State by State

Apparently there is an entire country between Boston and San Francisco.

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by Natalia

What do you do when you plan to spend 3 weeks in one place? Unpack everything? Find the most convenient grocery store? Organize kitchen cabinets to your liking?It's a weird time span: too short for a move, too long to be just passing by.

We rented a furnished condo. That reminds me why people prefer to own, even if the majority of their dwelling belongs to a bank. One's own clutter is always better then someone else's. But one cannot own a house in each and every interesting place. Well, people who can, don't have enough time to enjoy it.

The interior is seventies and - delicately speaking - that was not a good decade for a home decor.The exterior is a gated condominium with a marina calling itself a yacht club.It probably appeals to the same type of people who enjoy cruise vacation: everything you need inside, contact with the outside world entirely optional.

We are yet to solve the mystery of golf carts. There is at least one parked in front of every condo. We didn't see even one of them one actually being used. Map does not show any golf courses near here either. One theory is that the place is a prominent part of the illegal golf cart street races circuit.

We bike around only to find out that the entire town is full of ghettos gated communities. Some with additional restrictions, like over 55 only. Being pickled with your own kind provides desired comfort zone, but it's rarely healthy and always dangerously boring. If the goal is to make one feel safer, it fails miserably. Among all those gates, fences and 24 hours video surveillance signs one cannot help but think that petty crime must be at frighteningly high level in the area to justify the security measures.

Most of the Positively No Trespassing signs are put in places that you could not pay me enough money to trespass on. Maybe it works as a morale booster: if I put a fence and alarm around my junk yard I suddenly feel like I own something worth protecting.

The nicest place inside of our rented gates is a long, rocky pier. We imagine it's great for watching sunrise, but have not enough will power to empirically prove it.Condo's most alluring feature is a shaded screened patio. Cool enough to take meals without sweating like a pig even this time of year. Not to mention free entertainment provided by a Spanish speaking extended family. Who would have thought ten people can make such a racket.

Otherwise the entire complex is eerily empty. Probably all the owners spend summer in Vermont trespassing on our unprotected lawn.

scuba

This is what we came to Key Largo to do: scuba diving. Possibly the last chance to do so courtesy of BP. Reefs are shallow and thus accessible here. Water is not as clear as we remember from Curacao or Caymans making dives even more otherworldly: a gigantic eagle ray flows majestically flapping its wings like a giant bird. A turtle slowly swims by to the surface. One nurse shark sleeps under a reef.Another one feeds with its snout under a rock and goes still when we approach. Later we spot a stingray half hidden in sand waiting for prey. Dive guide points out a peacock flounder that we cannot see until it moves.

tips on poles

When you, through carelessness or sheer bad luck, meet a Pole, you need to consider carefully what you are going to say. Poles are basically harmless when treated properly, but amateurishly initiated conversation may lead to a Pole become upset and verbally abusive, or even worse - become your friend forever condemning you to be on guard when talking to them. Here's a short list of things you should never say to a Polish person.