Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Caraballo Lane

It still happens from time to time that I come across a lane or alley that I don't remember hearing about. Quite likely there aren't many calls for the emergency services on Caraballo Lane, but I was looking for a lane to photograph and this one fell to hand on my way out of town on Eaton Street. I must have cycled past it on my way to work on the waterfront in my previous life but why would I have noticed it? The entrance is marked by the two most common styles of homes seen nowdays in Old Town Key West. The old:And the old refurbished in grand style:The lane is half a block long, though unlike others it has somehow resisted the blandishments of tarmacadam:
And whether it is an alley or a lane I shall leave to someone else to arbitrate. If you do choose to drive down the lane (or alley) you'd better be ready and able to back out as turning room is limited, and backing onto Eaton Street, a main thoroughfare, takes more nerves than most drivers seem to possess. The speed limit on Eaton is 30 miles per hour for some joyous reason even though visitors will frequently be seen pootling along at 12. They are on "island time" and fondly believe everyone else is too.
Old yes, but not out of date:Personally I'd rather throw my money at central air conditioning than at televised advertising, but there we are. While I am in a bitchy mood (and I can't think why, if it isn't a lack of motorbikes in my life) I should point out that I am a great fan of asphalt. I have lived on dirt and gravelled roads and they suck. They create mud when it's wet, dust when it's dry and they are impossible to ride with any sense of security, though these days even asphalt roads seem to be giving me trouble.I don't feel particularly indebted to the Scots for golf, haggis or Scotch eggs, but asphalt must rate high on the list of human achievements. I know it is fashionable to denigrate roads and cars but had their critics lived and traveled in communities where it is absent they might possibly change their minds. On the other hand Caraballo Lane's slightly dishevelled air is very picturesque:And this is the place where those preposterous safety measures called insecurity lights have been allowed to disintegrate:In a delightful backwater like this a stern finger wagging should be sufficient:Caraballo Lane is picturesque:The lane also provides two major food groups for hard economic times, papayas and coconuts and judging by the bountiful fruit on my own trees we may be having a bumper coconut crop this year. I need to plant papayas judging by this bounty:Looking back at Eaton Street:And across the street is the landmark Island City Hotel, circa 1889, with its splendid carriage entrance and gingerbread decorations:I should point out that it would be a very good idea not to mix this place up with the Island House for Men on nearby Fleming Street. One encourages a certain level of intimacy, the other doesn't. Up to you to find out which is which. Neither of which has much to do with lovely Caraballo Lane.


bobskoot said...


I'm also hoping that you get your ride back very soon, so that you are able to go farther afar. I would imagine that a lane longer than half a block would be additional unwanted stress on your knee which would not be appreciated, on the assumption that you are walking.

Perhaps in your condition you should consider frequenting the Island House for Men to release your "bike-less" stress . . .

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Conchscooter said...

I am walking, though I think I got my heel ground down by the footpeg as I have traces of a rather interesting half moon bruise on my heel. My stress relief is having my wife rub unguents into the bruise.

irondad said...

I chose to start at the newest post and then work my way back. I'm glad I did. You actually called yourself "bitchy"? Now who's feeling sorry for themself?

Wait until Riepe reads this!

irondad said...

I just read the crash post. I take it all back. My little incident does, indeed, seem like nothing. Keep your eyes up. On the bike or off.

Anonymous said...

You might enjoy this Key West condo article:


Lance said...

The Lane looks more like an alley, but as you have shown, there is beauty in even the narrowest of streets. Love the picture of the flower poking through the fence - we don't get beauties like those in the Northwest.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

It seems to me that a man of your rare charm and oily smoothness would have no problem getting your better half to part with the Vespa until the Triumph comes back from the knackers.

This may mean keeping to the shadows on Duval Steeet but it has to be better than nothing.

I was thinking of you as I wiped the grime off "Fireballs" tonight. Acutally, I thought of you as I sipped a Planter's Punch and watched Molly, a breathtaking beauty wipe the grime from "Fireballs."

We all have our crosses to carry. The Island City Hotel looks nice. I may stay there on my visit.

Fondest regards,
Jack r (Toad)

Conchscooter said...

Dear Toad: I am buggered if I am going to risk dropping the wife's Vespa, besides which she likes having it at work to ride around town. Besides which driving a car is penance for dropping the Bonneville and today I got stuck doing 38mph all the way into town behind some dope driving a blue PT Cruiser.
I did get a nice call froma friend who said he nearly dropped his V-Rod in the same spot I came a cropper.
Dear Lance i have no lcue what the flower is but the color is nice.
dear Anon: I can't access Rock Trueblood at work more's the pity. Though he does seem to have got all video and sporadic lately. I am not fond of video stuff for the most part.
Dear Irondad: Falling of fis just part of the fun and excitement. Even experienced riders do it and I get quite exhausted reading about how fearful newcomers to riding are about falling. Shit happens, oh well. Falling while at a standstill rates as a minor irritant.MY scabby knee makes me feel like i'm fifteen again.