Monday, November 9, 2020

Conch Cottages

Houses seen around Margaret Street. 

Hanging out at the market that used to be known as Charlie's Grocery:
Keys Limin'

Key West

Key West

Mask Free Key West

 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Waiting For Eta

I am hearing from friends and neighbors worried about Tropical Storm Eta currently over Cuba and projected to make landfall over the Lower Keys tonight as a Category One Hurricane. I am not one to minimize storms as I have over the years seen much destruction but this storm seems rather puny if I can allow myself such a characterization.
Florida Keys Storm
Rusty and I walked in town before dawn and there were a few people around, mostly the homeless pretending it was just a rainy morning in Key West. The wind and rain abated for an hour and we wandered unmolested, a good opportunity for my buddy to stretch his legs. I am not indifferent to the homeless in Key West but the shelter is now open 24 hours and from conversations I find most of these characters choose to be "free." It just looks unpleasantly uncomfortable to me. 
Florida Storm
I saw a few self important youngsters hustling around the marina with serious looks creasing their faces. They saw an old tourist and his camera ambling aimlessly with his dog,  but I have to say there are too many boaters who think sitting in one spot on an anchor makes them sailors, a definition that comes into question when weather turns harsh. I wonder what their hurricane plans are and why they haven't had them in place since the day before yesterday?
Predictably the usual downtown streets were looking Venice-like, high tides, winds and inches of rain combine to point out the obvious: there is too much water.
It was a lovely walk, made more so by the fact that nasty weather is all around us and we were walking in a bubble of calm. So, the question then is, should I be worried? Many of my friends and neighbors are heading down that path but let me explain why I'm not, and neither should you be.
Key West Storm
I have taken sensible precautions and those are the usual minimalist preparations for heavy weather. Bring in the outside  furniture, hide the garbage cans, park the car under the carport and then watch my wife plying her water colors while Rusty sleeps in his bed and I flip through my photographs. That's my strategy for dealing with the hurricane as I'm off work on Monday. 
Outside where the weather may be frightful they tell us winds could reach 85 miles per hour in gusts and 75 sustained tonight. They expect widespread flooding trees down and so forth. The official county emergency management PAGE says high schools in Key West, Marathon and Coral Shores are open. So all is ready for this late season hurricane which seems to be chasing it's onw tail on a  very crooked track.

On my drive to work in darkness I came across an accident scene on Sugarloaf Key which was cleaned up by the time i went to work mid morning. All that was left was a few cones and mangled guard rail. You have to wonder how you could crash into the railing with such force. Illness? Distraction? I am reminded of the imbecile who sent me to the hospital. but even on these straight roads, well marked and clear people manage to fail to thread the eye of the needle.




Florida Keys Road
Meanwhile even as the storm approaches there are a few assorted residents who continue to live their lives without fear and some aplomb. My hat is off to them as they seem to share my low key assessment of the weather impacts. We could of course all be quite wrong. 
Overseas Highway
Hurricane season ends November 30th. I can't wait.

Sunday

A few pictures from an early morning walk downtown on my last day off..
Key West
I photograph it far too much but you can see why: St Paul's Church. 
I miss the productions of the Red Barn Theater as well as the Waterfront Playhouse.



Skateboarding illegally on Duval Street. I should have called 911.
We are all naked before God they tell us; some chose to be naked before their neighbors as well.

Decorations at The Bull Bar.


The county courthouse, 500 Whitehead Street.
America voted to make politics boring again and I am very relieved  about that.  Lots of cheering and celebrating by happy unarmed people not threatening anyone.  And the President-Elect offering an olive branch to the people who accused him of being a paedophile. Turning away from dictatorship at the ballot box seems highly American to me. Onwards and upwards. 

The late lamented Sippin' coffee shop on Eaton survives in  an upside down sign left hanging.The Hard Rock CafĂ©.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Bahama Village

Facing a  weekend of rain and wind and potential tropical depression and who knows what I thought to find some sunny pictures of Key West from sunnier times past.  These were of Bahama Village one sunny afternoon.
Key West

Key West

Key West

Key West Utlity

Bahama Village

Key West

Florida

Florida Keys

Key West

Florida keys

Friday, November 6, 2020

Waterfront Market

Thursday is waterfront market day in Key West from 2 till 7pm. I took my, lunch at 2pm yesterday and drove rapidly to my destination. It takes longer than you'd think to drive across town, buy dinner, stop for some picture taking and get back to work, put the loot in the fridge and then sit down and say brightly: "Key West 911, where is your emergency?"
Florida Keys Waterfront
I managed it with suave indifference to the hurdles along the way. When I got back to my desk a caller asked me if he was anywhere near the  free overnight shelter, and then he told me he was on Duval Street. So I told him he was almost five miles from KOTS, the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter, now run by someone called Cornerstone. Five miles he asked with some surprise. Is that North or South?
Yes well, that's why they call it the southernmost city. As you can see above the Truman Waterfront really is on the edge of the known world. To go five miles in that direction you'd need to walk on water. I, however only had to get as far as the Indian food booth. 
Samosas for starters, lamb vindaloo and chicken biryani to share and a few delicious mixtures to add in. Key West has been deficient in Indian food for a long time and a well masked market offering take away vindaloo is a very good thing for the city at the edge of the world. I drove, gloating, back in the direction of my desk.
It was an overcast day, as everyday seems fated to be as we await the arrival of this late season tropical depression. On the way out of the parking lot I stopped on the Angela Street extension and stuck the Fiat in a space on the side of the narrow street. 

I've photographed the old electrical station before but there was new and bright artwork on the wall so like a magpie I hopped out to have a look. I did not hop fast enough apparently because my slow movements to assemble my camera with the door open prompted a nice winter visitor to parp their horn imperiously at me. I did my best to look suitably serf-like as I got out of the way and regretted the Key West protocol of giving an old man a chance to get out of the way.  
Florida Keys
I rather like the bright abstract nature of the art. It will be splendid when the brick building is restored and turned into some kind of public space but for now as the bricks teeter from lack of support and care the art highlights the possibilities.

This one looked a bit sparse. I suppose it is Very Modern:

Then I saw the barricades and no doubt causing astonishment among the few passers by I stuck my camera through the fence and did the deed.
Then it started to to rain. So I went back to work. Now it's starting to rain on the days when I work as well the days I don't. I'll need an ark if this goes on.