Posted by: The Starfish Dancer | March 7, 2017

Another Dam Trip: Entry #9

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Pretty flowers by the hotel pool!

Well, my holiday is coming rapidly to a close and I have the emailed boarding passes for tomorrow to prove it. It’s been quite a trip, but even though the world is still spinning a little (I don’t have my land legs back quite yet), I’m a pretty happy starfish as I get ready for an early, early bed time.

But let’s backtrack a little bit – I left off (besides my interlude) on a bit of a blue note, but I decided, once I got to Fort Lauderdale, that this was not the ending I wanted, so I would rally and get one last adventure.  So as DW and I made our way from the Port to our airport hotel, I let my brain do some turning. DW left bright and early this morning, but I had one day more than she, so I decided I didn’t want to spend it languishing in the hotel, even if the Ramada Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port does have Wifi and a pool.  It’s a good thing, too – while the wifi signal is fine, it’s been windy and rained on and off, so not quite pool weather.  Instead, I asked when checking in at the front desk if they did excursion tickets to see alligators, and sure enough they do!

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A heron in the Everglades.

They don’t usually take single pickups, said Sheanna at the front desk apologetically, but she called anyway and went to bat for me over the phone.  “I know you’re picking other people up,” she said, and whether it was the excellent sass or just the power of her awesome, I was giving my credit card number and solidifying today’s visit to the Everglades.

DW and I didn’t really do much for the rest of the day. We had lunch at a place called Rendezvous down the road, then back to the hotel to do our own thing in the afternoon, like reading and catching up on our social media. (We may also have texted each other from our rooms, as DW booked her own to get a little more rest.  Also? When I texted my dad, it turns out he had bronchitis, so I suspect my violent cough was some of the same and don’t blame her at all.) We had dinner at the hotel and it was fine but nothing spectacular. This Ramada is more of a motel, with all doors going to the outside, and a bit run down on the exterior, but it is a chain and I don’t feel unsafe or like I was going to be axe murdered despite the accessibility. Then we both went back to our rooms for the night.

I got up this morning and had the free hotel breakfast, which included scrambled eggs and sausage, as well as oatmeal, a selection of cold cereal, a make-your-own-waffle batter station and coffee. Then I waited for my VIP Tours bus to pick me up and it was off to the Everglades Holiday Park.

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A pretty red bird I captured with my lens!

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Look at this beauty!

The tour was really great.  At this Park, you get a full hour tour around the Everglades in the airboat.  I got a seat at the very side, so have some incredibly fun pictures to go through.  I took a lot and even got to make good use of my new lens, so was able to get some good close ups. There were lots of different birds to take pictures of and though the weather was windy and the sky a bit overcast, it is still much warmer than home is and I was comfortable in my shorts with no jacket. The weather meant we weren’t sure we’d see any alligators in the natural habitat, but just as we were coming around to head back to shore at the end of the tour, we were greeted by a big beauty of a ‘gator sunning himself or herself on the shore.  I was happy with the Everglades tour even before the alligator spotting, so this just made my day.

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Look, Ma, no hands!

After the Everglades it was time for the show, where we got to see an alligator show. As it turns out, if an alligator is a threat to the public, they are destroyed unless they can be taken safely to a park.  So we go to see how one of the rescuers wrestles alligators onto shore for transportation. It’s sad that they are then stuck in a park instead of back in the wild, but the alternative is they will be destroyed, so even in a smaller environment, I’m glad they have somewhere to go. I can’t remember the man’s name who did the demonstration, but holy crap is he ever brave to get up close and personal with the alligators with his bare hands as his only tools. Not something I’d want to do but made for a gasp-inducing show!

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Like I said, not sure what was going on with my face, but look at these adorable I got to hold!

After that, we got to got through and see a baby alligator and pet him and also get a picture, and for a bit extra, with a snake too!  I decided to add to my collection of animal-holding pictures with the both, of course. I’m not remembering the little ‘gator’s name (Lil something or other) because the snake’s name was Emoji because one of his patches looks like a smiley face, and that just obliterated the little dude’s name out of my brain. Holding the baby alligator and the snake together was awesome, and I would definitely do it again even though my face in the picture is… not great.  I’m not sure what it is doing. Perhaps it can’t handle expressing all my happiness at holding a BABY ALLIGATOR and a PRETTY SNAKE!!! They also have an adorable baby pig I cooed at while I waited for my picture to be printed out, named Pua like the piggy in the movie Moana.

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So many good bird pictures today, so I’m sharing one more!

After that, it was back to the hotel, where I hung out for a bit. I went back to Rendezvous for a late lunch/early dinner combo, since I’ll be heading to bed super early as a result of having my own ridiculously early cab to catch tomorrow. They didn’t have a great vegetarian selection for DW yesterday (but most places here haven’t) but I have no such restrictions, so enjoyed a very good burger with friends  and some Malbec, followed by key lime pie because it is almost the end of holidays so why not? The food was great but extra kudos for the key lime pie, which was  the best dessert I’ve had on vacation and Holland America does phenomenal desserts, so you can imagine how good it was. It was too good to even stop eating to take a picture of, basically.  I highly recommend.

Now I’m back to my room, winding up my day and this set of blog entries. Unless something ridiculous or spectacular happens on my FOUR Air Canada legs tomorrow (that’s right, FOUR) and the near 20 hours I’ll spend in airports and airplanes, I’m going to call this the end of this one. It’s been a good trip, overall, even with some seasickness, stormy days, and the cough thrown in.  I’m not looking forward to the -30C weather, but I am looking forward to being home, sweet home, where I can cuddle up in my own bed and start making plans for whatever next adventure calls to me. Until then! 😀

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