Real Mermaids? Not Really, But…
Mermaids -- half woman, half fish -- are not supposed to exist.
But for almost 70 years, mermaids have been swimming in the southeastern state of Florida.
VOA recently visited the Weeki Wachee freshwater spring to learn about these mermaids.
These are some of the famous Weeki Wachee mermaids.
"My mom was a mermaid actually, so that's what made me want to do it."
"I've actually been a mermaid for 15 years."
John Athanason works at the springs.
"Weeki Wachee Springs has been here since 1947, making us one of Florida's oldest and original roadside attractions."
Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld did not exist when the mermaid show began. It was one of the only entertainment places for families in central Florida in the 1950s and 1960s. Seventy years ago, only nine people could watch the show. Now, as many as 500 do.
During the show, mermaids perform dance exercises, play with fish and show how to eat and drink underwater.
The mermaids swim through a special tube into the spring. They wear lights to help them see in the tube. It has air hoses they can use to breathe oxygen. The mermaids also use very thin breathing hoses as they perform underwater.
The mermaids are actually young women who trained for up to a year to become a professional mermaid. They must deal with the cold water, and fish and turtles that sometimes gently bite their fingers.
Athanason says few women can become mermaids.
"We recently had an audition where 50 young women showed up. We were looking to hire potentially six at that time. And at the end of the auditions, we saw two that could possibly do it -- so out of the 50, two made it. But both of them quit by the end of the week, because it was that difficult."
VOA spoke with children and adults who watched the show.
"Fiona had seen some of it on one of the kid's TV shows, and she really wanted to come see it in person. So we are really excited to be able to make the trip."
"I really want to be a mermaid."
"Yeah, I wish, I wish I can be just like Ariela."
Mermaid Emily had wanted to be a mermaid since she was five. Now she is.
"(It was) always like a dream of mine to work here, like go to college and work here. And actually, my favorite mermaid when I was younger used to be Mermaid Sativa, and now it's really cool 'cause I get to work with her. So it's, it's like getting to work with your favorite super hero -- something like that."
I'm Christopher Jones-Cruise.
1.fresh water 淡水
I want a book on fresh water fishes.
2.Disney World 迪士尼乐园
Have you ever been to Disney World?
3.as many as 多达；像...一样多
Take as many as yon please.
4.air hose 空气软管
She leaned over me and checked my air hose.
1.The mermaids are actually young women who trained for up to a year to become a professional mermaid.
up to 多达；长达
Certainly a man can only be cosmopolitan up to a certain point.
He is not up to his father as a scholar.
2.They must deal with the cold water, and fish and turtles that sometimes gently bite their fingers.
deal with 处理；面对
Mr. Brown's very difficult to deal with.
This old gentleman is to deal with the aftermath of the traffic accident.
然而近70年来，美国佛罗里达州的东南部一直生活着一群“美人鱼” 。最近，美国之音来到了Weeki Wachee清泉水上公园，近距离了解这些美人鱼 。
以下是一些著名的Weeki Wachee清泉公园美人鱼 。
John Athanason是Weeki Wachee清泉公园的员工 。
Weeki Wachee清泉公园建立于1947年，因此成为佛罗里达州最古老最原始的路边景点 。
当年美人鱼开始表演时，还没有迪士尼世界、环球影业和海洋世界 。二十世纪五六十年代，这里是佛罗里达中部人们唯一的娱乐场所 。70年前，观看美人鱼表演的只有9个人 。而现在观看该表演的多达500人 。
表演时，美人鱼们会进行舞蹈展示，与鱼嬉戏，还表演水里吃饭和饮水 。美人鱼通过特殊管道游入清泉 。她们随身携带灯具照明 。还有提供氧气的软管 。进行水下表演时，美人鱼一般会用很细的氧气软管 。
其实，这些美人鱼都是些年轻女性，经过长达一年的训练后成为职业美人鱼 。她们必须浸泡在冰凉的泉水中，有时还有鱼类和海龟会轻咬她们的手指 。
“最近我们举办了海选，共50名年轻女性参加 。当初计划雇佣6位有天赋的女性 。可海选结束后，能够胜任的女性只有两名，也就是说每50名应征者中只有2位合格 。然而仅仅一周，入选的两位女性都退出了，因为这是一项难度很大的工作 。”
“菲奥纳曾在电视上的儿童节目里看过美人鱼表演，她很想亲眼看看 。此番来到这里游玩，我们非常高兴 。”
埃米莉5岁时就梦想成为一条美人鱼 。而现在她做到了 。
“在这里工作一直都是我的梦想，就像上大学一样 。小时候我最喜欢的美人鱼是Sativa 。现在能跟她一起工作真的是棒极了 。这种感觉就像和你最崇拜的超级英雄一起工作 。”