Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Everglades - Miami

On another stellar Miami day, my sister and I decided to take a trip to the Everglades National Park. As children we used to go there a bit, either on field trips through school or with our mom. Every time we had a European relative visiting, we knew a trip to the Everglades was in store. As a kid I was not too into going to the Everglades, I guess I used to think it was a bit boring sometimes, so as a result of that former impression, I have not been in many many years.

The Everglades are subtropical marshland that were at one time inhabited by the Seminole Native American Tribe. The park , a World Heritage Site, was established in 1947 under the order of President Truman and the biggest champion of the park was Marjory Stoneman Douglas a prolific journalist and environmentalist. Mrs. Douglas championed the conservation of the marshlands and was instrumental in creating legislation to control the sugar cane industry and ensure compliance of water quality standards.

So for the first time in many years I ventured down to the Everglades with my sister to the Anhinga Trail part of the park. We saw lots of birds; anhingas that sit on trees spreading their wings to dry them in the sun, a wood stork that was fishing for his lunch in the marsh and was dangerously close to being gobbled by an alligator, a cormorant that caught a fish and swallowed it whole right in front of us. But what we were really after were alligators! So we hunted for them carefully and quietly and ended up seeing quite a few sunning themselves, one even gave us quite the evil eye. Just in case anyone is wondering, we were not trekking through the marsh, it is relatively safe and you walk along a boardwalk trail so it is unlikely you will be gobbled up by a gator.

After spotting lots of wildlife we made our way to a very special fruit and vegetable market. Just on the outskirts of the Everglades, in the agricultural community of the Redlands, is the wonderful tropical fruit market called Robert Is Here. The market started from a simple vegetable stand in 1959 when Robert was six years old and was told to sell some cucumbers from his father's crop. When Robert got home that evening, he had not sold one and his father thought people must not see this little boy as they drive by, so the next day Robert's dad made a big sign and attached it to the table saying Robert Is Here and a business was born. Robert is a tropical fruit expert and farmer, in addition to having a lovely market where you can buy all sorts of things. My sister and I bought all sorts of goodies like passion fruit and star fruit, homemade mango salsa and honey jalapeno barbecue sauce and then had some of Robert's famous milkshakes, blackberry for Carmen and cherry key lime for me. Robert's is a great place and an institution of South Florida, you can check out his website at www.robertishere.com.

1 comment:

Mrs.X said...

Christina- you don't know me, but I have followed your blog and have been very inspired by your decision to leave it all behind and go. I have nominated you for a Thinking Blogger Award. You can find the details on my blog. I hope you continue to share with us the adventures that you have. Thanks!