Finally back to normal (what ever that is) from my trip to Memphis and New Orleans. My husband, Jeff, and our good friend Suz took a road trip this month. By now you probably got it…I love to travel. Although the fourteen hour drive back from New Orleans wiped me out, I would not have changed a single thing…it is all apart of the journey.
Our journey first took us to Memphis, TN. We stayed with a dear, long time friend, Erin. Erin lives in a downtown neighborhood of Memphis in an incredible three story condo with a balcony that overlooks the Mississippi River. I love hanging out on her balcony watching the sun rise and set. It is the kind of place I dream of living in. Another Memphis friend, Willfredo, lives next door to Erin and just opened Revolution Salon. Willfredo took one look at my hair and insisted on working his magic. A great start to an evening of dancing at the Rum Boogie (where you eat.drink.boogie.repeat) and then off to Silky’s to hear dueling pianos. I have great memories of that evening. I love experiencing the culture of other cities. But what I love most is people….I love my friends in Memphis and getting a chance to spend time with them! After eating breakfast at the BluePlate Cafe, the biggest and best breakfast in Memphis, we had to say our good byes. Bitter sweet, as we are on our way to New Orleans, another favorite city.
New Orleans has a culture all it’s own. I love Jackson Square, music in the air, the street performers, the European architecture, cajun food, seafood, beignets, Zydeco music, dancing until wee hours of the night, being called “darling” and “honey”, the sweet sound of a southern accent, the garden district, the wharehouse district, the balconies that are draped with beautiful flowers and ivy, southern hospitality and most of all…the people!
We met up with Jeff’s parents Ginger and Paul, and their friend Dave from Houston. This has become a tradition since the weekend Katrina hit. Families and friends met to surprise Paul on his 60th birthday. We began our stay in New Orleans right by having dinner at Desire an Oyster bar in the Royal Sonesta Hotel. The food is great! However, our waitress Joann, who hugs us all like old lost friends every time we eat there, is definitely greater. She is a survivor of Katrina…I love her. And to top it off…Suz displayed bravery by trying an Oyster.
Truth Be Told….I wouldn’t even try an Oyster!
Some of our favorite restaraunts… Franksmakes a great Muffaletta and has the best balcony view where you can soak in the music from two different patio restaurants. A strong tradition is eating Barbecue Shrimp at Pascal Manales. Located in the heart of a Garden District neighborhood. This classy restaraunt brings out huge white bibs to tie on before they serve the shrimp that floats in a bowl of butter. Their bread pudding is also the best in New Orleans.
Although Bourbon St. is lined with great bars, our favorite is at Tropical Isle. Our favorite Zydeco band plays at 5pm. Waylon starts the evening off right and is hilarious! Timmy gets all the gals to play the washboard with him. We didn’t get to see Timmy this trip. But spent a whole evening dancing and trying out the washboard with Waylon’s Dad and celebrated my birthday in style. We met a fun loving couple who has an apartment on Royal. I told them of my love of New Orleans and how I dream of living there someday. They promised to help me find an apartment when I am ready to make the move. Another local couple that regularly shows up at the Tropical Isles with their pet monkey…that monkey is so cute. Suz had fun singing with the band and decides that a birthday spanking was in order for me….eeks. Yes, Suz broke the paddle on the final 39th whack. Definitely left a mark. I left with a cool paddle signed by everyone in the bar though. Once again, it is the people that made it special. I love the band, my new friends and my special souvenir.
Various experiences: We met a Harley Dude who lives in New Orleans. He parked his Harley on Bourbon St. near the Harely Bar. He said at least three times, “Thank you for coming”. Again, it’s the people. Suz was choosen to participate in a street magic show. She did a great job! There are numerous street performers who fill the streets of the French Corner with music and atmosphere. This is how they make a living. I enjoyed the artistic buses found throughout New Orleans. On the River Walk I found one that spoke to me and depics my life quest….A journey of Change. “Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.” A Ride of A Lifetime!
I found myself savoring each moment of the trip. I walked the streets wanting to ech the memory of the architecture and music in the air in my mind. Most of all, I want to cheerish my memories of spending time with friends both new and familair.
We said good bye to New Orleans around 8am. We had a long drive ahead of us. I took advantage of the time to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. A quote jumped off the paige at me…”they were seeking the treasure of their destiny, without wanting actually to live out their destiny.” Wow! Now that I am home, I wonder how often I will savor each moment of my life journey? Will I remember to actually live it out? Hopefully I will live out this leg of my journey as much as I do when I journey to awe-inspiring cities and make life long friends.