Monday, May 17, 2010

Key West (Part 3)

Just for grins, here is the pool that we never used at our hotel.  We didn’t not use it for any other reason other than we are exploring types and we were out and about for the majority of each day.


On our last full day, we took the Conch Train Tour.  Maybe it sounds cheesy to some, but I really wanted to learn more about this history of the island and make sure we saw most of the important stuff.  Boy did we get an earful.  It was like being in a lecture hall in college with a really knowledgeable professor who doesn’t know how to speak at a pace for normal people.  I took lots of pics during the tour, but most of them are of houses and I will give them a post of their own.  And if you aren’t interested in architecture, you can just skip that one altogether.

During the tour we saw the obligatory stray chicken – crossing the road.


This one is just beautiful.  And we found out why all the chickens are around.  Long ago, the local establishments would hold cock fights until eventually the authorities came in and enforced a ban in order for Key West to be a legitimate town in the US.  So the chickens… they were just let loose.  And they are now ALL OVER THE PLACE down there!


Among some of the cool thing we saw on the tour was this area dedicated to sand sculptures:


A bustling beach market area.


More beach views.


Beautiful foliage.


After the tour, we went back for the obligatory tourist photos:

Highway 1 starts at Miami and goes to the southern most point at Key West.


The famous “buoy” which I was expecting to find IN the ocean.  Rather, it is a concrete structure with a line of people next to it to get their picture taken with it.


We also went back for a tour of Hemmingway’s home:


Where we saw many descendants of his first polydactyl cat snowball.  Snowball was given to him by a ship captain as payment for Ernest delivering a message.  Polydactyl cats on ships were seen as good luck.

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I believe there are 60-some cats on the property and are the biggest expense for the owner.  No one actually lives there now (besides the cats), it is open to the public daily for tours.  And many of the cats, but not all, are polydactyl.

Every morning (while he lived there – before he was divorced from this, his second of four wives), he’d get up at 6 am, go over to this studio and write until noon, then have lunch and go fishing and later out to a bar down the street.  This house was across the street from a lighthouse, which made it easy for him to find his way home at night.


View of the lighthouse off of one of the many ample second store porches.


The tour guide expressed his displeasure of the fact that Mrs. Hemmingway changed out all of the ceiling fans for chandeliers.


And as for our tour guide, we thought he looked a lot like Hemmingway himself (red shirt)…


We also learned about the sponge market.  On the beach I collected a few small sponges that had washed up onto shore.  About 2 inches long at the most.  Sponge “hunting” is discouraged, but some is done, and those collected can only be sold in Key West.

We got to meet “Sponge Man” who took a liking to Jason.


And another rooster and hen.


Dinner at Turtle Kraals out by the Seaport.  This delicious Key West Conch Ceviche was as delicious as it looks.  Everything was so fresh.


Then back to Mallory Square for another Sunset Celebration.  Here is another street performer jumping through a hoop held over a girl’s back.


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