Thursday, August 11, 2011

Postcard Blog

Here's what I've been thinking about lately: gators, swamps, lizardy things that scamper everywhere, and hillbilly hand fishin'.

That's right - in the middle of August, my best friend from college and I decided to celebrate three decades of friendship on the outskirts of Orlando. We're not doing the Disney thing. We did go to SeaWorld because it's one of my favorite places on earth, but this is kind of the inverse of Disney. It's way more nature-y, and let's just say that's a learning experience for me, a person who views camping as a kind of disorder.

This is the swamp  lake outside of our condo:
which seemed lovely enough with the family of mallards drifting past and the paddle boats. I definitely wanted to take a paddle boat out and go around the perimeter of the lake until I read this sign:

Florida wildlife? What does that include? Would there be mallards and people fishing if there were alligators? My friend, who has a shady history of talking me into things I wouldn't normally consider (actually, that's one of the things I like best about her) assured me no ducks would coexist alongside alligators. Wildlife, she insisted, meant things like fish and the little lizardy things. I believed her. Sort of. So I asked at the desk.

There are alligators in every body of water in Florida they told me. Why worry? They sleep at the bottom and won't bother you. Only worry if they come up on land when you're down there.

Come up on land? What? Maybe we should have booked in Disney. I didn't worry long because that's when a man with a heavy Southern drawl began talking about catfish and hillbilly hand fishin' - which I thought was some kind of regional joke.

 It's real. Apparently, it's a sport that devolves humans from using tools to catch prey. You reach into the depths of a muddy creek with your hands and grab a fish until it bites. You then pull the fish out of the water that way. It's so widely known that there's a show about it. I'm not kidding -

I can't imagine walking into that water with the sleeping gators at the bottom and your hand as a lure, but it's something I won't forget about this vacation.
Oh, and the thirty plus years of friendship is pretty great as well.

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