Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sunny Days

A few pictures of Key West basking in the sun.

 I'd like to think this abandoned glove was waving good bye. For now.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sunset On Sugarloaf

Like all side roads in the Lower Keys it's a dead end and it takes determination to drive it to the end.
 For me the bridge at Sammy Creek  is a place to let Rusty loose to follow his nose while I play with my camera.
 I imagine the crowds at Mallory Square at about this hour. 
I recently finished re-reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It's a bit of a stretch but the rapidly flowing tidal creek put me in mind of the river in that atmospheric story. 
 The road from somewhere to nowhere...

I was photographing the lacework created by the leafless trees against the darkening sky when a car pulled up. The previous camper drove away without  stopping to talk but this young coupe wanted to know what I was doing. Amusing the dog. He pointed out the bats to his slack jawed girlfriend, I nodded solemnly. I was suddenly a part player in his local knowledge play. 
We talked, I deferred, to his recitation about the bat tower now flat on its back on the other side of the island. I swatted mosquitoes. Rusty stopped leaping around his new friends (they encouraged him) and sta waiting for me to do something. I opened the car door.
I paused on the drive back to US One to take some not terribly good pictures of the sunset across the salt flats. The breeze was cool and Rusty found the ditch fascinating.

 It got dark shortly after six. We left.

Sunset Walk

A few menacing clouds gave way to clear skies as the sun approached the horizon.
 Hurricane Irma debris hasn't come close to being cleared in the furthest backwaters...
 American Shoal light hovering far in the background:
 Wind blown coconut palm:
 Pelican can:
 take offL
 and look at ease doing it:
 I caught him with his eyes closed. He hates the camera and screws me up all the time.
 They shouted a lot as they went but I thunk they were having a  good time. It looked tedious to me:
 Time to think about maybe going home?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Free Rides

I got to see the new free bus service in action this weekend. It's called the Duval Loop and it runs continuously roughly between White Street and Duval. Rides are free and the stops are marked by big pink lollipops.
This stop was at the main library at Elizabeth on Fleming. The bus was heading away from Duval toward White Street where it would loop back to the fleshpots of Duval Street. 
 This bicycle sign, below, is the only one of its kind I can think of in the city. Testament to the ever simmering feuds between cyclists and car drivers in the human family.
 I think a scooter would do just fine:
And there are lots all over the city:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Still Cold

This  cold snap needs to go away.  The shrimp boats as of yesterday were still parked on the horizon under the protection of the island of Key West, whipped by winds but facing small waves. When the shrimpers gather its always a sign of a strong north wind on the way.
I know 58 degrees (14 Canadian) seems paltry compared to what Minnesotans and Mainers face but they are prepared. We have three blankets, one fleece each two wool caps and extra socks. And we are used to 80 degrees. People from Up North bitch all the time when they venture here in the summer in temperatures I find tolerable and they expect me to empathize...
 Check out the clothing on the mob scrambling for hot coffee at Sandy's on White Street:
Wind proofing is the  trick. In the sun outside of the breeze it's quite comfortable but my house is on stilts and that doesn't help. I remember commentators in New Orleans after Katrina bridled at the suggestion the 9th Ward rebuild on stilts to avoid future floods. They said stilt houses looked like cocktail olives on toothpicks. Maybe so but they would have been dry...nonetheless my olive on a  stick gets wind shipped from all sides and underneath. It's an elevated ice box.
I saw the cruise ship in town yesterday, a huge hulk looming over the little chain stores at the end of Duval Street. More to the point check out the heavy winter clothing on the passersby.  Arctic blasts not anticipated by vacationing cruise ship travelers, I'm sure. Welcome to the tropics where we spend winter bundled up and summers getting battered by hurricanes. 
 Frankly I don't know how people cope without electricity Up North when ice storms strike. It's miserable sweating in the summer without electricity but being without electricity in a winter storms seems positively dangerous to me. I guess it's all in how you want Mother Nature to beat you up.
Supposedly we are supposed to be back in the eighties this week. Can't come soon enough for me.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Breaking Down

I went home early last night. We are short staffed at work so I went in feeling under the weather and stayed long enough to give my colleagues breaks and help them through the early part of the night, these days the busiest part of the twelve hour shift. At midnight I left the office aching all over and exhausted only to find my car was locked tight and the door code - a brilliant Ford innovation - wasn't working. I had left the key in the ignition and the ignition wa son flattening the battery till there was zero energy left in the thing. Not even the door lock would work. Like so many people I felt like crying to 911 but I manned up and called a wrecker. My wife was volunteering to bring me a key, a 30 minute drive in sub arctic  conditions, windy and 55F, but I heroically declined.
Bubba showed up laughing at me. He and I talk on the phone most nights when he tows vehicles blocking private property, as the police department is required to check them to make sure they aren't reported stolen. This was the first time we met face to face. He laughed like a drain at my predicament. Then he released me and started my car in less than 30 minutes from phone call to me driving out of the police station. What a tool I felt! Clearly not myself with this damned cold...
In good news when I left home around ten o'clock to show Rusty a good time the last of the garbage, what used to be hurricane debris was being picked up in my neighborhood and the curb was being swept clean. It actually felt really good. An hour later I was driving back and marveling at how nice a street looks without trash everywhere. I had forgotten. Then I slept the rest of the day. Tonight I took the ignition key up to work with me to avoid mishaps.