I've spent the past two Christmases away from home, so this one I made sure to spend with family. My mom, grandma and I went down to Everglades City for a few days so my mom could do some painting of the landscapes.
We stayed at the "Rod and Gun Club" a historic location that with better caretakers could have been a nice experience... but as it was, I was unimpressed with the management of it.
I did learn a clever lesson from the waitress there however. One night we were eating in their restaurant (not worth it), and after bringing our drinks, she turned around, screamed, and ran into the kitchen. Murmurs of "rat" went around the dining room and a few people got up as if ready to leave. Seconds later, our waitress came out all smiles and announced to the room that she had been startled by a baby possum. The room sighed and relaxed as a few people said "awww, how cute". Apparently rats are walk-out worthy but possums are endearing. In her case, I think it was probably the truth, but what I gleaned from this was that if you're ever working in a restaurant that does have rats or other undesirable creatures for a food-providing establishment, try to reframe it into something cute if there's a dining room sighting. Your leeway with this depends, of course, on how many customers see what you see, but given what we know about the fallibility of eyewitness accounts, a swift "oh no, what's that poor kitten/baby bird/chipmunk doing in here?" should be at least enough to buy you time and avoid a mass exodus.
The other lesson I learned was at Shark Valley, a part of Everglades National Park that feels closer to a zoo than a national park given the paved "trail", masses of people and preponderance of animals in or just off the path who give no notice to the hundreds of humans passing by. Despite this, I had a fun time taking out one of their rusty beach cruisers on the 15-mile loop and I must have seen at least 60 gators and hundreds of birds.
The lesson came about 10 miles in when I tried to adjust the pants I was wearing that were unsuited to bike riding, seeing as I had been unaware of the day's itinerary upon dressing in the morning.
I stood up on my pedals, one-hand on the handlebars and the other trying to deter my underwear from it's upward course. As I stood, I inadvertently put weight down (and back) on my top pedal intending to coast... and promptly ate shit.
The moral of the story being that you can, in fact, forget how to ride a bike if that particular bike has pedal brakes - the devil is in the details.