Norlans - Vancleave, Mississippi

Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Nov 28, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Alabama
Monday, November 19, 2012

Now that I'm at a "Mother Station" in Mobile Alabama, have 2 Gigs of data, have cellphone reception, I can relax, and post my overdue blogs of my last few days.

I left off last time after my first day in New Orleans. Lets go back there....

I checked out after night 2, left my humungous bag at reception at the Cotton Exchange Inn and took to the streets once again. I walked the length of Bourbon Street until I got a sense that I was perhaps moving too far down, and then took a side alley towards the French Quarter. I had my bearings now so pretty much knew which direction to head towards. Besides my daypack and my San Francisco T-shirt, I really looked like I belonged here. The weather was superb an there are loads of tourists still.

I did find my way to the French market and came very close to ending up at Cafe Du Mond once again, but that would've just been wrong so I decided to find a reputable place and try out the Gumbo. I did share that experience as it was unfolding, but what I didn't mention was the fact that both the lady working there as well as the people seated either side of me were quite fascinated that for one, I was from Africa and two, that this was the first time I was going to eat Gumbo. I'm not particularly fond of fiddling with my food so when this bowl arrived with half a big-ass crab, in its shell, my face must've been a real picture. The waitress then explained that I need to crack it with my teeth, suck the legs and other body bits and peel the meat out. Oh my shattered nerves!! One slip of that pincer and I'd have at least 4 tongue piercings. But I had an audience and not being one for disappointing people, I did it! To be honest , I didn't come across much meat, but I did suck the legs and the waitress reckoned I was a pro! Then the man on my left insisted, after I had eaten 3 quarters of the plate, that I had to put the source on. How bad could it be, right? I put Tobasco sauce on most of my food. So I splashed a few drops on the remainder of the gumbo and tucked right in. It was after about two an a half chews that my mouth registered what was going on. I started waving my hand frantically in front of my mouth to cool it down, I took a big swig of my strawberry lemonade, geez, I even wiped my tongue with the napkin but nothing helped. It just got worse - much to the sick amusement of my onlookers. When the waitress walked passed, she saw the fear in my eyes and said: "You had "the sauce", didn't you?" I nodded ashamed and she then came to my rescue with a little tub of cream. I shoveled the last two mouthfuls of gumbo in, drank the last of my strawberry lemonade, rested three ice blocks in my mouth (which instantaneously melted) and then swigged the tub of cream. It took a couple of minutes but it definitely did take the burn away and have me the feeling back in my face. So, Gumbo? Without the hot sauce and without the whole half a fully clothed crab, it was different. I'm really glad I tried it though, even if it was for breakfast.

I then wandered the side streets some more admiring the architecture and some statues and ten back onto Bourbon Street. The clubs on Bourbon are endless, all next to each other straddling both sides of the street - it's amazing how they all keep going and 24/7. At this point the gumbo had moved passed my waistline so I decided to head back to the hotel, quickly, rather than use a public street toilet. When I was done there, I figured I may as well head to the bus station even though it was still a good 6 hours until my bus was leaving for Biloxi. So the doorman hailed me a cab and Buddy aka Doctor Love took me to the station for $10. So I got my ticket and headed outside to sit in the garden and write my blog. Except when I sat down on the grass, I couldn't find my phone. With absolute horror I remember I'd left it in the toilet at the hotel. My whole life is on that phone so I ran across to the Sheriff located in the terminal and explained my story and he allowed me to use his phone to di 911 - well not quite - but I got the number for the Cotton Exchange and called them and was told that someone had handed it in. Seriously! Someone had handed in an iPhone? My iPhone. So I rushed out to a waiting cab and for $20, Johnny took me to the hotel and back to the station. And that's how I met Johnny. Johnny who I ended up spending the whole afternoon with. Who kept me amused from start to finish. Who took me to the back end of New Orleans to get a bag of "the best" Louisiana style crawfish and who sat with me on the sidewalk of the station and showed me how to eat these ugly little critters. He took just as much fun out of watching me, as I did out of this whole experience. This is what I will always remember as Southern Hospitality. Granted, by the end of the afternoon Johnny was trying to convince me to shack up with him coz he's a good church going man... But I told him I can't cook so I really wouldn't be the beat choice of woman for him - he seemed happy with that. An finally 6:30pm arrived and I was on my way to Biloxi, Mississippi to spend the weekend with the Steenkamps...
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