Sometimes it amazes me how few people that I know have ever taken an airboat ride in the Everglades. One of the first things I did over 30 years ago when I arrived from Philly was to drive way out west to
Everglades Holiday Park and see what the Everglades were all about.
Well it's not so "way out west" any more. South Florida has grown up amazingly fast and if there were not a line drawn in the muck, it would have kept on going. Over the years I've taken quite a few rides so I know my way around a bit. For this visit, my daughter and her boyfriend joined me. We picked the only day of the year with a chill in the air and the gators were scarce but there were plenty of vultures - in the sky and loading up the trees. Yes - they migrate too.
In years past as I remember, the alligator wrestlers were always missing a finger or two. Not only did our performer have all his fingers and toes, he was one of the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team as seen on Animal Planet. I've seen plenty of gator shows but this one was different. He handled the gator like it was a pet dog and even stuck his head very close to the business end. I've been witness to a slight performance mishap many years ago and saw firsthand how fast and unpredictable these critters can be.
Living in the city is nice but all of South Florida looked like the Everglades just over a hundred years ago. It's great that there is this much left but it's hard to believe how much has been destroyed in such short time.
Just around the corner is the town of Weston. Mostly luxury homes and shops. My daughter's boyfriend was much more impressed with the Lamborghini and Aston Martin we saw 5 minutes down the road. Fancy cars are about as common as gators in South Florida. I'm sure the Gator Boys will stay busy rescuing alligators from the backyard pools and parking lots that were their swampy home just a few years ago.