Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Key West I'm Yours

If your only experience with Key West is Jimmy Buffet that’s a good start (if I never hear “Wasting Away In Margaritaville” again it will be too soon) but there's more to the island than long lost shakers of salt and Ernest Hemingway.

I had thought of it merely as a delay in getting to Central America, where all my anticipation was directed, but kind of like a movie that you don’t expect as much from, I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe it was the excitement of pulling into port at 11am (all our other dockings were in the early morning so I missed it) or the fabulous weather or the streets that were charming and quaint. It could have been the beach within walking distance of the pier where the sea shells were so thick I couldn’t collect them all though I tried (please save me the ecological pistol whipping because I'm kidding). It’s a fun place that reminded me Lahaina, Maui only more expensive--a cruise isn't a bad way to see it where you’re not paying the exorbitant accommodation and dining prices.

We walked off the boat, down Truman Street, by Fort Zachary Taylor and down to the beach. In town where we saw Ernest Hemingway’s house (admission $11 per person, no body likes Hemingway that much) and the lighthouse across the street. Duval Street, the main avenue in the town, was like a mini Bourbon street with people partying, stumbling drunk and blocking the sidewalks and street performers asking for money. Considering this was a Sunday afternoon, I wondered what Friday nights are like, the parallels were there down to the occasional strand of beads strewn along the gutter.

Not being the drunken debauched type, it turned me off and I spent the time clutching my bag pretty close with all the people pressing against me until we found a turnoff down a side street where it was cooler, less crowded.

After making it back to the ship for lunch and heading out again later that afternoon we tried Mallory Pier where the locals gather at sunset. That’s where I found my friend pictured at right—you know his name? Sponge Bob (Ha ha, oh how I crack myself up) We sat in the shade on the front steps of the museum and watched people go by as the afternoon heat wore on.

I’m enclosing my People Watching favorite: Chicken Lady--remember you can click on any photo to enlarge it. Did I mention the chickens? They’re everywhere, the term Free Range must have been invented in Key West where the birds wander the streets looking much too skinny for drumsticks. I don’t know if you can see it but her hair is bright red on the top and yellow--not blond--on the bottom, fanned and feathered, making her look like the roosters wandering the sidewalk.

Also, a picture of White Shark Man (now is "white" modifying "shark" or "man"? You make the call on that one) and a sign outside a store on the pier with weather listings that made us glad to be where we were. I'm guessing someone working at the store must be from Tuscon--because when you're thinking of exotic cities it's always, "London, Rome, Beijing, Tuscon."

Luke, dear brother, if you're still going to Key West for the holidays (and if you're reading this--"Blog? What blog? You have a blog?") you're going to love it.


Carmen said...

key west sounds really good about now!

Anonymous said...

Yay. I've only been there once. I love the keys. Especial Key West.
I'd love to be there tight about now man...

Cece said...

I've never been there but would love to visit.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Sounds brilliant - I must dig out some Jimmy Buffett just to add to the mood!

As for chicken lady - I clicked too soon and scoured the picture for chickens before coming back to read the description properly!

i think I was expecting a chicken walker, like the walker of the phantom dog in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil...