When people come to visit Key West they most often think of staying in a cute guest house in Old Town, something like this:
But there are modern hotels in town with all the modern conveniences you'd expect, a beach perhaps, a swimming pool, a concierge and all that stuff. When you live in town this other side of life in Key West tends to slip by unnoticed.
Until you meet friends at a hotel restaurant or bar for say brunch, or a drink then suddenly you see how others view Key West. I have to say wandering the carpeted halls of the big hotels you can find yourself fancying life in Key West quite a bit. People wait on you in uniform, under blasting air conditioning vents. You can find yourself in a room with people speaking half a dozen different languages. It's quite exotic.
I met my wife yesterday for coffee in the Starbucks coffee shop at the Courtyard by Marriott on North Roosevelt Boulevard. It had been a hot ride into town, summer is full on right now and I was glad to feel the chill. The serenity of the dark lobby, the calm orderliness of the bar were in stark contrast to the unseasonably heavy traffic outside.
I think I could learn to spend some time in here looking out at the frantic mobs on the streets outside. It was a bit like a US embassy in some sad foreign land where revolutionary catastrophe is about to engulf the residents and we privileged foreigners get to watch from the balcony with a gin and tonic and plenty of ice in hand. I felt removed from the tumult. Of course I was going to rejoin the flow outside the compound soon enough and instead of gin I had coffee but the principle applies. I was on the set of The Killing Fields.
Of course you will make the argument that Key West seen that way may not be as pure and authentic as sweating it out with the homeless on Caroline Street. But I get plenty of reality every day. Being a creature of privilege for a minute felt pretty good. Inauthentic but relaxed. I should do it more often.