Tuesday, October 11, 2011


After the storms blew away we were left with crips sunshine and washed clean by the apparently endless rain.

The world looked freshly laundered just for us in the Keys.

I heard a rumor of several inches of snow in Denver, and no doubt in Montana, but this is the Big Sky country I enjoy.

My wife and I rode the Bonneville to Key West Sunday afternoon to take advantage of mild sunny weather. It was a fine ride with a return trip under an almost full moon. All in shirtsleeves it was so warm. And to the guy on the sharp looking white Zuma let me just say hullo, properly. We passed on Palm Avenue driven by the traffic flow.

Blue white and green are the colors of Keys landscapes.

And all those mangrove islands set among the flat reef -protected waters.

The view doesn't vary so much, but its always good.

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Scenic Appreciation

It was a fabulous morning yesterday as I drove Cheyenne into town. The stillness of the water, the difficulty of identifying the horizon, it's how you know it was a gorgeous windless summer day.

I was able to snap the picture with some ease as we were traveling in a funeral cort├Ęge along Highway One. The speed limit may have been 55 but we were having trouble holding 45, and the reason was the red truck at the head of a very long line of anxious commuters. The Pennsylvania tagged truck was beyond my over-taking ability as there was too much traffic headed our way. Besides I wasn't driving to work and I was in my car not riding the Bonneville.

The truck driven by a shirtless man reveled in driving ten miles an hour below the limit though the bumper stickers told another story. Self hatred? You'd think so considering the other sticker read "Yes, I'm a bitch. So fucking what?" which explains why s/he never did find the heart to pull over a to let the worker bees get to their destinations.

It went on like this from Summerland Key (MM25) to Key Plaza (MM3) where the truck went to a construction site, begging the question why s/he hadn't updated to a Florida tag...some laws are just meant to be broken. Not in this instance speed limits, ironically enough. I tucked in behind to see how slow s/he could go and I clocked 22 on North Roosevelt's 35 in rush hour! Fucking bitch indeed!

I respect people's right to drive fast, I pull over when people come up behind me but I am alone in doing that. I drive for myself and what others want to do is their business. Tickets for all! But on then other hand these islands are connected by one road only and everyone has to use it. Worker bees, idle snowbirds, visitors struck senseless by the beauty, speeders, loafers and capable drivers and drunk drivers and incapable drivers too, even when sober. We can't take the freeway when we wake up late, or the scenic route as an alternative to the regular commute. We all have to mix it up on the Overseas Highway, which makes me even happier I work nights!

Then I saw a woman commuting on Flagler Avenue on a scooter and she put the fucking bitch to shame. Flowing smoothly with traffic, blocking no one with her 50cc buzz bomb, reminding us that indeed mean people suck.

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Center Street, Key West

Center Street is two blocks long, an oasis between Duval Street and Simonton Street, off Petronia.

It's best known for a rather attractive church in the middle of the bucolic length of the 800 block.

However loitering at the church's thrift store is not encouraged. I loitered momentarily with Cheyenne admiring this piece of work. I get puzzled by the practicality of saddlebags combined with straight pipes that make your head ring after fifteen minutes. The ensemble looks good though.

The church though is something else.

Less visible than the proud white church on Duval Street dedicated to St Paul, it is good looking in a traditional low key way.

Always that issue of loitering. We hung out for just a brief look, though I have been inside previously and it is just as traditional and pretty inside.

Check out an old essay of mine on the subject:
Conchscooter's Churches I wish it were still open.

The rest of this block isn't at all ugly.

And some enterprising visitors like to visit.

I've got to remember to come back to photograph the 900 block.

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Egg Fruit

I was uncertain if there was anything for me to photograph on this block of Margaret Street but of course there was and I got a lot more than I bargained for, because I got breakfast too!

I watched for a while as he poked the tree with his cage on the end of his stick. He deftly twisted the big yellow fruit off the tree and dropped them in the front basket on his bicycle. Of course I had no clue what they were.
"Are they guava?" I asked trying not to feel foolish. It seemed like a reasonable guess especially considering how hopeless I am when it comes to identifying flora and fauna.

"No," Gavin let me down gently. "They're egg fruit." seeing my look of astonishment he went on, "They've got a kind of custard inside." Huh? Count me in I love custard. "Well, not exactly custard, sort of..." He petered off lost for descriptive words. He kept picking, and then suggested one of the ripe ones on the ground were perfectly edible.

Boy! Were they ever!

"I like teaching people new things," Gavin said, explaining he's lived in Key West 29 years, and is amazed how many fruit trees people cut down. This one was about to get the chop until Gavin intervened with the clueless owner, though he pointed to a neighboring guava that got mangled by owners with no idea what a treasure they owned. People come to Key West and want to change it; you'd be amazed how often that happens. They come because they like it here, then they want to change it.

We went our separate ways, me eating breakfast on the hoof and getting the sweet sticky powdery fruit all over my fingers, my shirt and my camera. But best of all I got two seeds and now they are sitting at home in a bowl of wet paper all set to germinate, I hope.

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Keys Pix XIII

Columbus Day is a Federal holiday, keeping banks and government offices closed. Which was enough to keep the old city hall parking lot empty.

Plastic flamingos? This may not be Florida after all.

A walk with Cheyenne is a slow and measured affair. When we first got her she used to break out into a trot as though that was what was expected of her by her former owners. Then she got too old and they dumped her at the pound, God rot them. Now she gets to take her time, every rock, every blade of grass.

I get to take pictures as she ambles and when I look at the picture I wonder if the old Fire Station sign will be kept for the new station that should be built here before too many centuries pass.

Mayor Cates won re-election and his big project is to get city hall built at Glynn Archer school on White Street. That being the case a new fire station and parking lot should end up here. The Madeline Bean Building is gone and all bits were removed, replaced by gravel. It will all be grist for the mill of Mayor Cates improvements.

You'd think there are enough public trash cans to help even drinkers of nasty cheap beer to dispose of their empties. Recycling cans are yet to appear on the street but you've always got a handy bush to stick the can into.

I was trailing Cheyenne looking for a picture of painted leaves and real leaf shadows...

...and then it ended up being yellow dog and yellow wall, at Spanish Gardens Hotel, home of the rather nifty help-yourself wine bar.

I have no idea what this plaque means, if anything. If I did it wouldn't be nearly as interesting.

Cheyenne didn't spend much time watching this little dog get speed walked to safety out of reach of her dangerous fangs.

Unknown flower- again!

I expressed surprise at the extensive equipment hauled by this party of determined hikers. I tried to point out the land ran out a short way west of here, but they looked down at me and my Crocs pointing it's as well to be ready for any emergency. I wondered what there was downtown that I hadn't been told about.

Has Mayor Cates ordered the closure of every single convenience store currently located no more than hundred years apart..? Probably not. I pressed on waterless, armed only with a plastic bag and a leash.

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