Word of the day: Nettie " Look Abby we are in wa hi ee." (Hawaii)
Road kill sighting: one armadillo, one dog and one cat.
We have arrived, in one piece with all four kids and both dogs! Praise the Lord join me in the Happy Dance, Steph come on now....
The morning started as the brochure promised, coffee by the lake in Louisiana. I thoroughly enjoyed this even though it is not what you would imagine. Instead of sitting down as the sun came up, steaming cup of jo in hand, I was rushing around like a mad woman trying to tear down the trailer so we could make the gator tour on time. It was nice regardless.
We arrived at some lake I would not dare to spell, Awawatchhhhaaaa something and met Mr. Brian our chief guide. It was our family of six and seven other adults. Oddly enough we later found out the older couple on the boat were also desert dwellers not to far from us and they were grandparents to Ethiopian children. It truly is a small world. Anyway.... The swamp, bayou, lake was magical. It was so much of what you see on the movies. Cypress trees 500 years old, dripping with Spanish moss, Lilly pads floating with giant flowers that were to beautiful to be real. It was truly a forest under water. Apparently a swamp is a flooded forest that dries up, a bayou is a water way that has water flowing through it. We started on a lake then coasted for over two hours in between the two of these. We saw birds sunning, frogs, lizards, turtles and,...... yes we saw a few gators!! I realize my fear of the alligators jumping up onto the boat and attacking one of my kids was completely unfounded. I will however yell at my mom for letting me watch too many of those 1970 B movies that show insects and reptiles gone mad attacking innocent campers. We found a 12 foot alligator and she or he stared at us for some time, she let us watch her just a few feet away as she watched us then she disappeared beneath the green bayou. I have to admit the thought of those creatures swimming around under us did creep me a bit but I had my revenge later on ..... I ate one. Haaaa HHaaaa!! take that giant lizard, I am at the top of the food chain!!
Our guide Mr. Brian was a kind man, his cell phone never stopped ringing and he never hesitated to answer it. So here we are in the middle of what I consider no where and here is this this rock out ring tone and Brian conducting business on the bayou. It was a bit surreal if not annoying. The kids did well but after a few hours in the sun they were toast. When we pulled into the dock they were ready to get back on dry land. Nettie didn't really enjoy herself, she is never going to be accused of being a nature freak that is for sure, but I am working on her. As we pulled into port I overheard Mr. Brian talking with a few other passengers about how wonderful my children are. (Okay this is where I will brag shamelessly, skip if you must) I was pleased of course about this because in the beginning I had my doubts. Judah always surprises me though and for that I am thankful. Then the older couple from AZ came up to Gary and I and told us that when they saw us coming he thought to himself "OH crap" but he said our kids were amazing! He went on for several minutes gushing over them. I was especially pleased when Gary said, it is their mother that puts so much work into them! how nice. Unfortunately I couldn't stick around for the compliments because my darling children had run back to the trailer and were playing with poisionous frogs. Before we set off again we decided to let Abby and Judah take thier bikes for a spin down the dirt road into the forest, one side a swamp and the other side, to be honest I don't know. Gary told them to ride off and when he whistled to just come back. Well off they go, and go and go. Gary whistles, Judah at some point stops, but Abby just keeps on peddling until she is nothing more than a speck on dirt road dissapearing into the green curtain of forest. I went into full panik mode as Gary and I both screamed at her to stop, she just kept going. Gary ran over to Judah grabbed his tiny red bike and peddaled down the dirt road standing up, while I nearly passed out from adrenline rush I just had to turn around and not look. Logically I knew she was okay but in my mind I was loosing it. But before I turned around to not look I do remember yelling something at Gary that went like this "GO AND GET HER NOW, YOU CAN'T LET OUR DAUGHTER RIDE DOWN SOME BACK WOOD COUNTRY LOUISANNA DIRT ROAD, WHAT WERE YOU THININKING??" I felt bad later as some fisher men, local men, heard me screaming. They probably thought I was nuts. I was. Later Gary claimed he had everything in control and it was no biggie. Dads.
After this very cool experience we found a small, dirty authentic Cajun food restaurant. Mason and I really wanted to try some gator and possibly snapping turtle. We had a blast, Nettie drank hot sauce straight from a cup and though it burned her mouth she continued to do so. The floors were so sticky that my shoes nearly came off anytime I had to get up, the tables were equally sticky and I just prayed that all that hot Cajun food killed the germs. As we ate I tried not to picture the greasy man swatting flies outside the kitchen in the back of the joint. The food was all fried, and I ordered a sampler. I tried most of all Louisiana had to offer, craw dads, gator, jambalaya, catfish, sweet potato fries and a bunch of other stuff I didn't know what it was. It didn't matter it kind of all looked the same, battered and fried. I am looking forward to some Alabama bar b Que now.
We then made our way through Louisiana and I was able to see New Orleans, even from the car you could still see the scars of the flood several years ago, and the Dome seemed to be etched into my memory courtesy of CNN so seeing it the first time in person was weird. Finally after a long car ride through Mississippi we landed in Alabama. The kids were so excited as were Gary and I. We got to the Gulf Shores KOA after 8:00 PM so it was dark and the bugs were in full force to welcome us. My first impression was. WE are very far out in the country, where in the world is the water? Supposedly it is only a few minutes away. We will see when it is light. Our little trailer is tipping currently and that is priority number one for Gary tomorrow. We are parked on a very sandy patch, no concrete just pure sand. We are hooked up at the site at the bottom of a slight hill so all the water runs our way. Oh lucky me with four kids and two dogs. God knows I have a sand aversion so this will test my soul. The humidity is horrible, thick as peas soup but it is something different and for that I am thankful.
Well this is home for four nights. I think we will really have fun. Tomorrow we are getting up early to go to the dock and see if we can spot some dolphins. I will take the kids swimming while we wait for our good friends to arrive and then we hit the white sandy beaches!!