Day Three--Chickens, Limes, and Sloppy Joes

Key West Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
Key West is a Bird Sanctuary. Chickens are birds, so distubing them is against the law. They roam the streets unmolested.

Today is our first Port of Call, Key West, FL. Key West is the southern most city and point of the continental United States. The weather is beautiful. I was up shortly after 7 and lounged around until 7:30 or so. I slept pretty well. I was worried, a little, that the rocking would keep me awake. I not used to the bed moving. It has been since I was in my 20s that I would collapse into bed and it would move in an alcohol induced spin.


But, the only issue I had was sometime in the middle of the night, I felt the bed rocking.

Key West is the the southernmost point in the Continental US. It is closer to Cuba, than it is to Miami
I was thinking that Margo was rocking. She does that when she is mad or uncomfortable. I was just about to elbow her and tell her to stop, when my brain put two and two together and I figured it was the whole boat rocking and not just the bed.


Anyway Jolene was up about the same time. I got my shower and the wandered around up top for awhile. While I was gone the others got their showers. It took awhile, but by 9:30 or so we were up at Topsiders Buffet having breakfast. Topsiders is a buffet, and they have the standard breakfast buffet food. It was pretty good. We finished up, wandered the boat some more, and then went back to our room, to wait for us to get into port. I worked on this some, and watched TV more. The Jungle Book was on, and I got hooked on it. After that it was Milo and Stitch.

Key West sunset. I hear it happens every evening.
I got into that one too. So I didn’t get a hell of lot of typing done.


We finally got off the boat. Key West has a pier in deep enough water where we did not have to be tendered off the boat. Tendering is when a smaller boat takes the passengers from the larger one, because the larger one is too big to dock at the pier. But, in Key West this was not necessary. Anyway we walked off, after first having our “Key to the World Card” scanned. The Key to the World Card is a combination ID/Credit/Room card. You use it for everything. It works the electronic lock to your room. It acts as a credit card at all shops and bars. No cash is used. Finally Disney uses to track who is on the boat, and who is off the boat. They scan it when you first boarded, and then every time you left the boat at a Port of Call, and then when you returned.

The coconut that Margo is holding says "You're working and we're not". We mailed it back home to Margo's friends at work.
I guess it helps them know who they might be leaving behind.


Anyway, we got off the boat and just a short distance away was the town of Key West. I decided I needed a pair of sunglasses, and the girls wanted to do some shopping. They all had people at home to buy things for, so we bounced from shop to shop. The first ones we came to were the most expensive, so we avoided them. Sunglasses ranged from $18 to over $100. Moving just a block off the pier, deeper into town, I found a pair for $12. I probably could have done better, but it wasn’t worth the aggravation for just a few dollars.


The main street through Key West is called Duvall Street. I wanted to hit that, but Jolene also mentioned she wanted to get a piece of Key Lime pie. I liked that idea, too. I also wanted to see a bit of the town. So we started to wander a bit. One of the first things we noticed about Key West was that there seemed to be chickens, mostly roosters, everywhere. I finally asked one of the people soliciting for tours what the story was. I was told that Cubans occupied the island, now, and for many years before. One of their favorite pastimes was cock fighting. When that practice was outlawed, according to the legend, the Cubans just turned the birds loose. The whole island is a bird sanctuary and chickens are a bird. That makes them untouchable. I do wonder about the story some. I can understand the Cubans turning loose the majority of their roosters, but to perpetuate the species you need hens too. Why set loose those birds that both lay eggs, and are good eating?  But, however they got here, they are here, and some were quite handsome.


After wandering the shops and waterfront area, we decided to sign up for a tour. It was a bit expensive, $108.00 for all of us. The plan was to take the tram, it was one in which you could get on or off at any of the ten stops, and get off on stop #3. Near there was a place called the Blonde Giraffe. I suppose there is a colorful story about the naming of this establishment, but no one shared it with us. Maybe the original owner was Swedish with a very long neck. Who knows, but apparently the Swede could make a pretty good Key Lime pie. Margo had most of a slice. Jolene had one, and I had two. It was that good. Jessi had me buy a bottle of a Lime Spice. I told her I would, under the condition that she uses it to make me a roast chicken dinner. We’ll see. My youngest daughter is not known for cooking expertise. I suspect that after she moves out, should her microwave break she would likely starve to death.


There were more shops in the vicinity, so more shopping was in order. Margo found a little shop that sold full size coconuts, hand painted, and designed to be mailed back home. We couldn’t resist and sent one back to Margo’s office. It said “You’re working and we’re not!” I was getting pretty tired of the shopping however, especially as the tram only ran until 5:00 PM. That was further backed up as you needed to be on board the tram, at some place on the route by 4:30 PM. By my watch it was 3:30 PM, when we finally made it back on the tram. A compete circuit of the tram takes 90 minutes. As we had boarded at stop #3, which was about 15 minutes into the tour, it was unlikely that we would be able to get off again. I wanted to do just that, and take our picture at the southern most marker. That marker designated that point of the United States that is the furthest south. I had to settle for snapping a picture as we went by. We finished the tour got back to stop #1, at about 4:10. It was then that I noticed my watch was not on Eastern Standard Time. It had been advanced by one hour. I’m sure I did it trying to turn on the light, the prior night to check the time. So we would have had  enough time to get off. Oh, well another hour a Mallory Square instead.


We made it back to the start of our tour, but we still had 2 ½ hours until we had to be back on board. Key West does a sunset festival each night on the waterfront. They have various craftsman, artists, and performers. It was very similar to the Buskerfest that we used to have (maybe we still do?) on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. Margo & I always enjoyed that. They had a couple of different performers that would escape from a strait jacket. There was a guy made up in metallic makeup and costume, being a robot, repairing his bike. He would come to life when he got a tip. His performance came complete with him doing the sounds for air powered tools. We spent time with the craftsmen, too. Margo picked up some shells with the girls’ names on them, and some coconut strips.


While they shopped I snuck off to Duvall St. I wanted to have a beer at Sloppy Joes. This was Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hangout when he lived in Key West. The beer was cold and I soaked up a little atmosphere as the bartenders told a few jokes. But, I wanted to be back by sunset, so I had to hustle. I did stop at a T-shirt shop to get my daughters matching T-shirts. They said “If you think I’m a B**ch, you should meet my sister” We all share the same warped sense of humor, so I knew they would love them and at some point wear they together, just for the stares.


I got back in time and we did watch the sunset, which was not to be missed.. But soon it was time to go, and we got back on board the ship.


Dinner tonight was in Animator’s Palate. This restaurant is done in predominately black and white. There are basic drawings on the walls done in pencil. The walls are all white, and are perforated with many holes, like peg board. On the walls are also “murals”, which are really some type of television monitor. So the murals can change characters and can go from a monochrome scene to color. The columns are very large paint brushes, again in black and white. But, the bristles, at the top, have the capability to change color. The big “thing” is that as the dinner goes by the room changes from black and white to color. The white walls, end up being a swirl of color, from a distance. They make that happen because behind them, about a foot back is another wall, with lighting equipment. So those lights shine through, and are able to dominate the white. But up close, like where were sitting, you couldn’t see the effect. But, we could on the walls across the room, so we didn’t really get shortchanged.


Dinner itself was good. The presentation and quality of the food was great. I don’t consider my self to have a sophisticated palate. But, I’m a gourmet compared to my two girls. When they saw this second straight menu of food with names they had could not pronounce, much less even heard of, they were starting to long for pizza and hamburges. But they made due. I was able to find something I liked from each category (appetizer, soup/salad, entrée) and so did Margo. The first night she was a little reluctant to try anything, but by now she was opening up. Our afternoon in Key West had us stop by a shop called Key West Winery. In there Margo and tried some watermelon wine, that she really liked. She didn’t buy a bottle, but she asked our Assistant Server for some. They didn’t have any, but he recommended something else. I tried an apple wine. This particular one was considered a dessert wine. Like it matters. They all taste the same to me.


We finished up dinner around 10 PM, and then went back to our room. I decided to go up on deck and see what was going on. Deck number 9 is where the pools are at. At our end, the forward end there is the adult area, called Quiet Cove. No one under 18 is allowed. The girls got carded when they were swimming there earlier in the day. They weren’t terribly pleased. But, everything was OK after that. In the midship area is another pool. I think that is the family pool. That is where the Aerial Television is as well. The Aerial Television is just like the Jumbotron at a sports stadium. Disney airs various things through out the day and night. The aft end of deck 9 has the kiddie pool. It is also where the free food stations are at, and the free drink station.


I wandered over to the aft end, after noting that the Aerial TV was showing the Sunday Night Football game, and gott a drink. Pittsburgh was playing Cincinnati. Willie Parker, RB for the Steelers was having a hell of time holding on to the football. He was single handedly keeping the Bengals in the game. But Pittsburgh held them off. I had watched tail end of the 3rd quarter forward, from one of the plastic deck chairs. The temperature was in the 70s. It was really quite nice. There are worse ways to spend an evening than watching the NFL on big screen, in the middle of the Caribbean, lounging on a deck chair.


That was the end of the night, really. I went back to the room, and the others after they had done some wandering of their own, were back watching a movie on our tiny 12” TV. We really didn’t have any complaints about the TV size. We only watched it to relax us at the end of the night. It was fine for that. Nighty-night.

PhinsAndGills says:
I loved Key West so much on my first cruise that I went back the next year for a longer stay. In my opinion, Kermit's Key Lime Shoppe has the best key lime pie. You can have it frozen and hand-dipped in chocolate! YUMMY!
Posted on: Feb 01, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Key West is a Bird Sanctuary. Chic…
Key West is a Bird Sanctuary. Chi…
Key West is the the southernmost p…
Key West is the the southernmost …
Key West sunset. I hear it happens…
Key West sunset. I hear it happen…
The coconut that Margo is holding …
The coconut that Margo is holding…
Key West Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joes, on Duvall Street, is famous as a favorite hang out of writer Ernest Hemingway. The walls are filled with pictures and memorabillia of tha… read entire review
Key West Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Best Key Lime Pie in Key West
The Blonde Giraffe claims to make the best Key Lime Pie in Key West, FL. Well, they don’t so much claim it, as list their many awards that leave you… read entire review
Key West
photo by: X_Drive