Sunday, December 11, 2011

Marrero's Guesthouse

I am not at all familiar with bed and breakfast places around Key West, obviously as I have my own bed (and breakfast) to go home to every night.

But there was a lively debate about one local B&B on the Trip Advisor site which shocked me frankly. Some comments were bitterly, viciously critical of the place while others thought it was a fantastic place to stay. I was reminded of the operator of our B&B in Rome, where I don't have a bed of my own anymore, who said she lives and dies by amateur reviews on travel sites. I cannot imagine the stress, and there seem to be no restraints on some people on the Internet. I avoid commenting on the forums.

Marrero's looked great to my uncritical eye, well kept and tidy and if you want to be in the heart of Old Town, no more central than this is possible. It looked to be a fine place to stay.

I had my own moment of supreme embarrassment up the street. I had my gaze turned away from my dog who snatched -true story- a half of a Subway sandwich carefully stashed on the luggage rack of a parked bicycle. I stared in disbelief at the fang marks my Labrador left in the sandwich wrapper. I wasn't mad because she never steals food at home but when she's out in the wild rubbish is fair game for her inquisitiveness... "Don't worry about it," a street vendor laughed. "It belonged to my buddy, I'll let him know." I had no money to compensate and shuffled off clutching the mangled sandwich.

She enjoyed it while I was left to scrape up the remains and toss them in the trash can. I deserved my sticky hands smelling of mayo for my trouble, I guess.

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Lost Road

What this sign is doing here I couldn't say. As far as I know Highway One comes into town on Truman Avenue, turns north, ironic I know, on Whitehead Street and ends at Fleming Street.

Instead there is this new sign hinting at some previously unknown extension of the Overseas Highway. Since when does the highway go north on Fleming?

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Southard Street

A key deer lurking under the eaves? Not really, it was a statue catching dust, disguised by my trembling hand.

This encounter was live and real. I had to pass the "Is she friendly?" test which always seems absurd to me, so much so I describe Cheyenne as my 'attack Labrador.' My cheerful irony in a world gone mad with fearfulness.

This fence doesn't look like much but you should see it after dark, and you likely will soon enough on this page, for that is when the Christmas lights come on. Last year it won runner up status as I recall in the city wide competition.

It is bougainvillea season in the Southernmost City so you might as well get used to seeing them on the page. Like this:

And the thriving prickly pear bush near Elizabeth Street is producing once again. And those would be bougainvillea in the background, of course.

This is the porch of Madjack's place he of Solaris Hill Notes fame. Not a blog for the faint hearted. But there again I like to think his pungent observations are obvious, but only perhaps to a clique of Key West eccentrics!

There must be a huge trade in France selling these dust catchers to American visitors.

I can't get over how much I like these small Key West views.

Geometric severity made tropical.

To rebuild one must tear down and work continues apace on the late Bonnie Albury home. The new owners dropped a comment on an earlier entry about the house. They complained the neighborhood is speculating the old home may become a rental. Never! Affirm the owners.

They hope to make the late Bonnie Albury proud with their renovation. A tall order I think as I recall her imperious voice crackling down the phone ordering me to send a cop to move along a man with easel painting her house. That happened a lot and she did not like it.

I enjoy seeing the house rebuilt, just because it seems so counter intuitive in a world losing it's collective economic shirt. Preservation seems eccentric and a manifestation of faith in the future. Great stuff.

Key West, the past as future.

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A State Of Mind

There are times I wish the Conch Republic were more than a state of mind, which reflection prompts the consideration that were that the case not many of us would have permanent residence, never mind citizenship.

Instead a passport is available to anyone with a hundred dollar bill to spare and an appropriate photograph. The ability to ride a scooter would be a requisite in my state of mind on any application for citizenship, that and a bicycle, three wheelers not excluded in either case.

The language test for my Conch Republic citizenship application would require the candidate to be able to ask for a Cuban coffee without hesitation or repetition, and to know the difference between a colada and a
large with one

The Conch Republic of my state of mind would have working pay phones and would not discriminate on the basis of gender (preference), eccentricity or reluctance to use the latest gadgetry.

Irritating humans would have to be on leashes at all times in public places and parks would be reserved for dogs with only attending humans permitted.

Every citizen would be required to look up every day at least once to enjoy the view.

And tourists would be forced to surrender one vacation image upon departure as an exit tax from the Republic.

I'm certain more regulations would come to mind as one forged ahead.

However if Monaco can exist by skimming off other people's money I'm sure I don't know why the Conch Republic can't. All it takes is vision.

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Mile Zero Courthouse

This is the actual Mile Zero, and the reason why the corner of Fleming and Whitehead Streets has the sign marking the end, or beginning of Highway One.

The opposite end of the Highway is in Fort Kent, Maine marked according to Google Streetview by a wooden signboard next to the bridge over the river into Canada. The gentlepeople of Maine seem to put rather less stock in their end of the highway than the tourist oriented society at this end.

However, rather than simply staring at the street sign which can be seen here: Mile Zero, I was more interested this time in the complex of buildings that are the heart of Monroe County government. The State Supreme Court has ruled that trees and menorahs are suitable seasonal decorations for public offices this time of year, in one of those Solomonic decisions that seem to please no one, and I rather liked the modest little lighted bush in the upper window. Then I saw offices with actual open windows to allow natural fresh air inside and I had a spasm of envy.

The wildlife posed rather generously for me with the white wall background making them look stuffed and mounted. They were actually quite alive and active when I took these pictures.

I am once again sticking my neck out on fauna of which I know nothing and I shall guess they are mockingbirds but they neither screeched at us nor dive bombed us as we passed.

Perhaps they were having an off day or they were on tranquilizers. You can tell this place is the nerve center of something.

The courthouse complex has grown over the years with new buildings added to the original, clock-towered classic brick southern courthouse. The whole place is lovely, kept like a park.

Then there is the Freeman Justice Building, the new courthouse added in back. Freeman Justice Center

And there's even a picnic table out front of the whole complex under the kapok tree where a tired dog walk can eat a 'to go' lunch and watch the passersby-by. County government at your service.

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