If you ask me how I am doing, I am likely to tell you exactly what's going on in my life. Small talk has never been a strong tool in my arsenal. For some people, it is too much to hear about upcoming issues that my health may present me and it makes them uncomfortable or even upset, which is not my intention. It's just such integral part of my life and I think it makes me an individual. Obviously its not my conversation opener with strangers, but if I The serious conversations about my well being are also paired with jokes. Those who laugh at jokes about my medical status usually become great friends, but my closest of friends make jokes of their own. One of my closest friends, Kellen, went down to South Carolina for school and he was gracious enough to house us the first night of the road trip.
Since Kellen has gone to the University of South Carolina, I have had the opportunity to become close enough with his friends down there to consider some of them amongst my best, including his girlfriend Kelsey. She took us into her home while her boyfriend was in class. Columbia is a college town, and we did what many college students do on a Friday there, go barhopping. While my friends drank, I made a valiant attempt to dance (I never know what to do with my feet). I met some friends of Kellen and Kelsey that I remember meeting on Skype freshman year, jammed to some 90's tunes, saw my first all night bar and eventually drove home at 4am (cirrhosis makes me a very good designated driver).
Jeff, Cola (my road trip companions) and I stayed in Columbia until late the next day and planned to drive through the night to New Orleans with a little nap at a road stop along the way. When we pulled off at a Mississippi rest stop I was way too amped about New Orleans to sleep (actually it was definitely the coffee that had me so wired), plus Jeff had slept the whole way and was ready to drive. After a short stop in Biloxi to watch the sunrise on the Gulf we were in New Orleans.
I fell asleep from Biloxi to New Orleans but when I woke up it was 7:30am and Jeff had gotten us to our hostel. As we began walking to center city New Orleans we quickly realized our hostel was indeed in the ghetto. The city still shows the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Many buildings have there windows boarded shut and are still left abandoned. At 7:30 in the morning we saw a side of the city that most are too busy sleeping their hangovers off to see, the clean up after Saturday night. There were street sweepers and clean up crews picking up the scraps left from the party the night before. When we finally arrived at Cafe Du Monde for our coffee and beignets, we quickly realized that a beignet was simply a lazy Frenchman's excuse for a funnel cake. It tastes exactly the same, it's just not as crunchy due to less surface area being deep fried.
After exploring the city's center and trying a gator sausage poboy, the sleep deprivation smacked Cola and I in the face. We did not want to go any further, but we could not check into our hostel until hours later. We had heard about a music festival on the outskirts of town so we decided to go and check it out. After Jeff gave us a longer than expected walking tour of the ghettos of New Orleans, we were there. The Bayou Boogaloo featured a number of local acts, my personal favorite being a ska band which goes by the name, The Local Skank. People drank and danced the afternoon away while Cola, Jeff and I sleepily watched seated on the grass.
After some time we took the Canal street trolley back to the truck to finally check into the hostel. On the way Cola did some further investigating of this hostel to find that they may have bed bugs, so we bailed on our reservation. At that point and at nobody's fault but mine, we were ready to move onto Texas but we decided to check into a Best Western instead. Cola and I took naps while Jeff started his night. When Jeff drukenly rambled in later, my night began, and I was eventually glad we had spent the night.
To be continued!