In miami, stateside, travelling on November 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

So apart from riding the bike and going to a couple of less than stellar club nights in Miami Beach, the only other thing I do is head out on a tour to the glades. Where the water is everywhere and the green fronds bend but don’t break, and alligators sit with only their eyes and nostrils above the waterline, waiting.

Ever since Miami Vice I’ve wanted to travel on one of those propeller driven flat-bottomed boats, with the driver high up back there, moving those long, long controls. So I pays my money and get driven out in a truck full of old folk, along long straight, non winding highways to a large roadside cafe beside what looks like a creek. The roadside cafe/diner has an extensive souvenir shop attached and there are a myriad of alligator/Everglades/Miami related tat available for purchase.

We wait around whilst another tour group is called out to the dock and I try not to be too impatient for the whole thing to get started.

Then we’re walking down to the propeller boat and being loaded aboard. four or five abreast, and the boat is being wound up, the propeller howling behind us and we’re off.

The driver guide is a laconic man, whose jokes feel as well-worn as the handle of an old man’s umbrella from a very wet country. They spill out of him one after another, some are amusing, most raise a chuckle from the majority. But I can’t help but feel that he’s regurgitating the same jokes over and over again, so much so that even he’s bored by the setup and punch lines he’s producing. Wonder whether he needs to take a break, go away and come back with some more material. If he was a stand up, he’d never get away with his schtick.

We whizz down the greenlined waterways, blue sky above, tree branches, overhanging the water, whistling close by, until we float to a stop to inspect the alligators, weeny ones that lurk on the edges. Oohs and aah’s are elicited as they are pointed out and we peer into the shadows by the water’s edge to see if we can spot them.

One european woman, I think she is German but can’t be sure, is adamant that the alligators are fake. The boat driver is unimpressed with this supposition, and bats away the idea, but she won’t let it go, and then he won’t let it go, starting off each sighting with a note that it’s probably fake.

The little critters move swiftly when disturbed, and a couple drift right up to the edge of the boat, hands that want to reach out, are quickly admonished to keep themselves inboard. But the urge to  waft your hands through the surging wake still rises…

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