I live one mile from the Atlantic Ocean. I haven't been to the beach in a dozen years nor even seen the ocean in nearly a year. I live thirty miles from one of the most diverse and unique wonders of the world, the Everglades. I haven't set foot out there (until yesterday) since before George W Bush was president. I live forty miles from one of the most interesting architectural areas in America, the Miami Beach Art Deco District. I haven't been down there in many, many years. I live two hundred miles from the biggest tourist area in the entire United States, Disney/Epcot/Universal/MGM/Orlando World. I haven't been up there in over ten years. I live three blocks from a street lined with gay bars. I get over there quite a bit.
Yesterday my lovely niece, her mother, and her two young boys came to visit. The boys are like seven and five years old and they wanted to see the Gator Boys. It seems that they have introduced the reality show genre on the Animal Planet Channel to little boys in the form of two guys who capture alligators for a living. So off we went out to the Florida Everglades, to the place where the Gator Boys do their thing. For four hours yesterday we were herded around a parking lot like sheep while waiting for our turn on the airboat ride. Then when we were finally loaded onto the airboat, we shot through the everglades piloted by a seemingly bored captain who quickly got us stuck in some weeds while looking for invisible alligators. After the airboat ride we were treated to the official Gator Boys Alligator Show, which consisted of a young man holding an alligator's mouth shut, first with two hands, then one hand, and then with his chin. That was it. This was followed by a photo-op where kids could get their photo taken holding a baby alligator. Mind you, each and every one of these things cost bucks, big bucks, including five for the photo-op and big signs urging you to leave a tip at every turn. I like it when family and friends visit. They force me to take in the great offerings of Florida that I take for granted. It was great fun to see the kids enjoying the Everglades airboat ride and gator show. What seemed like a truly crappy experience to me probably impressed those two little guys. Now that being said, if anybody wants me to go with them to Disney/Epcot/Universal/MGM/Orlando World, forget it. I hate that place. The street with all the gay bars here in our town, no problem.