Thursday, December 30, 2004

Christmas Vacation Travelogue

Monday morning, me, my son, and my niece dropped my nephew off at the New Orleans Airport, from whence my nephew traveled to Houston, and then to farmland south of San Antonio. All three kids are high school aged. On Tuesday, Baron shot a deer on Lisa's father's farm. Baron then had to wait most of the day to announce his kill to his grandfather, who was hunting on another part of the farm. Apparently, the waiting was the toughest part for Baron. He was alone, and he wanted someone with whom he could share the story and celebrate.

While still in New Orleans on Monday morning, Jake and Courtney and I strolled through the French Quarter. The French Quarter would be a nice place for a quick romantic getaway, IF you could find a time to go when things were relatively deserted and quieted down. On Monday, Dec. 27, the place was jammed with tourists freshly escaped from their local K-Marts, and with hustlers looking to deprive saps of their hard-earned dollars. Maybe I was in a fluky bad mood, but I was not charmed. The busking musicians would've been cut from Jake's High School Jazz Band, the artists hawking paintings were similarly untalented, the crafts belonged in a strip mall Dollar Store, and I doubt that the campy and voodooish fortune tellers could spin tales as well as your average six year old who has broken a window. There wasn't a hustler in Jackson Square who could've held onto a job at the Waxahachie Scarborough Faire. Bah. Humbug.

We made a return trip to the National D-Day Museum, at 945 Magazine St. in New Orleans. This is an excellent museum, well worth the somewhat steep entry fee, which is, I think, $15 for adults, $8 for students, Free for military in uniform. God bless those Allied soldiers who gave their lives and their healthy bodies.

On Monday night, Courtney had Jake meet some of her friends, and they went to see Ocean's Twelve, which they reported was good, though I have my doubts. On Tuesday, Courtney ferried Jake around to shopping malls until he tired of that. He spent the evening playing Madden 2004 with me; and dominoes and Moon with me and Lisa. Nancy and Bruce and Courtney went on a massive Wal-Mart run.

Wednesday, we hit the road for Texas, making a random gas stop on Hwy 190 after Baton Rouge, and before the Atchafalaya River Basin, Point Barre, and Opelousas. Before I had time to ruminate about the two Arab brothers running a gas station in the middle of Cajun country, I noticed a couple of nicely rounded, conscientious ladies running a tiny lunch buffet in the back of the store. It was obvious their food was good. They had worked up a light sweat laboring over the pots, and the Cajun-looking lady had some strands of long jet-black hair that had escaped their clip, and had damply plastered themselves down the side of her face. I bought some fried chicken, jambalaya, mustard greens, and fried chicken livers. While she filled my order, the Cajun lady told me of a friend who went to Texas and ate in a restaurant: "The food was good-- for Texas." We feasted as we drove the next 30 miles.

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