THURSDAY, JANUARY 28TH 2016.
Our longest drive to date, taking us the coastal route through Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Mobile, and ending in New Orleans. This was our “deep south” day, and as expected the highways were littered with billboards of christian themes, sayings, alligator BBQ’s, and live tigers. The drive was about 11 hours or so, with stops for gas, food and coffee.
Although this wasn’t exactly where my roots stem from the people around were all very nice, nicer than I expected, giving me praise and good wishes for my trip as they saw my car's license plates in more than half the gas stations on the way. One old man specifically in a gas stop on the side of the Highway in rural Florida told me his son just left to go UP to Maine, and that he suggested, "Just take the i10 west till you hit LA- it's beautiful country." It definitely brightened my day.
It’s pretty incredible to have this wall broken down which I’ve had built up my whole life thinking that people were inherently negative, mean-spirited, or wish ill upon you. Of course, I’m not naive and I know there is dangerous and bad people out there, but for the large, LARGE majority everyone is just a human that wants to just enjoy their day peacefully and positively as they can.
The heat got more intense as we journeyed down and across the Gulf Coast. Another part I noted on the trip was how much more pervasive the oil companies and industry is down here, where there are literally skylines of oil rigs for as far as the eye can see. It becomes FAR more prevalent as you pass through Tallahassee.
Due to the length of the drive we didn’t arrive to our hotel- Hotel Modern, until 5 pm. Once there we received some complimentary drinks, and after the very hipster bartender told us he was out of our first 8 options, I ended up on an apple brandy and Hannah got some lemon raspberry concoction.
After the bartender showed off his seriously impressive skills- seriously, NOT sarcasm- throwing ingredients in the air, slicing, chopping, mixing, shaking, and some ninja-precision chop-stick powers, we headed to The French Quarter.
We hopped on the Trolley and made our way to Bourban Street. The french influence is very obvious here, with cobbled dark side alleys, street musicians, gold-lettered restaurants, and an ever expansive sprawl of drunken people- seriously EVERYONE- tourists, locals, and the homeless, spiraling into one beautiful display of degeneration.
We found some little old bar (the name escapes me), got a few screwdrivers, some garlic wings and gumbo- It was fucking good, no lie.
Now that we started getting wavy, we headed to the liquor store enjoying the sights, smells (HA! sarcasm), and just general debauchery on the way. The city is such a breath of Europe- or at least what I can imagine it is. The cobbled streets, lantern-lit alleys, "pirate-ous" people, and raw energy of a city swimming in jazz, cajun food and liquor. It's a beautiful dark dream- something similar to what Edgar Allan Poe might describe. I did very much enjoy it though, it sparked a good feeling of a mixture of the laissez faire attitude promoted there and the sense of freedom that the west seems to bleed- something I also noticed as I continued on westward (With California being the culmination of that ideology).
We loaded up and headed back to our hotel, giggling and enjoying the ridiculousness of us “kids” out here “adulting” so hard. We got back to the room, kept getting twisted until RING RING- alarm clock. It was tomorrow. Time to drive to San Antonio.