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Lei'd Back
Written By: OC Fotoguy
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Good day to photograph flowers, listen to Seacret’s Radio, and sip a cold one.  Later I’ll walk up to the Green Parrot and listen to their Sunday afternoon jazz jam, go to El Sibone to eat, have deep fried snapper Cuban style, then it’s back @ the Green Parrot for Sound Check with Johnny Sketch, then up the street for the antics of John LaMere @ Willie T’s.  It’s been that way since I got here Christmas Eve.  There’s always good music somewhere.  I walked by Willie T’s a couple mornings ago before noon; a guy was playing piano as good as and sounding like Billy Joel!  I’ve even gotten in a couple days of kayaking.  The wind has been a real issue; usually much too strong for me to paddle into. 
It’s been record hot here in Key West.  The lows each day are higher than last year’s recorded high temperatures!  There’s a little rainy spell starting today, but the heat was right back after that.  Gee, maybe the Gore-ites are right; it is global warming!  I’ve seen a bunch of Ocean City people right here.  Kevin Poole is back and playing around town.  Donna Harman of Fish Tales fame is partying at the Schooner Wharf.  I watched the dropping of the wench there New Year’s Eve with her.  She kept me awake!  I ran into the guy who owned Tuti Gusti’s in O.C. several years ago.  He now owns La De Da and was there when I stopped for HH several days ago.  Kelly and his wife Judy from Ocean Pines hold down the fort at the bar during HH at Alonzo’s, but have branched out to try some other places, too.  The first evening I was here, a familiar voice called to me.  I couldn’t match the face to a memory. It sure didn’t look like Jake, former head bartender/manager at Seacrets, but it was.  He’s running a gallery across the street from the Green Parrot.  Who knows who else I’ll see.  Yea, they keep appearing. As I listened to Kevin Poole at the Conch Republic and feasted on Big Royal Red Shrimp, I looked across to the other side of the bar and Chuck Webb, long time Seacrets bartender was there! 
I decorated my nest.  I was a couple days late, but this is Key West, where time and date has little relevance.  I started with a fern and a couple other plants that I dug up in Big Cypress, collected tropical leaves here in Key West, and added some Christmas stuff that I've found.  Of course it became a conglomeration of too much, but isn't that Christmas!!!  The decorated fern and the couple plants would've been enough.  Now, it makes a photo that's way too busy!  I like it!!!
My kayak paddling has been to the undeveloped island beside SunSet Key just a half mile or so from Key West.  It's like another world there, quiet and almost peopleless.  There're several hermits living there in the bushes, but they didn’t bother me.  It was high tide, so I just sat and enjoyed the view both times I was on the water in December.  Like most of what I do, I start slow.  I need to get used to all the boat traffic.  I’m tiny compared to a lot of vessels.  Yesterday I gave the right a way to the Key West Express catamaran that makes the run from Ft. Myers daily delivering partiers to Key West.  I was close enough to’ve paddled underneath between its “fins.”  The big vessels are not the danger though.  The small ones are.  Chances are the driver of the small one is not an experienced captain, but someone much less knowledgeable, maybe even discourteous, and will send their wake over my kayak wetting me down.  As hot as it’s been, that is refreshing, but if it catches me by surprise, I could lose a camera or worse.  I need to watch the jet skiers closely.  They may go right over me.  Most are escorted by a guide in the front and rear of the line of them, though.  Most guides point out a kayak or small row boat, so the tourists will be courteous.  When I beach my kayak I intend to go straight at the beach and drive the kayak up onto the sand.  Yesterday, I did that, was getting out of the kayak, at the same time a strong series of wakes hit me, knocked the kayak sideways, I almost lost my footing, and I got drenched.  I didn’t see any vessels, but I bet it was a bunch of jet skiers.  They’re the most dangerous to me, as noisy as motor cycles and usually as discourteous.
I kicked off my New Year's Eve with a good meal, that could’ve been special, but wasn’t, then a power nap to get ready for a long night for me; anymore I’m down for the count by 10 o’clock.  It was too hot for a nap, but I dosed for half hour.  I started by listening to Johnny Sketch @ the Green Parrot, watching the crazies on Duval Street, got to Scott Kirby as he was tearing down @ the Smokin' Tuna, watched the crazies on Duval Street some more, then off to the dropping of the wench to countdown the incoming New Year at Schooner Wharf, lots more of watching the crazies on Duval Street and winded up with John LaMere @ Willie Ts!  I thought I was going to get a pizza for breakfast at Mr. Zs around the corner, but there was a long line out the front door.  I don’t do lines!  That attests to how the town was overstuffed.  Somebody said there were 90,000 people here, which is a record number to go along with the heat!
Usually two or three cruise ships arrive and leave Key West every day.  They are secured to the dock by big ropes, which are lowered from the front and rear. A crew in a small boat catches the ropes and transports them to the tie downs on the dock.  It takes about 30 minutes and when the vessels leave, the crew does the reverse.  The crew appears to be made up of several locals, some tourists, and a couple street people.  It takes little knowledge and looks easy.  I have little interest in working, but I could do that and who knows, they may get longshoreman’s wages.  That would buy a lot of ACBs at HH!
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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