Day 1, Part II: Arriving in Key Largo

We passed through Mia­mi Beach — stop­ping briefly to eat lunch and wan­der into the shops as it rained. Peo­ple are very friend­ly here — even in Benet­ton! I made Pres­ley take off her shoes and pop into the surf… rain or no rain. One odd thing we noticed about South Beach was the copi­ous num­bers of scoot­ers motor­ing around. Very odd indeed, but it makes per­fect sense to own one here, in the sun, where the streets are rel­a­tive­ly small and slow. No hel­mets!

We then head­ed down towards the Keys, down that crowd­ed strip-mall heav­en that is Route 1. We passed by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mia­mi, and I briefly con­sid­ered what col­lege in such a place would have meant. The strip malls thin out a bit head­ing south, but they real­ly don’t stop until you cross into the Keys, only to pick up again as you approach Key Largo. We checked into our room at the West­in Key Largo, at MM 97. It’s a beau­ti­ful resort in the mid­dle of a sub-trop­i­cal for­rest. Pres­ley remarked that it was the nicest hotel room she has stayed in.

Con­sult­ing our guide­book, The Flori­da Keys, Joy Williams guid­ed us to Ballyhoo’s, a lit­tle shack in the medi­an of the high­way near our hotel. Clear­ly not as attrac­tive to tourists, as it’s not on the water, Ballyhoo’s serves excel­lent fish. I had the fresh caught Mahi-Mahi, pre­pared Men­si­uere-style, and Pres­ley ordered the Caribbean pan-fried Scal­lops. And both were two of the most deli­cious dish­es I’ve ever tast­ed.

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