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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fantasy Fest in Key West

Last night was the People's Parade in Key West. Thousands of masked marchers paraded down Fleming Street then up Simonton Street and then came back down Duval Street to showoff their costumes (or lack thereof). This year's theme was Alice in Wonderland and many very crafty people came up with some great costumes in keeping with the theme. But I guess I will more than likely remember the oddball outfits or almost totally nude people more than the clever and expensive costumes. Year after year I am always amazed by the nerve so many people have in showing off their bodies in public. And most that do shouldn't!

As I was driving to the office this morning I had to make a quick stop. The car in front of me made a sharp veer to the left and I stopped to see what caused him to drive to erratically. There near the middle of the street was a turtle making his way across Von Phister Street near the Casa Marina Hotel. I got out of my car and picked up the turtle and put him at the side of the road so that someone less caustious wouldn't snuff him. The pic above is not the turtle in question, but they could be related.

I mention this because there is so much wildlife in Key West. We have chickens, cats and kittens, dogs, iguanas, birds of all feathers, rats (hate them), crabs, raccoons (I saw one in my yard), and all kinds of creatures great and small. And like the wildlife on the streets last night, the natural wildlife is part of the aura that makes Key West a place where a lot of people want to live.

I was in San Francisco a couple of weeks back and one of the places I looked forward to re-visiting was GUMPS. I used to go to San Francisco two or three times a year and I would go to GUMPS every trip. It is a store filled with over-price trinkets and high end art objects that you absolutely cannot live without. Or so I thought. In the old days I would see an item and think I would like to own it. I did buy things there and wanted more things from there. But now that I live in Key West my needs are much different. I have pretty much everything that I need. And if I think about it there really isn't all that much that I want anymore. Life in Key West has made me less acquisitive. We don't have that many national stores, but the Internet provides access to a world of merchandise that can be had in a few days time.

The people in San Francisco were much different than the people in Key West. The "locals" (ha, ha) are very trendy and very well dressed (or down dressed, but not undressed--unless you are in a leather bar). The tourists dress like tourists, but not like tourists dress in Key West. They have their clothes on and they tend to dress up, not down. It seems almost everybody dresses "down" in Key West.

The food prices in San Francisco actually were higher than Key West and I found this surprising. Key West tends to be very pricey, but I guess San Francisco is even more pricey. I did some real estate window shopping and found that housing prices are higher there than here. And the city by the bay beats Key West hands down when it comes to homeless people. I have never seen anything so bad. I have seen lots of beggars in Mexico and Paris, but they are everywhere in San Francisco--everywhere.

There are trade offs we make in life for living where we live and with whom we live. Key West is taking care of my needs at present. I find living with Key West wildlife and laid back atmosphere more pleasing than living in a big city like San Francisco with its' homeless population, high priced restaurants and high priced housing. We have our share of snobs, but thank God there aren't' that many of them. And they usually tend to hang together at any rate. If you stay off the snob guest list you can go far in life in Key West.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.