Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Caroni Swamp

Caroni Swamp is right by Port of Spain and it has an abundance of the national bird, the Scarlet Ibis. It's this hot pink coral color--beautiful. The white birds are Cattle Egrets.
There is one sign, so we drove to that and this guy gets out of the car and asked us if we were going on the tour. We said, yes. He pointed us toward this boat, so we paid him and got in in the second row of a long boat filled with Austrian flight attendants and pilots. The boat captain was barefoot and watching him climb around the rim of the boat was impressive. He motored us through canals pointing out different sights: snakes coiled in trees, mangrove trees floating out of the water, and ospreys peering down at us from low branches. Then, we found this tree and just watched as hundreds of Scarlet Ibis (Ibi?) flew in to roost for the night, like a bouquet of hot pink flowers.
On the way back, it started to pour rain. It's never cold here, but it somehow got chilly. The people in front of us pulled out this huge umbrella, which blocked our view of anything and kept pouring cold water on us when they would accidently tilt it back. People around us were complaining and complaining, so when the boat captain held up a huge tarp to cover us, everyone cheered. I watched as the people behind us, row after row, pulled the tarp over their heads. The guy in the row behind us went to do the same, but the tarp ended right at his head. He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders: Tough luck! We sat and froze, in the only uncovered row on the boat, until the boat got back to land.

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