That my beloved Green Parrot is closed and under renovation is an excellent reason to exit Key West. Most importantly the dance floor is being rebuilt and I feel a little responsible for its extensive wear and tear. What a great time to be away, because to be there and not be allowed to go dance at the Green Parrot would be worse than hell.
Equally hellish in my sainted little island life is the weather, it being the muggy season, where the atmosphere perspires and oxygen has vanished and it feels like one is gagging on mouthfuls of clouds.
These days I am in the very ancient city of Belgrade, Serbia where I have rented an apartment short-term and I’m feeling like a native but behaving like a tourist, using methods like the tram tracks to find my way home. Employing hand gestures to communicate numbers, flashing fingers and wincing, until the person says, ‘English?’ And I grin pathetically and proffer colored papery notes, fanned out like a deck of cards, and let them pluck what they like. The city of Belgrade is hustle and bustle like New York City except of course with a European flair with ornate buildings while others are blocks of marble, still others bombed wreckage with shrubbery growing where once there were walls.
Bustling coffee shops everywhere are filled with slouched lupine locals. The men are sturdy and unusually handsome and the women supremely feminine and all of them seem to move as if on oiled hinges. Little restaurants out on the cobblestones are filled with people who seem to have little concern for time, only for the company they keep and their diminutive coffees and brandies.
By contrast, the tranquil houseboats along the banks of the Sava River, are the manifestation of romance. I was lucky enough to be invited for lunch last Sunday. A barbecue of fish fished from the waters surrounding us, while a friend’s mother chopped this and that and made magic from unrecognizable produce. Mouthwatering magic. Here I’m told the scent of food brings strangers to one’s houseboat. I lounged on a hammock, a platform with a mattress hung by chains, and right before I closed my eyes, relaxing into paradise, I observed a tranche of tree swiftly traveling down the center current of the river with two indolent ducks side-by-side hitching a ride.
I traveled here on a one-way ticket but despite my rapture with this land I cannot stay forever. For one thing I left my car at the Key West airport. I’ll be back, eventually.