Saturday, August 15, 2009

Service in Key West

I visit Germany regularly for my job and can't help noticing the level of service for visitors like me.

Generally it's good, certainly much better than my home town of London.

Munich is very pretty and lots of tourists are bombarding the city right now.

I can't help drawing comparisons with Key West (not now, but in the peak season).

Key West service is ok. Some places are good, some are not so good. (Again, much better than London.)

A recent article in the Citizen proposed locals become more tourist-friendly and be more accommodating to tourists.

I don't know if this is the answer. It's good for desirable locations to retain a degree of superiority and character. The cookie cutter mentality is all to prevalent in the rest of Florida. Let's keep a republic frame of mind.

Finally, just to prove Germans do it differently, here's a picture of Munich airport - airside. It's got it's own sex shop complete with vibrators on display. Even Fairvilla is not that brave!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Help yourself Buffet

I'm going to come out of the closet.

I'm proud to say it. I like Jimmy Buffet. So for fellow Parrotheads here's a great quote from Jimmy [the image I've taken from a book on Key West by Shultz and Sloan].

Here's some other blog thoughts on Jimmy's popularity.

Remember: we need more fruitcakes in this world!

And while I'm on the subject of great quotes, here's another.

I'm a big fan of cocktails. The best cocktails in the world are made in Key West: at Virgilio's Martini Bar on Duval Street.

Here's the cocktail napkin that I took from another legendary bar, the Blue Bar at the Algonquin Hotel in NYC.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Theater of the Sea

We stopped off on the drive down the keys last year and I took this pic at the Theater of the Sea marine park. This was during the dolphin show - I am very pleased with the pic!

They are at MM 84.5 and we love it there. We've been half a dozen times. They have parrots, dolphins, sea lions and an excellent marine walk.

It's all done as a guided show - very well done by the resident staff experts. And it's pretty environmentally aware.

Well worth a visit.

Amazingly, they say they are open 365 days a year - fancy going on Christmas Day?!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ibiza and Key West

This Friday evening one of the Swedish House Mafia, Steve Angello, played a fantastic live DJ set on Pete Tong's weekly 'Start the Weekend' radio show. It was live from the Ibiza Rocks Hotel in Ibiza. It was brilliant 10 minutes of highly creative and sophisticated house music - wicked!

I love islands and have been intimately associated with three of them - the UK (lived for nearly 15 years, current home), Guernsey (grew up, 15 year) and Key West. As well as various others, notably Herm and Mykonos.

I got thinking how island evolve in the short term (15 year or so). How quickly they change even over this time period. And how different they become and why.

So, for example, Ibiza and Key West. Lots of gay people. Hippies. Same weather (i.e. hot and sunny). Why so different?

An idea a day keeps the doctor away

It's great to have ideas.

Not innovations - that'll be too scientific for me. Not even ideas that are new to the world. Just thoughts that are genuniely new to you.

My ideas for today.

I want to rennovate 730 Southard Street.

You can't tell from this photo but the property is really run down and needs to be totally restored like so many grand Key West homes have been. I'd love to devote the next 10 years to this project. It's a crying shame. But with an asking price of $1,490,000 is stuff of fantasy for me.

Here's what the realtor has to say:


Right in the heart of Old Town Key West sits this jewel of an original Conch home built in the 1800's awaiting your special touch. The history behind this home spans several generations of just one family. The rooms are large, the ceilings are high and everything is original in this two story home including Dade County pine throughout. There's over 2800 square feet of living space including the large master and guest bedrooms upstairs plus the living room, den, study, dining room and kitchen downstairs. The standup attic runs the length of the building with access to the widows walk allowing for a bird's eye view of Old Town. All this plus room for a pool in the back."


Yes, it's a fantasy. So what about fantastic ideas? Does the ability to dream about total fantasy mark us out as a superior (no other species can do this, apparently) or does it mean we are destined for disappointment and failure?

On an individual level, is it good to have fantastic ideas or is a pointless waste of time or, at worse, dangerous to our mental health?

Avoid boredom at all costs

Went to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert - The Musical at the opulent Palace Theatre last night in London. Phil and I were in row B on the aisle (second row from the stage, bang in the middle) and so were so very close to the stage we got the spit and sweat from all the performers, including Jason Donovan who was camping it up like there was no "The Face" magazine... (although to be fair he is holding up well).

Well worth seeing the musical, very uplifting, but as we all know the film so well, not exactly a surprise night out. The most enticing story of the night I read in the programme - about the writer, Stephan Elloitt. He is a crazy and interesting guy and I think he'd fit right in if he lived in Key West.

I wondered what Priscilla Queen of the Desert would look like if it was set in Key West instead of the Australian outback. Priscilla (the bus) would obviously become a boat. Maybe Priscilla Queen of the Everglades! Or Priscilla Queen of Stock Island!

Al Clark (the producer of the musical) was guided by a quote from the Spanish director Luis Bunuel: 'You can argue forever about the content of a film, its aesthetic, its style, even its moral posture - but the crucial imperative is to avoid boredom at all costs.'

It's a cool quote. And if you remove 'the content of a film' and replace it with 'life in Key West' - it still works!

Kew West - glass half empty or full?

A lot of people knock Key West.

Read the Key West Citizen almost any day and in Citizens' Voice you'll see some Conch saying that Key West isn't what it used to be.

Vagrants, too many tourists, too few tourists, the wrong type of tourists, mosquitoes, property development, house prices too high, house prices falling too fast, and even beaches with naked people on them. (On this last one - is this really Key West?)

Well I have two views.

First, things do change. Even Key West changes.

Second, it might be worse (maybe) than it was but it's still sunny, packed full of beautiful nature and laid back. And thousands of people's fantasy is to live where you live. So it could be much worse, right?

I'm only a regular but occasional visitor to Key West but over the last 10 years I have noticed change. I miss lots of things and one of them is Atlantic Shores.

Apart from the fact it was a brilliant venue and location, and it had a iconic, much missed logo I had some fantastic evenings and nights at the (dare I say 'legendary') tea dance on a Sunday. (Where at the end of one drunken evening one person in my party was called by a random stranger 'The Best Dancer in Key West'!).

Yes, it's true, some things change for the worse and we'll never get them back.

But the present Key West ain't that bad!

A Key West Blog

It might be 94 miles to Cuba and 160 miles to Miami but it's 4,565 miles from Duval Street, Key West to my house, London, UK!

I live in London so I have a pretty easterly view of Key West and its goings on. That's what this blog is about - Key West from afar.

I've been visiting for over 10 years, sometimes several times a year.

I'm a certified Key West-o-phile. An addict of the southernmost city. A lover of the Conch Republic. And I'd much rather be there than here; but I'm not.

I'm in cold, rainy London (and right now it's summer!).
So, for now, this blog is my appreciation of Key West.