It’s five o’clock somewhere..

“An’ pour me somethin’ tall an’ strong,
make it a “Hurricane” before I go insane.
It’s only half-past twelve but I don’t care.
It’s five o’clock somewhere”

Throughout our 18 months away, the line from the Jimmy Buffet song ‘It’s five o’clock somewhere’ has pretty much accompanied us as we contemplate whether it’s too early for a boozy frozen concoction!  Good job I enjoy a Margarita as we were heading for Southern Florida where its always ‘five o’clock somewhere..’

By now if you’ve been reading my blogs you’ll know I cry far too much, so you can imagine my tears leaving our super hosts Billy & Mel, good neighbours Dale & Libby and our fabby friends Susan & Keith and Willie & Susan. But most of all I cried leaving Puerto Escondido knowing our 18 month trip was coming to an end and we would be heading back to reality of life in the UK and work all over again, our travel purse was empty. Yes, yes, I know I’ve been ridiculously spoiled by not working all this time but I’ve gotten rather used to it!

But before our return home, we had another month of travel to enjoy. Flying from Puerto we waved to the Interjet staff lined up on the scorching hot runway, flew the quick 1 hour to Mexico City and then changed for a pleasant 3 hour jaunt to Miami. My sister Liz and brother in law Derek were meeting us for a 2 week Florida vacation. Although we have had Skype calls while we’ve been away, I was very excited to see my big sister again. We amused all the arrivals crowd as we hugged, laughed and of course had some happy tears as I abandoned my luggage for our reunion.

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Derek had already picked up the hire car – a huge Town & Caravan big enough for all our luggage and passengers. After a night in Miami we headed down to stay in the Florida Keys for a few days. Although the sun didn’t shine on us that day and the sea wasn’t quite as bright green, we still enjoyed the view of fishing boats, stunning houses on the waters edge and counting down the miles to the next t-shirt outlet mall!

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The beautiful Florida keys are 120 miles of islands of various sizes, connected together like a string of shiny pearls by bridges, including the famous 7 mile bridge and the US1 highway runs all the way to the end of the road at mile marker 0 in Key West.

Hotel prices in the Keys are ferociously expensive but with Airbnb we had found a great value, quirky place to stay called Secret Garden House located on Big Pine Key, where tiny deer run free and there are funky places to eat like the No Name Pub. It’s all very laid back in flip flops and days in the Keys are totally relaxed.

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On a gorgeous sunny day we visited Bahia Honda Park for sunbathing, swimming and a Brits on holiday picnic. The sand was white, the sea was all sorts of luminous shades of green and it was a perfect beach day.

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Key West at the very bottom of the continental US, was a short 30 minute drive south and we spent a glorious day on the beach with a picnic where the snorkeling was cloudy but the water was lovely and warm. Key West is the place to party, the action takes place on Duval Street where there are plenty of bars, restaurants ( including the original Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville) and an anything goes club scene, some are clothing optional! Even the Cock a Doodle Doos roam free here.

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Ernest Hemingway lived here in his latter years for a while and every year Key West hosts a looky-likey Hemingway contest, I saw couple of bearded salty dogs that would place in the top 3 for sure! At sunset, tourists congregate at Mallory Square where artists perform, stalls sell crafts and people watch the sun go down as yachts and party boats cruise by.

From the Keys we drove across Alligator Alley through the Everglades to East Florida, but not before stopping off for an speedy airboat ride.

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At Everglades City we got the wind in our hair as we whizzed through red mangrove corridors and our airboat captain expertly negotiated the glades, stopping to show us wildlife along the way. We only saw one alligator, she looked pretty hungry and we kept our arms firmly inside the airboat, as in her time it’s always ‘five o’clock somewhere!’

Coming up Cape Coral

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