Images of Key West, Florida

What images come to mind when you hear the name “Key West”? For us, in no particular order, we’ve always thought Hemingway, hurricanes and of the end of a long road extending into the Gulf of Mexico from mainland Florida. Beyond that, it seemed to be a place where quirky folks just sort of hung out, smoking dope and drinking margaritas; a place where chickens freely roam the streets undisturbed.

IMG_2272

Not quite sure what this guy’s doing. Selling conch shells? Well, at least he’s got his diver flag up for safety.

IMG_2278

IMG_2282

Free range (or free street) chicken

IMG_2284IMG_2286

A day visiting Key West five weeks ago brought all those images to life, and created some new ones. For one, we were surprised at the close cultural connections between Key West and Cuba. Sure, we always knew Havana was only about 90 miles away, but we never really thought about the ties between the two islands. For one, Key West is closer to Havana, by distance, than it is to Miami.

IMG_2268

No, we don’t know this guy. He just happened to get in the way of the camera.

In 1890, half of Key West’s residents were of Cuban origin and a strong Cuban influence continues today. José Marti, a hero of the Cuban War of Independence against Spain founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party during his visits to Key West. Key West had a booming Cuban cigar manufacturing industry until the early 20th century.

IMG_2279IMG_2280

One of the real joys of discovering today’s Key West however is having the chance to enjoy some delicious Cuban cuisine. One neighborhood place we just happened upon for lunch was El Siboney. The braised oxtail and shredded pork with fried plantains and yellow rice were incredible. IMG_2276

IMG_2273

Braised oxtail….to die for.

IMG_2274

We look forward to our next visit and to creating some more images of this truly unique corner of America.

This entry was posted in USA. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s