Monday, August 15, 2005

Back to reality

(Sunrise. Leaving Key West, bound for Dayton)

The decision to go to Key West was a quick one, but one I am glad I made. 24 hrs after I made it, I was somewhere between Miami and Key West in a shiny red rental car, the shiniest thing I had seen in months.

For some reason I hate the word surreal, but there is no better word to describe my 3 hr drive to Key West for a funeral. It was a sort of reverse culture shock. At the dock in Puerto Cabezas the previous day, amid the sailors and hookers, I was concerned with nothing more than getting on a boat. On US 1 in the Keys I joined the pilgrammage of speeding tourists, zipping along through waves of sunshine and showers. Where, trying to locate and regulate the wipers on my rental car, deciding to stop at Arby's or McDonald's, recalling the words to "Old Black Water," and trying to come to terms with the "real" world, were my concerns.

I decided on McDonald's. I nearly thanked the smiling face behind the counter with a "gracias." In the restroom I hovered nervously before throwing toilet paper in the toilet (In Central America the plumbling can't handle paper and must be discarded in the trash).

In Key West the surreality (I hope that is not actually a word because I really hate it) continued. KW is a place where I am used to riding my bike around looking for hidden restaurants and giving dive briefings. On this trip I searched for funeral homes and gave a eulogy.

Despite the strangeness and the shock of it all, I had a pleasant time in Key West. I spent the week sharing stories about Ralph, whose ashes we scattered at sea as the sun set, catching up with old friends, spearfishing, and eating loads of food that were not beans and rice.

I flew into Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday and am currently visiting my brother in Lafayette, Indiana. I still have a flight going from Panama City to Dayton Ohio. I checked into getting a one way ticket back down to Central America to finish out my trip, but the prices are a bit outrageous so it looks like the return ticket will go unused. I plan on spending the next few months contacting syndicates with proposals for my column, working on a book proposal, writing, and throwing whatever other hooks I can think of into the publishing waters. I fear a part time job looms in my near future.

I will continue to update Touron Talk with my writing progress, hopefully there is progess, and I also plan on posting photos from my recent trip every few days.

Keep visiting. Don't be shy, posts some messages.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kelsey,

Are you in Lafayette yet? That's were I live. Would like to share info on Guate if possible. Haven't been out to the islands. Spent two weeks in June near Lago Lachua, near the poorly-named town of Playa Grande, Guatemala.

Travel-wise there may be an iteresting travel piece to be written on Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana. The Cape Coast area of Ghana has a lot to offer too, if the locals would cease shitting up the beach. I'd like to start a hammock weaving industry somewhere there in West Africa. They don't what a hammock is!

Kelsey said...

I was only in Guatemala for one week and I stayed at Casa Guatemala, an orphanage where volunteers from around the world come to work, in the Rio Dulce area. Here is their website:

Never been to Africa. It's definitely on the list. A hammock weaving industry, sounds interesting. All people should know about the hammock. You can spread the word as a kind of Hammock Missionary.