Sunday, January 12, 2020

Celebrity Equinox Cruise: December 14-21 PART THREE

     Being upfront here, I simply do not have the talent to take decent pictures nor write a proper description about Key West, Florida. A partial explanation is that while I have visited the place four times through the years, it was always on cruises that took me away after only a few short hours.
     But truthfully, I am far from an unbiased person when it comes to Key West. For years I listened to Jimmy Buffett sing about the place, its character, and its history. So I continue to be enchanted like a love struck teenager even though many people have tried to dissuade me of my clumsy romanticism. These detractors say Key West is tacky beyond redemption and that its banal commercialism has ruined everything special about the place.
     All very possible, but enough still lingers to make it close to paradise for me.    
    On my first visit to Key West way back in September, 2001 the aftereffects of a very recent 9/11 prevented a lot of the usual tourists from visiting. Long story short, that allowed me a lot of time at the Southern Most Point. There was no line of people waiting to have their picture taken at the colorful buoy.
    On all my other visits though, the line of people has been so long as to make it impossible for me to get another. So I just settle to take a quick picture as I ride by on one of the Couch Tour Train or Couch Tour Trolley.
    Caused a bit of an issue with my wife as we rode passed the Garden of Eden Bar on the very crowded Couch Tour Trolley. As I mentioned in earlier posts, the Celebrity Equinox was overwhelmingly an older crowd with many obviously of the more socially conservative bent.
    So my lovely spouse didn't appreciate when I loudly spoke out about how we needed to get off the trolley, go up to the Garden of Eden Bar and strip down ot our birthday suits like we did years ago. No, we never visited that bar but I did thoroughly enjoy my wife's discomfort and the weird looks we got from all the raging stiffs.

    Yes, there was a price to pay for my improvisation but it was worth the several hours of stony silence. I honestly can't say I would never visit a clothing option bar like Garden of Eden. While on cruises I generally follow the idea that since I will never see any of those people again I can act as stupid and foolish as I want.    
   The "Lost Weekend Liquor Store." With such a name, that place screams to be added to a story of some hard luck loser looking for redemption.
   From what I understand, it's actually a new business, not something from the days when Papa Hemingway could be found walking the streets.   

    If you look beyond the palm tree you will see the destroyed air traffic control tower at Key West Airport. Now the story told to us by the trolley driver was that the tower has been that way for years. That air traffic is controlled by some person sitting at the end of the runway with a radio.
    Not sure how about the truth of that story but it does sound cool.   

    Time, or the lack of it, has always been my enemy when visiting Key West. On this trip I accompanied my wife to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, not a place many would expect me to like, but it was awesome. If my heart was normal, allowing me to drink beer, I would have done the bar crawl again.
    But be that as it may, I did enjoy seeing the 50 to 60 different species of butterflies that live in the indoor park.
   
    Not sure what species this bad boy belongs but this was one of my better pictures. It was funny how many shots I took but because of the nature of butterflies, failed to capture any image. 

    In the center of the park was a pond where two flamingos lived. They are named "Rhett" and "Scarlett" and didn't give a damn about any of us humans prowling around their humid home.     

    This butterfly looks like he, or she, has seen some rough times. Not sure if butterflies fight, but I can't think what would have caused this damage to its wings.

    A better view of the insides of the conservatory. 
    Like the previous visits, we had to get back to the ship much too early. These two Princess Cruise line ships were tied up at the Mallory Square docks. One of the things that fascinates me about cruising is the complexity of these ships, even medium-sized one like these two. Pack a couple of thousand spoiled North Americans and Europeans on a ship with about a thousand paid crew members answering their every whim.    

    Don't really know why I included this picture. Maybe because all the others I took at Key West were just not good enough. Riding the Couch Trolley wasn't really conducive to taking good photographs. Plus my wife was having issues with her knees making walking highly problematic.
    While I have forgotten the name of this little island just off Key West, I do remember it's one of those upper crust, exclusive communities.    

    Barely an hour after leaving Key West I took this picture. I really liked the contrasting blues of the sky and ocean. The next stop on the cruise after a day at sea was Costa Maya, Mexico.  

7 comments:

The Armchair Squid said...

Great wildlife shots. I love the flamingos, especially.

Pixel Peeper said...

Love all your pictures. I need to go back!

I have a picture of that Southern Most Point marker, too - without me in it. There was a long line of people waiting to have their turn at taking a selfie or having their picture taken. That was over 10 years ago.

I do have a picture of myself at that mile marker - Mile 0 of Hwy 1. My oldest son has a picture of himself at the other end of Hwy 1 (his wife is from Maine).

sage said...

Good photos, but you really need to make the drive across the Keys (although with the double lane highway, it's not the challenge it used to be). It's an interesting place. Did your cruise get in sight of the Dry Tortuga's?

www.thepulpitandthepen.com

Beach Bum said...

Armchair Squid: The butterfly conservatory was pretty awesome. What I found funny about the flamingos was that seemed extremely unimpressed with us humans.

Pixel: Even the Mile Zero mile marker had a line. Probably what you get with three cruise ships in port.

Sage: No, didn't get close to them. We did see the mountains of Cuba in the distance several days later as he were heading back to Fort Lauderdale. Serious shame the Orange Buffoon ruined Obama's efforts to warming relations with Cuba.

The Armchair Squid said...

They're probably used to tourists. I have to admit, I'm always a little sad when I see that in a wild animal. Generally speaking, though, waterfowl will let humans get closer than other birds will.

I've only seen flamingos at the zoo - so pretty. At the Biodome in Montreal, they have scarlet ibises. Those are stunning, too.

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