Recently a couple from the Keys stood at the top of Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro. A top of the world location. Height 19,341 feet.
The couple Doug Mader and Gerry Dietelm. Live on Big Pine. Own and operate the Marathon Veterinary Hospital.
Adventurers. They opted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. The African mountain made famous by Ernest Hemingway.
Not an easy trip. Six days to reach the top, 2 to come down. The last day of the climb the worst. Air extremely thin at 19,000 plus feet. Their guides would only permit them to spend 20 minutes on top.
As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did their thing by leaving an American flag on the moon, the Marathon veterinarians left a Conch Republic flag on top of Kilimanjaro.
An adventure. The ascent the trip of a lifetime.
Ernest Hemingway is of Kilimanjaro fame also. However, he never climbed Kilimanjaro.
Hemingway knew Africa from his 2 trips there. The first in 1933. A safari and big game hunting. Also provided him with numerous African experiences which later became part of his writings.
The Snows of Kilimanjaro one of those writings. A short story. He received many awards for it. The short story also became a Hollywood movie starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner.
Hemingway’s second trip was somewhat of a disaster. He escaped lucky to be alive.
He and his wife were on a local flight. The plane crashed. Both survived with burns and cracked ribs.
The next day, they opted to leave immediately and took another plane. The plane exploded on takeoff.. Hemingway’s wife got out through a window. Hemingway had a more difficult time. He butted his head against the plane’s door to get it open. He suffered a fractured skull, severe burns, a dislocated shoulder, 2 cracked discs, a ruptured liver and ruptured kidneys.
Never having climbed to the top, what then was Hemingway’s motivation to write The Snows of Kilimanjaro? A photo of a frozen leopard near Kilimanjaro’s summit. The leopard’s dried carcass formed the introduction to his short story.
Mini lobster season has come and gone. Only 2 days. As usual, thousands of tourists participated. Authorities reported this year’s event to have been one of the safest and with few violations occurring.
Only 1 injury. Of consequence. A diver’s leg and propeller came into contact. The diver was air lifted to a Miami hospital.
Each year’s event should be as injury and violations free.
History does repeat itself in one fashion or another.
Recall the ocean liner St. Louis. In 1939, 937 Jews attempted to escape Hitler’s influence in Germany. Atrocities were already occurring. The writing was on the wall. They would only get worse. The holocaust had already begun.
Their anticipated port Cuba. Cuba would not accept them, however.
The voyage became known as the “Voyage of the Damned.” The St. Louis went to several other ports. The same thing. Rejected!
The ship was forced to return to Germany. Eventually one third would die in Nazi concentration camps.
A similar earlier event occurred. This one involving prostitutes. The Civil War ongoing. Prostitution became a major problem. Recall in the early 1860’s, there was no cure for gonorrhea or syphilis. Most died.
The problem was in Nashville.
Nashville was a Union Army base. It had its red light district Smokey Row. Early in the War, 200 prostitutes worked Smokey Row. Union Army officials needed to confront the growing sexual disease problem.
They assembled 100 of the ladies and put them on a boat. The Idaho. The intent was to transport them to another city. No city was foolish, however. None wanted them. The Idaho was refused permission to drop the women off.
During the trip, the Idaho acquired a second name. Floating Whore House.
The Idaho was forced to return to Nashville where the ladies disembarked and returned to their former lives on Smokey Row.
The Union Army significantly increased the number of men stationed in Nashville. Business goes where business is. The original 200 ladies turned into 1,500.
Everyone happy. That is, the soldiers and prostitutes. Disease also.
Sexually transmitted disease became rampant. A crisis developed. Not much could be done. No shot of penicillin back then. Many died. So many, that it was rumored more Union soldiers died on Smokey Row than in all the rest of the Civil War. Not true, of course. But such reflects how bad it was.
Nashville and the Union Army came up with a plan. Hopefully, a solution. They would legalize prostitution. That way prostitution could be controlled. Ladies getting periodic health inspections one of the approaches.
It worked! Sexual disease numbers dropped dramatically.
Man does not learn, however. At the end of the War, the legalization was removed. Rampant sexual disease returned. Not as great a during the War. Many soldiers had been moved elsewhere. Many ladies voluntarily left because there was not enough business.
Enjoy your day!