Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Old Bahia Honda

They call West Summerland Key "Scout Key" these days though I'm sure the Scouts must be wondering what to do with their camp blown out and all vegetation burned away by 140 mph winds. When I have a hankering to take pictures and a dog to walk this always was the place to come and so it is now, looking different but the hill, the approach road to the old bridge, is still here. And so are the views and the perspective on the ocean waters below.
 Pelicans alongside the old bridge, crumbling away:
 The view toward Big Pine, now largely vegetation-free:
 Himself always on the look out for iguana:

 He looks around but iguana have taken a hit from loss of habitat.
 Barricades to stop people turning off the highway onto an access road...
 ...that is no longer there:
 Torn away by the waves:
 The mangrove tree, subject of many attempts by me to photograph it:
 But life is re-generating.

 There was an iguana in the tree, he was sure of it:
 He doesn't kill them anymore. He catches them, they play dead and he loses interest.

Monday, October 30, 2017

More Rusty

Iguana Hunting.
These days he seems to get enough nourishment at home so he no longer kills his prey. He just tries to catch them and after he succeeds he puts them down to show me and eventually loses interest. Then the iguana gets up and scuttles off. To my relief.
I think in a lot of ways he prefers to look around and not actually find anything. Like a kid playing hide and seek he runs around poking and prying and is quite happy to not find anything in particular.

 He naps quite a bit between walks:

 And then we sit in the driveway at home and check out the trash piles together. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mobile Surgical Tent Marathon

It was not a picnic to be in Key West after the storm and have no hospital. No running water meant no medical facilities and that was odd to say the least. Well in Marathon, a city of about 10,000 there is no hospital after the catastrophe. But there is a tent:
The old Fishermen's Hospital, seen here in a  picture from my blog in 2013 was wrecked by Hurricane Irma and an emergency medical tent from North Carolina is in it's stead for the time being. The irony is that Baptist Health bought Fishermen's a few months ago to add to their South Florida collection, bringing a sterling reputation and wads of cash. Now they have the prospect of basically starting from scratch....Thank you Irma for one more irritation.
The tent is the scene of my wife's latest medical mishap earlier this week when she sliced open a finger so these pictures are from her iPhone. I was at work at the time and asked her to get me pictures... It was a silly accident but she was happy to know the ER tent is open 24 hours with beds and services and everything. We live halfway between Key West and Marathon which is also where my wife teaches so we have the option of not using Key West's Lower Keys Medical Center and we are glad to avoid that place. Lower Keys is a run down facility with crazy billing practices and shady management so Fisherman's has always been our choice. 
Even now with this sort of makeshift arrangement we prefer to come here than Lower Keys. In fact there was an effort to get Baptist to take over Lower Keys but the owners make too much money off the place to sell it, despite the habit of selling assets to make ends meet. Lower Keys is stuck in its rather dire rut. I can't wait to see Baptist get the new building done frankly.
It's pretty cool to see this kind of things functioning in our blown out community. In some parts of the world this would be more than local people could hope for, and right now the Middle keys need this as much as any undeveloped country might.
 Fishermen's lacked operating cash and was as run down as you like, shortcomings compensated for by the cheerful staff and willing attitude. In 2013 we arrived in the middle of the night to discover the air conditioning had broken. Bummer. The good news was there was no line to get in. There are horror stories of spending whole days waiting to see  a medical professional at Lower Keys. Not in Marathon. Never.
The inside of the tent looks pretty much like what it is: an emergency room. With air conditioning!
 Finger bandaged my wife came home. I had the best medicine after I got home from work: Rusty ready to greet me and snuggle before the inevitable walk.  
Good dog.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Fantasy Meets The Weather

Fantasy Fest  2017  will have to go down in the history books as one of the unluckiest of all time. And considering it is under new management from whom one expects good things, it is excessively unfortunate.
That I am using pictures from Locals' Parades past speaks to the unhappy fact that I got called in to work early and couldn't stroll through the crowd with my camera. Grr. Anyway I am feeling more sorry for Fantasy Fest this year than I am for myself. On top of Hurricane Irma throwing everything for a loop we now have a tropical disturbance threatening to pound the grand parade with inches of rain, as the latest storm, currently labeled Number 18 sweeps north from Nicaragua.
Still, the show must go on and we shall see what the weather brings at the moment the parade begins... and who knows perhaps a dousing of rain will cheer everyone up by its total unfairness and lack of consideration. I mean what else could go wrong? At least its been a relatively uneventful affair thus far, ytoo bad the big event faces 50 mph winds and four inches of rain...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Duval Street Fantasy

Glorious weather prompted me to take an early afternoon stroll on Lower Duval, not the best time to see costumes and crowds. I wanted to try and get a feel for the tenor of Fantasy Fest this year, its first under new management. They are promising more fantasy and less nudity which I think a lot of people might like. Hurricane Irma hasn't helped, no doubt but I hope 2017 can be the start of something good for Fantasy Fest.
I am not a bar hopper but Rick's certainly went out of their way to get colorful. If fantasy and costumes are the theme they seem to have got it right, to my untutored eye:
There are lots of booths along Duval offering the usual: braids, henna tattoos and body painting which has to be carried out behind a screen. There are a few rules for the "Fantasy Zone" which stretches the length of Duval and the side streets for one block to Simonton or Whitehead streets.
Basically one  can wear body paint only but your privates and your bum must be covered up but otherwise wear nothing or a costume or be like me and wear street clothes. Frankly yesterday's cold north wind might have worked for a nudist from Michigan but it was a bit brisk for my delicate skin. I'm taking a week off in November to visit family in the mountains of North Carolina and I expect it will be cold. Properly cold not like this, even though it has been windy.
The TV people who were writing off the Keys six weeks ago were at the obvious place, the Key West cliche, for this event that might never have happened had it been up to them.
A not crowded Duval Street, no nudity but not much in the way of costumes either. Apparently the parties have been well attended so nursing hang overs may be the order of the day. Me? I'm at exercise after I  get up, but I work every night this week just about.
I found a stray bra outside Captain Tony's, a bar well known for it's display of underwear. So a  refugee perhaps?
The new Fantasy Fest sign at the Custom House museum has drawn a fair bit of attention. The Citizen had a nice profile of the artist in chief in the paper this week.  Seward Johnson's statuary is still in front of the museum surrounded by the Fantasy Fest stuff swirling around. They had  music yesterday spreading the festival off Duval Street I suppose, which is a nice idea.
"Free cold water...." I could have used a hot cup of tea but I was alone in choosing to wear a sweatshirt trying to stay in the sun and out of the breeze. It was 74 degrees but the wind chill is real when you're not used to it.
The conch trains are circulating all the time too. A good way to learn about Key West in 90 minutes for around 22 bucks as I recall.
 Some street scenes taken around lunch time yesterday under cloudless blue skies: