I extended my stay here till Wednesday. Was not ready to go home April 3 as scheduled. So much to do, such fine weather this time of year. Yesterday afternoon S. and I drove about twenty minutes to Marco Island, to South Beach there, swam, had an hysterical conversation with two young women from New Jersey while lolling in the sea. They both had tatoos and the stories behind the acquiring of same had S. and me cracking up. Later I kept my eye on a little girl who was playing in the waves by herself, with no adult in near sight. I walked over to her, and we looked for shells together, her name was Emily. Cuban, I think. So sweet, so unprotected. She said no one would play with her. She pointed out her parents but they were quite a ways up the beach, and I've heard too many times that small kids can drown in seconds since their lungs are so small. I stayed with her till they called her to leave.
S. and I then went to Capri Fish House Restaurant on the Isles of Capri section of Marco. I had been there earlier in the day, after having discovered it on Saturday when I took a wildlife boat tour of the estuaries which stopped at the eatery for lunch. The food was some of the best I've had. I noticed some dogs on the small beach that day, and asked the guy in charge if I could bring my dog. Yee ha! [note to self: riddexplus] The boat tour was an educational ride highlighting the local birds, mangroves, oyster beds, environmental impact. Very very nice. The sunset cruise would be the one where we would see the most birds, coming in to roost at the evening, but finding a place to take Bindi into the salt water was worth seeing fewer birds than I would have liked. We did see herons, egrits, lots of osprey and their fledglings, pelicans, and seeing such a large parcel of protected land was encouraging. Amidst the development and weath in this area, every bit of conservation is precious.
When I took Bindi to Capri yesterday around noon, I was surprised to find a kayak festival taking place. There were scores of brightly colored kayaks, lots of people, which wasn't the optimal conditions for my dog, but she was a trooper and got into the water without much encouragement to a depth where she even "dog paddled" for a bit before becoming a bit overwhelmed by so much activity and stuff that we sat out with some folks in the shade. They bought me an iced tea. Perhaps its me, perhaps its the weather, perhaps its the region, perhaps its the beauty, but I've been having the best conversations with people, better than I've had in the northeast area for a very very long time. There's a lightness, a sense of helping one another, a brightness to the attitude that permeates.
In a discussion with three local guys, I made a contact with a man who regularly visits and camps on the Seminole reservation in the Everglades. He was very clear that one cannot get access to their reservation without being invited, but he said he has many Native American Seminole friends. I said, "Next time I am here, could I hire you to take me there?" He said, you don't have to hire me. I'll take you. He gave me his name and phone numbers. This felt like an extraordinary gift, and I'll keep track of that name and number with vigilence. People who do not bother to explore the natural world of Florida are missing some extremely special parts of this country.
I will not have time to visit the manatees this visit. But next.
I ate fettucini alfredo with grilled salmon last night, with a glass of white wine. You know how some alfredo sauce can be cloying and think and heavy? This was a dish prepared with with finesse. I could even taste the freshness in the salad. My new favorite place to eat.
More later. I'm off to the Naples Dog Center to buy Bindiloo a new harness and hopefully matching leash. A new softer design, which I hope won't bother her as much as the current one does.
Black seersucker? One evening S. and I went window shopping at tony Venetian Village, and a mannequin was dressed in a fabulously styled black seersucker jacket, with a jacquard white shirt underneath, paired with black linen pants. Wow. Then we went to Ben and Jerry's and pigged out.