Sunday, October 6, 2019

Mangrove Mysteries

It was obvious we weren't alone, Rusty and I, on a rare day off when I took him for a noon time walk. 
 As we approached the trail  I heard a loud splashing noise coming rhythmically from the mangroves. And I wasn't alone in noticing the noise. My chief security officer was on high alert. It sounded like an animal tramping through deep water.
We poked around for a while trying to find the source of the splashing noise and even after Rusty lost interest I kept looking trying to figure it out. I spot little flashes of silver so I was guessing it must have been a fish breaking the surface periodically.
But whether the fish was prey or hunter I couldn't tell. The nose of rhythmic splashing went on and n and eventually even I had to give up hope that Sasquatch would come plodding out of the mangroves.
 It was a lovely day but really hot and humid and I lost the desire to take Rusty into town. The breezes dried up on my day ff and left behind a blanket of hot wet air.
 Rusty wanted to walk, so walk we did, alongside the empty silent road.
Hurricane Irma in 2017 stripped many of the trees alongside the road and left them to die, leafless. Slowly the lower bushes are coming back but there are lots of dead and grey trunks and branches along the roadway.
Me, hot and bothered tempted into a selfie by the presence of a flat post at the end of the trail. No signs of Sasquatch behind me ready to pounce, either.

Saturday, October 5, 2019


I saw a Hemingway look alike complete with cigar and I thought to often do I look at all the people who flood the streets of Key West?
 Not that often. Indeed I much prefer the streets and buildings and quirky little objects and angles and shadows and trees and the light that floods this city.
 But here they are, a few of your neighbors on vacation enjoying Duval Street.
 I tend to prefer the shady side of the street. If there is one.
 There's a joke about what constitutes a good parking space in Florida. Any space in the shade.

 And there are those who also frequent the waterfront at Key West Bight. 
So much to check out in this small town.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Wind Blown Harbor

A bight for sailors is an indentation or a loop, as in a bight of rope or a bight on an otherwise featureless straight coastline.  The Key West Bight is an indentation that is now surrounded on three sides by buildings and along the fourth there is a rip rap seawall with an opening to the harbor outside.
Boaters of all sorts tie up here, charter boats, pleasure boats big and small and they are all part of the tourist industry, the colorful waterfront scene in downtown Key West. Because it is a tourist draw the city changed the name to Historic Seaport as calling it The Bight was not descriptive enough. Besides most people don't know what a bight is, and even fewer care to find out. 
The city has retained ownership of the land around the Bight and rents the properties to hopeful businesses so you can buy the usual tourist tat and seafood meals before or  after you've finished a day on the water.
For me the Bight is a place where I can go and take some pictures with the hope that I can find some fresh angle on a  familiar scene. I like walking along the waterfront, I like smell of the sea air and the familiar noises of boats in the water.
And the landmarks on land. The visitors attach their stickers for a piece of immortality; I take pictures to remind myself I was there.
The ever popular Cuban Coffee Queen at the original location at the Bight.  There are barely a couple of places to sit yet they attract a loyal and continuous clientele, lined up outside the tiny little booth.
 For the hard(er) stuff there's Schooner Wharf Bar often mispronounced as Schooner's Wharf. In any event it's another long standing popular joint.
 The towel left behind on the to the swimmer in sight...

 The entrance to the bight  is to the right of the dinghy coming to the dock, below. You can see the wind whipped water of the harbor in the background, beyond the seawall hat keeps these waters flat.
 I caught a glimpse of this boat with smoke streaming from the tuna tower. Except it was a cloud.
 Fishing boats to rent, below. Boaters call renting chartering.
 This must be where the Coffee Queen sandwiches are consumed:
Like I said there are opportunities  to take pictures, and yes, it's a bird on a post but it's what I see around the waterfront and I like it.
 Facing the rough waters to get home:
 A nice big dinghy for a nice big passenger. Rusty would never do this and enjoy it. Anything bigger than a puddle and he is suspicious of water.  Hence the van and not a boat.
And this being a small town I noticed that lovely dog enjoying being ashore a little while later.  They look happy together.
Something like this:

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Fantasy Fest Cometh

On Duval Street two days ago and I saw a banner at Teaser's selling spots cheap for early purchasers,  $170 for a place on the balcony overlooking the Grand Parade Saturday night 26th October. We are starting to get in gear.
It is fashionable to hate Fantasy Fest and over a few years of deterioration there was much to dislike about a week in Key West where bad taste and nudity was the highlight of a week long public bacchanalia. A couple of years ago a new company took over running the festival and based on last year's clean up the emphasis seems to be turning to more costumes and less body parts.
In a town proudly displaying tasteless clothing slogans on the main street, ogled avidly by some passers-by and less by others, it's not really feasible to expect Fantasy Fest to become completely tame. Despite the drawbacks I enjoy the week. I like the fact that we have a holiday all our own and though the est of the country, and indeed the world, has to keep grinding along we don't, for one short week. We can get to that "...after Fantasy Fest."
Meanwhile life goes on in Key West. Beer deliveries to Ricks is not something that should surprise. 
I was surprised to see President Trump hanging with his overseas buddy on Duval Street.
Parasols seems rather quaint, if colorful but they are for sale in one of the sunniest cities in the United States. I cannot imagine standing on the street all day making nice to anyone and everyone who may or may not look like a potential sale. Here they are across from Sloppy Joe's day after day.
On the subject of sun exposure I saw a bunch of advertising for IV sales. Apparently having a  drink of water when you are thirsty isn't enough. Nowadays there is the option of rejuvenating with intravenous fluids. In a country where people cheerfully put heir families and neighbors at risk by ignoring vaccinations you'd think nonsense like this would be a hard if not impossible sell. As usual I am unable to underestimate the native intelligence of people faced with snake oil.
Motorcycles make men of boys (and cripples of men sometimes as we have found out) but sometimes the center stand defeats the best efforts of the uninitiated manly men. Foot on stand, hands exactly where he has them and a smooth backward motion. I've been doing it for  half a century so I suppose my thoughts on the subject of motorcycle center stands are not needed.
Unloading and delivering parcels isn't easy work during most months of the year. Of course my idea of hell is doing such work in a snow, but I'm pretty sure  a nice cold front wouldn't hurt about now, even though brisk north winds had been keeping humidity at bay in a taste of Fall not usual around here..
The wind has been delightful making my early morning walks with Rusty fresh and positively cool, but that is at four in the morning in my neighborhood. Large straw hats downtown have been at a disadvantage, as stylish as they may look.
For some reason I saw  ton of heavily loaded trolleys on the streets, as this town seems unusually full. A friend of mine who cooks in a restaurant told me he is working six days a week at a time of yea he expects low volume to send him on vacation. With a baby on his plate, so to speak, he isn't complaining about the work, just surprised.
Kermit was out and about getting in on the action. I have come to love Kermit's Key Lime hand lotion. I have dry skin on my hands sometimes and his lotion is perfect. I stole my wife's bottle when my hands were hurting they were so chapped and it was so soothing I appropriated it from her bathroom and when I confessed what I had purloined she told me she hated the smell (strange woman!). I made it mine and even bought another one when that bottle ran out.  My soft smooth hands smell of Key Lime. Yum.
I think I'm losing my mind. I got the distinct impression Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was visiting Key West on a bicycle. The flat cap gave it away. I mean, if Trump was on Duval why shouldn't Lenin be on Lazy Way Lane? I last saw him in Red Square in 1981 and he's looking a lot fitter than the waxy sheen he had in that mausoleum outside the Kremlin. No photos were allowed so I have no proof.
Another bizarre day in Key Weird.