Monday, June 24, 2013

Cultural Oddities

Spent the weekend in New Orleans, where the culture is so rich and thick you can barely cut into it with a knife.  I'm adjusting to the idea of living somewhere absolutely foreign to me.  Living close to the Gulf of Mexico will be interesting; not the least of which will be the climate.  New Orleans was very hot and humid, yet there was a breeze from the gulf that helped greatly.  While walking around one of the city's most amazing cemeteries, a big black thundercloud appeared and literally, we got poured on for a good 30 minutes.  It was a real soaker, and as we tried to find our way back to the infamous Highway 61 (as in Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited), we had to stop and wait because low-lying intersections were flooded with two to three feet of water.  Then the sun came out and the temperature began to creep toward 90 again.  The water on the streets evaporated almost as quickly as it came down.

We took Highway 61 back to Baton Rouge, just to try a different route.  It was different.  As a passenger, I got to see all the bayous, which are fascinating ecosystems.  I saw a whole plateau of snowy egrets, two turtles sunning themselves on a log, a guy standing in a canoe with a bow and arrow (alligator hunting?), an alligator swimming and some freakishly bizarre road signs, i.e,, "Shrimp and Petroleum Festival".  There are a lot of oil refining places on this highway, and petrochemical plants.  It was still a pleasant drive back to where we will be living soon; I just hope we won't be evacuated often with chemical plant explosions and leaks.  There's my cynic coming out.
It also was better than Interstate 10, where all the drivers seem to have graduated from the Maniacal Driving College, with advanced degrees. 

At any rate, Louisiana is mostly water (good) and chemicals (bad).  Today I'm taking a walking tour of Bluebonnet Swamp, which is right in the middle of Baton Route.  Fascinating.  I haven't made it downtown yet, or to the university, but I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to explore once I actually get here.  Now comes the hard part - getting here.  Leaving for Milwaukee today to start packing up two lifetimes into boxes.  That should be interesting. 

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