Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Duval Street At Night

I think the little stray cat was making out like a bandit on Front Street at half past three in the morning. I saw a box of wings Cheyenne would have loved and they weighed about as much as the cat who watched me (and my flash) rather warily.
 I was not alone in my fascination with the slow shut down of the bars on Lower Duval Street.
Well, let's amend that, not everyone was fascinated by the young people giving their livers  a last work over before the bars closed:
 The cabs were lining up to haul the punters home:
And this fine figure of a man was keeping the drivers guessing by randomly leaping into the street and screaming while waving his arms. To me he seemed harmless but I was surprised someone hadn't called 911 on his behalf. It has  become quite fashionable to call 911 to complain about your neighbors.
 A few last things to discuss before splitting for home.
 The hot dog stand has practically run out of meat so it must be time.
 I have my Bonneville nearby to whisk me back to work.
Just a few more hours and then we fly home for a long weekend off.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dan The Artist

I was walking Duval and I saw this weirdly decorated van, all very neatly stenciled. The van had a message penciled on the passenger window.
Check it out, it's pretty astonishingly intricate and has come to be known as The Sharpie Van:
And this guy was standing at the back of the van, headphones clamped on to exclude conversation I guess, just another of life's little mysteries.
The window logs the number of days and hours the artist has been stenciling the panels of the van, more than 22 days I think, and he has included a cheerful note to take as many pictures as you please. I checked the other side of the van and that was a virgin canvas so he has his work cut out.
I would never have the patience to do such a job, my hat was metaphorically off to him. I left him to it, intrigued but unwilling to interrupt.
Until, a couple of nights later I saw him at the Circle K as I left work at two in the morning. I got gas and then as is my habit I pushed the Bonneville across to the entrance to the store as I had in mind a beer to take home and enjoy in the silence of my darkened sleeping home. As I pushed the Triumph the artist came over, head lamp on his forehead bobbing as he wondered if I needed help which was unnecessary but very decent of him. I got my beer and when I came out I stopped to thank him for his concern and he told me a little about himself, though I didn't really want to pry, but his story was really very cool.
His name is Dan and he came across as a really unassuming nice guy. He said he had no plans to sell the van though he has had offers already and indeed he is one of those lucky souls with no particular plans for his future. He said he was in a bad place in his life recently and choosing to work on decorating the van helped him pull himself together. He's been in Key West since September and he had only nice things to say about the city where everyone has treated him very considerately he said. I asked him if he ever slept and he said not much, describing himself as "an intense person." You could say that. I was sleepy and ready to put my feet up at home, drink my Yuengling and think about the meaning of life (or watch Anthony Bourdain explore Marseilles on Netflix).

It was a pleasant ride home under a dark sky in muggy night air with a small brown dog at the top of the stairs waiting to greet me. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Key West Town

I'm not sure if the Conch Republic flag is any more representative of Key West than the palms that surround the house which is, naturally painted white and enjoys a lively decoration of the balcony railings.
 Off street parking - a pearl beyond price in Key West housing. I've never understood the mad passionate and almost universal need to convert garages into bedrooms. The they complain when there is nowhere to park their cars on the street near their homes. 
Parking is an issue that gets everyone worked up in Key West. Even people without cars complain about people with cars. Ride a bicycle if you can, ride a scooter if you can't. Lots of two wheeled parking and it's free. 
I enjoy living up the Keys for the quiet, the ample parking if not  the architecture which does not resemble this:
 But there again living in Key West and struggling with the planes flying overhead and drowning out conversation, with parking, with bums, with crowded sidewalks and all that does mean you are closer to the action. If action in the form of art galleries coffee shops and music and theaters of all sorts are your kind of action.
The photographic opportunities can be more varied too. 
 On the whole I like the suburbs, a canal fro swimming, and the chance to sleep during the day.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Coastal Pictures

I have been getting a lot of pictures lately that reflect the change to summer, moisture in the air, clouds, reflections and drama.
 I took these at Horsehoe Cove on West Summerland Key as Rusty amused himself in the seaweed.

 Fishing line and lures caught on power lines, a common sight:
The underside of the Overseas Highway looked suddenly symmetrical as I waited for Rusty to catch up.
 The sublime view marred by the trash:
 A healthy gumbo limbo tree:

Friday, June 10, 2016

Old Town Walk

It worked out that I could take Rusty into town for his morning walk and I found it to be a pleasant change to Rusty's preferred woodsy environment. He seemed to enjoy it too.  
After all these years I still find I enjoy the architecture in Old Town, the louvered shutters and the steep pitch of the roof:
I used a filter for this restored house on the corner of Elizabeth and Fleming Streets. I have photographed it quite a bit over the years but I liked this picture the best for some reason.
 It was refreshing to look through foliage and see not more foliage but traces of civilization. 
Some neighbors are kinder than others. Feral cats are a huge issue in the Keys but I was glad to see them fed. Rusty was not presence enough to put them off their food:
 Always somehing to see in Key West.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Caroline Street Life

Caroline Street has been undergoing major construction and one can imagine that hasn't helped businesses along the street. I noticed a couple of businesses that have gone, including Joe's Place at 920 Caroline that was to have been a neighborhood pub. It's hard to say if the construction is solely responsible for closures, but it sure can't help. This place is up now:
 I think Caroline will look good when finished, with decent sidewalks and yes reduced parking but with planters and trees and stuff. No benches of course as the only way to deal with bums in Key West is to deprive everyone of places to lounge in public... The new 24 hour gym is opening at the old West Marine to the right in the corner below:
Key West boasts a convenience store every block practically. Why anyone would carry water around with them in plastic bottles I'm sure I don't know as you can buy cold water everywhere.
 I posted this one on Facebook with the caption: Not always. This corner of Peacon Lane tends to attract bums so I suppose this tank serves a purpose as well  as being off the street.
An old eyebrow home looking I'm not sure if picturesque or partly renovated. I am no judge of these things.
 Peacon Lane between Caroline and Eaton Streets:
Poinciana doing its thing. Thanks to the always irreverent Love Lane Jack on Facebook I discovered possibly why some people call it "Royal Poinciana" as it's Latin name he says is Delonix Regia so the regia bit might explain the royal. For me its just a poinciana or a flame tree as it's known in the Caribbean. The African Flame Tree I'm told is a similar tree but slightly different.
 Eaton Street is a main artery into town. The morning commute, by bicycle, car and motorcycle:
Which is a good reason to live in Key West if heavy traffic has exhausted you. We complain of course, but its not really bad, ever.