Around the world with Lu and Cosmo

Miami – face to face with alligators

A few hours ago, Lu and Cosmo landed in Miami. The sun is blazing and Lu is wearing cool sunglasses and a chic Hawaiian shirt. This is what people wear in Miami, or at least that’s what Lu has seen in films. Miami is a city in the American state of Florida and is situated directly on the Atlantic Ocean.

As the two cranes arrive at the entrance of the well-known Miami Seaquarium, they realize that the aquarium is shut today because of a company outing.

“Oh, what a shame! The orcas have gone on a trip?!”
“Hee hee, you’re funny birds!”, a shrill whistling voice suddenly says behind them. Lu and Cosmo turn round and find themselves facing a flamingo.
“Well, you’re a lovely pink bird. Do you have a name?”, say that two, surprised. “Of course, I’m Don and I’m the know-it-all-in-chief of Miami. Today, the trainers from the aquarium have gone on an outing – not the orcas, you jokers.”

“Ah so that’s it! Hello, I’m Lu and this is my friend Cosmo. So what shall we do now?”
“Well, if you like, I can show you more of the city!”
“Let’s go to the beach first and swim for a bit.”

After Lu, Cosmo and their new friend Don have spent a bit of time wandering up the famous Ocean Drive and eaten what might just be the biggest ice cream in the world, they tumble into the shimmering turquoise waves on South Beach.

Spluttering, Lu calls over to Don: “So, do you live in one of these colorful houses on stilts there on the beach? They look really pretty!”
“No, those are the huts that belong to the lifeguards here on the beach. When they’re on duty, they can see the whole beach from there. And the flags they hoist tell us whether or not we can go into the water.
The yellow flag is fluttering in the wind right now, which means the waves are light and it’s okay to swim. With the violet flag, the lifeguards are warning us that there are dangerous creatures in the sea ...!”

“Wow! Crocodiles, for example?”, asks Cosmo excitedly. “No, crocodiles aren’t likely to get lost here. Even if they do prefer saltwater, in contrast to alligators. No, animals such as sharks or very fierce jellyfish are what I’m talking about,” explains Don. “Shame, I’d have loved to have met a crocodile,” says Cosmo, disappointed, and Lu nods in agreement. “Well then! Let’s go. To the Everglades! It’s a tropical swamp where many protected animals live and so much grass grows in the water that you only realize on closer inspection that there’s actually water everywhere, which means you can only access it by boat. There are also crocodiles there.”

The three pack their swimming things away and get onto a red double-decker bus on the promenade. Shortly after, Lu and Cosmo once again find their jaws dropping: “Wow, look, lots of colorful houses again, as colorful as candy! With neon signs and patterns and ... so artistic!”

“Art, yes! It’s that as well,” confirms Don. “This is the art deco district of Miami. Here there are almost 1,000 buildings that were built in this special style. They are listed buildings and are often hotels.” “It’s lovely when a city is as colorful as Miami. Cities should always be this way!”, enthuse Lu and Cosmo, and Don adds: “Yes, and that’s why I fit in so well in Miami – I’m a colorful bird, after all.”

After arriving at the jetty, the three companions step off the bus into a boat that’s unlike any other boat the two cranes have seen before. “Your eyes will pop out of your heads soon, Lu and Cosmo! This boat goes as fast as a plane! It even has a propeller and that’s why it’s called a propeller boat. Have you got your life jackets on?” “Yes, Cap’n. To the crocs!”, bravely shout Lu and Cosmo together.

And so the fast journey begins. The driver steps on the gas, the boat whooshes as quick as lightning over the waterway and on every bend, Lu, Cosmo, and Don yell as loud as they can. The three see wonderful birds such as ibises, pelicans, and cormorants. And even Don’s flamingo family. They wave to them happily.
“I love my family,” explains Don, “but the life out here is simply too dull for me. I’m a city bird!”
“Who else lives in the Everglades?”
“All kinds of animals such as raccoons, black bears, snakes, manatees, turtles, spiders ... and even pumas!” explains Don.

“But where are all the crocodiles and alligators?”
“They’re a bit shy and you need to have a bit of patience if you want to find them. Oh, look ....!”, says Don mysteriously. The driver of the boat now slows down to a snail’s pace. Just a few meters away from the boat, an alligator’s nose appears out of the water, and he’s looking in their direction with blinking eyes. “Cool! I think he’s saying hello to us!” whispers Lu to Cosmo and Don. “Mmm, I think he’s saying something more like: Move on, nothing to see here,” grins Don. Lu sighs: “Oh, what a shame, I wanted to stroke him.” “Okay my friend,” says Don, “we can do that!”

A short while later, they find themselves at an alligator farm and Lu actually strokes a real alligator. He beams: “Oh, that’s cool! I feel like a proper conqueror of alligators!” “Actually, honestly? You’re holding a baby in your arms there,” says Don, and Cosmo laughs loudly. “That’s okay,” says Lu, laughing now as well, “if it was a grown alligator or even a crocodile, I’d be far too jittery, to be honest. Having a grown flamingo as a friend is better!” The three raise their hands in the air high-five style and Don warbles: “I agree! Here’s to you continuing to have a great time, and: Welcome to Miami!”