[English] plural alligators

The alligator is a large reptile, the meat of which is eaten in both South America and North America and along the Yangtze in China. The tail yields two types of meat: a tender, white, veal-like meat and dark tough meat only suitable for braising. Pinkish meat is produced in the body, tougher and of a stronger flavour than the pale tail meat. In 1969 I travelled south following the migration of the snow geese down the East Seaboard of the United States with two friends. We arrived in Louisiana, somewhere near Des Allemands, and could find no firm land on which to pitch our tent. We finally asked at a police station, and they kindly offered their back yard to us. They showed us where to put up the tent, and let us use their primitive, but extremely welcome shower, which consisted of a tin box with a plug in the bottom, held aloft. Once under it, you simply gave a short tug on the plug, which flew out and you were instantly deluged in water. But that was it. Anyway, we then bedded down for the night. In the morning I woke first, as usually happened, and unzipped the tent flap. Outside was an 11 foot (335 cm) alligator, and a row of policemen laughing their heads off. This particular beast came to the back of the police station each morning, where they flung him something for a snack. I don't think they had flinging me to him in mind, but it did feel like it for a moment. Sergeant Red Cowling taught us to shoot his gun and told us all about the different bullets, some for penetrating cars and such like. We ate alligator that night.

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