Howdy y'all - greetings from the deep South

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Dec 29, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Sunday, August 2, 2009

Having stayed in Tallahassee (state capital of Florida) and Mobile (Alabama) we are now in New Orleans, Louisiana and it is absolutely fantastic.

Millie was diagnosed with a urine infection and has been on antibiotics for a week, but is now fully fit again. This explained the fevers, the wetting herself and the general lethargy and it is a massive relief to have her back to her stroppy best.  It was pretty ironic sitting in a doctor's surgery, watching the debate rage about Obama's healthcare reforms on the TV, as we waited and then getting hit with a bill for almost $300 just for a consultation and a prescription.  The US system sucks - too many parties trying to cream off too much profit, leaving costs high and millions uninsured - it makes you really grateful for the NHS. 

New Orleans is really interesting - a melting pot of French architecture, Cajun cooking and a creole party atmosphere. We have a great hotel with free food, free booze, a rooftop pool, free telephone calls and even free popcorn for the kids, which has lifted everyone's spirits.  Yesterday we went to an excellent children's museum and the Louis Armstrong jazz festival (this was his hometown).  Today we have been on a swamp tour and seen 15 foot long alligators just inches from our boat, which our guide fed with marshmallows and hotdogs off a stick.

Tomorrow we are off on a driving tour around the areas still in ruins after hurricane Katrina.  There has been a lot of rebuilding here since it hit 5 years ago this month, but its effects still linger, particularly in the reduced tourist numbers, which have led to closures of lots of businesses. The weather is hot and stormy, with very hot spells interspersed with lightning and torrential rain, so it feels quite tropical. 

We've travelled about 1000 miles, but have loads more to go.  The next 2 weeks before we get to the Grand Canyon are going to be pretty hectic, with 7 stops en route and the longest of which are only for a couple of nights, so for now we are enjoying the southern hospitality. 

Thanks for the emails - it's great to hear the news from home.

By the way we have a US cellphone now, as we couldn't get new SIMS (and $30 for a phone with $30 of calls was too good an offer to refuse).  If you need us we are on (001) 504 460 4013.

Enjoy the photos.  My cocktail has just arrived so I'll say goodbye for now...

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