August is generally the start of "quiet season" in Key West, but this year the city has been packed. Cars come and go all week on the Overseas Highway but weekends are crowded like winter. Around town there are tourists everywhere, guest houses are full and there are lines in restaurants. It's amazing and utterly unusual.
The speculation is that Americans are looking for interesting destinations closer to home and Key West qualifies, while for Europeans the value of the Euro so far exceeds the battered dollar that a trip to exotic south Florida is relatively painless.
Whatever the reasons it has been a bumper summer in Key West for tourism operators. And so far hurricanes have been well behaved even as we keep an eye on a potential threat wobbling around in the Eastern Caribbean.
Wandering past that perennial attraction, the Hemingway House, there were tons of people taking the time to check the place out though the sidewalk artistes seemed to be going through a slow moment.
"Hemingway for a buck!" he called out cheerfully. No art this cheap in Key West, he added as he scattered his stuff on the sidewalk:
I quite liked this piece of "folk art" on the trash can - no recycling bins around here.
On the Olivia Street side of the famous house there was another salesman plying some sort of wares, I didn't look too closely.
It's amazing to me what a lot of commercial activity is spawned by the writer's one time home. I liked the droopy palm frond, making an artistic statement of it's own, and for free.
"Look at those Geckos" Thérèse remarked as we walked.
I think she thought they were worth a picture and I agreed.
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