Friday, April 24, 2009
Road trip, part 4 "The Big Easy"
At last we had arrived.
I lived in Florence, Italy for a semester in college. The old European architecture took my breath away and the artists lining the sidewalks were a constant inspiration. No American city had since compared ... until I strolled through the narrow streets of New Orleans' French Quarter.
What's more, in all the traveling I've done, it's never been with a boyfriend. I gotta admit, though I relish in my independence, there's something to be said about having that special someone to share a beautiful experience with. (I'm not talking about sex, you pervs)
We had an awesome Creole dinner at a brewery. Creole food is great. Beer is great. New Orleans is great. Wonderful combination. So, naturally I got drunk.
The French Quarter is still beautiful at night ... but those cobblestones can be shifty little buggers after a couple drinks. One of them actually leaped from the road and called me a lightweight in French. Those are fighting words to a scotch-o-holic. And, just because I was wearing a second-hand beret does NOT mean I speak silly French.
The French. Oh great ignorers of consonants. Gluttons for excessive letters ... only pronouncing half of them.
After a lazy (stumbly) stroll along the Mississippi, it was time to catch a nap and await news from Chuckles, the dear friend we had traveled to see in the Big Easy, who would be arriving around 2 a.m.
I awake with a start at 5 a.m., panicked at not hearing from Chuckles. Had something happened? Toughguy wakes up as well, also alarmed. We hear a snap of the fingers and look over at Mohawk - still in sleep position, save for his arm in the air, finger pointing at the floor.
And there lay Chuckles. Looking like one of Fagan's kids curled up at the foot of our bed. It was as if some hobo Easter Bunny had left us a present. I briefly considered looking for where the chocolate eggs were hidden, but decided instead to let him sleep.
Squeeky was named our unofficial guide, having been to New Orleans a couple times, she knew the best places to hit up for food and wonderment. First off, she steered us to a café, where we enjoyed coffee and beignets at a cafe, checked out cool shops and ran smack into the Easter Parade. Where we were attacked by locals armed with strings of plastic beads. This was nothing compared to the Gay Easter Parade that we lucked into a bit later. Drag queens, assless chaps, costumes and make up galore! It was quite the spectacle ... and they too, we armed with strands of merriment to be flung at onlookers.
Mohawk was a prominent target, sporting his "fin of flamboyance", he was a beacon for the coolest beads. By the end of the two parades he was so weighed down by his trinkets, Toughguy had to carry him on his shoulders. I have to say, they made a pretty good-looking couple. And the buddy swap made us all fit in better.
Except that every five feet people were stopping Mohawk, asking to take pictures of him (his hair) and how he made it stand up (his hair). I told him he should start charging, and that would be our booze money.
This was a good day. There was no driving. We found Chuckles. I'd keep looking at him and smiling, incredulous as to how we all made it there in one piece and got to spend a couple precious days with someone I missed so dearly.