Monday, September 25, 2006

Spirit Journey & Manatees - Part 3

The next morning dawn bright and sunny as we bid Phil adieu, piled into his caddy with all of our stuff and headed for the Tamiami Trail (click any photos to enlarge). I was excited to be heading out to the Keys even though I was still not feeling well at all. An aerial photo of the road with the canal right next to it is below.

Ah, the Everglades. Vast wetlands cleansing southern Florida. Birthplace for thousands, if not millions of fish, birds, insects, invertebrates, plants, you name it, they have it here. And yet, it is being built upon and drained. Encroached on from all sides. Canals are being dug and housing tracts are being built. You can see it when you fly into Miami. Okay, I will get down off my soapbox now and continue our journey.

I had always imagined that we would see plenty of gators, but alas, we did not.

I told Sean not to run over any Florida panthers, but we saw nary a one. I really wanted to though.

We did see plenty of water birds, including the anhinga. I love this bird because it looks so prehistoric, as if it might have existed thousands of years ago.

We also saw wood storks...

the harder to spot green heron...

the great blue heron...

the snowy egret...

not to be confused with the great egret.

There were many tourist attractions such as airboat rides and gambling offered by the local Native American Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes. Both tribes had the obligatory sad and bloody pasts with the conquering whites leaving them in small numbers relegated to reservations. Here, they are pictured in happier times.

Since I was feeling so unwell and was sleeping in the comfy back seat (my role was navigator and I was literally sleeping on the job) we missed our turn to Homestead and to the Keys and ended up in the Cuban part of Miami. We stopped for gas and directions, and found a local bakery with coffee. It was then, right then, that we discoverd CAFE CUBANO. It was a turning point in our lives. Everything changed after that.

It was served in these really tiny cups. I was astonished at how small they were. At least we had the sense to know that they were drunk without milk. My goodness, how much sugar went into it! One sip and ka pow!!! That caffeine kicked in like jet fuel. The taste was like an uppercut; pungent and flavorful. We now had the energy to complete our trek, which had taken so many hours already.

So, on we forged towards Rte. 95 and the Keys. Finally we made it to Key Largo and the Hungry Pelican Hotel. We checked into our room and I flopped into my bed, dead to the world. I worried for naught that the cafe cubano would keep me up.


Ryan said...

my mom is from florida so i felt your post! besides georgia i would say florida is my favorite place! looking forward 2 more florida posts!

Sue said...

There will be more! :)