Now I grant you a liveaboard slip in the Keys might cost between $12 and $25 dollars per foot per month but a lot of people I know would have difficulty coping with this level of amenity, picturesque though it may be. Of course toss a stereotypical palm tree into the picture and everything gets a brighter facade:Or not, as the case may be:
What's important to note though is that people do choose to treat this place as their refuge from the rest of the world and they cherish it. Most of these spots are just fish camps on a mangrove channel alongside the main road. I'd bet some few of the boats and structures could be permanent homes and in an attempt to legitimize their claims on the waterfront owners give themselves addresses:While their neighbors tout for business:If you speak Spanish around here you will do better. Card Sound might once have been a place where English was the premdominant language but not anymore, except perhaps across the county line which marks the end of Dade County and the beginning of Monroe County. Alabama Jack's touts in English and offers what it hopes is your first al fresco Keys dining experience. Its not real waterfront dining, because the eating area is on the roadside and the waterfront is a bit...derelict? which you'd think would qualify it as being Keys-funky. Some people claim the food's okay and it offers people a place to stop so I guess they do pretty well by calling their decrepitude "funk."
Across the road lies the toll booth which welcomes you to the fabulous Florida Keys, charging you a dollar per car or motorcycle, (plus 50cents per axle on your boat trailer); its a way of training you to get fleeced in the islands Down South!
Dade County (known to newcomers as Miami-Dade because county officials were afraid people wouldn't know it was the seat of the mighty metropolitan city) has made noises about seeking out abusive structures and tearing them down. I'm not sure why this needs to be a priority and perhaps the noises will go no further now that the land grab bubble has burst. Card Sound is no museum, locked into a sterile tableau of the past, it just is, and it provides a place for modest people to hang out, chill, fish and cast off the cloak of urban struggle that fills most of their lives. It can also be a place of beauty, outside of the grubby cast-offs of human lives:
I hope Card Sound survives a bit longer. It may not be to my taste, being as how I don't care to fish, or to sit in a boat and drink, but it isn't to my taste either for people to get steamrollered out of their lives just because they are too funky, or too poor or simply too bloody minded. I like to take Card Sound Road to avoid the maniacs on the Stretch but also to give a tip of the hat to a bunch of survivors who happened to erect their fish camp on the wrong side of the County line of toleration.Had they built decades ago just 200 yards to the south they would have been in the Keys, where anything still goes, if you have the fortitude to resist the blandishments of the Almighty Dollar. These guys seem to have what it takes to resist anything, for now.