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Hello dear readers. This is Nathan, replacing Cara Parks in your inbox for one newsletter only. I grabbed the microphone today because I have a favor to ask: Please visit my hometown. Be a tourist. Come to Key West.
I know, I know, this is not a newsletter for tourists. You are not a tourist. Tourists are bare-kneed abominations who have no idea where they are or why, who know no one and nothing, lurching blindly between the novelty t-shirt shop and Margaritaville. This is not you. You are intrepid, connected, informed. That’s why you made the cut to receive this newsletter.
But I’ve just landed in Key West, where it’s 82 degrees and breezy, the bars are open, and the town desperately needs high season to restart after Hurricane Irma. Here’s the lowdown: the lower Keys got hit hard, but only in parts. Key West fared much better than any of us could have hoped. My mother’s house is typical: yard is a mess, but house is standing strong. But her livelihood, like almost everyone else’s, relies on tourists, and that is a much more precarious situation. A buddy of mine who works in tourism in Florida estimated that the nonstop network coverage of the storm was equivalent to $ 550 million of adverse coverage for the Keys. So now the job—my job as I see it, too—is to remind the world that Key West is open for business. I had previously written a Local’s Guide to Key West. Follow that. You’ll find the streets where I grew up are still there. Their charms were not washed away.
Over the weekend, I’ll be heading out on the water to some of my favorite backcountry islands, and will be posting Instagram stories on R&K’s Instagram feed. If I’m not too inebriated, I might even do some Facebook Live on our Facebook page. See the water, book the ticket. That’s the idea. And when you’re done with Key West, make your next plans for Puerto Rico. It’s an incredible island with some of the best people I’ve ever met. When they are ready to receive you, go.
Now for some mid-week non-island news. There was a delightful Saudi golden escalator fail in Moscow. Also poorly done: the inscription at the new Canadian Holocaust Museum forgot to mention Jews (“you had one job!” cried out Jew and non-Jew alike on our office Slack today). Speaking of jobs, some unlikely folks are getting paid this week for astoundingly immoral reasons. North Korea’s Mansudae art factory is either funding pastels or panzers, not sure. OJ Simpson is selling signatures presumably to restock his canteen account for when he inevitably lands back in the jug. Bump stock sales are way up since the Las Vegas massacre for reasons known only to Satan (and, in fairness, the NY Times).
There is a new pop-up restaurant, run by nuns, coming to painfully hip Shoreditch, London. It will be called Nundos. This is wordplay on Nandos, the famous chicken chain, and while my colleagues are dismayed by such wordfoolery, I only wish the Brits would take it further. Who doesn’t want to see the Latin desserts at Flandos, the sketchy waitstaff at Randos, or the beauty of Spanish conservas and other tinned seafoods at Candos?
That’s all the dad-jokes I got. Cara is back on the newsletter next Tuesday and will put an end to this nonsense.
Photo: Roman Boed