We made it as far as Key Largo and I fortunately things changed for the much better, leaving my unpleasant attitude and disposition back on the mainland of tacky, generic, overbuilt Florida. As usual, a million things to say, but I always forget them when I start typing here.
But I really need to get down to the beach, which is a few feet away in this vintage set of cabins we are staying in right off Highway 1. The whoosh of traffic can be heard to the south from the nearby highway, while the rustle of palm trees can be heard above and the cry of some (large sounding tropical) birds can be heard right behind the little bungalow in which we're staying. I am so lucky that we found a clean little mom and pop like this versus the antiseptic Marriott down the road (replete with its themed Tiki Bar, designed, I'm sure, by someone that spent little time in Key Largo).
Unlike the hustle and bustle of angst filled Florida, the Conch Republic reminds me a lot of Bellingham with the laid back attitude and friendliness of people, and the fact that living here is the coolest place in the world. Unless of course you factor in the excessive drinking. But my views are a little skewed, as we found a series of bars that we went to last night - the last where the movie Key Largo was filmed and it didn't seem to acknowledge a closing time or last call, at least until we left around three as the band kept playing on.
I am glad that I am still in love with this place.