Tuesday, March 20, 2007

quirkiness, continued

Visiting South Florida reminded me, again, of the USA's diversity. I can't go on without mentioning this landmark in Homestead, Florida, named Robert Is Here. Robert started a fruit stand on his family's farmland when he was seven. Forty years later, he's still here. This is "just" a fruit stand the way Harry and Sally are just my dogs. {Not.} It turns out the professor visits this fruit stand every time he's in town doing research. First, he loads up on passionfruit for me, at $4.50 a pound. Passionfruit are practically impossible to buy in this country, outside of the occasional big city gourmet produce department, and they cost an arm and a leg. Not at this fruit stand, though, because it specializes in tropical fruits, so every time my partner goes anywhere near this place, he buys a couple of pounds of passionfruit for me! Huge mangoes, ugli fruit, gorgeous tomatoes and avocados...all fruits that should be eaten right on the spot, so hard to take home on the plane. As a consolation prize, we got freshly made fruit milkshakes to eat right away. Mine was a passionfruit one, of course. His was pineapple.


Key West is filled with old houses--restored and weathered, shacks and mansions with huge porches, outdoor fans, and lots of character. Most houses line up right on the street, but some, like this one, sport big gardens and serious steel bars. I didn't understand this until I watched a drunk undergraduate in a skirt hike an ornamental fence and stagger up someone's yard right to the front porch, while chugging her large cocktail in a plastic cup. I began to imagine why sane folks in Key West live on side streets, or go for the compound effect, complete with the security fences.

I never got to a beach on this trip, although we were near a lot of water. I did wander down to "South Beach" on Key West, which is the southernmost point in the (continental?) USA. I shot a photo of this grandmotherly American sitting on the seawall. She's leaning out to sea, speaking Spanish on her cellphone a mile a minute, and puffing away on her cigarillo. If I let my imagination run away with me, I'll believe she's looking out towards Cuba, leaning in to get good phone reception, and having a nice long visit with one of her Cuban sisters or first cousins.

I couldn't possibly visit the Keys without stimulating the local yarn economy. I visited the only yarn shop in the Keys, Knit Wits Key West. I got a couple of skeins of Heirloom Breeze, a skein of Euroflax (always have one around for emergency knitted gifts) and these short size 8 needles, perfect for knitwear designer hair sticks or a very small swatch.

I'll continue to amuse you with occasional photos of exotic south Florida now and again, if you'd like. I also had a fabulous note from a Russian knitter who sent me a photo of one of my designs, all knit up! I will post that soon as well.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the picture in the previous post of the professor catching butterflies!! It sounds like you had a nice vacation:-)
Elizabeth

March 22, 2007 at 5:14 AM  
Blogger sarah said...

Ah, the advantages of living close to city shopping. Waitrose has all of those on the shelves, but I manage to restrain myself. Usually. Except for mangoes. And the occasional pineapple. The tomatoes won't taste right until the summer. So I'm hoping for yarn. I think I might be getting one of the new iPod Shuffles, though.

Did you go to the spinning group?

March 22, 2007 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Ahh, city shopping. We can get mangoes here, even organic ones, but at $2.19 a mango and $3 a pineapple, I try to hold out. The tomatoes we grow and buy locally in the summer time are better than anything I can buy. Yarn and IPod sound good, though!

I did go to the spinning group, and it was great fun. It will meet once a month, and I look forward to the next one!

March 22, 2007 at 10:03 AM  

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