After a rough time at the Miami Airport Days Inn (see previous post), we finally got going at 1 PM. We attempted to see Miami itself, despite starting several hours later than hoped. This was a challenge as there is nowhere to park even briefly. We wanted to go see the hotel from the movie the Birdcage, but it was unfortunately under renovation and barely recognizable. We just took a few quick snaps from the car for the most part as the parking was intended for people staying much longer than a few minutes and not especially close to the beach:
Miami had some fairly insane traffic is addition to lacking parking. It is also part of a vast metropolitan area. It is probably a bit too big and crazy for us, though I suppose if you’re going to live somewhere that intense, let it be (nearly) tropical.
We happened upon something much cooler and more satisfying later in the day. We headed across the state into the Everglades. We went to a rest stop and happened upon a real live alligator:
There was a bit of a barrier, but thinking back, he (or she) would have easily fit under it if he had cared. There was also a boat entry that he easily could have climbed up about 30 yards away, but we didn’t realize that till we were driving away.
Chris had wanted to go to Gatorland Zoo in Orlando since he had gone as a child, but said seeing a real one in the Everglades definitely ticket that box, so he’s good on that now.
It was delightful in that we put virtually no effort in, but got to see what the Everglades are famous for within a very short time for free. Very cool. Check out the video:
On our way out, we either saw another one or the first one moved. It was about 2 feet from the car in the water, because Chris being Chris felt the need to drive as close as he could to the water without actually going in 🙂
We headed onto Naples, where we learned from a local that alligators have almost no interest in humans. We are too big to be considered prey. Don’t go poking it with a stick or anything, but if you’re just watching, it’s usually fine. In fact, he told us that people go camping in the Everglades quite a lot in the winter.
Naples is a beautiful small city between the Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico. The beach and the city itself were well maintained and very clean. Naples also has a large UK expat population, so the local grocery store was well stocked on things like Chocolate Digestives and Jammie Dodgers.
It looked a bit expensive but if we can afford it, we’d definitely consider it.
Our hotel was even excellent in addition to inexpensive. Red Roof Inns are usually a good idea. We can highly recommend this one.