laying 20,000 eggs every 4 days. Polly, who owns and manages Tom's Cove has a license to spear them. Lion fish ceviche rocks as did the snook and coconut rice pilaf she served on Wednesday night. 7. I missed the boat. Well, the dinghy. Stepping from the cat to the dinghy, yeah, a really good miss as I went straight into the water. I was laughing so hard that I couldn't lift myself out of the water into the dinghy. No one let me live that down and I was asked numerous times to provide demonstrations for boarding a dinghy. 8. Night swimming. I will not reveal whether I had clothes on or not. 9. Night snorkeling. Splashing the water to see the phytoplankton light up and millions of baby fish swimming about. I was asked on numerous occasions to get out of the water and go to bed. I could not get enough of it. 10. You may think taking a walk in the park holding hands is romantic. Nah! Try holding hands "taking a walk" on water, uh, snorkeling. Where burping in your snorkel is OK and blowing boogers into the water after your "walk" is acceptable. All while having garlic breath after a yummy lunch. Yeah, the next person who is lucky enough to go out on a date with me... this is your warning! I came back. I came back alive. I was extremely land sick. It is a true thing that happens. Even a week later, I still cannot close my eyes in the shower without feeling like I'm going to fall down. I also came back having had time to think. Reaching inner peace as the boat rode gentle 12 foot swells on the open ocean. But the strangest thing that I came back with is that every single magical moment I experienced, I kept saying to myself, "She would love this!" She would love the open water and beautiful blues, the black of the night and the rays dancing on the water at sunrise. The gentle rocking of Mother Nature. "Lately I been, I been losing sleep Dreaming about the things that we could be But baby I been, I been prayin' hard Said no more counting dollars We'll be counting stars" ~ OneRepublic, Counting Stars "Sail away with me honey I put my heart in your hand Sail away with me honey now, now, now Sail away with me, what will be will be I wanna hold you now, now, now" ~ David Gray, Sail Away "When you're happy like a fool Let it take you over When everything is out You gotta take it in" ~ OneRepublic, Good Life "And I drink to that." ~ Rihanna, Cheers (Drink to That) The photo albums: Belize 2013

44 hours

Wednesday 14:35 AST - Who was the munchkin head that booked this travel? Ponce is two hours from San Juan. By cab. 75 miles. $135 plus a tip. Oops! Thank god I didn't have to ask the cabbie to stop so I could pee. But good things come out of everything. My cabbie invited me over to his house for breakfast if I called him for my return trip to San Juan. Things you shouldn't do while traveling? Probably! I tend to trust cabbies with my life even though I hate not being in control of a vehicle moving 20 miles an hour over the speed limit. No matter where I am. But especially when we are navigating through [gorgeous, lush] mountainous terrain. I did get a glimpse of The Teats of Cayey... sexy... Cayey is known as "La Ciudad del Torito" (town of the little bull) and "La Ciudad de las Brumas" (city of the fog). Her peaks are nice. Time to move on. As we drove [ridiculously fast] south, the terrain became more arid, almost desert like and reminded me of Aruba. Are we there yet? cayeylg Wednesday 16:30 AST - Welcome home for 40 hours of my 44 hours in Puerto Rico. Where's the rum? Ah, shit. I have a conference call to attend to. And then actual work to do? That's all right in my book. These working conditions are much better. The beauty of being remote is that my office is determined by "is there internet?" All these years of complaining/wishing/hoping for an *ideal* climate of 70's at night and 80's by day is answered yet again. Put the lime in the coconut! Thursday 06:45 AST - Good morning.  Should I lace this cup of coffee with rum? No, work to do first, then hit downtown for a little sight seeing and then back to work before painting the town after dinner. Thursday 12:05 AST - Break from work. I asked the hotel to call a cab and take me downtown. "We don't recommend our guests go downtown during Justas." I had to ask and found out that it's spring break for Ponce University. Mardi Gras times 10. OK, you just made me want to go even more by telling me that you do not recommend it. In the cab I go. Thursday 12:25 AST - It's raining cats and dogs so I duck into a New York style pizza joint for a slice and to wait out the rain. What? NY pizza in the islands? Hey, a boy has to eat and it was the closest escape from the rain. Once it cleared up, I roamed around being the tourist and snapping pictures. The architecture is absolutely lovely. I just love this shot. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Thursday 14:29 AST - Back to the hotel to work for a bit, grab dinner and make that decision that usually I regret. Thursday 21:02 AST - Cabbing it back downtown, don't get arrested, that's the only rule. Friday 06:15 AST - I'm in my hotel, I honestly do not recall a thing from last night. This could be good, it could be bad. I'm alive though. I really should stop doing that sort of thing. When you just go, immerse yourself, lose yourself. I would be a great candidate for a pick pocket or scam artist during these times. I know it was loud with lots of music, and I know there were shit tons of people, shoulder to shoulder. But that's it. No recollection of the cab ride back to the hotel, if in fact I took a cab. I can only hope that at some point in the evening, I bought a beautiful lady a drink and said cheers. In my broken nonexistent Spanish. And hopefully I did not tell her I love her long time. Since I had no data on my phone, I cannot do the old school way and look at where I checked in and my random status updates on FaceBook, so it's just off to write it down as "I did something in Ponce during Justas 2013." Friday 11:35 AST - Time to go, it's been fun, it's been real, see you soon!

I ain’t your mama’s guacamole

I stand in front of the window watching the shadow of a hawk in the grass, circling. Around and around it goes, waiting on some unsuspecting prey to swoop down and sink it's sharp talons into the steaming hot flesh of another creature. It's eat or be eaten. This has been one heck of an intense week. Designing for documented requirements is easy, to listen to the business and interpret their future needs and undocumented requirements and design for it, yeah, not so much. But it's done, for the most part. And everyone walked away happy. And I got an extra hour in some super warm southern California sunshine. I properly executed this extra time on the patio of a local sports bar. What happened though, is that I was once again working on other things. I have an addiction to crowd funding, start ups and conceptual ideas lately. So I took some personal time to satisfy those needs and I realized something. I miss my kids terribly, six more days before I can hug them with all that I am. And then it dawned on me, tomorrow is my six year anniversary of traveling and consulting. That's a long freaking time. The thing is, I still love it. Does it take me away from my kids more that I want sometimes, yes. Does it provide for them, yes. Does it excite me, yes. Would I change it, no. So happy 6th to me from me. And I offer you what has kept me [relatively] sane through six years of traveling. 1. Leave a penny somewhere hidden in EVERY hotel room you stay in. 2. Buy  a shot glass from every airport you end up in (Not sure what you do with them after that, I have hundreds) 3-10. Put your heart in it, do it for you and enjoy every freaking stinking minute of it - or you will never be happy [with whatever you do].  

Cruise: 120 miles in 5 hours

What's an east coast boy supposed to do on a Sunday afternoon on the west coast after getting a crash pad in Santa Monica and hanging out drinking and eating with two friends I haven't seen in probably over two years? Drive. As I left, the only words of caution were to watch out for Prius drivers. Since they had paid their eco points, they were not required to obey all traffic laws. I jumped in my little Nissan Altima rental and headed for the Pacific Coast Highway, California State Route 1. Windows down. Music cranked. GPS on, but I couldn't hear it over the music, and got a little lost on the first attempt. When you get lost, you should turn around and start over, but stop at a hotel and ask for proper directions. I seemed to have got caught up around LAX and took a wrong turn. Redo. I should have rented a mid-life crisis car, but my little Nissan had plenty of spunk and a heck of a lot better on gas mileage. I did enjoy drooling at all of the fast cars along the way, plenty of 911s, R8s, Esprit, jacked up Hummers, and a boat load of vintage american classics. I ran seventy miles of the over 650 miles of road with a few side trips along the way and a 30 mile drive back to the hotel. Sometime barely a crawl stuck in traffic, sometimes barreling down the road at 75 mph, it was fun. Plain stupid pointless fun. Never was this on my bucket list, but once I made it back to the hotel, I penciled it in and checked it off (partially). To truly check this one off, it has to be in a mid-life crisis car and it has to be the whole shebang. From Santa Monica to Laguna Beach was pretty much the same, little towns with expensive shops and food, lot's of beach, boats, booze (and traffic). After Laguna beach it was cliffs and crashing waves. Winding roads and up and down. I made it to Dana Point and started running out of steam after 3 days with little more than 8 hours of sleep total. It was time to head back after a refreshing drink. What came out of this day? A list of fun driving tunes. 1. What's My Age Again by Blink-182 2. Mountain Sound by Of Monsters and Men 3. Trojans by Atlas Genius 4. Somebody That I Used To Know by Goyte Feat Kimbra 5. Radioactive by Imagine Dragons 6. Alive by POD 7. Midnight City by M83 8. Ho Hey by The Lumineers 9. Tongue Tied by Grouplove And the best for last... 10. Some Nights by Fun Cheers my friends!

Never never never!

So I'm stuck in Buffalo, NY. It's just a slight annoyance with travel, I don't get upset, I don't go off at the gate agents, I don't curse the airline. I do hate sleeping in airports, though, so sometimes travel becomes "I don't get there when I want to." Every once in awhile, travel delays lead to great stories. Even more rare, travel delays let you overhear a conversation that makes you go "what the eff!" I'm back at the hotel, what better to do but sit at the bar, have a drink, eat some food and get a little but of work done so that I don't get behind. There is always a distraction. The dude next to me showed up after I had been planted in my seat for roughly 30 minutes. Normal. He sat down, was presented a menu and picked up his phone. The conversation went like this... "Hello honey. I just finished checking into the hotel and now I'm at the hotel restaurant. I have the menu and everything looks pretty good." "It's raining again." "OK, I'm going to order, I love you." Then [my favorite Buffalo] bartender comes up to him and takes his order. He watches the hockey game on TV. He picks up his phone. "Hi, honey." "Yes, I ordered." "I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with fries. Oh, and a Sam Adams." "Yes, they had other things like burgers with avocado and some chicken dishes, but a bacon burger sounded good." "OK, I love you." He continues to watch the hockey game. His food arrives. Next phone call. "Hello honey. I got my burger, it looks good. I love you, too." He hangs up, watches the game while eating. Another phone call. "Hi honey, the burger is really good. I put a little extra ketchup on it. The fries were salty enough, but I did put a tad bit of pepper on them." "I love you." He hangs up. He dials again. "I have finished my dinner honey, but I still have a bit of Sam Adams left." "I'll probably just sip on it and watch a little more of the game. I love you." Hangs up. Dials again. "The bill wasn't too bad, I charged it to my room. I love you." "Yes, I am going to my room now." "I'll call you when I get there. I love you." He finally left. And I just have to wonder. If ever (never, never, never) were I to be in a situation where there was that much micro management in a relationship, I think I would... It would be ugly. Really ugly. And there would be a lot of cleanup from my head splattering all over the living room floor. Here's to another Gin and Tonic!

Tales from The Conch Republic

It's getting cold at home and four days isn't long enough for the Caribbean, what's the next closest place? None other than Key West. Snorkel gear packed and I'm heading south. "It's a short runway, we are in a big bird, we'll be touching down hard and stopping fast," says the captain of flight 3210. He was not kidding! But before that even happened, my adventures had started. 1. For 55 minutes from Tampa to Key West, the seat next to me was occupied by none other than the loving wife of Cowboy Charters. She did a great job convincing me to take a full day fishing trip on their 36' Hatteras in search of marlin and tuna. I would consider. At the time, I had nothing planned for Friday. I checked in at one of the nicest Doubletree's I've stayed in. I really wanted to stay in some little bed and breakfast close to Duval, but when you are traveling on points, you can't be too picky. Either way, it's a nice hotel and offers free shuttles to downtown and airport pickup and it was my home away from home for the next 4 days. Unpacking to me means unzipping the suitcase, pulling out my trusty day pack and packing it with camera, notebook, odds and ends of other little stuff and a book to read (just in case I get to feeling unsociable). First stop, Sloppy Joe's. You cannot go to Key West without stopping at this iconic bar. No longer in it's original location (that would be where present day Captain Tony's is), you can have a drink where Hemingway used to party. Try the Mile Marker Zero Pale Ale, it's pretty tasty. The story is that in 1937, the rent was going to increase in the original location and Joe Russell refused to pay. He did what any bar owner would have done, asked all his patrons to grab their drink and anything that wasn't nailed down and move to a new location. More on this move a little later, there was something that was sort of nailed down that ended up in a rather interesting location. The rest of Wednesday involved meeting random people at a couple of different bars, talking, cinnamon whiskey shots and lots of laughter. Although I travel alone, I very rarely find myself alone. People are friendly (usually) because we are "One Human Family". There was one small group of 6 that I ran into multiple times during the evening, each time, we had to celebrate the reuniting with another shot. Lucky for me, my last stop was only 1/2 block to the hotel shuttle pickup location, that was the longest 1/2 block I think I've ever walked stumbled. 2. Thursday was adventure day to be spent under the sea, or floating on top of it. I originally had three separate snorkel trips booked, the first morning snorkel, however, did not have enough people signed up to go out. Lucky for me, there were options. A quick change in reservations by the most accommodating staff at Fury and I was heading out on an Island Adventure. All trips start with the debriefing, how to use the head, safety, itinerary, etc. and every boat I've been on includes the most important safety tip of all, "If you see the crew put on a life vest and grab a bottle of rum, do the same." As we left port, the captain received reports that the reef had 3-4 foot seas and would be too rough to snorkel in plus low visibility. We opted for an area known as The Lakes which has some coral growth, but mostly sea grass and a depth ranging from 5-30 feet. It' a group of grassy flat banks that completely encompass a shallow lagoon. The lagoon runs from Mule Key to Boca Grande Key and visibility is generally good. The water, although calm, was still a little rough so I only stayed in about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, I was not able to get any good photos this trip, but I did see a couple of nurse sharks and plenty of sting ray. I also learned that the nurse shark is one of the few sharks that can respire while stationary by pumping water through their mouths and out gills. This allows them to play the sit and wait game, I love interesting facts! 3. After lunch it was into the ocean kayaks. I've never done this before and was a little nervous. I was paired with John, the odd man out in a group of 3 (there were only 6 of us plus 2 crew, so it was a very cool social experience as well, and lots of eco educational fun facts from the crew). Our guide filled up a cooler full of beer and off we went. The water depth dropped to about 3 feet as we enter the mangroves. We stopped frequently to observe heron and osprey and this really cool bird, I think it was an anhinga. Regardless, these birds swim under water better than they can fly, using their wings like fins. With the full moon and high tide, there were a lot of little paths through the mangroves where we got stuck and had to back it on up. I learned that mangrove trees are actually fresh water trees that filter the salt out through their roots. Which aren't all really roots. Some are branches that hang down into the water to siphon water. Then there are sacrificial leaves that form salt crystals as it is removed from the water. Really neat if you ask me. And really cool to be surrounded by a canopy of trees in a kayak, leisurely rowing along. 4. We moved against the wind rowing back to the catamaran and the wind and current certainly had picked up. The beer didn't help and most of us had to pee pretty bad. After over an hour of kayaking, my arms were a tad on the sore side. We all made it back and relieved ourselves before popping the top on another cold one and our leisurely ride back to port. We saw a sea turtle, the dude must have been five feet long, one couple missed it, U-Turn! 5. Recognize this beach? Think Office Space. Sunset Key Island. 6. Ah the quest for a sunset. Port bow and I'm happy in 5 foot seas. Thoroughly soaked after mooring, I move aft to the boat bar. Everyone was laughing. Well, and also asking me if I enjoyed the 7 mile trip. Hell yeah! It was an awesome ride - they were all dry as could be - I. Had. Fun. Moored at North America's only reef with 4-5 foot seas, yeah, they can get in and snorkel, I'm hanging with the captain and kicking back a few cold ones followed by some rum rum rum punch. Here's a brief video before we hit the big waves and I needed both hands to hang on. 7. You cannot go any further! 8. To continue the Sloppy Joe's story (see #1)... I take you to Ernest Hemingway. You can read the full history on the official website, I'll just give you the cool little fact that I learned. So this picture is a cat drinking fountain. Yes, I saw polydactyl cats. There are about 45 cats on the property, a little under 1/2 have 6 toes or more. Back to the story. The rumor is that after Hemingway returned from a trip as a reporter during the Spanish Civil War, he found a pool in the back yard. Upset about the extreme cost of said pool, he reportedly gave Pauline his last penny which is embedded in the flagstone pavers near the pool. But it gets better. Well, if you look closely at the "fountain" you will notice that it is a male urinal. The fountain-urinal apparently came from the original Sloppy Joe's location when Joe Russell moved the bar due to increased rent, the only thing removed from the original location that was "sort of" nailed down. Hemingway put it in the garden to "get back" at Pauline for the expensive pool. She, being the fashion diva high society woman she was, decorated it with expensive tile and found a rather large Spanish vase that would create a cat fountain. 9. Just10Bars is born. Except I didn't quite make it. Technically I made it to 10, but that's not entirely accurate. Sort of. Two are just not on the map, Coyote Ugly and a hole in the wall Cuban bar & cafe (which 2 bartenders at different joints had not heard of, and their bars were within a two minute walk from this little gem). But three of them were on Wednesday, and the rules "were" to be all in one day. So I failed, but my liver is probably thanking me. I did find out thought, that my defeat is not that bad as there are over 270 liquor licenses in the 2 mile by 4 mile island they call Key West, most of which are concentrated around Duval and Front Street. Even if I had done 10 in one day, I would not have even scratched the surface. View Pub Crawl Key West in a larger map 10. Saturday came fast, time to return to the real world. I terribly missed the kids and the dog. Key West International Airport sports the world's only beach bar. For real! There's an outdoor section next to gate 6 with sand and tables and a little boardwalk type thingy. All in the name of the tourists, oh well, it's still fun! I'll be back, but not until after I discover some new destinations. Oh, the full photo albums are available. Cheers!