We're used to spending Christmas time in the tropics. During our working years this was the only time off we had to take a break from the cruel wintry cold in our home town. So you would think that after all these years, it wouldn't feel weird to watch workers spreading cotton carpets of "snow" on bright green lawns and see tinsel hanging from palm trees. But it still is a bit jarring. Ft. Lauderdale is already beautifully decorated for the holidays. If I thought I could do it justice, I would have tried some evening shots of all the illuminations handing from street poles, wrapped around tree trunks and outlining giant reindeer and candy canes. No one is worried about the electric bill here.
When you look at an aerial view of this area, it looks like a lacy doily. Back in the day entrepreneurs dug the soil out of the swampland and created miles of waterfront property, interspersing the land with canals. Today the hoi polloi come to town to build mansions, each more extravagant and grand than what came before. Even the homes that look somewhat like the one we live in at home are WAY out of our price range. The best way to see this exercise in excess is from the water. We took a three hour boat tour that travelled a small percentage of this beautifully developed waterfront. The grander the home, the grander the boat/ship parked in front of it. Sadly nearly all the people we saw out and about appeared to be workers, pruning, mowing, and decorating for Christmas. Folks with wealth of this caliber have multiple homes and Ft. Lauderdale is apparently not the place to be at this moment.
In the midst of all this luxury, we spotted a campground hidden behind some of the yachts. Note to self: next time we head to Florida with the motor home, schedule a stop here and see how the other half lives. It would be fun to sit on a lawn chair and watch all the mega yachts go by.
The boat stopped at an island where a fearless local demonstrated the gentle art of alligator wrestling. He got in a pen with two of these large creatures and quickly determined that one of them was not in the mood to be wrestled with. He spoke about the local Indians who developed their wrangling skills because it was eat or be eaten by these ominous looking creatures. Alligators are best approached from the back since they cannot see behind them and their jaws have great strength when they clamp down, but have little muscle power to open their jaws. He sat on the gator, covered its eyes, and proceeded to have his way with the creature, darting his hand inside its jaws and giving it kisses. The gator was not all that happy to be part of the show, but as soon as it was over he resumed laying totally still and basking in the sun. Bygones were bygones.