Greetings from the porch of the Duval Gardens B&B, a twee establishment crawling with German tourists. My room contains a quilted 4-poster bed, white wicker furniture and not much else. Wifi but no kettle. I guess you can’t have everything. Believe it or not, I was woken by a rooster crowing this morning! Chickens wander about the streets, despite this being a modern American town.
Key West is a tourist town that seems to have gotten it right. If there’s sleaze, I’ve failed to find it. Maybe that kicks in at night, seeing as every second place seems to be a bar. Apparently there are 3,000 bars on this island, amazing for a place that takes 40 minutes to cross on foot. I went on a tour this morning on one of those little train-like things with the driver pointing out attractions and telling stories. Really enjoyable, probably because of the general tweeness of the place. All old wooden houses with painted shutters, banyan trees and palms. There’s a night time ghost tour so I’ll probably give that a go. Lots of awesome kitsch souvenirs. Everything pretty much has palm trees on it.
The Hemmingway house is just around the corner. I’ll check it out tomorrow. Apparently the grounds contain 47 6-toed cats, fenced off by a shonky wall he built himself, brick by brick when he was pissed. The receptionist just told me that every new year the town holds a dachshund parade three streets long but I’ve yet to see anything but chihuahuas.
The Key West Literary Seminar Yet Another World begins tomorrow. China Mieville was on the same small plane as me flying over from the mainland but I was too shy to say hello.