Thursday, May 7, 2009

Seen On Lower Duval

It was long overdue I thought, an essay even more than usually about nothing in particular. I could have called it a vignette but the unifying theme was me hanging around Lower Duval and neighboring alleys one sunny afternoon with nothing much to do. So I took some pictures of course.I have never found Duval Street to be especially photogenic, and every time I try to take a street scene it ends up looking rather blah. So I turned my camera on things and people closer to hand. Hog's Breath yielded a couple of stereotypes,two riders of BMW motorbikes who were somewhat overdressed by local standards. Helmets, gloves, jackets...phew!This cool cat is more like it, with it seems, skin to spare in case of a wreck:He was also playing loud music as though he thought he was riding a cruiser, and I don't suppose it would be surprising were I to confess loud speakers are second only to loud pipes in the noise pollution stakes. Grump. There, that's better. Strolling Duval you never know what you might see. A man balancing a sidecar on his Vespa 150, for instance:As you can tell I barely caught the picture, such as it is, and I missed entirely his dutiful wife following along behind on her yellow Vespa. Very cute I'm sure. This dude collects money for parking and doesn't he look like he's been sitting under the sub tropic sun for quite a while:And this man was not apparently getting the information he needed so he glued a phone to his ear:For some this is all they need on Duval Street,or indeed Key West as a whole:Which prompted me to photograph a store advertising "Fine" Silver Jewelry, and if that wasn't inducement enough to enter they had this sign up as well:Elsewhere look for the mannequin if you are an energetic shopper:Or an Adirondack chair if not so much:Dogs are welcome in Key West more than many cities though the Health Department has stepped up enforcement as far as dogs in eating establishments goes and generally they aren't welcome inside. They show up on Duval nevertheless:And then there are those working scooters, frequently Chinese made, that give sterling service yet are so often the object of scorn from people who ride flash Italian scooters. I like my (wife's) Vespa but scooters like these are the back bone of Key West's rental fleets and they are abused day in and day out:And on the subject of food... you know those little rolled up napkins with cutlery in them? Someone has to do that rolling up every day, like this worker at the Lazy Gecko:And even though it may not look it, I'm sure working the bar at Captain Tony's ("Florida's Oldest Bar") has to be hard work. He's the one leaning up against it, not the dude with the back pack who is I think a customer and was probably hoping his mom didn't know where he was:Perhaps it's the not-so shorts, they are youth enhancing. I should take notes I suppose for my wardrobe. And what would Duval be without it's energetic cyclists?On the subject of bicycles i saw this rather trim cruiser propped up against the wall. Then I saw the No Trespassing sign and then I thought how valuable that sign is. I was just about to consider trespassing up that manky moldy looking wall on Telegraph Lane, but I was saved by the presence of that stern signage:I stayed on the street and mold free. Kino Plaza was around the corner and looking good in the sunlight:Sunlight there may have been, all over downtown, but not enough apparently for this spendthrift:By the time I was back on Greene Street I had time to wonder how lucky, or smart one might be to make a living selling kites and similar apparatus:And for the love of Art someone built this biplane, not for sale but decoration: Gotta go, I hear my wife calling, Duplicity's playing at the Tropic. Tour's over.