Beach towns have a lot in common and Key West, though the beach is not its central feature, is one of them. For example, there are a lot of very tanned people here (the locals, primarily) and I mean very, very darkly tanned. As the bearer of a fair complection, I’ve been careful to stay inside during the peak 11 am – 2 pm UVB hours. Another interesting phenomenon is the wide use of rental scooters, bicycles, and electric carts. These are often piloted by inexperienced tourists and it can be a real zoo out there on the main drag. The effect is practically “European”, where two-wheeled vehicles outnumber four-wheeled by quite a bit.
Duval Street is a fairly narrow, two lane road, not much as main drags go. Traffic is forced to go slowly and, given the number of pedestrians overflowing the sidewalks, that’s good. Businesses along Duval run the gamut of open air bars, hotels, souvenir and tee-shirt shops, jewelry stores, etc. and prices can be high.
This morning I ate breakfast at The Deli Restaurant down the street. During breakfast I looked out the window at the Harley and saw one of Key West’s “special” residents – a red rooster – inspecting it (chickens roam freely in Key West). The scene would have made a great picture but the bird moved off before I could haul out the camera. After eating, I visited the Key West Lighthouse and South Beach (see photo) and did a little recon on the motorcycle. Then I retreated to the shade of my room and the pool deck to get out of the sun at its peak. After 2:00 pm I headed over to the famous Green Parrot Bar and had lunch ($10 for a BBQ sandwich –there’s obviously a price to be paid to enjoy all that “fame”!).
The Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square, with its great view west over the Gulf of Mexico, is another Key West tradition I had to go to. However, after sampling the performers and panhandlers at Mallory Square, I decided to retreat to the rooftop lounge on the La Concha hotel. The crowd there was jovial, there were no panhandlers at all, the drinks were fresh and the view magnificent (see photo), complete with several sailboats.
Tomorrow: a rendezvous with special guests!