Just Like CSI Miami!

  Monday, 1/7/08, The Everglades

Our plan was to maximize our GO card, but we were also running out of steam.  We decided to visit the Everglades and take an alligator tour!  Of course before that, we had to eat lunch… it always starts with food.  The fact that we ended up at JJ’s Diner at 10:45 a.m. leads me to believe that we must have missed breakfast at the hotel! 

We were the only customers.  The service was efficient, especially for a diner.  Initially, a waitress was going to take our order but got sidetracked by a cellphone call.  Her co-worker wisely stepped in, and the original waitress stopped by to apologize that it was an emergency call.  I was quite impressed.  Prices were a little high; $10 for burger (can’t remember other prices).  The strangest thing was that the food was great and the portions plentiful, yet we were the only customers!   The burger was cooked just the way DH ordered it – medium rare, and it was huge, like you couldn’t really stuff it in your mouth, truly 6″ high, with generous toppings and french fries.  My Cobb salad was very big – I did eventually finish it, but everytime I looked at it, it looked like I didn’t start yet. 

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Do you see how big my salad was?!  And how large the burger was?!

Alligator Tour

After lunch, we drove out to the Everglades, following a map that showed almost nothing except for a large area marked “Everglades.”  Great.  We got lost several times but eventually found our destination, Gator Park.  We went inside the gift shop and was given a tour time.  Since we had to wait… of course we walked around the store to be enticed by the souvenirs.  We also took some photos outside of the store and finally got on our tourboat.

The tourboat operator had a good sense of humor and made the ride interesting.  What we found out was that alligators just like to lie in the sun without motion… unless they got hungry, so all the scary stuff we see on TV is on crocodiles.  We saw some turtles and birds as well, along with several alligators on land.  Once we got out of the slow canal area, the driver told us to use our ear plugs because it was going to get loud.  Umm, some of us didn’t listen, so we had to plug our ears with our fingers and hold onto our caps because he picked up speed and swerved around in the swamp land.  Doesn’t this look like CSI Miami in the background?!

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After the tour we went to an exhibit area where we were upclose with scorpions and alligators.  Here’s Daniel and Caitlin holding onto a small alligator and happily posing for the camera!

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Afterwards we went to La Carretta, a restaurant in the Cuban area.  Outside of the restaurant is a large wheooden wheel.  Parking is available behind the restaurant.  When we walked in early evening, the dining area is about half full.  Silverware was placed in plastic bags and we were served water and given bilingual menu… in English and Spanish.  We ordered the Cuban Sampler #1 (obviously they get their share of tourists!) and Imperial Rice which was sort of like fried rice with chicken.  The best part?  We got six slices of garlic bread!  We knew we were coming back… but we had only half a day left!

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