More Florida moments

I tried to post once from a Blackberry, and am not sure it went through. I’m trying again from a real computer, so we’ll see what happens this time.

Sadly, it’s not my real computer. Mr. Bookworm brought his beloved tablet computer with us, only to suffer a double whammy: it broke and he forgot the external wireless dealy-bopper. Fortunately, the hotel we’re staying at has a business center, and the kids need to fall asleep in the dark, so I’m sitting alone at a strange computer, see what I can shake out of myself blog-wise. Mostly, it’s random thoughts. In no particular order:

The Everglades are spectacular. I happen to be very fond of our country’s national parks, and this one is definitely a winner. We saw so many alligators the kids actually started getting bored (no doubt helped by the fact that they were jet-lagged, hungry, and generally tired). These amazing monstrous creatures are everywhere, just sunning themselves. It’s very hard to look at them, and they were all completely inert, and imagine that they’re such fearsome killing machines. Take away the teeth, and they simply look rather foolish with those bulgy bodies and little legs. It’s almost a matter of cognitive dissonance to imagine them running at speeds of over thirty miles an hour, swimming at speeds in the high twenty miles per hour, and scaling fences like cats — but they do all that. What’s also impressive is the fact that, from near extinction in the 1960s/1970s, they’ve reemerged to a population of more than 1.5 million through Florida (which actually seems like a bit much to me).

We also saw dozens of egrets and herons, which were beautiful albeit less impressive. The fact that they didn’t stun me with their looks and style has less to do with the birds than with familiarity on my part. Back home, we live near a marsh that is home to many egrets and great blue herons, so they’re commonplace for me — beautiful, but commonplace. Incidentally, they too returned from near extinction to a thriving population. Nature is so much more resilient than we are wont to give her credit for being.

Another thought, and this is a very un-PC one, so feel free to skip the next three paragraphs. In California, there are lots of Hispanic residents. You and I have seen the ones in LA, marching along to insist that they get full American benefits without uniting their hearts to America. We also have a lot of immigrants where I live, and an enormous number of them are illegals. And to be honest, I resent them. I feel as if they want to take my country away, not because they’re Hispanic, but because they don’t want to be Americans.

I find myself feeling very differently about Florida’s hispanic population. Rightly or wrongly, I assume that most of them are Cuban, and that they are (a) American citizens who are here legally and (b) that they love this country fiercely. I find that I don’t mind being surrounded by people speaking Spanish, and innumerable Spanish language stores and restaurants, because I don’t feel that my nation is being eaten away. I feel that these are people like me — immigrants or the children of immigrants who are simultaneously proud of their heritage and proud of America. They want to embrace America and thrive here, not come to America to leech away her benefits without contributing, not their labor, but their love.

I’ve got to head up now and put myself to bed. I’m completely discombobulated time-wise. Because I’ve been working so frantically on projects lately, I’m very underslept. So, even though 9:00 p.m. Florida time should only be my 6:00 p.m. California time (meaning I should be tired), I’m midnight exhausted.

I’ll try to post again in a day or two. We’re visiting with a relative tomorrow, a very lovely and aged lady, so it should be a bit of a slow day. Then on to Orlando, where the madness begins.


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  • Friend of USA

    Bookworm you made an interesting, intriguing typographical error,

    …I feel as if they want to take my country away, not because they’re Hispanic, but because they don’t want to be mericans

    I wonder if it means anything?

  • Friend of USA

    Or maybe you have just created a new word?

    Illegal Mexicans are not really Americans but Mericans?



  • Zhombre

    In Miami yes the Spanish speaking residents are mainly Cuban but Florida is a mix and the Latin population includes Colombians, Peruvians, Hondurans, and others. In Orlando there is a huge Puerto Rican population as well as Vietnamese. Sticking to the tourist enclaves you might not encounter the diversity. But frankly Orlando is not one of my favorite places in Florida.

  • Oldflyer

    I grew up in Tampa. During and just after WW2 we lived on the “wrong side of the tracks” adjacent to the great Cuban enclave, Ybor City. The nearest movie theatres, swimming pool and the major recreation park were in Ybor City, so we spent countless hours there. As 12 year olds we roamed Ybor City without feeling threatened. But, in many ways it was like a different world. The culture was rather exotic to the average “Cracker” kid; and many older people did not speak English well, if at all. The kids, however, were class-mates, team-mates and sometimes adversaries. Many honored the old ways at home, but when they went off to school they were part of the main-stream culture because no accomodations were made for them to be otherwise. There was no question that they were Americans, and that their parents or grand-parents made the journey so that they could be Americans.

    Bookworm, glad you are getting off the beaten path. If you get down to the keys visit the wild life center adjacent to Marathon and say hey to my niece Courtney.

  • ExPreacherMan


    Welcome to Florida. If you visited the Everglades, you came within two minutes of our modest home.

    We could have furnished you with a delicious meal of Avocados out of our front yard, fresh Papaya, and other good Florida stuff — in a friendly environment – our home.

    Our lake would have furnished the kids with swimming (no gators), fishing (large mouth bass and bream), sunning among white and blue herons, flocks of hundreds of Ibis, Anhinga birds, hundreds of parrots and even a few buzzards periodically.

    Drop by some time…


  • Bald-Headed Geek

    Glad that you’re enjoying Florida so far, Bookworm. I lived there for three years in the early 1990s, and have been back to visit several times since. If it hadn’t been for Mrs. BHG, who is from southeastern Pennsylvania, i would undoubtedly still be living there now. I loved the Everglades, the ocean, the warm climate, etc. In fact, I still toy every now and then with the idea of moving back there, but it would probably involve too much dislocation for my family. Still, whenever winter rolls around, I think back with great nostalgia and fondness on the fact that in Florida, one can walk around in shorts and a t-shirt in January. Sigh……………..


  • Ymarsakar

    What’s also impressive is the fact that, from near extinction in the 1960s/1970s, they’ve reemerged to a population of more than 1.5 million through Florida (which actually seems like a bit much to me).

    With a large food supply of humans and children, what did you expect?

    The fog in Florida is unreal, btw. Watch those interstate highways.

  • Al

    It’s your vacation. Relax. If you don’t have the equipment to blog, oh well…….

    Just watch out for the alligators.