It’s not exactly the first thing you expect to go out when a hurricane strikes, but it turns out that wireless internet becomes pretty hard to come by. I drove south from Arkansas, into Texas where I stayed in Dallas and then Houston. In Houston I ended up in a shabby motel that had everything -except- internet. From there I went across to Louisiana and I visited New Orleans.
Although some businesses are still closed, it was actually a good time to visit, since most tourist oriented businesses have already reopened and it’s like being in a theme park with no visitors, everyone and everything at your disposal. Another thing that made the trip worthwhile is the way I’ve learned to approach a city in, that I need to get to know fast. You find yourself a group of homeless people, who are generally in for some conversation. I buy some cigarettes, get them some coffee and within a couple of hours, you can learn a lot about the city, the people in it and all the good places to go.
In New Orleans this landed me in the best coffee & beignet bar, a kickass record store and a famous Gumbo restaurant, as well as meeting a couple of interesting jazz musicians living off their music in dinky jazz hideouts. I had some excellent local cuisine – gumbo, shrimp, crab and a sweet desert – and bought some music at rates you can only dream of back in the Netherlands.
It was probably the most effective day of the entire holiday, since the same morning, I ran into a guy putting his boat in the water near the highway in the bayous. I took the nearest exit, drove over to where I’d seen him and struck up conversation, after which he offered to take me on a quick trip around. The bayou is an interesting place to be in and if I’d seen an aligator it would have been the perfect outing. I didn’t bring my camera, considering the water and the somewhat rickety boat but it’s a trip I won’t soon forget.
Texas is impressive too. Like America, but more American would be one way to put it. I visited the Johnson Space Center, which offers a nice tour of the actual live facilities of NASA. It’s impressive to be around mission control and to tour the testing facilities, where they have live-sized mockups of all spacecraft setup and they are working on new stuff like the Moon Rover they plan to bring on Orion, the new Moon program.
I’m cutting this post short though, since I’m writing it sitting next to a pool, out in the rain under a parasol which is only barely keeping the water off my keyboard. Why, you ask? Because the internet is out in all inns I tried and the one I could find that did have wireless up and connected to the internet was too expensive for my tastes. So, I got a room in the cheapo motel nextdoor that just happened to have a pool adjacent to the classy motel :-).
Anyway, signing off, this is getting silly.