A benefit of car camping is an awakening of sunshine and in Key West, however unwanting and rough the waking, the crow of roosters perched in surrounding trees is sure to rouse you.
The toughest decisions of days spent in Key West are predominantly in deciding just where to eat and drink. Begin the day blissfully with breakfast at Blue Heaven. Here is an instance not to shy away from the hoards of people; it’s no secret that this place is great. Wander around the charming ramshackle garden grove shaded by tall trees; allow nostalgia and imagine Ernest Hemingway arranging boxing matches here in the 1930’s. Enjoy a bloody mary while listening to the acoustic music and admire the handsome roustabout weaving hats and baskets of palm fronds. My mom and I, in our usual way, shared a fantastic bacon and avocado eggs Benedict and dined with a mother hen and 5 chicks delightfully scurrying about underfoot. Although a day late, my gorgeous Key Lime pie arrived with a candle lit, but my wish already have come true.


Venture to the ocean. White St. Pier; the unfinished road to Cuba is an outstanding place to suspend your self, even if just for a moment, and allow your spirit to take hold. Stare out at the seemingly endless horizon that somehow helps to gain perspective as the powdery clouds pass through the pale blue sky. Notice the needle nosed fish beneath the glistening water’s mirror surface. I’d stray from the beach for a moment to wander through the nearby West Martello Tower; an abandoned civil war fort. A botanical garden newly manifests its broken brick arches within which anoles abound and bromeliads and orchids blossom. Back at the beach my mother had made the most magnificent friend. Nancy brings her birds to the beach for them to experience the ocean; a hyacinth macaw and two cockatoos perched on her shoulder and forearms.

It’d take only minutes of conversation to realize how beautiful and brilliant this woman was with her birds. I’d fall head over heels for the smaller white and yellow plumed cockatoo named Dulce; a justified Latin name meaning sweet. Upon inquiring about his plucked chest Nancy would explain how parrots fly an average of about 30-50 miles a day in their natural habitat; I’d empathize with his stress.

 

I’d later learn that Nancy’s Secret Garden, the last lush and tropical acre of Old town Key West housing her over twenty parrots was endangered itself and consequently decreased in size due to financial struggle. I’m thankful to have met them and heard Dulce’s sweetest serenade.

The day was to be celebrated. Every day, for that matter is rejoiced at the southernmost point of the country at Mallory Square where a large gathering celebrates the setting sun. Artisans, charades, buskers and arrays of performers include magicians, unicyclists, sword swallowers and fire jugglers. I was saddened to not see the tightrope walking cats! But, the importance of gathering is unmistakable while in front of you the sky is painted in the most profuse pastels and the bright and glowing orange sun sets before your very eyes. Such warm resplendence radiates you as it is your sight, but collectively shared with the entire world. I’d take the deepest breath at the very moment the sun seemed to disappear,  the entire experience an affirmation and appreciation of being alive, and then would venture into the night.


Encounter a fork in the road in deciding how to spend your nights. Endeavor debauchery similar to Bourbon St. on Duval and traipse around engaging in music and boisterous bars like Hogsbreath, Tattoos and Scars and the Green Parrot.

 

 

Or… opt for a more quintessential evening enlivened and enjoyed by local folk at Schooner Wharf. The bar sits beside a historic seaport and was another treasure possessing rustic and eclectic charm. The captivating Raven Cooper sat, sang and played her guitar; the smoke of her cigarette curling around her face. Zappa accompanied her on bongos with his precious golden retriever, Gatito meaning little kitty, tied up behind him. We’d sip on coconuts and encounter magic where music and friendship so serendipitously filled the air.

 

 


If every fantastic experience had while travelling were a star, let me throw another constellation into my sky for these were stellar times spent.