Thursday, September 8, 2011

American Adventures: Part 7 (GATORS!)

Part 7: In which we go on a swamp tour

Our Saturday in New Orleans was a hot one. And was largely spent outside of New Orleans. We took a swamp tour. A glorious, fabulous, quirky, silly, touristy, marvelous, cajun swamp tour. We visited the Honey Island Swamp near Slidell, Louisiana. And, apparently, we chose the same tour company as the Jolie-Pitts, Forrest Whitaker, Jason Lee and others. No celebrity spotting on our tour, though.

The tour was ridiculously overpriced as we got the ticket that included pick-off and drop-off in New Orleans. We took a mini bus, so I know the profit on the transport was huuuuge, but as my sister was working and it was convenient, we didn't care too much. Sometimes you spend too much on vacation fun.

i'm on a boat!

For me, the tour was all about one thing: gators. Now, of course they don't guarantee that you'll see a gator. But we saw plenty. It was so fun!

louisiana swamp tour gators!

Our tour guide was absolutely mental. But in a good way. I'm sure that all his stories have elements of truth, and some certainly were fact. But a lot seemed to be tall tales spun in the swamp. But he got a little alligator to chomp a marshmallow off a stick. So that dude is golden in my eyes.


It really was just so much fun!

"i hope the gators don't eat me!"

the boy on a boat

I loved the colors of the swamp. Especially once we came off the rather calm, brown waters of the main bits of the Pearl River and into the narrower channels of the swamp. The deeper we got the greener the water became (covered in tiny plants) and the more golden the air became.

swamp thing

The wildlife was certainly something to admire. We saw alligators, raccoons (nothing special there, but Louisiana raccoons are smaller than their midwestern cousins), herons, giant spiders, beautiful dragonflies - so many lovely creatures!

blue heron

tall trees, tall grass

girl in a swamp

It was an experience I'll never forget. I'm so glad we went!

That night,after a nice, cool, rest at my sister's house (and a change of clothes!) we dined out at Bistro Daisy. My brother-in-law is a chef and has been at Daisy since its beginning. But, taking a new position as a personal chef to a well-to-do family (in aid of the incoming bambino), it was his last night there. As the sous chef, there were a lot of things that were made by him exclusively. I had his ravioli. And it was amazing. I have since tried to duplicate it and not been terribly successful. But it was a great last meal out in New Orleans.

Bistro Daisy

The next day we had ice cream for brunch (at Creole Creamery - land of quirky, local flavors) and soon after got our cab to the airport. Many hours (aka: the next morning) later (via Dallas), we touched down at Heathrow. Our American Adventures over. For this year. For this summer. Life may bring me back to the US to live for a while in the not-too-distant future. But it won't diminish the special place this trip has had in my heart: taking my main squeeze through my country, to my places, to see things that can only be found in that land. I'll keep this trip with me for a while, I think. It was a pretty special couple of weeks.


Blythe Ghost said...

Thoroughly enjoying all your gadding about Laura Kate ... though you can keep the gators and the spiders!!

Loved the pics in previous post where you were both stuffin' your face. LOL!! You sound like you enjoy your food.

Erika @ Rouge & Whimsy said...

i once saw alligators in mexico and the only thing i remember was how HORRIBLE they smelled.

but they were in a pit so maybe having them confined increases the smell?

also, the guide there fed them a live chicken. a little violent for my tastes.

laura kate said...

@blythe ghost - well, i enjoy *good* food. and this whole trip had much of it. now that i'm back to life in london, i won't be eating so much fried/battered/donut-related/otherwise awesome stuff.

and don't knock the gators - seeing them in their natural habitat was amazing!

@erika - i'm guessing the poor alligators in a pit just were stinky because they were swimming in sludge. the swamp had a definite smell, but it wasn't really good or bad. just present! i think feeding wild gators chicken would be baiting. and therefore illegal. just a guess though. the tours feed them marshmallows, which the gators presume to be eggs. they chew on them for a while, but can't swallow them. so they spit them out and, being sugar, they just dissolve. it's pretty neat, really!

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