Friday, December 31, 2004

Key West Florida New Years Eve

For the rest of the country, New Year's Eve revilers who dare step outside are bundled in layers of winter clothing. But here at the United States southernmost point, Key Westers celebrate in sandals, shorts, and t-shirts. Here, the unusual is the norm and balmy winter nights are expected.
Residents and visitors in Key West have a range of options for New Years: from the semi-formal affairs at the luxury resorts to the down-and-dirty partying on Duval Street. Most people will end up on Duval Street anyway. There, the huge crowd has, instead of the famous Ball at Times Square, the option of seeing lowered at midnight:
  1. A Conch Shell (over Sloppy Joe's Bar)
  2. A Drag Queen, named Sushi, riding an enormous high-heeled shoe (over the Bourbon Street Bar Complex)
  3. A Pirate Wench from the mast of a tall-ship schooner (at the Historic Seaport)
Although the biggest crowd is at the Conch Shell, the funniest antics are provided by the drag queens. So funny and entertaining are the performers, CNN last year featured Sushi at New Years. The Queen of the Queens.
Vehicular traffic is closed on Duval Street as the crowd numbers in the ten's of thousands and is packed in shoulder to shoulder. Key West, known for partying, will rage on until 4 am.
Peace on Earth (please!)

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Key West Pirate Soul Museum

Well the glorification of the pirate has been taken to new levels with Key West's newest attraction. Self-help guru Pat Croce has opened Pirate Soul, apparently a lifelong dream. Sporting a collection of maritime & pirate artifacts from centuries of history, the museum/attraction displays them in a Disney-esque setting complete with an animatronic head of Black Beard and the obligatory loop of "pirate sounds". Everything is really well done, no doubt about it. And kids will appreciate the exhibits.
But am I the only one who considers honoring pirates strange? Weren't they just a bunch of murderous thugs? And isn't piracy still a serious problem to sailors in many parts of the world?

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