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Hurricane Wilma


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Andy need no longer worry. Latest reports are Wilma has taken a hard turn to the west and latest estimated landfall is in Bedrock City, Arizona.

Actually Wilma hit Miami Shores (where I was staying) with some force (125 mph to be precise) in the early hours of Monday morning. Damage was extensive - power out (still out today I believe!), petrol and food shortages, traffic chaos as traffic lights were scattered all over the streets, 8pm curfews etc. etc..

The whole of south Florida still looked more like a Third World country when I left the place yesterday afternoon...... rather surpised that Tim didn't notice it :lol:

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The whole of south Florida still looked more like a Third World country when I left the place yesterday afternoon...... rather surpised that Tim didn't notice it :lol:

I consider this a libel on the Third World. A banana republic would be a better definition.

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I thought the Florida Keys referred to themselves as The Conch Republic.

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Key West is known as The Conch Republic. This relates to a time when Key West seceeded from the U.S., sometime in the 1980s. The federal government had set up a roadblock at the entrance to the Keys and was stopping every car and randomly searching for drugs. The delay caused to tourists by this process was hurting tourism in the Keys and the local fathers tried everything they could (including, I think, litigation) to stop the process. Finally, they decided to stage a mock secession from the U.S. and set up their own republic. This generated a lot of publicity and the press attention finally persuaded the feds to call off the roadblock.

Natives born in the Keys have long been called "Conchs" (after the Conch shell; conch fritters are a local delicacy). Some people are able to say, for instance, that they are, for instance, forth generation Conchs. If you emigrate to the Keys and are able to survive here for ten years you are entitled to call yourself a "freshwater Conch".

Every year Key West stages a celebration of the secession. There are even mock sea battles between the Conch Republic and the U.S. Coast Guard. The ships bombard themselves with food.

Every year for twenty five years Key West has staged a halloween celebration called Fantasy Fest. It is an adult festival and the costumes worn would most likely get the wearer arrested in most other cities. The festival was postponed this year because of Wilma. (One year the theme of the festival was Hollywood and the County Commission actually changed the name of Monroe County to Marilyn Monroe County for the month of October.)

But Key West was hurt rather badly by Wilma. The main damage was caused by a water surge that started about 8.a.m. Monday morning. The flooding ruined about 8,000 cars in Key West, including most of the cars at the island's only GM dealership. The dirty flood water also got into many homes in Key West and most of the streets are now crowded with ruined furniture. The Casa Marina, the famous hotel built by Henry Flagler and which JFK drove by on his November 1962 trip to the Keys, will be closed for about a month.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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