July 20, 2008
Meeting gators down the mangrove swamps of the Everglades was a definite adrenaline thrill ride. Hovering across the endless fields of saw grass, swishing and swirving, feeling the hot summer air blow across the brow of my Ray-bans and the loud blazing dual-fans of the airboat slicing through everything in its path with each passenger clinching their teeth and plugs in their ears. The dark rough skin of the reptilian inhabitants pierced through the reflection of the baby-blue sky, with its snout and jagged jaw brushing by every newly bloomed lily pad with its budding yellow petals. As the boat enters the dock, a large female sun bathing under a rocky knoll snarling at each passenger as if we may have over extended our visit for this afternoon.
Shuffling off from the hot metal casing of the airboat and onto the the wooden panels of the southern dock, each passenger marched like ants into a large plantation of alligators, all seemed not to notice the many visitors circumventing the borders of the waterholes. These beasts were truly remarkable creatures, their anatomical features showed the apex of evolution; perfection is the only word to describe these creatures in these Everglades. For a moment it felt as if we were the caged beasts on exhibit and the gators were the bored observers that found the human existance to be the most shallow and pathetic of them all.
What better way to end an epic trip to a safari park than to devour some alligator meat as a true Dundee. Tastes like chicken? No, not even close. Then again, a predator with ninety-nine percent muscle and can feast once a year to survive, it is obvious why tenderness is too le femme for such a masculine "man" that flosses iguanas after meals. Although the gator fillet, gator jerky, gator juice, all were gatorliscious, I was pleased to get some lemonade and some M&M's at the local Publix upon exiting Route 41. My introduction to the world of alligators and the Everglades were beyond memorable and have exceded all my expectations for this brief visit. If you ever have a chance to cross the Everglades, I hope your visit will be just as brave and chewy as mine.