Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Bus trip to the Everglades

I knew there was a reason I didn’t like bus tours. You’d think it would be the bus itself, but I think I spent too much time on a school bus as a child to complain about a relatively comfortable tour bus.

No, it’s the itinerary. Yesterday’s bus tour lasted for 5 hours. It consisted of 3 hours on the bus, 1 hour at an alligator farm and 1 hour at the Everglades National Park. Now, you can’t do too much about the 3 hours on the bus. But you can do a little. First of all, you can avoid getting lost (twice). Secondly, you can cut the drive time some by limiting yourself to one destination. (Probably a better part of the park than we saw.)

We were warned before hand that the alligator farm wasn’t the best place to see alligators...after all, they aren’t in the wild there. Then why where we there? For a boat ride. OK. We were also told that there would be two boats. One would have the "wild" ride and the other would have a calmer ride. Since I didn't want to get the camera wet, I chose the calmer ride. As it turned out, the people on the "wild" boat said it wasn't all that wild, and nobody got wet. It's just as well. I wouldn't have wanted the trepidation of damaging the camera combined with the disappointment of the ultimate tameness of it all. The boat ride itself was somewhat interesting. It was neat to be out "on top of" the Everglades.

After that, it was off to the actual national park. We ended up at Anhinga Trail with an hour to sight-see. I decided to walk for half an hour and turn around. About 30 minutes into my walk, I looked around at familiar surroundings. Apparently the trail is a (short) loop. So I sat down for a while to contemplate my surroundings.

Swamps aren't my favorite type of terrain. Still, I was impressed by the large variety of bird life, and the large quantity of 'gator life. Overall, though, the trip failed the crucial test of whether I could have done better myself. In some instances, like the Korea trip, I would have been at a loss on my own. It occurs to me that many of the attendees at this conference were in a similar situation of being in a foreign country. So this trip probably did them well.

It was nice to see another World Heritage Site. Also, the tour was sponsored by Microsoft. I'll leave it to you to make up your own jokes.

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