Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The quirks of Key West

Key West is one of my favorite places to visit.

Sure, it's got sun, sand (kinda) and lots of bars but you can find those things in many parts of the Caribbean and Mexico.

What makes Key West special is its flavor. It's eccentricities. Its take on life which is a little sideways. Key West is like a drunken uncle who has slept with your girlfriend and your buddy and has told your mother about it. In some weird way, it comes across as charming.

I've gone to Key West a couple of times over the years and every visit has been different. I've got my stories but you ain't gonna hear those. Instead, I've posted some pics and videos which give you an idea of what it's like to be in the Conch Republic.

Duval is the main tourist street and if you happen to be driving down it around 8pm or so on a Monday, you may have to avoid a gaggle of drunken tourists being led by a drag queen singing "Dancing in the Street".

Every night, Key West celebrates the sun disappearing beneath the horizon at Mallory Square. This is a very touristy activity but I love it. (I'm a die hard tourist at heart). There is a Jamaican singer who has been in the same place for at least the past 10 years and there is nothing like listening to his beautiful voice as the light disappears and the boats pass by.

And if you're ever in Mallory Square at sunset, you do not want to miss Dominique, the cat man. His show is a mix of incredible cat tricks, vaudeville and well, too much sun? (You know what I mean if you've ever seen him). You can check out his website at http://www.catmankeywest.com/.

All together now. OSCAR! OSCAR!

And if you take the ghost tour of Key West (highly recommended by the way because you get to shout "You're DOOMED! to any local that heckles you), you will learn about Key West's possessed doll, Robbie. He's three feet tall and is as creepy as all heck. He was owned by Gene Otto (given to him as a child) and probably came from Haiti. Even through his adult life, Gene blamed anything bad he did on Robbie's activities, giving the doll some pretty bad mojo. Eventually, Robbie was donated to the East Martello museum, where, according to the curators, he continues to cause havoc.

You're supposed to ask to take his picture. I didn't. My camera has yet to explode.

There are so many other fun places to explore in Key West. It's a little tricky to get to (either drive for a couple of hours from Miami or take an expensive flight) but the trip is well worth it. I can't wait to go back.

More pics to follow ...

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