My friend Tim is a photojournalist who covers the mean streets of Miami.
He's seen more war, shootings, hurricanes, death and destruction than just about anybody I know.
He listens to police radios 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
So how does he unwind?
For the past 6 years he's been heading down to the Keys... about 130 days a year to work on his retirement home.
The Keys, Tim explains, have the strictest building codes in the country.
And Tim has built a bunker that complies with the code.
I went down with Tim a week ago last Saturday (March 28) and stayed the weekend.
It wasn't easy.
Tim has a few rules for visitors.
At Mile marker 50 he invokes the "absolutely no talk about a certain Miami newspaper" rule.
"If you do I'll feed you to the sharks and then make you walk home!"
(On Sunday Tim broke his own rule when he explained the similarities between photo editors and alligators. "They both have a brain the size of a pea!" Ouch!)
Rule #2: no electronics, radios, computers, TVs...nothing.
Friday night I went to sleep looking out at a black velvet sky with some of the brightest stars I've ever seen.
And woke up to the sound of the wind and one lone mourning dove.
"It's so quiet sometimes I can hear the guy across the canal stirring his coffee in the morning."
Another thing about life in this part of the Keys. There's virtually no crime. Tim's house is at the end of a 4 mile road. No one gets this far by accident. "We keep an eye on everyone."
However the week before I went down Tim fell victim to a crime of sorts. A neighbor walked into his house and stole something.
Actually the neighbor was an Airedale terrier (that belonged to a neighbor) that stopped by to visit and seeing an open door, walked in and took a stick of butter off the kitchen table.
Tim knew later when he couldn't find the butter that the dog was the culprit. "When he left he had a guilty look! He ate the whole damn thing; paper and all!"
A little slice of tranquility, a long way from the mean streets.