Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ramrod Key 2

The newspaper says the military is cutting back in Key West and the Navy Construction Battalion and Maintenance unit is going away in September. It's only a few dozen sailors in a town that is home to about 7,000 military but the paper remembered the public works carried out by the Sea Bees especially after hurricanes. Cutbacks are in the air.A brilliant mailbox. One not devoted to sand sea palms boats and manatees (mine has the usual display of palms, ahem). I liked the bright splash of color. Cheyenne failed to notice entirely the gorgeous banana tree growing out of the boat. I hope our banana tree someday gets this tall. It was a birthday gift to my wife from Lucy. I have been watering it assiduously in the hope one day of getting fruit from it. This one showed no fruit but the leaf span was impressive from a tree so short. There are no squirrels in the Lower Keys, and though I have seen a couple of escaped tame rabbits there are no wild rabbits supposed to be in the Lower Keys. For which I am grateful as iguanas are vegetable predators enough. However there are lots of raccoons.
Trash cans require well fitting lids.

Ramrod Key 1

Indies Road looking north from in front of my house. It looks like summer but those clouds just won't yield a decent downpour.The salt ponds that comprise the southwest corner of Ramrod Key are drying up slowly as they do at the end of the dry season, which is winter. When the rains return the mud will be covered to the depth of a foot or two and some intrepid visitors in kayaks will explore the limits of the waters. Others go crabbing and toss pots out into the mud.
The salt ponds make a nice view but they aren't much to walk on so Cheyenne and I jump in the infernal combustion machine and drive to the north side of the island from time to time. During our dawn walks I have heard a sound that reminds me of peacocks I used to hear in my youth, a sort of shriek that dies to a strangled squawk, that once heard is never forgotten. I guess I am not hearing things after a long night at work.
The island, as small as it is, is covered with small businesses, everything from welding to car repair, to boat tours, a motel and storage lockers. You name it Ramrod Key caters to it. Happily not all development came to fruition so there are numbers of almost empty planned streets where a Labrador can take her ease uninterrupted by much traffic flow.
I kept looking up at the sky but the clouds just looked threatening.
Sooner or later rains will come and with them mosquitoes and flourishing trees and hot sticky afternoons.

Key West Touring

The famous Mile Marker Zero. This is the place to come if you want to stand in a line to take pictures of a sign post.They have designated the highway as something scenic so there are extra signs at the corner of Fleming and Whitehead Streets. They put the end of the Highway here because this spot is in front of the county building and courthouse, the heart of Monroe County.
Naturally when there was an informal dog convention Cheyenne was at home snoring in the air conditioning. It's got hot enough now that it seems better to leave her at home than to bring her into town to just sit in the car and be with us "nominally." I like to bring her to town to walk because she enjoys that a lot in hot weather, more smells for less walking. For some people downtown is just a place to hang out and think. And for some of us it's a place to wander and take pictures.

Olive Oil For All

My wife surprises me sometimes and I expected to walk out of this place with a few bottles of olive oil. Ever since someone mentioned there was an olive oil shop on Duval Street she had mentioned an interest in going to check it out. So we did.I found it rather weird seeing bottles lined up like they were bottles of wine and alongside the bottles were little tasting cups. I helped myself to a couple of flavored oils while my wife cruised the store. She had found, in a Costco in Miami of all places, some really good garlic olive oil and she was looking for more as Costco isn't carrying it anymore. My wife was in an inscrutable mood and she did that woman thing of drifting through the store, mingled with the happy tourists and left with no purchases. Me? I was none the wiser about the whole experience. My heart goes pitter patter when I see an old style two stroke Vespa. I really like the 200cc model but a 150 is nice to look at.

Watching the scene from upstairs at the Whistle overlooking Caroline and Duval Streets.
We went to Fogarty's for dinner and had Tex Mex rolls and chicken lettuce wraps and fried fish appetizers and we sat out and enjoyed the bustling warm evening air. It was a very pleasant change after months of staying away from the very crowded downtown.
Fogarty's gave the High School Teacher's gift certificates earlier in the year and my wife had hoarded hers for us to enjoy later. The server said most of them had been cashed already. We enjoyed ours last week and it was well worth the wait.

Sunset Pier

It's hard to imagine the Key West waterfront without the behemoth hotels that now line the harbor. I do remember the old Mallory Square when I first came to Key West in 1981 and the Ocean Key House today is a lot more spiffy than that.My wife and I took a walk out to where we don't often come thinking it might be a quiet spot out of the winter season. Fat chance: it was crowded! I was wondering if anyone would buy my coconuts off my trees for five bucks? And I was not the only one with a camera out catching the scene... I have posted previously about this end of Key West's main street in a more general sort of way.
A pretty gaff rigged boat taking lucky tourists out for a sunset ride. I've sailed thousands of miles and I will never stop enjoying seeing a well handled boat on the water. This next picture shows some happy tourists of the female and male persuasion on the Key West waterfront.

I wonder if my quality of life would improve were I to own a pair of flame decorated shorts? It doesn't seem very likely.My wife is as crowd averse as I am.
We said goodnight to the seagull and wended our way south on Duval.