Jenn and I were in West Palm Beach, Florida weekend-before-last to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her great aunt and uncle. Everything went well, and it was nice to see a couple still so happy together after all that time.
We stayed with Jenn's mom and stepdad in a development called Aberdeen Lakes or something like that. While we were there we took several walks around the neighborhood as well as one bike ride. The photo above shows you what the neighborhood looks like. This is Florida living. Not bad.
While we were taking one of our afternoon walks I noticed that one of the neighbors had left her garage door open, and in the garage were six exotic birds sitting on perches. There were a couple of big colorful parrots (macaws, I believe) as well as some of those big white birds with the head feathers that stand up when they're mad or curious.
Later that afternoon, when we were walking and pushing Jenn's niece in the stroller, I pointed out the house and we stopped to chat with the bird lady, since she was in the garage, tending to her birds. She was very friendly and told us about her birds and then brought one over to us on her shoulder. While we were talking and looking at the bird on her shoulder, a bird sitting on a perch to our left started howling really loudly skwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Then it dipped its head in an up-and-down, back-and-forth motion, like it was dancing. Then it squawked some more, really loudly, and for a sustained amount of time. It was disturbingly loud, like a fire alarm. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
The bird lady explained to us that that particular bird was very territorial and was disturbed by our proximity. We slowly backed away and thanked her for showing us the birds. As we continued our walk down the sidewalk, I noticed that one of the bird lady's neighbors was out on his front lawn. I thought, if those birds squawk like that all the time it must bother the heck out of him. The birds certainly look cool and it's amazing when they repeat what you say, but the noise they make is unbelievable. The poor guy wants a quiet place for his retirement years and he gets the blood-curdling screams of exotic birds from his bird-lady neighbor. Florida life.
Anyway, back to the area itself, technically we were in Boynton Beach, Florida. Jenn's stepdad told me that the body of water you see in the photo, a decorative pond for the neighborhood, had an alligator in it recently. Alligators come down the canals from the Everglades and hang out in ponds and water hazards, eating ducks and fish and sometimes causing trouble. I personally have no alligator attacks to report. We made it back to New York City with no problems.