Day 2: Big Water in the Big Easy
It’s 3am and I’m traveling alone— so who is in my shower? That’s the question that jerked me from dreamland about 45 minutes ago. Since then members of maintenance, a bellboy, and the head of security have all been in and out of my hotel room, and me and my belongings are now installed in a different room down the hall. Everything is fine, but it seems the drunken sot staying above me made a big night of it, then came back, passed out in his shower, and flooded his entire bathroom, thereby sending water gushing down through my fire alarm and ceiling. I hate to be unkind, but I hope his hangover is apocalyptic.
So understandably, I think, I’m annoyed. I’m awake when I shouldn’t be, I hit my head on the TV rushing to move my now damp tennis shoes out of the way of the deluge, and members of staff saw me in my topknot, ripped t-shirt, sleep shorts, and glasses. But what I’m not, is surprised. You see, I'm still in New Orleans. I must have walked miles throughout the city today, just absorbing and observing. And I learned one thing real quick- everybody here is weird. They just let it fly. It’s almost expected. Towards dinnertime I saw an elderly lady walking out of a restaurant with her family in tow, the whole group done up in their Sunday best. Maybe it was her birthday? Maybe their family gathers every Sunday? Who knows. But they stood out to me because they looked so, well, normal. Isn’t that something? In New Orleans, normal is the new freak! So why wouldn't I find myself in a middle of the night flood situation?
Over a dinner of red beans & rice, I decided I want to come back when I can stay a little longer. There's just so much to take in. I'd seen plenty of freak flags, but now I wanted to find the New Orleans my grandfather hinted at when I was little and he would break into a line or 2 of Creole to make me laugh. The New Orleans of Anne Rice novels, with imposing homes, stately trees, and genteel characters. There is a lot to explore in this city, and I haven’t even tapped the keg. But as for now, it’s back to sleep. Those beignets at Cafe DuMonde aren’t going to eat themselves in the morning, and then I have a freakishly early train to catch. Day 2 is through!