Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunday afternoon and sunset at Mallory Square

No trip to Key West would be complete without a stop at Mallory Square for the traditional sunset celebration. For the uninitiated, everyone in Key West (well all the tourists or at least most of them) gathers about an hour before sunset in a large open area overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and of course the setting sun. Vendors of all varieties set up their wares, all types of food and drink are available from funnel cake to fruit punch and from popcorn to Planters Punch. Lots of beer, cameras and people. Spread out around the square are street performers, jugglers, card sharps, a tight rope walker and of course the guy with the trained cats, yeah trained cats that jump through hoops, fiery hoops even, and walk a rope, sit, roll over and generally ham it up. Topping this scene is lots of tropical music. Steel drums, guitars even a flutist gently blowing a jazz tune. Mix in a couple thousand sun drenched (and rum soaked) visitors and you have quite a scene. On the Gulf all sorts of pleasure craft, some chartered, some private cruise slowly by watching both the sun and the scene. It is what Margaritaville is all about fun and sun(set).

Anyway I wandered down tonight (Sunday). It was very crowded. Lots of kids and cameras. Watched a guy who had women from the audience, a complete stranger, stand on this stomach while he lay on a bed of nails, no kidding. Sat and watched a juggler toss flaming torches, knives and then hatchets. He closed by getting on a 7 ft. unicycle and juggling all three at the same time. Listened to some music then tried to capture the magic of a cat jumping through a flaming hoop.

The sunset was reminiscent of a Penguin Isle fall or summer sunset. Lots of color, with sail boats silhouetted in the background. It was quite picturesque what with the sail boats, the islands and of course the beautiful sunset.

As I post this I have worked on photos of the performers but not the sunset itself. So enjoy the freaks now, the pretty stuff is coming.

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