Monday, September 30, 2013

road trip recap: new orleans (part i)

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New Orleans!  This is one of the cities I was most excited about, even though K was not.  It was definitely different than I expected, but it also made it onto the list of places I would like to revisit someday.  First of all, it was seedy, especially around Bourbon Street.  I mean, I knew that was kind of its M.O., but I also thought that was kind of only on Mardi Gras.  Disclaimer: It seemed a lot seedier on Bourbon Street at noontime than it did in the evening (when it was dark and [most] people hadn't puked yet).  Again, it was also just kind of sad to go outside of the tourist districts and see how most of the city just hadn't been rebuilt after Katrina, or was still seriously struggling.  Disclaimer #2: We went cheap and stayed in a sketchy Super 8 outside of town, and if/when I go back I will definitely splurge on a quirky little B&B in the Garden District.  Having to enter/exit the city every morning/night was a big buzz kill, and I think we would have enjoyed our time a lot more if we'd had easier access to entertainment.

Moving on!  Our first day in New Orleans was spent walking around the French Quarter (where we visited Bourbon Street during the early afternoon).  One of our favorite things to do in a new city is just to walk around all day taking pictures, and there was more than enough to keep us occupied that first day.  We actually started out sort of by accident at one of the Saint Louis aboveground cemetaries, which was pretty cool to see (what is it with visiting cemetaries? IDK).  One of the goals on my road trip bucket list was to have a Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's--check!  That is quite a drink.  I did end up keeping the glass.  It ended up drizzling while we were sitting in the courtyard, but K held our umbrella like a gentleman and all was well.  When we were finished with our drinks it was still raining and our parking time was almost up so we ended up just making it a cheap chore night back at the hotel (laundry, sandwiches, and copyediting), deciding that we would have our fun the next night instead (that's what happens on extended travels... you have to do things like laundry every now and again).

Friday, September 27, 2013

road trip recap: mobile, al

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Mobile, Alabama!  We randomly selected this town for an overnight because it was almost exactly halfway between St. George Island and New Orleans, and it felt like the most true-blue Southern city we visited.  On our way there we saw a couple of horrifying bumper stickers: "I'd Rather Be Shooting Yankees" (yelp), and "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for the Old White Guy" (ugh). When we arrived at our hotel there was a young girl all dolled up (Toddlers and Tiaras-style) in the parking lot, having her picture taken by a couple of middle-aged women with reflecting screens.  We didn't think too much of it, but when we went out later there was yet another glamour shot session going on, and a giant Hummer was parked outside with peppy pink paint all over it, wishing "Little Bit" good luck in the Adorable Miss Gulf Coast pageant (we were nosy so of course we Googled, and realized that it was happening at our hotel).  This sort of thing doesn't happen in Vermont (as far as I know, I guess...).

We basically just spent the whole afternoon doing the historic walking tour of downtown Mobile.  It was remarkable how run-down and abandoned the city looked, like it had been hit hard by the economy over and over again since the beginning of time and was teetering between ghost town and functional community. It was fun to explore and photograph the historically beautiful old buildings, and even though it was kind of sad how it looked so forgotten, it was also interesting to get a sense of a Southern city that wasn't completely corrupted by the tourism trade.The next morning we felt it was appropriate to enjoy a classic American fast-food breakfast at the Waffle House, where my waffle was so sweet it practically burned (but was still delicious for the first several bites), before heading on to New Orleans! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

road trip recap: florida's gulf coast

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We zipped up the gulf coast of Florida in two days on our way to Alabama and New Orleans, stopping for one night each in a couple of State Parks (Oscar Scherer and St. George Island), which were both beautiful and left us wishing we had more time.  Our site at Oscar Scherer was riverside in a tropical jungle, which was only moderately terrifying considering the giant alligators we had seen earlier that day.  It had been raining all day but let up just as we pulled into the campsite, so we were able to put up our tent and write in our journals in relatively dry peace. The next morning we were up and off early because we had a long drive all the way up to St. George Island, a blissfully empty beach campground with a white sand and blue water surround (glorious). We went for a swim, watched the sun set, and got up for sunrise the next morning (though it was so overcast all we could see was a pink tint to the sky). PS crabs mating, haha!