Search This Blog

Monday, June 22, 2015


                                                            Island Living

 photo DSCF1580_zpsou2ibpb8.jpg

Key West. It’s the end of the line. A remote outpost, so to speak. things happen here that are not the norm for other places. The power goes out from time to time. Some say they can’t stand it when it does. Me? Well, yes if it happens at the wrong time, it can be a pain in the neck. I don’t deny that. However, I also feel that it’s the expected character of the place. After all, if power stayed on all the time, we might as well live on the mainland! Key West and all of it’s sister keys in the Conch Republic, we’re the last bastion and a remote civilization apart from the norm.

A 1968 Buick crashes into a telephone pole on Angela St., a small one way street. The accident happens just past where Grannell St intersects with it, at the graveyard. The street is big enough for one car only. The telephone pole, which carries the power line, actually sticks out in the street, instead of being off the street. The Buick takes out it’s own headlight and cracks the battery located behind it. The pole splits in two and electrical lines send wild sparks cascading to the ground as the electrical lines fall, dancing on the ground in a macabre voodoo style. It’s actually an entertaining, brief light show. Fortunately, no one is hurt. Meanwhile, for the rest of the town, it’s “lights out”. The power is out again.

On the mainland no one would ever set a telephone pole in the street. It’s always just off the street. But Key West is old and you don’t encroach on the graveyard here. Believe me most of those graves were here before electricity was.

I’m okay with this!

 photo Grennell20Ends_zpsip11btmv.jpg

That’s one scenario. Here’s another. An inexperienced sailor is in rough seas and high winds, a little south of Marathon ( the halfway point of the Keys). He’s not in control of his vessel which sails too close to a restricted power line area near the highway bridges. The tall mast takes out a power line and for every point south of there  it’s…. you guessed it! Lights out!

I’m okay with that too.

 photo 720Mile20Bridge1_zpsjxvdhtso.jpg

A power outage is something expected when you live so far away from actual civilization. At least mainland civilization. I mentioned earlier that it’s part of the character of the islands. It also contributes to the character of all who live here! HA HA HA! I personally feel it’s for the better!

As I write this, it’s June 21st, 2015, the longest day of the year. It’s early. Just after 7am. I’ve been up since 4:30. Why? Who knows? I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and started thinking about island living. I think about island living a fair amount, I guess. Next thing I knew. I was writing this blog, which I appreciate all of you taking the time to read.

 photo IMG_2215_zps706a0151.jpg

While it’s not restricted to island living, one of the things Dani and I love doing are BBQ’s in the back yard! It’s a wonderful activity and always shared with friends.

 photo IMG_6586_zpsxnmjc9ev.jpg

Ribs cooking on the grill

 photo IMG_6425_zpsnyoqqpz0.jpg

Hanging out

 photo IMG_6592_zpssravykp3.jpg

Dani and I playing at a BBQ at the Conch Rock Shanty

 photo IMG_5234_zpscob46fnl.jpg

A hearty cheer

When cooking for friends, particularly visiting friends, I keep things to a Key West theme or recipe. Seriously, the main reason people come to Key West is to get away from where they live. Key West encompases so much as well! To start with, it’s a tropical island. Second, it’s part of the United States. Third, along will all of the other Keys, The Florida Keys have an air of their own. With this in mind, why would anyone want to eat the exact same thing they eat at home? Really? When I make dinner on the grill, it has to taste like it came from the Keys, not Sheboygan, Wi. or  Schenectady, N.Y. What’s the point of coming here if they don’t want local cuisine? They could just go downtown in their hometown and get whatever they want right there. When they’re here, they are in the Islands and at my place, we have island cuisine. Mostly pork or chicken, done various island ways. Secret marinades, or rubs may be used, perhaps also with my homemade BBQ sauce.

Everyone has a great time, there’s always lots of laughter involved.  If you’re coming to town, let me know. It doesn’t take much to convince us to have a Keys BBQ! Island Living.

Island living! Key West is four miles long (6.5km) and a mile and a half (2.4 km) wide. Some will tell you it’s two miles wide (3.2km), however they are misinformed. Regardless, the point being, it’s a small island. I bought a van three years ago. It was used, but new to me. a 2003 Dodge conversion van. I could almost live in the damn thing! Having said that, most of the traveling I do on the island is either by foot, or bicycle. When I need groceries I’ll take the van, or for anything else on the other side of the island. Yesterday I went grocery store (you guessed it! For last night’s BBQ!) and I looked at the odometer. As I mentioned, I bought the van three years ago. Yesterday I noticed that I’ve put 10,000 miles (16,200kn) on it since I bought it. Island Living.

Island Living. Key West is 106 miles (172km) from the mainland.However that’s not to civilization. You need to travel the “Eighteen Mile Stretch” through the Everglades before you get to Florida City. Everything in the Keys is geographically identified by the mile markers, known as MM. The mile markers start at MM 0, here in Key West. If you go to the Caribbean Club in Key Largo, it’s at MM 104. Bottom line, it’s a long way to civilization and gasoline costs $.30 - $.45 more per gallon than on the mainland. It is said that the fuel tanker trucks that deliver the fuel to Key West and the islands can only carry a half load. The logic here is that if the truck crashes and bursts into flames on one of the forty something bridges, the bridge won’t be destroyed. Regretfully, one did crash on a bridge a few years ago and a big fire ensued. The bridge didn’t melt and gas remains $.30 - $.45 higher than on the mainland. I drive 1/3rd less in three years than I did driving one year living on the mainland in one.Island Living.

I’m okay with that.

 photo IMG_4479_zps139lx4hk.jpg

The Gulf Stream passing the south side of the island

Island Living. The Gulf Stream. What is The Gulf Stream? Well, it’s a combination of the tropical Caribbean waters and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, merging and traveling up to Ireland and the United Kingdom, giving them and the European continent a much more temperate climate than they would have at their latitude without it. The Gulf Stream starts…. right here.

I’ve always contended that there is a certain magic in the air here, an energy. It’s a creative energy. One which stimulates musicians, writers, and artists, perhaps others as well. It’s a very good energy. Very positive.

In my opinion, that energy comes from both the Gulf Stream and the Trade Winds that help create it as it rushes past Key West. It’s also the main reason that when people come here for a vacation, they never want to leave. It’s that energy, it’s that vibe. Island Living.

Oh yeah… I have a song called “Island Living” too! ;-)

Thanks for reading my blog! It’s very much appreciated!!!

To obtain my music, be sure to check my website for downloads and physical CDs!! This site also has material not available on other sites.

Also My CD is available on iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Rhapsody, and Beachfront Radio.
Search: Key West Chris

Thank you everyone!!

No comments:

Post a Comment