Sunday, December 2, 2012

See ya later alligator

The Everglades are the big, soggy bit at the bottom of Florida. We went there today and I got to handle an alligator!

Coming out of Fort Myers we passed an amazing display of wealthiness. There are so many mega shopping complexes, I'm not sure how they can possibly all survive. My guess is that the residents of the ornate, gated subdivisions like Pelican's Nest & Cedar Creek have little else to do but shop when they aren't at one of the dozens of country clubs along the route. It was all very manicured and pretty, like a movie set.

We took Highway 41 rather than the interstate and I was pleased with the choice despite the amount of roadwork and construction going on at the Miami end of the Timiami trail. It's a great way to get an overview of the glades and there are any number of places you can pull over for information, airboat rides or 'gator viewing. We got our first alligator sighting on the side of the road. There are little channels of water that run along each side of the highway and the alligators literally lie on the banks or wander across the road if they feel like it. As we discovered at several info stops, the alligator differs from the croc in more ways than its sensitive tongue. Alligators by nature are simple, indolent creatures who have no desire to attack you unless you put part of yourself near their jaws!

Attempting to combine some culture and history along with the day's environmental lessons, we stopped at the Miccosukee Indian Village in time for their alligator show. The show itself was pretty tame. As mentioned before the alligator is actually a pretty timid creature and it took quite a bit of prodding to get these animals to move. I felt a bit uncomfortable about having paid to stir them up for our entertainment but I was more than happy to take my turn at holding one of the babies afterwards.

The story of the Miccosukees is an interesting one.They historically inhabited the upper Tennessee Valley but under continuing encroachment pressure from European-American settlers, many migrated to northern Florida during the 18th and 19th centuries.
They formed a major part of the Seminole tribe, which formed in the eighteenth century in Florida. The United States (US) government forced most of the Seminole/Creek from Florida. Those who remained in Florida fought against US forces and afterward, they moved into the Everglades to try to evade European-American settlement pressure and became the Miccosukees. 

By the time we reached Florida City we were so hungry I was afraid Taine would start eating his own arm so we made our first visit to a US Maccas. It was all the same rubbish we get at home, minus the lettuce (although there was definitely lettuce on the picture!) and much cheaper. Today's special was a cheeseburger for 59c!
For dinner we visited the crab restaurant across the road. Disappointingly they had run out of crab but Geoff & I had a yummy seafood plate of shrimp and grouper. Our side tonight was fried, green beans. These are, quite literally, greens beans fried in batter. Soooo delicious!

No comments:

Post a Comment