Florida road trip – Day 8 (more Everglades and dancing in Miami)

 

Our hotel, the Holiday Inn, is situated on Route 1, the east coast highway from north to south. It is this road that will take us down to Key West on Sunday, where we will be spending two nights. For now though, we have taken advantage of its proximity to the Everglades where we took another trip today. We drove from Florida City to a place called Flamingo, on the south coast of Florida. There were no flamingos to be seen. I was pleased with a picture of a turkey vulture that I took, but they are probably commonplace around here – akin to our seagulls in the UK, but majestic with it.

We stopped off at various nature reserves with boardwalks taking us over the swamps, but really saw very little. The problem with boardwalks that are built for people in nature reserves to see the wildlife is that most animals are put off by the fact that there are boardwalks that are built for people to see them, so they go off in the other direction. I did, however, get bitten by the world’s deadliest animal – not once, but dozens of times. I have never known so many mosquitoes, and they put us off taking photos of some very interesting scenery. The only wildlife sounds to be heard were us two Brits cursing and swearing at the little blighters. I think all the other animals put the mosquitoes up to it to keep us away, or to give them an early warning system. So today wasn’t as successful a wildlife trip as yesterday’s. My advice, from our experience, is that anyone coming to the Everglades by car simply must do Loop Road as a priority, as featured in yesterday’s blog.

We did have an EPO. This is the term for a sudden need to take a wildlife picture that we invented yesterday (Emergency Photograph Opportunity). However, it came as a bit of a surprise to Sarah who, on the way back from the Everglades had briefly dropped off to sleep in the passenger seat. As I yelled, “EPO!” while braking suddenly, she was woken up violently and was in a clear state of shock. It was all worth it in the end, in more ways than one, as it involved not only photographing a turtle that was crossing the road, but also saving it by removing it to the side of the road to protect it from other traffic.

We finished the day off with an evening trip into Miami. It is here that we had been invited to a dance by a local swing dance organisation, the Lindy Collective. The venue was Fritz and Franz Bierhaus at Coral Gables, where Piano Bob was providing the entertainment. Three years ago, when Sarah had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, we’d only ever dreamt of doing a US road trip and we’d not taken up dancing. Here we were, dancing in Miami with complete strangers – although it has to be said that in the lindy dance community, nobody are strangers for long. It was a delight to meet Cici, the dance teacher who had invited us to the event, and some of her dancing friends.

If you want to know more about our story or read our book, I’M NEVER ILL ( A journey through brain surgery and beyond…), please visit our website:

http://www.markdpritchard.co.uk

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