Friday, December 28, 2018

Mountain People

Aidan on the left is almost thirteen and Connor on the right is a bit younger. They live in Asheville and are, lucky them, my nephews. They liked Key West the few days they came and saw the water -"Why is it so blue?" they asked me, their oracle. We took the ferry to Sunset Key and fed the whole brood lunch. It was a success.
Not surprising really. I like Key West and I live here and they came in a cool front that didn't overwhelm them with heat and humidity and respected their delicate mountain sensibilities more attuned to cold and frost this time of year. 
 The Pier House looked just fine under the sun as the waters of the harbor swept through on the tides trawling away impurities and leaving clear turquoise water to bedazzle our visitors. 
 The Coastguard base above, the former rail terminus for Flagler's Over the Sea railroad from Miami. Below we see visitors to the end of the road enjoying outreach beyond land buzzing aound like bluebottles on jet skis.  
I am a subversive soul and I suggested such a tour to my nephew, a fine upstanding father of two who does his part to combat climate change managing a  bicycle parts factory in Asheville while driving a suitable hybrid while living in a self designed home that employs nature for heating and cooling with minimal fuel consumption. However even his eyes lit up as the devil in me suggested a jet ski tour. "No one will know," I said using the age old formula to encourage deviance. What happens in Key West stays in Key West. Jet skis are scourges of course but tremendous fun and Jacob deserves fun as well as responsibility. I like him and his family a great deal.
We arrived at Sunset Key docks and I had my camera around my neck playing the crippled tourist with the walker. I ended up walking enough to make my legs scream by mid afternoon when I had to repair to bed and take a nap. I enjoy being mistaken for a tourist though.
You can understand why Latitudes restaurant was a hit.  The scenery was perfect, the food excellent and they even use cardboard straws to satisfy the Asheville hipster in all of us. My sister-in-law Geeta giving a passable impression of Her Majesty the Queen, Bevin and husband Jacob:
 Brother-in-Law Bob:
 The fight for the lobster bisque:
Danger out sailing in a brisk breeze and looking good. I believe it started life as a Chesapeake skipjack hence the low free board to allow crabs to be brought aboard easily (and tourists to be rolled off if they get obstreperous no doubt!). A lovely ambassador for Key West:
I had a Cuban sandwich just for a change and regretted not sticking with my usual fish tacos which Jacob pronounced excellent. He also finished my sandwich which proved too much for me. The in-laws are a high maintenance crowd questioning the menu and adding things on the side so my wife was blissfully at home. I kept my head down and ordered. 
 And looked around and took pictures. What a day! You should have been there.
 My Cuban with turkey and mojo (Cuban garlic/citrus sauce)
The family was looking forward to a charter the next day, snorkeling and dolphin hunting and a picnic on an island and generally learning why we find it hard to consider living elsewhere. Mountains are lovely for a vacation and Appalachia around Asheville very much so as I have documented here (put North Carolina in the search function at the top to check it out) but, well, this...
 It wasn't  a day without clouds and indeed by the time my wife dropped me off at home to recuperate it was drizzling too but never cold enough for a sweater.
 The trip back... Key West.
 Organizing the next event, a downtown walk ice cream and so forth, as you do. 
To be a tourist in Key West is a fine thing. I expect to be mistaken for one many times to come, I hope.