Friday, September 4, 2009


My original plan, after I got off work at 6am was to retire with a couple of blankets to one of the interview rooms at the police station and take a nap for a couple of hours. There are no holding cells for prisoners at the police station, but sometimes prisoners are interviewed in these small rooms with no windows that are perfect for taking a nap in, unless detectives are actually speaking with some one in there. Instead six o'clock came round and I was wide awake. So I rode to Stock Island for breakfast. After eggs, grits, bacon and Cuban toast washed down by café con leche I was ready to go out and photograph the dawn.I stopped in the turning lane in the median for the photograph above, aiming east at the start of the morning commute into Key West on highway one. After I turned onto College Road I stopped again for a picture of Key Haven across the water.
"Hey Michael!" a scooter rider called out as he rode by on College Road. I have no idea who it was but I'm glad I wasn't doing anything even remotely reprehensible at that early hour. In Key West the community is too small to get away with anything at all that you don't want people knowing about. Good morning to you, whoever you were on the silver scooter.There was a fair bit of traffic on College Road and the sun was determined to keep coming up. The drag of it is, I'm not usually awake and busy at this hour, so the one day I was alert to the presence of the dawn i wanted it to last. Fat chance, daylight was polluting everything.But fiddle with the camera settings and you can find rich colors in the sky if you work at it:Back on the bike I took a left at the Triangle and headed south for a beachside sunrise picture.The problem is everyone goes to South Roosevelt to watch the sunrise:And you can see why when you look east, in this case across Cow Key Channel toward Stock Island. The white fireball is the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse coming to eat my Triumph.Enough of this sentimental nonsense, sun rising over water. Five minutes down Flagler Avenue got me to the Key West High School. Somehow, in my effort to de-sentimentalize sunrise I have managed to make the school look like a Soviet Tractor Factory. It wasn't my intention, I quite like the school actually and I especially like that the school is an open campus. Key West is very small town and civilized.
I stopped on Bertha Street momentarily on way to my destination downtown, but nothing quite struck me. I wanted photograph the old men sitting around sipping buchi's (Cuban espresso) at the Corner Grocery Store, but the problem with old men in retirement is that they are sitting and looking at every little thing that goes by. A bloody great green Bonneville, even one with standard factory mufflers just draws too much attention and so I chose not to point the unblinking eye at them. I spotted these two pals out jogging and happily the light was still vague enough to give them a National Geographic blurry effect:
While the humans were acting busy on Atlantic the palm trees and buildings were just standing there in the rose-tinted dawn. The elevator shaft for the 1500 Atlantic Building looked like a church tower to me. I must just have been a little tired.Higgs Beach attracted a share of sunrise worshipers. She looked like she was into sun worship until I realized she had a phone in her hand. And he, striding by with purpose, reminded me of Robert Duval smelling napalm in the morning in Apocalypse Now. Definitely not sentimental. My sentimental dawn journey downtown led me past the bums and the beach and this concierge hut ready to rent out water sports stuff next to Salute restaurant.
There's lots of stuff young Conchs don't get to see growing up and agriculture is one of them. The Sheriff operates the animal farm at the jail, a refuge for abandoned or mistreated wild or domestic animals like pigs horses and goats. But to see a tractor in Key West go no further than the beach where this agricultural implement isn't baling hay but cleaning sand:This one appeared to belong to Casa Marina Resort:
The Casa itself, Flagler's original destination hotel in Key West for his new 1912 railroad, looked imposing in the dawn's early light; like a barracks:
The Spottswood Pocket Park at the end of Seminole Street attracted a jogger, who with camera in hand took no pictures but committed everything to memory by way of thorough inspection and spent some time inspecting the information plaque about the Key West Marine Park, which runs along the island's southern shore.
The easterly breeze was blowing as indicated by the flag on the pier. The boat was in calmer waters closer to shore.
I tried to catch the foamy effect of the modest little waves on the rocks in the gray light but got poor results:
The Reach glowing all splendid with the dawn illuminating the clouds for a backdrop on this lovely summer morning.
And from here to the Randy Acevedo trial at the courthouse, my destination for the morning ride.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

How surreal!
How serene!
How bile-free!
How unlike you.

And the line about the Russian Tractor Factory was rather good. I sent it to my second former wife. She wants to talk to you. Apparently, she spent her first honeymoon in a tractor factory in Minsk.

I will send you a picture of sunrise in the Adirondacks this weekend. I will undoubtedly just be getting in, with some dolly on the pillion.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Conchscooter said...

More bile tomorrow I'm sure. Like the weather, wait twenty four hours and it will change. I now hope anonymous bore comes back and shreds your unsicentific self to very small, unreadable pieces. You deserve it.

susan said...

I'm not from where you are, but I've been there. I am from NJ...and what people say about NJ must be true because I enjoy reading your blog thoughts and I enjoy looking at your photos and I never once thought it was bile!

Conchscooter said...

Mostly it's just ironic observations, which get lost in the translation to the page, apparently. I will have to reprint my I Am An Ironist speech for the benefit of those who aren't from New Jersey, a state that has just risen in my estimation.

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

Perhaps the irony is noted and appreciated, but not focused on, as it may get lost in the subject matter so over powering?

Orin said...

On a different subject, what exactly is Cuban toast?

Scootin' Old Skool

Conchscooter said...

Cuban bread comes in a thick baguette style, though soft and not crispy, as it is made with lard(!). A typical snack is "pan con queso" which translates into bread with cheese, or more commonly in English as "cheese-toast" where the bread is buttered and slices of "yellow cheese" (American) is layered on with nothing else. Then the bread is put in a hot press which partially melts the cheese. For fussy eaters, like my wife, who dislike American cheese, one can sometimes find the yuppie version made with Swiss cheese and one would ask for "queso blanco" white cheese. Clearly I need to order some and dissassmble the sandwich as I photograph it.