Saturday, January 03, 2009

This Week on the Island 01/04/2009

'This week on the Island' is written by Doug Bennett and is an update to friends about happenings in Key West last week. Everything is true except for those parts that are lies.----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The pictures this week (click to enlarge) are ‘Sushi’, ’Sloppy Joe’s Conch Shell’ and ‘The Pirate Wench’.. Key West has 3 different New Years Celebrations. The most popular is the lowering of the Conch Shell on the top of Sloppy Joes. Duval Street is nearly impassable. Another very popular celebration is the lowering of the Pirate Wench (Evelena, the owner of Schooner Wharf Bar) from the mast of one of the local schooners. There is no way to get down the board walk next to the bight. The third and very popular is the lowering of the female impersonator ‘Sushi’ in the pink slipper. This celebration blocks off the 900 block of Duval Street. It was 65 degrees at midnight.

The Weather: Wonderful. High 70’s in the day and high 60’s at night.

I wish each of you a very happy and prosperous New Year.

The book this week was ‘Sand Dollar’ (A Tale of Old Key West) by Jane Louise Newliagen (a Christmas present from Jo). It is about the old wreaking days in Key West. Key West has the third largest reef in the world just 7 miles off shore. The wreaking days were before the US put lighthouses on the reef. Ships would wreak and sailors from Key West would save the passengers and goods and make a nice profit. Key West was the riches city, per capita, in the USA.

The island is packed again this week and lots of cruise ships each day make it even more so. The wreakers, car wreakers this time, are making a nice profit. They are very busy removing cars that are illegally parked. It has got to be surprised to find your car missing when you get back from wherever you have been, then you call the police only to find it has been towed to Stock Island, then you have to pay a cab to take you there, then it cost you a fortune to get your car back, and then it has a parking ticket on it. More than likely ruins your vacation.

I watched the 1980’s movie ‘Cuba Crossing’ this week (another Christmas present from Jo). This movie takes place in Key West after the Bay of Pigs (1960’s). It stars Robert Vaughn as an old CIA agent that is trying to kill Castro and Stuart Whitman as Captain Tony of Captain Tony’s saloon. It is a bad ‘B’ movie but it has lots of old Key West in the background.

A History Lesson: At the time of the American Revolution, being loyal to the King of England wasn’t a good thing if you lived in the Colonies. Many Loyalist moved to the Bahamas. After Florida became part of America the US government made it illegal to take anything from a shipwreck to any port other than Key West. With lots of money to be made in the wreaking business, many Bahamians moved to Key West.

Key West, You have got to love it
'Living the life that others dream'
Doug Bennett
Lat 24.55967N, Long 81.80169W

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