"the" Mrs. Astor

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Keys Trip 2

Half way down we stopped at a fishing and tackle shop (really a mall). Outside gracious cranes or egrets roamed around...
...and five foot long fish swam nearby. I got dizzy walking out on the long docks and we went into the shop.
Inside that enormous tackle shop was Ernest Hemingway's boat, El Pilar, which he used in Cuba.
We toured the inside...
...and even played with his old typewriter.
As I mention earlier, there was to be a terrifying trip the first night--the night I thought I would be bar-hopping in Key West. Susie wanted to take us on a tour and we went, first, to Big Pine Key; deer walk all around, I guess knowing they are a protected species. They have no fear of humans.
Scary. To me a wild deer is as endearing as a giant tarantula.
But Bambi was just looking for a juicy piece of romaine lettuce, probably a distinct treat considering the dry leaves she usually lives on.
Then we went of No Name Key. The residents have been arguing with each other for years about whether to have electricity brought to the island (electricity equals development). So they live a life of noisy, gas generators. Things like this flip me out. Susie then brought us to The No Name Pub (really on Big Pine Key, so there was electricity). Yet another kooky place I felt like a fish out of water in.
The inside is plastered with dollar bills left over the decades by customers. The bills hang from the ceiling and act as wallpaper, too. Anywhere else, this would be considered a fire hazard, a thought that never left my mind as I kept an eye on where the exit was.
We, of course, had to staple ours to the wall, too.
Hanging things in the Keys from the ceiling is rather common. In Key West we found a bar hanging license plates, bras, and business cards.
But, there were many precious buildings in Key West, like The Strand. How all these wood structures have survived the many decades of hurricanes amazed me.

In any event, I finally understood The Keys by the time we left and look forward to the next trip (especially since Palmer's gave us a free night on our next visit). That is something I definitely understand.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We arrived back from The Keys today. Although I am not given to impetuous behavior, Susie's suggestion that we just take off on the trip sounded like a good idea. You also have to imagine something: anyone who gets a nosebleed just crossing the causeway to the mainland must be temporarily insane to agree to travel three hours in the back of a Volkswagen Beetle. Although I originally thought we would travel directly to Key West, Susie had, instead, made reservations at Palmer's Resort Lagoon on Little Torch Key thirty miles north. I don't like rural or backwater places, and this was one of those. It was a quiet hamlet of vacation homes, fishermen, and trailer parks.
Palmer's was a compound of quaint, tidy cottages on a lagoon of the Gulf of Mexico and was filled with people who were suspiciously friendly and greeted you as if they had known you all their life. It was way too quiet for me; on the first afternoon--while the gang was smoking pot, drinking beer, and frolicking in the pool--I holed myself up in our cottage and watched Law and Order (wondering why I had not brought some Xanax). The panic attack eventually faded away and we went on a disturbing adventure that I will post later about.
On the second day, we finally made it to Key West. It is much more to my liking: a town of kooks, tourists, and drag queens. One of my favorite buildings there is the "southernmost house" in the United States, the 1897 mansion built by Judge Vinning Harris for his wife; it originally only had one, very large bedroom so they did not have to deal with guests. It is at Southermost Point, the tip of Key West that is closer to Havana than Miami.

There is also the magnificent Episcopal Church, first built in 1837 and rebuilt after the 1909 Hurricane.
We had a glorious lunch at Alonzo's Oyster Bar...
...and made our way to The Bourban Pub on Duvall Street, where I truly was back in my element.
On our way to Mallory Square to paid homage to good and bad, and then good again, times.
The sunset in Key West is one of the greatest tourist attractions and the crowd claps when it gently sets.
This morning I left Mr. Astor in bed and left the cottage at seven AM to go down to Honeymoon Point...
...to sit in one of those chairs and watch the sun rise. It turned out to be a lovely, impetuous vacation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The wonderful, spectacular dinner party for Larry's birthday party was the talk of the town. It is so soothing to know that there is still enough people who can rent an entire restaurant for the benefit of a group of friends; Larry and David have done this several times. Their dog, Spike, always rules from a seat of power. The night was wonderful, especially if you considered that the thirty people invited started to snarl and bite each other at the very start. Mamie and me kept a civil distance from the fray and laughed constantly at what we observed. We were, of course, a bit snobby, but were not going to embroil ourselves in anything that didn't come out of the kitchen.
Mrs. Stuyvesant-Fish and myself maintained an aloof table open to only members of Newport Society. We know this was wrong, but the facts of the evening proved that it is better to associate with whom you know at dinner and death, than to fend off others with a butter knife during the same time.
Striped are the rage as noted with me and Kendall.
If "Incest" was ever to have a face, this would be it. Our beloved friends at this table sort of live a reality, gay life-style that is the envy of all we know.
Shortly before the poisoned hat-pins and stilettos were pulled out, a nice group picture was taken. Many had fled by this time, but Mamie and I just laughed and laughed all night as the casualty list mounted before our eyes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We decided to take Henrietta out on a afternoon, Sunday adventure and ran into Ditmar and Ricky. They live in Fort Lauderdale now, and--not driving--can seldom get there.
I can't remember their names, but they were delightful; I spent a greater part of the afternoon wondering just which one for more girlish. I vote for the one on the right.

And, what a pleasure it was to run into my nephew, Jesse; we have not seen each other for two years and he once was one of the foundations of The Gay Seventh Calvary. It makes you wonder why you fall out of touch with such friends, but this a town of such distraction.
At the end of the day, we came home, threw our Diesel bags on the day bed in the living room and drifted into the well-known world of passing out.

Now, after a grand birthday dinner for Larry W., we are getting ready to attend to the other distractions of Twist, a place that has no limits in that category.

In the meantime, view this gem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WZGyzz5O-U

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Twist's Turnabout night turns a town that is normally crazy even more so; it entices the most masculine men to wear a wig and a dress. It boggles the most sane mind.

Mario...you are too, too much. Between the nipples, the booty, and the bottle, who could make an intelligent choice?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

More pictures will follow, but last night's Turnabout party turned the town inside out. Here, Twist owner, Richard Trainor, and Henrietta enjoy the moment. There's no time for more, because I am on the way to Twist to set up Henrietta's anniversary party. There is no end to it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

OK... My temporary bout with retirement has been rejected. I've been reminded that we are taking Henrietta to Twist's famed "Turnabout Night" later, where I will not be turning this year, but plenty of others will. And, of course, there is Henrietta's anniversary tomorrow, also at Twist. It was a brush with sanity that will probably not be realized any time soon.