It has been an incredible trip to The Keys. The kind of reporting trip that reminds me of why I became a writer. Leaning off a pier feeding giant tarpon with my hands;
eating swordfish caught the day before; walking through gardens filled with indigenous plants. And the bluest water, stretching miles and miles in front of me, dotted with mangroves and motel signs.
Basically, 72 hours of non-stop sights and tastes that I cannot wait to bring back to the office and share with everyone, figure out how to make it translate to a story in the pages of the magazine. My idea of bliss.
On this high I even Tweeted something about it. How this reminded me how blessed I was to do what I do. And I don’t use that word lightly. Hardly ever.
And I got back on the road, driving toward Marathon from Islamorada. I stopped the car short when I saw a sign for “Anna’s Beach," which I’d read about in a guidebooks. Click click, a few scouting shots on one side of the road. Cross over to the other side, I wondered? Pressed for time, I decided to make a quick stop just to see.
It was worth it. In front of me stretched one of the most beautiful beaches I’d ever seen, raw, untouched Florida Keys. I left the engine running to snap a few shots, but it was so pretty I had to park.
I walked down to the water, which reminded me of St. John, and the empty beaches we found on our honeymoon. Click click. The water was so green and blue I had to put my feet in. So, holding my camera in one hand and cell phone in the other hand, I climbed toward the edge. I swear I said a prayer of thanks.
And then I fell right on my bottom.
The wet sand, like a Slip n Slide, gave out from underneath me, and there I went, toppling over into the water. Immersed, white shorts and all (which was a lot of fun when I had to walk into a restaurant to change later ... hello, Keys!). Instinctively, I held the digital camera over my head, toppling into the water. The people swimming nearby laughed. It was pretty funny.
The iPhone ... well the iPhone was another story. I don’t know if it came out of my hand or not, but it got wet. So wet that when I got back to the phone it wasn't working.
I tried to dry it, holding it up to the air conditioning vents in the car as I drove further south. I tried to pry off the Otterbox case without any success (those things are tough). Now if on vacation this would have been an inconvenience (no Tweeting great meals!), but while working it compounds the problem. My phone is my connection to the world back home and the meetings I have down here. Still, it's not the end of the world. Repeat.
When I pulled over in Marathon, I dragged my wet self into a restaurant, changing my clothes into something drier and setting up my laptop to try for a wireless connection so I could make contact with the outside world. No dice. I told the waitress my sad story and, sympathetically, she suggested the "immerse your phone in a cup of rice" trick. So there I was, sitting at a waterside restaurant with my phone in a cup of rice, my laptop and a half dozen oysters.
You have to laugh.
I love being on the road. Even when my cell phone goes flying into the water and I'm sitting on my bottom, legs cut up by coral, I adore it. Exploring like that, even when things go wrong, I feel most in my element. Even when I dragged my cup of rice around the resort tonight, and ate alone, I laughed a little, at myself and the adventures of the day. I said a prayer of thanks.
The phone, well it's still sitting in rice. Will it work again? Not sure. But I will, driving even further South.