Monday, February 9, 2009

A Day at Key West

Roger here...
We are still a few days behind on our blogs.  The Florida Keys are a busy place - lots of things to do.   Now that we are settled in at the Army Corps of Engineers Campground at Franklin Locks, (lots more about this place in a later blog) just outside of Ft. Myers, we will do some catching up.

Last Saturday we spent the entire day at Key West.  We had heard that Key West was an extremely dog-friendly place, and since we planned to stay until sunset, we took the boys with us.  After we parked the car in an all-day lot, we began our random wandering tour.  We walked a few blocks on busy Duvall Street, past Sloppy Joe's, down to Mallory Square on the waterfront.  A cruise ship, the Norwegian Pearl, was at the dock.  Dianne took a picture of it as it is similar to the Norwegian Jade in the Mediterranean where our daughter is a performer.  As we walked along the waterfront Dianne snapped a picture of some roosters on a wall in front of one of the hotels.  Chickens run free all through the town.  Jasper was on full alert every time one of the roosters crowed.

We then headed across town to the "Southern Most Point" site.  We took a less crowded street because Chaplin did not like the noise and the chaos on Duvall Street - loud music, street performers with a 20-foot python, and people of every description.  Along the way we passed a trumpeter who was playing and singing "Back Home Again in Indiana".  (We did not expect to hear that in Key West - pretty ironic that he played it at the exact time that we were walking by.)   We also passed by the Truman Summer White House and the Hemingway House.   At the end of the street Dianne and the boys waited in line to pose for a picture at the monument. 
We knew that we wanted to stay to see the sunset and the performers on Mallory Square, and had some time to kill, so we wandered back up the other side of Duvall Street.  By the time we got back to the python in the crowded area, we found ourselves in front of Sloppy Joe's (Hemingway's nightly drinking place) again.  We had seen dogs inside when we passed by before.  This time, we were kind of hungry.   There were a couple of empty tables, so I asked the hostess if we could bring the dogs in with us, and she agreed.  We each had a beer and an Original Sloppy Joe sandwich - delicious.  Dianne went out on the sidewalk to take a picture of me and the boys at the table - take note of Jasper hiding under the table.  She also took an interesting picture of an awning across the street with a tree growing through it.

After eating, we headed back to the car to drop off the extra things we had been carrying around all day (jackets, new t-shirts, etc.).  Between the drop off and the walk to Mallory Square, we stopped at an ice cream place where Dianne bought each dog a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
 By this time Chaplin had reached his limit of walking, demonstrated by his frequent attempts to lay down in the middle of the sidewalk.  The ice cream perked him up.

Mallory Square at sunset was great fun.  During the hour before the sun settled over the ocean, dozens of street performers entertained the hundreds of people (and dogs) in the square.  There were fire jugglers balanced on ladders and unicycles, 
psychics wearing turbans, magicians, fire swallowers, the country's southernmost bagpiper in a kilt, and (of course) mimes.  
By the time the sun set, the dogs had reached their limit (so had Dianne).  Dianne's pedometer indicated that we had walked over eight miles.  The dogs were starting to get cold from the evening chill.  We had Jasper's coat with us, and Dianne sat down on a bench and covered Chaplin with her sweatshirt (the shirt off her back) to rest up for the trip back to the car.   (Dianne here - I can't believe we actually outlasted the dogs!)
 Just as we were getting up, there was a commotion at the main entrance to the square as a group of people in a purple, green and gold Mardi Gras parade danced by.  It was actually a wedding party let by the bride and groom as they led the dancing and twirling group carrying umbrellas - the kind of thing that just makes you smile.

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