Key West for Christmas and New Year's

Trip Start Nov 22, 2007
Trip End Dec 01, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Fun in Key West for Christmas and New Year's!

Our campsite is 14 miles away from Key West, and we have managed to make it into town a few times during our 3 week (so far) sojourn in the Keys. Anyone who has been to Key West knows that Duval Street is the main drag, typically filled with tourists visiting by land and by sea-cruise ships dump their passengers for the day here on their way to/from the Caribbean. At night time there are often fewer people because the cruise ships pull out after sunset.

There's a lot to see in Key West. Mallory square is a large plaza near the pier where street performers and vendors abound. Up and down Duval Street you will see the occasional oddity, perhaps it is the old biker that rides around with the parrot on his head, or someone who was airbrushed at the Garden of Eden that decided not to put their shirt back on, or the female mannequins with the EEE cup-size, or the male mannequins with, well, you know. . . . ! The end of Duval closest to the pier is the most touristy with something for everyone. As you move up the road, though, it can get a little kinkier and, perhaps seedier, with drag clubs and strip clubs (even one for the accountants called "Bare Assets" :)) and who knows what else (we didn't go that far!).

We met up with one of my brother Josh's friends, Rich in Spirit, who lives in Key West. He had offered to let us park our rig at his place for the week, but, unfortunately, there wasn't quite enough room with our trailer and all (and we ended up at Lazy Lakes). But it was great to meet Rich, who welcomed us like old friends. And he turned us on to a couple of local spots that had some great music. One was Virgilio's, which is a martini bar/night club, where we heard and excellent band, and the other was the Rooftop Pub, where we caught the tail end of another band's set. We were glad we got to spend some time with Rich in Spirit!

We went down to Key West for Christmas and for New Year's. Bob's friend Jim (aka Ozzy) Osborne and his family happened to be vacationing there between Christmas and New Year's. We spent a fun evening with them! Stopped for Dinner at Two Friends restaurant, and then Jim, his daughter and her husband, and we went for a walk up Duval to The Bull. Now The Bull has three levels of bars, the first is a bar that opens to the street that has live music. Floor number two is a smaller quieter bar with balconies to the street and a couple pool tables. The third floor is called "The Garden of Eden" and is "clothing optional." This is one of those places where there is an airbrush artist who uses skin as a canvas for those willing to pay a fee. It's actually quite fascinating to flip through the portfolio of pictures and see the talent and creativity. One of the artists' works is periodically featured on the cover of a local Key West magazine-usually a nude model upon which lingerie is airbrushed and you really would never know unless you read the caption and the write-up. Amazing! We played pool on the second floor, then went down the street to the Rooftop Pub to see the band and meet up with Rich. A very fun night and it was great to meet Jim's family!! A really fun crew!

Maureen and Ralph came down from Palm Coast for the New Year weekend. We set up a tent on our site and they lived there for four days. We had a great time with them and went into Key West a couple times. First, in the late afternoon to catch the sunset and some of the Mallory Square acts. We watched the Cat Man, a French guy who has trained a bunch of house cats to do tricks like jumping through flaming hoops. Then we hit some of the hotspots, like Sloppy Joe's and Hog's Breath Saloon (where Bob and Ralph had their picture taken with the Key West Calendar Girls), etc. The next time we went in was on New Year's Eve-we drove by a bank whose sign was flashing "Dec. 31/11:51 a.m./88 degrees." We saw some of the sights, like the Southernmost Point, and then off to the beach at Fort Zachery Taylor to snorkel. We went home to ring in the New Year together at our campsite at Lazy Lakes rather than deal with the crowds that were inevitable in Key West. Instead, we sat outside and looked up at the night sky, testing our knowledge of the stars, planets, and constellations and counting the falling stars. It was sublime. Happy New Year!
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