Tuesday, April 27, 2010

500 Bahama

The downtown supermarket bills itself a as social center as much as a place to buy household supplies. Locals don't usually clog car parking with scooters. Bahama Street is but two blocks long (Bahama Drive is a completely different street out by the airport and Little Hamaca Park) and the four hundred block runs from Eaton to Fleming while the 500 block starts here at Fleming Street and heads south. I took this picture looking north toward Eaton Street in the distance.Bahama Street is a handy back road that runs between Duval with its slow speed cruisers and Simonton Street.Dust catchers galore around here.By local standards Bahama Street is quite wide and this time of year is less cluttered with pedestrians than in winter. Perhaps it's the grocery store in the heart of the tourist district but Bahama invites amblers for some reason,so when I'm riding through I keep a close eye out for walkers. When it's me on foot there's always something to see. One finds it hard to imagine what purpose such a minuscule terrace might serve. Perhaps a pulpit, or an outhouse at three in the morning for a bladder distended by too much drink.
On a more conventional scale we see regular Conch cottages with unoccupied porches. Such is the cost of real estate (still) it takes work or a summer Up North to fund the Key West lifestyle. Lollygagging on the porch is a rare activity.These places are characteristic and cute but way too close to Duval Street for my taste. Oh yes, the parking bugaboo. Wait a minute, what did I say about lollygagging? He and I both.And pigs may one day get wings and fly. Already happened in Key West.
Jack riepe's million dollar pad complete with cigar humidor on the porch and a garage for his girlfriend Stiffie downstairs. For us commoners, a place in the increasingly warm sun is all we desire.I am quite fond of these old style shutters which i remember from my youth in Italy. The shutter stops are the same curly shapes that I recall. I am told they are less effective than modern ugly hurricane shutters made from aluminum, which does not come as a surprise. However in the historic district city rules do allow the use of hurricane resistant modern materials. They recommend prayer and total immersion as the alternative. This is the back of the old Strand theater now used as a modern inconvenience store and pharmacy which jealously guards it's off=street parking.The view from here may not be much but this is an example of classic key west architecture that has survived the ages. Historic preservation rules are not as crazy as they seem sometimes because the old timers tended to build in the most secure spots (just as in New Orleans the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny survived Katrina largely unscathed).Cheyenne enjoys walking just about anywhere people deposit their trash.I look up to admire a previously unseen corner and before I know it Cheyenne has tangled her leash on an obstruction, or stuck her head in the rails.
If they hadn't posted a no trespassing sign here we would have swooped in no doubt. I have been leaning toward getting a folding bicycle as, in the interest of reducing the number of passengers the transit authorities no longer allow bicycle racks on shuttle buses up the Keys. They did recently rule that you may carry a folding bicycle on board as part of your hand luggage.If gasoline reaches five dollars a gallon it will be worth my while to buy a monthly bus pass, so I keep this plan in the back of my mind. The cell phone tower at Bahama and Southard marks the old Spanish language AM radio whose frequency (1500AM) has been taken over by KONK AM. This tower in the middle of town used to surprise me as it looked so out of place. One gets used to anything, even in the historic district.Nearing the end of Bahama we see the Automated teller Machines of the bank too Big Too Fail, formerly my bank until I went local last month.And more illustrious scooter parking. The Burgman 650 is a no maintenance wonder by Suzuki but it is enormous.When I was a youngster I used to carry my dog on the floorboards of my Vespa. I eyed the Suzuki visualizing Cheyenne between my feet. It seemed like a recipe for disaster.