Puke,U-Haul,some secrets,a bike,pizza n Guinness

Trip Start Jul 04, 2007
Trip End Sep 04, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Monday, July 23, 2007

Hello and welcome back.

Where do I start?

begin saying that yesterday [Saturday 21st of July] turned out to be
one of the most memorable days of my recent existence.

Isn't that quite a statement or what? I will explain, be patient.

It all started very early in the morning, with the guy who sleeps in the
top part of the bunk next to mine puking his boozy night right on the
floor of the dorm. Result: people waking up and trying to clean the
mess before it started stinking too much. In the meantime, the guilty
boozer went to sleep, peaceful, his stomach sorted.

Not the best way to start the day you might argue, and you would be right I
say. But I was about to get up anyway at the time, and I actually
enjoyed being in the morning sun of the semi-deserted hostel yard. The
weather was incredible, the sky stunning, and it wasn't too hot yet.
So, in a way, thank you, mysterious puker.

After coffee and cigarette, I got onto my bike - it isn't really mine, I just rented for
the day, but all and all I really liked it and am actually thinking to
buy one for the rest of my stay in New Orleans.

I was saying, I got on my bike and rode to my friend John's place, had a chat over
breakfast, and then drove his truck to the house of this girl who we
were helping moving in exchange for free lunch, beer, and - but don't
tell American Customs - some money too. He found her on Craig's list.

Follows some loading of a U-Haul van, lots of unloading, and lunch at a place
called Juan's Flying Burrito. Review? Excellent, you should try if you
happen to be in town.

Now I'll have to skip some saucy parts, as they involve the personal life
of two of the characters in my story, but trust me, they definitely
started making my day very interesting, you know of those moments in
which you think: "That's it, my day has already been so worth living."

So, fast forward to about 5,30pm, the Lower 9th Ward and Common Ground Relief's volunteers' BBQ.

I got there very tired, because I was on the opposite side of town, and
it took me over an hour to ride the - I think - 8 miles from A to B.
So, after saying I to a couple of people that I knew already, I seat in
the shade, holding an ice-cold beer, and smoking a cigarette, just to
relax a little.

I should say now that I was attending the social event in order to meet as many volunteers as possible, so it won't be awkward when I'll go around taking pictures for NEED. I started chatting to a few of them, and ended up spending the night with them.

Now, they are bunch of kids, their ages being between 16 and 23, but I have
really enjoyed being with them, and we interacted as peers. They
reminded me of young but mature people I had the chance to live with
back in London - I won't make names, but if you are reading this guys
and girls, you'll know I'm talking about you.

Also, the volunteers reminded me of how I used to be, socially and politically
concerned, and very active on many fronts, always carried on by my
enthusiasm and the knowledge that I was doing something good, for me
and others.

These guys and girls are from everywhere in the States, and sometimes from
Europe. They came to New Orleans to work as gutters, social workers,
builders, communication officers, etc...They work hard, but they also
party hard, that's how I found myself eating pizza and drinking a pint
of Guinness in some random Irish Pub in town.

Seriously, I am looking forward to work with them, I do believe that thanks to the way
we bonded, even if my perspective may be changed and be less detached
now, I will be able to get much more out of if, words and images that
will be less dry or shallow.

This obviously reconnects to a whole area of studies that I've been very involved recently, and also to another conversation I had in the late afternoon of this very same
fantastic day with an anthropologist from Canada. We spoke about theory and practice, subjectivity and objectivity, journalism and the role of the reporter, Immersionism, and much more.

An this was yet another episode that made my day so beautiful and
enlightening, but it would be such a huge amount of details, that could
be an entry in its own right. And it will, sometimes in the future.

For the moment this is all, hope you've enjoyed reading my epic, and do check some of the subjects of two paragraphs above.

Stay Tuned.
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