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Hemingway Adventure

Key West, Florida (third day)

Key West, Florida, USA 
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Street life in Key West is never quite what you'd expect. Self-expression is positively encouraged in the Conch Republic.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureWe talk of all sorts of things, from the current sewage pipe leaks which have forced Key West’s beaches to close and for which she has applied for Federal Aid, to the separatist tendencies of this part of America. People born and bred in the Keys are called Conchs (pronounced ‘Conks’) after the sizeable local shellfish. There is a Conch Republic, with its headquarters in Key West and its own flag.

Mayor Harvey tells a good tale of meeting the Queen when she visited the Keys recently and presenting her with a conch shell which Her Majesty gratefully accepted. Only afterwards did the Mayor remember that she had not had time to warn her that conchs bring bad luck if taken indoors. She and her friends had a good laugh about this, until, a week or so later, Windsor Castle’s library burned down.

I feel obliged to mention Hemingway, thinking that she, like me, will be happy to avoid the subject for a while. Quite the opposite. She has fond memories of him coming in to her family drugstore.

‘He was a quiet, almost shy man till you got to know him.’

Try telling that to the Hemingway look-alikes.
Key West, Florida, USA 
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A well-endowed conch emerges from its shell.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Key West, Florida (third day)
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Key West, Florida
  • Book page no: 145

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