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Key West Vacation—Day 1

~Sunday~  I was up at 4:45, I left for Joe's place at 5:15, and we were at the airport at shortly after 5:30.

We parked in the #4 (Orange) long-term parking lot, which started our day off with drama. Evidently, instead of just pushing a button to get a ticket in order to be let into the lot, you now have to insert a credit card to open the gate, and you have to use the same credit card to get out when you return. Not even going to think about what happens if you lose said credit card while traveling, because obviously this new system is for the convenience, not of the customer, but of the operating company.

For some reason my credit card wouldn't take. It kept saying that the transaction was illegal or some such crap, and when I pushed the "Help" button the help asked not one time, but three times if I was sure I was putting the card in face up with the magnetic strip to the right. He did vary the introductory clause to the same question slightly each time, as in "Are you sure you..." and "Did you check to see...", instead of only saying it louder and louder. After telling me my only option was to drive to one of the other long-term lots to try, I switched to my debit card, which it took on the first try.

The next issue was that once we were in, we couldn't see any pick-up stations where you go to stand to wait for the bus once you park. WTF? Then we realized, as it was still dark out, that the lights at the stations were not on, which of course then made us wonder if the buses were running that early or not. I immediately got on the "Call Box" and "pushed the red button," which did absolutely nothing. No matter how many times I pressed it, nor how much harder I banged on it each time. Not even going to think about the implications of that had I been being mugged or having a heart attack.

Joe was able to check in online yesterday, but I was rejected, which is the second time this has happened flying on Delta. I also couldn't check in at the kiosk at the airport, which is also what happened the last time, so I went to the counter. I asked the agent if I had something incomplete about my profile, or if I was just selected randomly for screening, and she said, "You were randomly selected."

Once noting our final destination of Key West, she asked what the weather was supposed to be like down there. Having pushed hurricane season out of my mind, I said, "Don't ask about the weather, girl," which as soon as I heard myself say it reminded me of the song, and I added, "Hopefully, it's raining men!"


Once finally getting on the shuttle bus, and successfully checking in, traveling on the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001 ended up being uneventful, which was quite the relief with all the media hoopla around the event. I posted this Facebook status during our layover:

Listening to the memorial list being read during my layover at Atlanta Hartsfield.



Joe and I had seats side by each on our Raleigh to Atlanta flight, but it wasn't as much fun as it could be as there weren't really enough characters sitting around us to give good names to, and it was too short a flight to get a good nap in.

On the Atlanta to Key West leg, we did not have seats together, and while I was looking forward to that little bit longer flight to get a nap in, that didn't happen because my seat was in the row in front of the exit row, and my seat didn't recline. I listened to the first half of the Unconditional Love podcast episode of This American Life, which was an interesting story about the adoption of a Romanian orphan by an American couple.



In Key West, we bypassed baggage claim as neither of us had checked anything, and we went directly to the taxi stand, where we'd already decided if there was a van at the front of the line, we would pass on it. There was, and we did.

We checked in, but our rooms weren't ready yet, so we went directly to the restaurant and bar by the pool and had our traditional, "We made it to the Island House" drink, and then had lunch.

Bloody Mary

That glass started off full, and it had three olives on it to begin with.



Just as we finished lunch, our rooms became ready, and shortly after getting in it, I took a nap until Happy Hour. Happy Hours at the Island House are daily, from 5:30 - 7:00, and all the drinks are free. They keep a tally and at the end present you a bill of what it would have cost you had you been paying, but the total is zeroes out, and the expectation is that you'll tip what you would have tipped had you been paying for it. It's a system that Joe and I like.

At said Happy Hour, someone that was here the last time Joe was here without me, joined our table—uninvited—and proceeded to spend the entire Happy Hour with us.



We did not venture out this evening, as it had been a long, long day.

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