We drove for the second time into Key West and
managed to find a good parking place for the camper.
"If you park here before 9 am it costs just ten
dollars; after that it rises to fifteen and in the afternoon
it's twenty. Supply and demand," the man at the
parking place informed us. I told him I knew where to
go and pointed to the indoor part. "No, put it
there in the corner at the back."
This gave Anita a bit if a fright. "We're parked
beside hobos." And indeed we found ourselves parked
beside two street artists we had seen at Mallory Square
the day before. Bob London, a one man band from England.
He turned out to be a disillusioned musician. "So,
welcome to Paradise. It's fine if you're here on holiday
but hell if you've got to work here. I became a street
musician to escape the nine to five routine but ....."
I asked if the frustration had to do with the music
"Oh, yeh.... above all. When I got to the U.S.
thirty years ago I had a higher expectation of this
land. It's not nearly as liberal as I thought it was
going to be. And the politics! Don't let me get started
on Mister Bush and his stealing gang. Have you read
in the paper about Sharon this morning. " And before
we knew it we were in the middle of a political discussion.
"Bob, let those people get off. They want to go
to Hemmingway's house," called his wife, but I
didn't regard this as a delay.
"By the way, I can recommend glue for you so that
you can stick down that butt-strap. Go to the Wall Mark
and buy their GOOP glue with 'Household' on the label.
It's good and cheap. They make it in three grades; there's
'Do-it-yourself'; that's twice the price and 'For boats',
the same stuff but three times the price. You want 'Household'."
When we left Hemmingway's house we saw him lost in thought
cycling along Green Street
That evening a huge cruise ship had moored and when
we went to visit our neighbour at a quarter past six
we saw, in contrast to the day before, that the rope
which marked his territory was surrounded by a large
crowd. The bucket was filled to the top with dollars.
Like a real professional he stole the show and the children
were so enthusiastic that they began to dance spontaneously.
I gave him a euro note because he had announced that
at the end of the season he was returning to Europe.
He has my address so if you come across a fantastic
one man band in the region next season you'll know how
that came about.