The town of Key West is beautiful. Flowering plants and leafy bushes can not be contained by white wooden fences; they arch over the sidewalks, dropping blossoms on the ground like confetti. The historic Florida homes are painted in pastels and bursting with character. Six-toed cats can be found wandering the streets and the very free-range roosters can be heard crowing at any old time. I mentioned the colors before…oh, the colors. Maybe it's just that the winter had dulled my eyes and being in such a bright place was a welcome shock, but everything is brilliant. Bright, but at the same time, worn by the sun. I could have done without the gift shop windows stuffed with neon t-shirts emblazoned with SPRING BREAK 2014 and a host of inappropriate things no self-respecting person would wear in public, but I guess it comes with the territory. My favorite times to explore the town were in the morning, before the sun got too hot and while most the folks on the streets were tourists and locals, as opposed to the spring breakers and stumbling drunks later in the evening. The night life was quite boisterous, and I only really experienced it on our first night (thankfully--call me a wet blanket, but rowdy crowds make me nervous).
I am fortunate to have brought back a good haul of souvenirs, first of which is this gallery of images which pleases me greatly. My dad found a vacated conch shell in wonderful condition while hunting lobsters, which will be a great addition to my bedroom. A metal rooster painted in slightly inaccurate, but still bright colors, will hang on our kitchen wall, and a small pair of earrings made from the pinkish inner shell of a conch will be perfect for spring (I was assured that the conch was harvested responsibly). Two pairs of Kino sandals, a Key West tradition made right on location, came home with me as well, as well as a bottle of key lime juice for pies and things.
I must remark that amidst tropical color, salty air and hot sun, I found it amusing that we heard the songs Wagon Wheel and Country Roads a handful of times on our trip. Of course, both sing of West Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina…during a fairly late dinner one night, a rowdy group at the bar began singing along, loudly and poorly, to Wagon Wheel, then later we could hear Country Roads belting from the open windows of a separate bar. I don't know. Just stuck me as funny!
A bit more Key West to come, in film form or via my iPhone, or maybe both.