speaking of fantastic little food finds: frenchie’s cafe. we started the day wanting a light breakfast-y snack with intentions of finding a decent lunch not too long after. we found frenchie’s only a few blocks from our hotel, also on the quiet street i was growing fond of (simonton). from the front it looked to be just a tiny store front with a few chairs, but as we gazed through the barista’s prep area, we discovered a lovely private patio — only a few more tables but comfortable. the only other folks back there were self-described “maniacs” (from maine), which where jason grew up. actually, we ran into a lot of people from new england on this trip!
we left frenchie’s (with a bag of goodies to try later) and set out on a slow meander on us highway 1.
the six-toed cat cafe is right next to the hemingway house, but we missed it the first time around.
tourist must do: see the ‘mile 0’ marker. check!
banyan trees are neat.
cruise ships are incredibly huge. they sort of make me nervous.
truman’s little white house was cute — from the outside. we didn’t have much interest in a tour and i was carrying a backpack that made it difficult to navigate around inside. (it was crowded!)
we wandered around mallory square a little bit, killing time. we made a formal stop at the aquarium the next day. but this day’s big adventure? a dolphin watching cruise!
our tour had actually been originally set for the day before, but they called to reschedule us since it was such a cold, windy day. good call – this day had the absolutely most perfect weather! it was a fantastic day to be on a boat. on the ocean. no big deal.
captain billy gave us a great afternoon! it was just him, me and jason, and two other couples.
katie and austin sat at the front of the boat and got a nice show, but once we found the dolphins they swam all around us.
it was so awesome. captain billy explained some of the biology around what was going on (there was either fighting or mating happening — or both) and answered our probably very frequently asked questions. it was just amazing to be so close to something so wild!
i have to stop myself with these dolphin photos because i probably took about 500. i edited the collection on flickr down quite a bit, because how many photos of dolphin splashes does anyone need?
niko and matro (from finland!) shared the back of the boat with us. am i creepy with these stealth photos? its memories, okay?
after a while we left the dolphins alone (actually left them with some other boats who had started visiting) and cruised out about 3 miles from shore to find a peaceful sponge garden for snorkeling. i don’t have photos of us in our wetsuit get-ups, i didn’t particularly care for either the flippers or the snorkel, and i only swam around in the water for a few minutes. i was in long enough to take a few deep breaths and a few long glances through my goggles to see the underwater garden (and maybe a few small fish), then i felt pretty freaked out about being in the ocean with all of the possible wildlife that could also be around. so i was able to get some photos of jason paddling around.
i was sort of surprised at how much he enjoyed it! but i’m glad he did, of course.
after everyone was back on board, billy cut up a fresh pineapple and starfruit for us to enjoy. we spent the rest of the time quietly floating, waiting for the absolute best view of the sunset.
for dinner, jason and i wandered along the pier to find el meson — cuban food to celebrate being only about 90 miles from cuba! really delicious tamales, tried a couple varieties of plantains, and got some guava bread pudding to go for dessert at our hotel. yum!
there was some kind of tour group visiting and at the end of our meal, they started convening to learn/display a sort of cuban square dance. fun to watch!