A half day's drive has brought us to another world, so different from the one we left behind in Texas. We drove past large square manmade lakes dotted with little pyramids. Rice is planted in the water and crawfish live in the pyramids and munch on the rice. Here in Louisiana if there's a sign that we don't understand, that's because it's written in French, not Spanish. The cooking is amazing and mostly seafood. Betty, the owner of the campground here, has a long list of must visit restaurants. We'll do our best. The Cajans have done a great job of preserving their culture here, no mean feat in our homogenized country.
We took a boat tour on the bayou - or was it a swamp? A bayou has flowing water and a swamp has no outflow. Now we know. The scenery was spectacular and animals were easy to spot. Of course, having a local guide helped, because he knew where to go. We were surprised that there were no mosquitoes. He said that the rotting vegetation forms tannic acid and the mosquitoes can't handle it. We need to import some tannic acid up north. The only lively creatures were the water birds. The gators were basking in sun with their bellies in the cool water, regulating themselves to the perfect temperature. The guide said that locals feel safe swimming and water skiing in this lake right along side the gators. There are so many fish available, the gators are not hungry for the "other white meat." Some of the gators were happy to pose for pictures, but others eased into the water when we got too close. The turtles sunning themselves on logs, also jumped back in the water when we came near. Because the water birds find plenty to eat here, their numbers are growing and the water is full of bird poop, which fertilizes the plants. The guide called it "poop-alizer." The circle of life. Some of the cypress trees were over 500 years old. They poke parts of their roots called knees, out of the water for respiration. People cut them off and make furniture out of them, but the trees carry on. The drapery of Spanish Moss added to the mood of the place.
It felt a bit like the Garden of Eden.