Finding the Alligators of Boston

At times like these, I think about what it means to live life to the fullest.  One strategy is trying to appreciate the little things that are around us every day.

Have you ever noticed that the more plentiful something is, the less interesting it is? Why does it need to be this way? I’d like to see people in Boston stand up shouting, “Look! There goes a squirrel!” At the very least, we should coo at them in that voice reserved for babies. Squirrels are undeniably cute.

The Adorable Massachusetts Squirrel

The Adorable Massachusetts Red Squirrel (three photos of one little guy that I spliced together)

Seagulls might jockey for your food at the beach, but have you ever noticed how majestic they are? Why don’t we marvel at their flight and imagine ourselves soaring through the air over the waves?

When we travel, we become curious and observant, like a toddler taking everything in.  On my most recent vacation, I was eager to experience the eccentricities of New Orleans, Louisiana, and one of the first things I noticed was the different menu. Crawfish are a plentiful resource there, and boy, did I appreciate that! They boil them up with Cajun spices and you can eat them like lobster, but I also tried a crawfish pie, a crawfish and goat cheese crepe, a crawfish omelet, and crawfish sausage jambalaya!

Crawfish Everything

Crawfish Everything

Alligator Dog

Alligator Dog

Another delicacy that I tried was alligator meat. It mostly tasted like sausage. I did enjoy it, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the experience of seeing an alligator alive even more! I had the opportunity to go on a swamp tour and spot them in the wild, which felt like being on a Southern safari. Our boat captain topped off the experience by bringing marshmallows to throw into the water (apparently an alligator favorite).

Me and Elvis

Me and Elvis the Alligator

He even introduced us to a baby alligator that he keeps as a pet. Perhaps this practice isn’t the most responsible form of tourism, because these are animals meant to be wild. However, little Elvis the alligator would probably prefer getting fed crickets over being hunted and eaten himself! And I have to admit that I LOVED the experience of getting to hold an alligator.


My exciting sighting!

Before we left the swamp, I spotted an animal on the shore that I didn’t expect to see. I yelled exuberantly, without thinking: “Armadillo! I see an armadillo! Stop the boat!” I’m pretty sure they must be plentiful in New Orleans because the boat captain seemed uninterested.

Now that I’m back in Boston, my home sweet home, everything is precious again. I’ll never take my city for granted again… or will I?


So happy to see this view from the airplane!

Categories: USA

5 replies »

  1. I LOVE your post, Ms. Krakauer!!!!!!! 😀
    The squirrels were so cute! Was it a young squirrel? I like your seagull video. I would like to fly just like them. 🙂
    What kind of seagull were they? And I didn’t know Ms. Patterson sings! She’s good.
    Funny how there’s a lot of crawfish in New Orleans! I feel sad that alligator meat is food there, though. Are the alligators still plentiful there?
    And I didn’t know alligators liked marshmallows! It’s funny. 🙂 I liked Elvis, too. And I’m glad he won’t be eaten! Is Elvis a trained alligator?
    I loved the armadillo sighting too! You’re so lucky to have seen an armadillo!
    I wonder, what kinds of animals might we find common here that people in New Orleans wouldn’t find common?
    And keep traveling, Ms. Krakauer!! Boston will always be waiting for you.
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation!!
    😉 ~ Anna

  2. That trip seemed exciting. I will not take things like alligators for granted. I really shouldn’t take anything for granted but I do.

  3. I like your blog! This reminds me of an article I read about brain plasticity in grey squirrels. They were trying to figure out how squirrels remember where they buried all their nuts. They bury them all individually, to avoid losing them all in one theft, but then they have to retrieve them all. Have you ever dropped something small in the grass, and then tried to find it the next day? So, when you’re watching squirrels digging ferociously around in the dirt this spring, it’s kind of neat to think about how their brains adapt to find them all.

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