Monday, September 24, 2012

Key west - Crazycatmanboozyslurpee!!

What a difference a day makes!

We are now enjoying the relative luxury of our room at the Lexington Hotel at the Southern-most tip of the USA – Key West.  We enjoyed a good drive down Highway 1 yesterday, counting down the mile markers until we finally reached the end of the road - literally– at Key West.

Miami had tried to piss us off one more time before we left, with a huge rainstorm soaking us as we went out for an early breakfast. The pavements were ankle deep in water and car alarms sounded all around us as the huge storm flashed lightning and sounded loud thunder right over us. It didn’t piss me off though as I love these kind of storms and this was my favourite time in Miami Beach.

We left on the airport bus after breakfast and after chatting to a nice English couple in the massive queue at the hire car centre, we eventually drove away from Miami in a much larger car than we had booked, due to there being no Economy ones left!

Early morning storm... Miami

Dan was still suffering from sunburn and had bought some more aftersun soother, but when he put it on it turned out that it had golden shimmering glitter in it. Haahaa, it was funny as he ended up with the stuff all over himself and shone like a girl. We were having a good day and the sun shone as we headed south and eventually made it to Key Largo and the start of the strangest set of roads in the world. The Keys are a series of Islands that stretch about 90 miles away from the South coast of Florida. However, rather than get there by boat, there are a series of huge bridges that link the islands and causeways together – all the way to Key West at the end. It’s a spectacular drive as you pass over one bridge 7 miles long and then along a thin strip of land with the sea on both sides as far as you can see and just enough room for a thin strip of road.  It just goes on and on like this – we even saw a tiny little island with room for a couple of tents and a speedboat parked up by it. It’s stunning.

Key West is also well known for the madness of its inhabitants – it’s said that all the nuts from America fell down from the tree and landed here. Well the people are a bit mental. From big black dude we saw wearing a bikini bra to the Cat man, who has trained his cats to jump through hoops of fire. But, unlike Miami, they are also very friendly people.  We have had more fun here and seen more interesting stuff in a few hours, than we did in Miami in four days. Whether it is the roosters that seem to be on every street corner or visiting the southernmost marker, which isn’t at the southernmost point! 

On our way...

The car!

One side of the road....

...and the other side



There is also a good mix of people visiting too. Young kids with families. There are military personnel, on a weekend off. There are couples that are young, old and really old. Everyone who has made the effort to get down here seems to be enjoying the place. We visited the famous Mallory square where we saw a stunning sunset as the cat man showed us his tricks, next to a sword swallower and an escape artist. We tasted Key Lime pie on a stick and tried the Conch Fritters too.  We had a bit of a bar crawl down Duval Street and could happily take our beers out of one bar, wander down the street and actually get invited into another bar by the doorman. No asking for American id or poor service. Just a big smile and a wave as we headed inside to see a row of women dancing on the bar – again they were young, old, fat, thin and everything in between – all having fun and enjoying the atmosphere in the town. There is even a bar called ‘Ricks’, where we sat for an hour and watched the locals and visitors mingle along the street.

a man made of sponges

welcome to key west

roosters  - everywhere


Cat jumoing through hoop of fire!

Crazy cat man


We eventually headed off home after a great afternoon and night out – our last bar was called Fat Tuesdays. It specialises in slurpee style booze. Imagine getting a slurpee from the local corner shop that also gets you pissed!! Well, this is the place to get it and there is a huge choice. I have no idea which flavours we were drinking, but I do know it was delicious and we had more than one! My head hurt a little when I woke this morning, but it’s all gone now and I am ready for another afternoon in one of the craziest places I have been.

It wasn’t that much of a crazy Sunday though. We had a swim in the pool and were lazing about when the heavens opened again. It didn’t last long though and so we took the free shuttle bus into town in search of some food to mop up the remains of last night’s beer. I ended up having a Cuban sandwich in Margaritaville bar and cafe, owned by the famous Jimmy Buffet (No, me neither) It was good enough food though and we ate in what is supposed to be a hurricane shelter, complete with hurricane painted swirling on the roof and mile markers leading you to the restrooms (Why can’t Americans just say toilets instead of bathroom or restroom. I’m sure if I attempted to rest or take a bath in there, they would throw me out!)


and again

and another

at Ricks

Dancing on the bar

All slurpee slush booze machines!

The rest of Key West was also on a go slow today – everyone recovering from last night I think, so we slowly wandered around looking at the small market stalls and shops, sculpted coconuts in the shape of pirates or Hawaiian dancers and stopping for another delicious Key Lime Pie before a walk along the seafront and finally catching the shuttle back home again. We wish that we had spent a few more days here instead of Miami, but what can you do eh!  It’s a fantastic place and we have loved every minute of our two days here.
The hurricane in Margaritaville

Coconut pirates

Read the sign on the bike!

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