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The Sun Burns

Last weekend we made our annual trip to the Keys, but this trip was anything but usual.

For one, I was actually old enough to go out and drink — and I had every intention of enjoying what the nightlife had to offer, even if that meant sitting around chatting and drinking non-virgin Pina Coladas.

It was also solely a girl’s trip this time around, with just me, mother dearest, Kit Kat and TK, as the boys traded it in to hunt birds in Jamaica. It was a trip we all needed, though, and we had every intention of enjoying every second of what could only be a weekend trip. (The joys of being a full-time worker. No more long vacations.) The plan was to sit back and relax with a good book by the pool, go to the beach, and of course go fishing.

But the only thing on that itinerary that we actually did was fish. And even that almost did not happen because Captain John did not have enough people sign up. Instead, the trip turned into a YOLO and #teamnosleep rendezvous really quickly.

After the initial disappointment that we couldn’t go out on Captain John, we spent our time that morning driving around from Pier to Pier on the small island looking for the Tortuga, which was another fishing charter boat that was recommended to us by John’s wife. Eventually, we found it and realised we had a few minutes to kill before they went out for their afternoon trip. So we bought a poolside, by the poolside, and then went walking downtown.

That’s when we met our friends at the T-shirt shop, who initially thought we were teenagers, (go figure), and were hesitant to tell us where we could go party that night until they found out our real ages.

We pretty much found the shore store of Key West that day, and little did we know it would set the tone for the rest of our weekend. (Everything happens for a reason, eh?)

The fishing trip was an experience in itself, as always, but this time the seas were much nicer to us. Still, a combination of seasickness and being squeamish kept mother dearest and Kat off the fishing rods for basically the entire trip. (Though mum did manage to catch a non-eating unicorn fish that changed its colour before being thrown back in.)

But thanks to me, we still had dinner for the night. I caught about 6 snapper, some yellowtail, some red, and a mangrove, which was more than enough for the four of us. I also reeled in a non-eating black-striped angelfish that gave me a pretty solid fight coming up. I wouldn’t say it was a successful day of fishing entirely, but certainly for me, it was good enough.

And if being in the sun for the half-day fishing trip was not enough to keep us in bed that night, we decided to suck it up and hit Duval Street. We met up with our shore store friends at Fat Tuesdays, where the rum was running and the vibes were nice, and it was all just pure clean fun. (Even mother dearest was on the dance floor with us.) The worry-free aura was reminiscent of Jamaica, which may be why we loved it so much.

Did I already mention that everyone in Key West loves Jamaicans?

The next day we went on the “Ultimate Adventure”, which was a trip that took us parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking, rock-climbing (in the water) and snorkeling. And we literally got to do all of that.

Hence, ultimate adventure. 

Needless to say for a girl who loves the water, it was perfect. I somehow managed to convince mother dearest, who is deathly afraid of heights, to parasail with me. And she also held on tightly to my life jacket as a maxed out the speed on the jet ski. The snorkeling was fun too, even though it did not really compare to the snorkel I did at the Great Barrier Reef, but who expects that anyway.

We made more friends on the trip too, and arrangements to go out that night to listen to some live music by a local band. All was good until we got back to the hotel and realised we all got unbelievably burnt — all except for TK, that is, who kept reapplying her sunblock as I guess you are supposed to.

For the rest of us, though. The burn was real. (And I don’t mean the one we felt in our arms from kayaking or our legs from swimming.)

I literally felt like I was caught in a house fire. My skin burned for the rest of the trip, so much so that we didn’t get to rent scooters on Sunday and ride around the island like we had planned. The sun that day was my worst enemy. Even the slightest and shortest exposure brought about the most intense burning sensation. I swear everyone could look at me and see the steam slowly pouring out of my pores.

Now, a few days later, and after an amazing and much-needed trip, I am slowly recovering. My skin already began peeling, and I can barely feel the heat anymore from my super-cold-for-absolutely-no-reason office.

And even though we barely did any relaxing, I can’t say I mind. The trip was definitely worth a few hours less of sleep.

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