This was my fifth trip to Key West in six years, choosing December as my month each time. This one was Dec. 11 to 18, 2012. Weather is always warm at this time, even in the evening, with no need for a jacket if venturing out after dark. This was another solo venture for me. I don’t mind entertaining myself and have no qualms about going into a restaurant and asking for a table for one.
Accommodation: Stayed at La Te Da and would do so again. The rooms are a bit dated but this is an old hotel, after all. I wanted to stay here for its historical factor. José Martí, a famous Cuban freedom fighter, gave many speeches from the terrace of this old hotel. They named it La Terreza de Martí and it was later shortened to La Te Da. Josè wrote the words to the poem that was later put to music that most of you know as Guantanamera. His last speech from this terrace was in 1893 and a year later he was killed, never seeing Cuba freed from Spain. I was honored to have been allowed out onto this terrace where I drank a Mojito at sunset while giving a toast to this brave man. The terrace is usually locked with no access to the public or guests. La Te Da has two bars and a restaurant. I made use of all. Food was a bit above average and I enjoyed my meals there. Meals did not come with the room although a light breakfast did. Of course I made use of both bars, preferring the inside one at night. There is also a pool and a top uppermost deck for discrete sunbathing. All staff was helpful and friendly. Maid service was every day. I would stay at La Te Da again.
Food: I tend to graze a lot. I had a few breakfasts at my hotel. I ate breakfast twice at Schooner Wharf. Love that place! Their three egg omelette with gulf shrimp, spinach and feta cheese was a big meal. Rounded out with a mango mimosa and coffee I was set for the day. Another day I had shrimp eggs benedict and this came with potatoes and toast. Mimosa again and coffee. My waitress, Anita, was a joy. We recalled each other from last year. Back to grazing. One day, a dozen oysters and a few beers at Hogs Breath. Victor the bartender and oyster opener remembered me, as well. Had to have half a dozen conch fritters from a street vendor. They were spicy, which works for me. I hung around the seaport a lot. Had a few beers at Schooner Wharf and had lunch and beers at Conch Republic Seafood Company. Andrew, the bartender, was friendly and I had a fish sandwich. One evening found me having supper at Willy T’s and a fish sandwich with fries was on tap for that night. It seems that fries are served with everything. This trip I stayed away from Sloppy Joe’s, Capt. Tony’s, Kevin’s, etc. I forced myself to finally go into Margaritaville. Yup, that one. They are very expensive but I did enjoy my fish sandwich. Again, fries. Had a blue cheese burger one day at La Te Da’s outside bar. Tasty. I must say I never had a bad meal or snack anywhere. Sure ate a lot of fries.
Night time: Well, for those who have been waiting for Coyote Ugly, don’t hurry. I had to try it, even though I would rather have had the Dueling Pianos that had that spot last year. Young girls dancing on the bar does not do a thing for this 64 year old guy. I sat at a high top in the back so that I could observe. The bartenders walk up and down the bar with a microphone while dancing and encouraging men to buy shots. Shots are bought. Oh, well. That was my only ‘night out’. I had too much fun at my own place. La Te Da has entertainment every night. One night there was a piano player who played the kind of music that was danceable. Not patting myself here but I danced with no fewer than six different women multiple times. I hadn’t asked a one to dance. Made my year. lol Other nights gave us a piano player singer combo with the woman doing fine work in the Blues genre. A bit loud for my taste but she was good. Another night had acoustic work. After a few days and nights all the bartenders knew my name and had my drink ready as I approached. That’s not really a good thing, is it? La Te Da had a female impersonator one night in their cabaret. It was a great show and Randy Roberts did a terrific job imitating celebs like Bette Midler, Cher, and other, both in dress and voice. It was my first show of this type and I would do it again.
In General: Key West will always be a drinking town. Bars abound and open early. Schooner Wharf has ‘happy hour’ from seven to noon. Works for me. There didn’t seem to be as many roosters and chickens this time around, or maybe they aren’t a novelty anymore so I ignored them. Typical souvenir shops are a plenty with raunchy tee shirt sayings. Where do people wear them? It seems like everybody smokes. Although it is against the law in Florida, most establishments are open air so that gets around it. Staff as well as patrons smoke. I stayed away from the museums this trip but I did take the Conch Train Tour again and would recommend it to all for the historical and informative view of Key West. I finally got to the Key West Cemetary. They bury like they do in Old San Juan; above ground in crypts. The water table is so high and there is hard coral underneath that one can’t bury down. So, I am already looking forward to my next trip. Stay tuned. Questions and comments are welcomed and encouraged. Thanks for reading. Wayne <><