Day 7: December 28, 2014
A Day on Bone Island

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On the way and arriving. The first picture was taken near Pigeon Duck Key. The second on entering Key West, a.k.a. Cayo Hueso, a.k.a. Bone Island.

I found a place to park (for a mere $25) near where I wanted to start my day then stumbled on a trolley stop less than a block away. The musician I wanted to hear wouldn't start for half an hour so, knowing that trolley tours can be a fine way to learn about a city, I decided to buy a ticket. I did see parts of the island I had never seen before but, with one exception (East Martello Fort), all were in Old Town and walkable or places I felt no urge to return to. In hindsight, I wish I'd stepped off at the fort instead of foolishly thinking I'd make another pass for that purpose but I've made bigger mistakes.

This is that musician I mentioned. I jokingly told him he was the only reason I came to Key West but it was only half joking. A live Michael McCloud performance is one of those things that you can get in Key West and no where else. He works five afternoons a week at his favorite bar (Schooner Wharf which he says he'd probably be hanging out at anyway) in freaking Key West! This guy ain't planning any tours. It's unfortunate that the only picture I got of all three band members has a giant head in the foreground but I've done worse. That's Professor Pete on piano and Captain Carl on guitar. The identity of the giant head is unknown.

I stayed for two sets then went walking. It still looks a lot like Christmas on the wharf and over at the Museum of Art and History they're dancing in -- or at least near -- the street. That's Seward Johnson's Time for Fun (based on Renoir's Dancing in the Country) that people are posing in front of. The Marilyn Monroe in front of the Tropic Theater is another Seward Johnson creation. There is actually a Seward Johnson exhibit inside the museum which I should have visited but didn't.

I did go inside a couple of places including Sloppy Joe's for the first time and the Green Parrot for the second. Note that giant conch shell which will drop at midnight Wednesday to get the new year started. I'm especially happy I went into Sloppy Joe's because it answered a question from earlier in the day. Soon after arriving, as I waited for the trolley, I snapped a picture of a fellow rolling a piano down the street. When I took the photo, I wondered if the man was a street musician, a One Man and a Dolly moving company franchisee, or something else. Now I know he was just heading to his gig at Joe's.

For reasons I'm not privy to, after reaching its southern most point, US-1 turns right for five blocks before ending. This means that although the Green Parrot is south of the US-1 terminus it is ahead of the route's end. I always have trouble understanding and remembering that and I often get it wrong as I did in a Tweet yesterday.

As I left the Green Parrot and headed north toward the end of the road, I heard some noise to my left and discovered some other folks were going the same way at the same time. There have been plenty of demonstrations of late with some sort of police connection. Some have been, in my opinion, misguided, while others have been, again in my opinion, spot on. When I saw these marchers and accidentally became "embedded" with them for a short while, I had no idea what they were protesting and no idea whether they were spot on or misguided. Since then, I've looked into things a little bit and have a sense that they are closer to spot on than not. At the center of the march is the 2013 Thanksgiving Day death of Charles Elmers while in police custody. The event has a Facebook page in which the organizers explain their motivation and intentions and provide pointers to information about the incident. That page is here. I have not read all the information pointed to and I haven't sought out other, potentially opposing, information on my own. I can't claim to be fully informed and I won't make any sort of argument. I will say, however, that nothing I've read makes me regret being pulled into this march for a few steps.

The marchers and I both made it to Mallory Square but we had separated well before that. The Square was, as expected, crowded and I passed through and moved southward along the water front. A huge docked ocean liner blocked the view for a large number of people and I'm guessing there might have been some issues if it had not moved away from the shore before the actual sunset. I was already beyond the liner when it cast off. A wide variety of boats and birds headed out to get (or be part of) a better view and things got quite visually interesting for awhile. The visual entertainment continued even after the sun disappeared and the sharp back-lighting ended.

Day Dream is another work by Seward Johnson. It is said to be based on a painting by Matisse though I don't know the name of the painting.

Back near where the car was parked things looked Christmasier and felt hungrier as darkness spread. I made my way inside the Conch Republic Seafood Company and found a seat near an antique and presumedly retired rum still. Then I ordered the stuffed shrimp which the menu described as "Bacon wrapped jumbo shrimp with blue crab stuffing. Finished with mango salsa & a sweet chili glaze." This was good eating and no doubt deserving of being a "Winner of the Masterchef! Classic, People's Choice & Judge's Choice Awards!" as the menu also informed me. It was full on dark when I got back outside and grabbed a picture of the restaurant and another of the Christmas tree. So long, sweet Key. See ya later.

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