I take a lot of pictures (understatement). Someone challenged me once to just enjoy the moment and not HAVE to capture it. It really affected me for a while, I felt insecure and like I was living life wrong. However, I have come to realize taking photos is how I do enjoy the moment. It’s like stopping to smell the roses. I stop to take it in. I also get overwhelmed when moments are too intense because I want them to last forever, so clicking a quick picture (or 10) helps me calm down and let myself know that I can relive it later. So when I realized I lost a memory card that held all the moments on it from New Orleans, through Baton Rouge, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and New Braunfels, it took me a second to think of what was captured on that card. It was a reminder that we don’t get to keep every moment, but also so many great moments happen every day.
This post may be a little longer of writing to keep my memories captured somehow. I had some photos on my phone and the first few from New Orleans were on a different card, so I put what I had up to add some visuals to the stories.
Our couch surfing host toured us through the cemeteries of New Orleans and explained that since it is at sea level, the graves cannot be underground. Therefor all the graves are placed on top of the earth. He also explained that when it rains there the streets become rivers because there is nowhere for the water to go. Ironically that night while we were heading out, there was a torrential downpour. The type where if you ran from the door of your house to your car, you wouldn’t have a dry spot on you. This didn’t stop us from exploring as we ran to the trolly and rode it sitting in puddles to Bourbon street to join the madness that was only intensified by the rain. It was one of those memories that you are laughing so hard at how awful it is that it was perfect. We also discovered Bar/Laundromats which allowed you to have a drink, play arcade games, and listen to a live band all while doing your laundry. I think we need to spread these throughout the country. We also met the most interesting character of our trip, who was a older gay gentleman with a souther-british accent. He openly told us his whole life story about how he had to hide the fact that he was gay until he was 50 with a wife and kids and that it had only been a few years in this new lifestyle. The next day we explored bourbon street on a dry day and decided there is nothing like it. It’s like vegas in the sense of the party scene, but a lot more laid back and closer together, with way more soul. There was parades marching down the streets announcing marriages, jazz bands on many corners, and many artist that instantly joined my favorites list.
Next our trip took us to Baton Rouge Louisiana, where my physics friend was studying to get his PhD. We discovered a new chicken and waffles restaurant that for $5 gave you 2 large buttermilk waffles, 2 pieces of fried chicken, tater tots, AND grape Kool-Aid. It fed us for dinner and breakfast, with still left overs to feed to trash. Next we drove Houston, which I bashed to skyler previously, but really surprised me with its up and coming art scene and gorgeous neighborhoods. I think going to SMU in Dallas gave me a natural rivalry of the place.
Austin was next and it is as cool of a city as its reputation states. It is probably the perfect size, not too large or too small and full of foodie restaurants, vintage shops, swimming holes, and an amazing music scene. We decided we had to come back for one of the music festivals before we turned 30. We left Austin to float the Guadalupe River, and because they were also in a drought it was VERY slow. Skyler had me laughing hysterically as we managed to “float” (meaning he attempted to paddle us through 2 inch deep water as the river pushed us up stream in the opposite direction) a quarter mile in a half hour. After we (he) worked up an appetite we met up with my family in San Antonio where they spoiled us with mouth watering bbq.
As our trip was quickly ending we were doing well to fatten ourselves up and take in all the unique niches of our country. I love the idea of international travel, but there are so many great places in our own country to explore. If you are strapped for cash start planning a road trip and split gas with your friends.