Saturday, October 15, 2011

Summer Vacation

Giovanni and I agreed that we had to make the summer ride good so that the memories would last.

We rode a lot. We hit mountains, islands, coast roads, winding roads, restaurants.

And we watched the summer fields go by. It was all as I remembered it so many years ago before the Internet and fuel injection and the Euro.

It was good and the memories are still there. I really did like riding that BMW R1200ST. It fit me like a glove. A great summer vacation for me and my wife. We rode like there was no tomorrow and now, in the Fall, one has to wonder if there is a tomorrow after all.

The news from Europe makes me sad, not just because there is far too much suffering but also because, for reasons of selfishness, I am sorry to see my world disappear into history. Paradoxically a world I voluntarily turned my back upon.

There was a sense when I was growing up that life had order, circumscribed by restriction, that thinking outside the box was not smart. We were all in it together, no one soared and the least among us didn't starve on the streets. It was a good social compact on a continent used to horrid civil strife. Except I couldn't stand my family so I ran for the border. I always felt the sense of liberation of being an emigrant of having a whole continent at my fingertips. I could go wherever I wanted, I had no anchors, no obligations, no family to answer to. I got to make my movie in California, epicenter it turned out of the world economic cataclysm born in Reagan-land and exposed 30 years later in Greece. Epicenter also of the entire world's imagination.

I miss the Europe of my childhood the security of what came before and the welfare state that was promised for ever and ever amen. I took a leap emigrating and it seems to have been a good idea for me as I found happiness. I've had thirty years of practice surviving without a welfare state. Giovanni hasn't and he sees signs of crisis everywhere. I wonder what Italy will look like when next I get to go?

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More Bloody Rain

We had a party at home last night and one of our guests, at the end of a very pleasant evening said, as she girded up her loins for a wet dash to her car parked in the next lot: They say it will be raining all day tomorrow.

Yup. It rained all damned day today. Cheyenne got no walks, my wife's arthritis was terrible and I had the prospect of a wet ride to work, which secretly I looked forward to.

The newspaper said a protest was to be held at Mallory Square, to join the other 99 per centers across the world rising up against the one percent pocketing our pensions and our children's futures.

I liked the idea of an Occupy Key West standing, not at the epicenter of Federal Power on Simonton Street or North Roosevelt Boulevard at the Homeland Insecurity building, instead protesting wildly at the tourists on the waterfront. In Rome cars and buildings were set afire, in London crowds gathered to protest the privatization of health care, Aneurin Bevin's great post war experiment torn to pieces, and in Key West, civility in protest.

Which must be why I live here. The reset button has to be pressed on Western Economies and the closer we get to that fateful day the more upset the formerly unaware citizens become.

Here at home it rains cats and dogs while Texas' rice crop burns up in perpetual drought. Here in Key West budgets are balanced, visitors keep pouring in, roads are repaved and calamity seems unreal.

The worst we can say is that rain seems likely every day through Wednesday. Gray skies, wind and puddles, and even through all that not cold, unless 76 degrees rates as cold.

I am not fond of prolonged rain, but let's face it, these days things could be a lot worse in the Fabulous Florida Keys.

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Colson On Cudjoe

Heading north on the Overseas Highway around Mile Marker 21 one passes the Sheriff's substation, a big green sign that slows nervous drivers to well below the speed limit. Then you come across a turn out on the south side of the highway.

Houses around here are quite fancy by local standards. They have yards, landscaping and all modern conveniences.

These are homes with a little bit of suburban Florida style and no Keys funk.

Imagine those stylish Mediterranean roof tiles lifting off in one hundred thirty mile per hour winds. Every summer is hurricane season around here.

Cheyenne loves suburban walks, I couldn't keep up here.

Do people really use these hoop things or are they just placed for stylish decoration?

Some homes are placed on low mounds which help when it floods but stilts are really the best way to go.

Color on a gray day!

The note to the right of the impressive Konzentrationslager gate says "Private Property." Was the any doubt?

Cheyenne quit before we got to the end of the street.

The indistinct red diamond marks the actual end of the street, out of reach on a muggy Friday morning to those of us on foot.

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Windsor Lane

Albuquerque in Key West, a Conch cottage disguised as an apparition from the desert southwest.

Cacti, small windows to keep out the burning desert sun and a paint job that looks like pure New Mexico. This lovely little home reminds me why I sometimes think that life in the Sonoran Desert would be quite fun for a bit. Until the dry heat crisped my hair and crinkled my fingernails and chapped my lips.

Back to reality, because I like humid heat as much as I like cacti.

And you don't get cemeteries like this in Arizona.

And though the high cirrus cloud could be anywhere,

...palms, porches and proper conch homes spell Key West, my home and much nicer than any desert anywhere.

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My Ride

There are people who consider themselves to be scooter riding fanatics yet who prefer not to rent scooters when they visit Key West because the no riding gear attitude makes them feel uncomfortable.

Too bad for them. I know I look odd when I arrive in town in long pants, mesh jacket, leather gloves and helmet. But my cool motorcycle makes up for my lack of style.

Bicycling in Key West is also a casual affair for most people. Jump on the bike and go.

Use a basket to haul your crap and you have an island stye station wagon at your finger tips. can ride Conchscooter style, striking a pose that's says "I rode here from Ramrod Key with all my crap including the kitchen sink."

Or you can be normal and ride a big v-twin.

Key West accommodates all.

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