Saturday, 12 April 2008

Texas, Louisiana

It is about 500 miles from Dallas to New Orleans, and it took us about nine hours by car. We? Some Brazilian guy. Heard his name a few days ago, but can't remember it.
We stopped into a Popeye's and I ordered the catfish which, like most American foods which aren't exported, was disgusting. Crossing the border to Louisiana I was struck by the sheer volume of (a) casinos, and (b) churches. Dallas is jam-packed with churches (seven of varying sizes were within three blocks of the hostel), but now it was just really big ones. And lots of swampy marshes with tall trees in them, and long, soft grass lining the roadside.
For dinner I bought a L'il Debbies cherry pie (59c), a Moon Pie (65c), a pack of turkey jerky ($1.99) and a fifth of vodka (1/5 quart=200ml, $2.50). Night was falling and there was nothing on the radio but ten Christian, two Classic Hits of the Sixties, and twelve country music stations. Constant switching was necessary as we blasted south at 70mph.
I could smell the rain gathering when I ate my Moon Pie, and I could feel the humidity with every bite of sickly sweet cherry with Reduced Iron. By the time I moved on to my manly dessert of jerky and vodka, the deluge began. While it is fitting that it rains heavily in New Orleans, it never seemed to puddle anywhere, nor did any residents seem particularly damp. After getting lost a few times in the menacing, labyrinthine series of roads that comprise downtown, we eventually found the boarding house. It was huge and gaunt and we were greeted with the level of enthusiasm that meets old uncles with tales from the Crimean War.

The city was hot and wet and an oddly feminine Hemingway vibe hung in the air and I thought, I don't really understand New Orleans at all.

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