36 Hours in the US Southernmost


[Cruiseships Docking] Key West, Florida – The US contiental southernmost.

Before AARC ended, we were on our way to Key West, the most southern part of US for another business meeting and an afternoon of sightseeing. The Keys is a chain of 800+ islands off the tail of Florida; Key West is at the very end. It is closer to Cuba than it is to Miami. The water here, of course, has the color of the Carribean sea. Because of its location, it’s also one of the hotest spots for cruiseships sailing in the Carribean line to stop here for a day, making this “Conch Republic" so crowded with tourists.


Before coming to Key West, I didn’t know anything about this place. But I was quite surprised to learn that this city off the very southern end of US was once the wealthiest town in US with all the riches from the shipwrecks off its reef shore. It went through various ups and downs thereafter and…

 


became what it is today. For many of us,we probably would’ve never thought of going to Key West simply because it’s too far of reach and we’re not sure whether there’s much to see. But only when I got there did I realize this place was so full of things and places worthy of exploration. You will need at least 2 days to see it.


Before heading to Key West, we went to a nice local restaurant by the water for some local treats! I just thought this sign was hilarious because you will never expect snow here! Winter here still feels like summer breezes and you can still wear short sleeves.


Fried shrimp tacos. I know it’s fried.. and thats a lot of fried stuff. But it’s still pretty good.


We had the conch fritters. They’re made from conch (large sea snail) – If you remember the novel “Lord of the Flies" (not LOTR), you’d remember the conch as a symbolic item in there.


The water by our table. These are mangrove forest. If you have a boat, you could get yourself lost in there. After lunch, we headed straight for mile mark 0 – Key West.

We took this Conch Train around the city to see the main attractions. The tour was quite a detailed one about the architecture in the town.


The very beginning of Route No. 1 that goes northward across US from here.


We don’t quite understand why there were so many free-roaming roosters going all over the place here. Maybe roosters are pets here?!


Souvenir from the sub-tropics.

 

This is one of the remaining buildings that still has the very old look (looks like it’s falling apart) because it hasn’t been painted over.


People are willing to do anything for money. This street busker/performer was getting his cats to perform jump-over-the-fire ring trick on a rope. I don’t think I want to imagine how he trained the cats.


Spectacular sunset.


Isn’t ths almost dream-like? I wish the photo had turned out more clear ‘though.


The flag of the Conch Republic of 1982 – the result of the so-called " tongue-in-cheek protest secession" of Key West and United States since it’s so separated from the States.

The old red brick building that was once the warehouse for Cuban cigars before the great fire in the city.


[Pirate Soul]
This is a museum about pirates – true “Pirates" of the “Carribean" and artifacts found off the coast.


Before sunrise – the view outside of my window. The gulf stream and the warm current make this an ideal place for palm trees.


Imagine a natural swimming pool in your backyard.


Imagine fresh wild lobsters in your back garden at your dispense!

 


Enroute to Miami Airport to fly home. These bridges link the islands to the continent.

We stopped by a seafood restaurant on our way to Miami for a brief lunch. One of the oysters we ate had a natural pearl in there! But we couldn’t take it off without some tool, unfortunately. haha.

We took the flight from LA at 9:00AM and didn’t get into Miami until 5:20PM. Then we had to figure out the rental car situation so we didn’t start moving southward until almost 6:30. We had to drive for 3 hours to the Keys. Route No. 1 looke rather dark at night without much street lamps but the street was definitely not deserted but it was dark. We were even scared to stop by a burger king to get food because the only people in there looked “sketchy".. haha.  and we went for McDonald Drive-Through instead. After 1 full day there the next day and 1 more night, we were once again on our way but this time – home.
Flight time: 6 hours from Miami to LA. 14 hours from LA to Taipei. Departed on Dec 16th. Arrived in Taipei on Dec 18th. We seemed to have lost 2 days. haha.

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