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Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Inmates

sunny -21 °C

Austin is the State Capitol of Texas. Few Americans know that. Even fewer people in countries outside of the US know that. All they know is Texas has the biggest of everything. This is not completely true – but there is some big stuff here. Austin is only the 4th largest city in Texas but when some cunning politicians tried to move the archives to Houston which would transfer the capital there, a mad woman called Angelina Eberly blew the side of the General Land Office Building out with a 6lb cannonball while the thieves were at work. The city erected a statue of her downtown and nobody ever messed with her again. Its an appropriate city symbol.
The biggest bat colony in the US lives under a bridge right in the heart of the city. Every night thousands of silly tourists watch about 1.5 million bats head out to feed. This has become big business. The most common question asked is, “What is that smell?”
Weird is big in Austin. For example, the Little Long Horn Saloon has a version of Bingo that involves chickens, chicken feed, and what happens after chickens eat. For $2 you get a ticket with a number on it that corresponds to a number on the table. The owner, Ginny, unleashes the chicken and the crowd waits for it to poo on a number. Serious coin to be won here – the locals flock to play. Another example is the Museum of the Weird. Definitely worth a visit and … Since 1963, Austin has celebrated the birthday of Eeyore, the fictional character from Winnie the Pooh on the last Saturday in April. It also features the race circuit that hosts the US F1 Grands Prix. It’s an iconic circuit. This is a great place.
The US is very pet friendly. For example, the Austin hotel next to ours near the airport is the Park & Zoom. They offer valet service for your pet and car, exclusive dog swimming pool and a program to improve your pets attitude towards you. I suspect many people ask if they can leave their children there. The city boasts 466 pet friendly restaurants. Many don’t require your dog to be on a leash and most have a pet menu. Pet friendly businesses are a fast growing category as more realize pets rule the family and often are the largest spenders.
The subject of pets reminds me of a radio advertisement we heard. We flick through countless radio stations while driving in attempt to find something to listen to. We seldom succeed. In the southern states Country & Western and new age Gospel stations prevail. Occasionally we pick up a gem like this. An entrepreneur has developed 29 varieties of pyjama’s for the whole family – including your cat and dog. This certainly is a country of opportunity. One morning we saw a guy who had donned the wrong pyjama’s. He arrived at the Fast Food shop for breakfast dressed in his dogs garment. I peeped into his huge F250 truck to see what the dog was wearing. Seems like the dog refused to go out in public.
Texas has lots of oil reserves … and they aren’t going to run out any time soon. Confusingly, a US gallon is 3.8 litres not 4.5. Petrol price is US$2.30 per gallon – that’s very cheap - NZ0.87c per litre. As a result, the populace is continually mobile. I suspect they all rush out and drive whenever I am on the road. Austin’s enormous flyovers maintain progress – the city would be paralyzed if they relied on traffic lights. But it makes a crazy dodgems environment as drivers zoom from one side of the highway to the other looking for their exit. Given half the traffic are gigantic trucks whose wheels are about the size of our rental car, I’m terrified most of the time. Dallas is worse. I was mentally scared in Dallas and don’t want to talk about it until counselling is complete.
There is basically only one category of food in Texas – meat. It does come in mind boggling variety – from Texas BBQ to hamburger patty with lots of spicy Mexican options between. Vegans are tolerated but must feel ill catered. I suspect they principally exist on moral indignation. Austin is the home of Texas BBQ. There are hundreds of these specialist restaurants but about 6 are serious tourist attractions. Many have ques of salivating diners waiting outside dreaming of the surprisingly tender poor cuts that are used. (Eg. Skirt / flap.) A typical plate of consists of enough protein to feed a family in NZ for 3 days. It is possible to get corncob, potato and salad / coleslaw in a bucket on the side. The meat is slow roasted / smoked for many hours, sometimes 2 days. It melts in the mouth and, from the appearance of the dominant customer group, immediately forms another layer of body fat. It’s a metaphysical marvel.
Texas steakhouses are the next level of dining preference. Again, quantity is a big factor in customer expectation. The meals are obscenely huge – but supremely delicious. Unfortunately, I now understand ‘delicious’ is another word for ‘positive weight accumulation’. Let’s be fair. The whole US has a serious weight issue but the others are very understanding and see this as an additional profit opportunity. There are products, spaces and assisting apparatus designed to accommodate this portion of society. I have also become very understanding. The food in the US is outstandingly delicious and moreish in the extreme. It’s a never-ending variety of sugar, fat and sodium. Scrumptious. There’s healthy stuff too. The labels’ explain its made from reduced sugar, fat and sodium – and it’s not nearly as tasty. We went to a ‘Dairy Queen’ franchise for lunch one day. After accepting our modest order, the cashier convinced me I hadn’t lived until I experienced their new ‘Health Blizzard’ – a whipped ice cream full of fruits, nuts, chocolate and ‘other’ beneficial nutrients. It was fantastically fabulous!!! I wanted another – until I felt the increased tension on my belt and checked the nutritional details … 1160 calories! The additional information made me wonder if I should call my doctor immediately. The US doesn’t have an obesity problem, they have an addiction problem. I’m hooked already.
It appears Mexicans represent about half the Texas population. Their food preferences are available everywhere. Supplementing these are the well-known ‘fast food’ outlets. The requirement to work in these establishments is an air of impatient surliness and the inability to speak clearly. At every food outlet from the BBQ to the snack bar, customers are bombarded with questions. A local is prepared with the answers – a visitor is stunned with varietal overload and no idea of the implications of poor choice. It’s probably all that saved me having to buy a new wardrobe. The embarrassment of declining the options is observing the astonishment of the order taker. They stand aghast saying something I’ve interpreted as … “You don’t want the stuff that is included for free?” They show serious concern when I decline the gallon of sugar fizz that seems obligatory with each meal. Even coffee comes in paper cups that could be used as large flower vases. Flypaper & I often purchase a minimal meal – and share. I feel so inadequate.
Driving through the outskirts of El Paso the most horrendous smell assailed us. Flypaper looked at me and expressed doubt when I denied responsibility. I reasoned even the spicy Taco for lunch couldn’t have produced this much distress. Having eliminated the in-car sources we looked out the window. Alongside the highway, for about 10 miles were successive enormous cattle feed lots – both beef and dairy herds. A little research revealed some of these lots hold over 30,000 cattle. Collectively 100’s of thousands of stock. Daily, an average cow produces about 7 gallons of milk (25lts) and 18 gallons (60lts) of manure. Manure management is another very ‘big’ thing here in Texas … but its not something we heard boasted about. Seems like they just realized putting that much raw fertilizer on the feed pastures results in a large percentage going straight through to the water table. Much of this leaches straight into the Rio Grange River and on into Mexico … so that sort of effectively reduces the problem considerably.
We left Texas and travelled through New Mexico into Arizona to stay with friends. They live on a 10 acre lifestyle block in the wilderness not far from the Grand Canyon – which we visited. We’ve been to the canyon way back in 1978 – disappointingly, it hasn’t changed much. (Although the tourist infrastructure has developed to cater for millions of visitors.) Obviously, the intellect of the visitors has deteriorated as they now publish a book entitled “Off The Edge”. To date 685 visitors failed to return home. The book details every fatality and is updated each year given about 12 additions need recording. Many are skeptics not believing it is a mile to the canyon floor – so they lean out to check. That’s the American way – question everything. Some die of a condition known as hyponatremia – drinking too much water with inadequate salt intake. (This is quite common all over the ‘developed’ world as gullible people roam around sucking water continuously.)
Our friends have given me lectures about the flora and fauna of Arizona. I now know that Humming Birds hum because they don’t know the words and the difference between Crows and Ravens is very slight. Evidently one has and additional ‘pinion’ feather … therefore its simply a matter of ‘apionion’. Travel certainly broadens ones knowledge.
In Arizona I learned one shocking and disturbing truth … if I lived here with my ‘Wild West’ friends I may have voted for Donald Trump. By nature, I am Democrat(ish) – it’s platform involves support for free market capitalism, free enterprise and fiscal conservatism. It does lean a bit to the left which, as a filthy capitalist, would worry me. But the Republicans we know here have all the good toys. Cars, pickup trucks, motorhomes, quad bikes … and guns – lots of guns. All stuff that makes me feel invincible and free. On Saturday night our hosts threw a party in our honour. They invited all the neighbours. A more interesting and friendly group would be hard to imagine. They ranged from successful business people including automatic weapons manufactures through IT specialists, military personnel, tradespeople and professionals. Some carried serious and obvious twin holstered Colt style pistols (that caught my attention) and I’m advised most would have had concealed firearms. I guess they were unsure of foreign intruders and their tendency to be dangerous. I would not like to arrive wearing a frock and tea towel. Our fellow resident guests were Dutch. Even though the Dutch once rivaled the British in terms of global exploration and colonization, our friends will admit to being seriously competitive in the motorsport scene but have no asperations to invade the US. I, on the other hand, would like to rule the US. It’s a place that could easily provide satisfaction to many of the dreams and the desires I aspire to. And its obviously not too hard to do.
My conversations that night were uninhibited. I challenged their gun culture, their lack of concern for global warming, their unconcern for the dwindling oil reserves and reluctance to embrace new forms of energy and their global military presence. Throughout the entire evening I felt like a naked chicken on a rotisserie waiting for the chef to hit the igniter. But – I discovered these ‘salt of the earth’ people had never had the opportunity of discussions of this nature. Here, no-one would be so stupid as to challenge accepted ideology – but we could. There was a guy who had been part of an elite military group tasked with rescuing US military personal from foreign soil when missions went wrong. He had been trained in every military discipline and specialization I always dreamed of – from high altitude parachuting to submarine warfare. I undertook and failed an SAS audition (one in 100 succeed. I was 97 and woke up in hospital) and was totally captivated by the experiences of my new friend. There were experiences that he justified as ‘following orders’ I could never have carried out and he did have ongoing conscience issues that I don’t envy – but I feel privileged to have talked about them. In my view, he is a hero that we can’t comprehend in our idyllic cotton wool society.
These people tend to drive very large pickup trucks – we call them ‘utes’. A Ford F250 would drive right over a Toyota HiLux in NZ without feeling the bump. I’ve driven these huge SUV vehicles. They make me feel invincible and powerful. Like I could suck out an oil well in no time.
During my stay I fired 5 pistols. There are more accurate shooters around, but I can advise you - don’t mess with me under 25 yards. I also had my first experience in a ‘real’ gun shop. For $500 I could have wiped out all the politicians in our city and resolved a few outstanding disagreements. What’s not to like about this culture?
Each morning when Flypaper and I used our bathroom we were faced with an image of ex-President Obama on the toilet roll. I swear I was respectful and chose an alternative option. Flypaper on the other hand, thought it was a concept with satisfying outcomes. She’s drawing up a list in anticipation of finding a printer. If you suspect, you may be on her list (or indeed, want to be on her list) please email a good portrait.
The political discussions were particularly delicate. I pointed out 90% of global opinion and 66% of US citizens consider President Trump is a turkey – while I personally, remained totally unopinionated. My hosts, and their neighbours, are not phased with this weight of opinion. They know it is skewed by the evil media and through the manipulations of wicked Hillary. Let me say, unequivocally with hand on heart, I am also skeptical of media influence. However, I have seen a particularly ‘hot’ picture of Hillary when she was 28 and don’t believe she could have developed such wickedness since then. My lovely hostess held the ‘trump’ cards (pardon the pun). She showed me the unedited direct tweets between her personally and Don T. Don daily asks for her opinion – and in my opinion, she has some good ideas about running both the US and the rest of the world. We have exchanged views and believe me, we could sort it out in no time. However, when I looked carefully at the tweets, I became concerned that the author wasn’t always Don T – but one of his ever-temporary henchmen. I also suspected some of the claims made were difficult to justify should one apply logic and sound reasoning. She quickly pointed out that this was my mistake and these processes were the authours of the past administrations misdemeanors. In the face of wonderful hospitality, impressive neighbourly support and the prosperity evident in their community, I cannot disagree. I was seduced by automotive decadence, local beer and the pleasures being heaped on me. A full belly of meat is hard to reject. Shooting stuff clinched it. Seriously, if I lived here, I would join the ranks of the Republicans. The fraternity and friendly support of the neighbourhood would make me want to belong to this wonderful group. After immersing in the US gun culture for almost a week I concluded … the West may no longer be wild – but I believe it could get very angry.
American readers are going to be questioning all of the ‘u’s in many of the words I use. (eg, neighbour, colour, flavour.) My friends, this is English. English as spoken and written by members of the British Commonwealth. New Zealand is proudly a member of this Commonwealth. I know it’s hard to understand – but you have some matters that are equally difficult to grasp. Let’s just live as friends with strange differences.
On the journey across New Mexico we searched for a place to enjoy the picnic lunch provided for us by our Arizona hosts. Our GPS identified a ‘Serviced Rest Stop’ known as, (this is true) The most complicated rest stop in the world’. We decided to forgo the ‘Scenic Lookouts’ in favour of the challenge. On arrival, the ‘Most complicated blah blah’ had been developed into a Casino. Bugger! We took the next sideroad and chose to stop in the shade of a tree near a small rural and obviously poor community where the only visitors drove old V8 pickup trucks and slowed as they passed. I was conscious I was not carrying a weapon.
A word of advice. Albuquerque Old Town is to be avoided. It only caters for women with a penchant for Indian jewelry and cluttering trinketry. There are no gun shops or automotive dealerships in the whole precinct!!! (And Flypaper wouldn’t let me have dinner at ‘Hooters’ either.)
Wichita Falls is mentioned in a well know song, but it should be recognized for something much better … The Worlds Littlest Skyscraper. Built by a conman, Augustus Newby, who escaped conviction when the judge did something the investors failed to do. He put on his glasses when he read the prospectus. Investors thought the height was 480 feet – the document correctly quoted 480 inches. Only in America.
Much of our journey included the south western 1/3rd of the famous Highway 66. There is so much worthy of comment on this highway it justifies a book. On this and other roads, among countless other interesting things, we have been made aware of penitentiaries. Ominous buildings surrounded by razor wire, buildings disguised with politically correct names (eg. Correction facility), apparent industrial complexes with towers at each corner featuring search lights and machine guns, etc. In Louisiana we saw ‘chain gangs’ tidying up the highway. A sign on Hwy 66 was particularly appreciated … ‘Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Inmates’. This sign, like nothing else, encapsulates the US we have seen. Friendly, informative, helpful, and, just a little bit ominous. I love the place. But, if I lived here, I probably would carry a concealed weapon. As a visitor I rely on Flypaper to keep me safe. She will affect a furious defense while I run.

Posted by Wheelspin 15:51 Archived in USA Tagged traffic food canyon arizona mexico grand new l boys toys bbq houston texas trucks trump oklahoma oi austin guns pickup steakhouse mexicans flypaper freeways Comments (0)

Priority Ticket to Hell

Don’t carry children in the basket

overcast -20 °C

We’ve been to hell – quite often. For example, the time we were locked in the bowels of an old car ferry chugging across the Black Sea to meet a visa entry deadline into Russia. One engine failed reducing speed to only just forward in favorable wind. Had I been able to speak Russian I would have offered to paddle. The women in charge of passengers – a graduate of the Stalin Academy -indicated that the failed motor drove the electrical system so dinner was red sauerkraut on black bread followed by banishment to our airless cabin down beside the struggling clanking whining prop shaft. It was 38*C (100F) and Flypaper pointed out this voyage was my idea. Another time in Azerbaijan, the place crude oil was first discovered by mankind resulting in an obscene ecological disaster, we stood by the roadside arguing with a policeman who looked at us like a hyena eyeing its next wounded meal. The location was one where natural gas seeped out of the ground and spontaneously ignited making me suspect this was hell, the real deal.

Following our flight from Auckland to Los Angeles – LAX to fellow travelers – we alighted in some trepidation as we’ve been here before. Sure enough, we herded through immigration like fat chickens in a poultry abattoir to have an interrogation, fingerprints and photo taken by a humourless boarder guard to looked himself like an illegal immigrant who escaped the dogs and beat the system. Having discovered we were not on Don Trumps list and passed the test we were allowed loose to find our luggage. Easier said than done as we don’t speak Spanish or African American Vernacular English. Finally, we found a carousel with other familiar temporary harassed aliens. Together we waited 1.25 hours for our ‘priority’ bags. In typical LAX fashion, all the ‘priority’ luggage was unloaded last leaving dozens of travelers, ourselves included, stressed about making our next flight connection. For good measure, someone had ripped the handles off my bag. (That should teach me not to have positive expectations.) Then the problems started. We were issued with bright orange ‘priority’ cards and told to walk East in the herd of panicking travelers doomed to a holiday on the escalators of hell. The orange cards insured we would be harassed by black women wrestlers shrieking in a strange language strategically placed to impede our hopeful progress. Eventually we arrived at a place that was accepting luggage. We offered our pitiful examples only to be told we should have deposited them 40 minutes previous on a pile the appeared destined for redistribution to the poor and needy. In frustration I told the luggage handler he could have them as we intended to sue the airport for a new wardrobe and marched off in search of an aircraft with Houston written on the door. 30 minutes later we were through security, personally searched by an ogre who was skeptical we didn’t even own guns and told to follow the weeping wailing masses that had already missed their flights. A further 10 minutes of jogging in 30-degree C heat found us at a bus stop where the sleepy uninterested attendant assured us this would take us somewhere that may promise an aircraft. Sure enough, after playing dodgems around various runways with enormous aircraft where signs wisely advised our driver to ‘give way to turning aircraft’, we found a shed that displayed the airport code for Houston – IAH. Logical isn’t it. We were amazed there was no queue. Flypaper panted out our hopes only to be told boarding was complete, but the aircraft was delayed so we could continue running in the hope they would open the door. They did – but told us our business class seats had been sold to others, but we could board if we accepted we would travel ‘coach’. We were then squeezed in beside a hysterical woman who bitched she had not been given an upgrade. I decided it wasn’t worth pointing out we had just been given a downgrade and 2 overweight passengers were already chomping into our lunch while we dined on pretzels and apple juice. (The aircraft delay was due to ground technicians pumping too much fuel and difficulties finding a tanker that could suck it out again. Go figure.)

We made it to Houston … and astonishingly, so did our luggage. Rather than push our luck further on public transport we took a cab to our hotel … just in time to learn a looney had slaughtered 26 people in church just up the road from us. (About 200 miles up the road but that seemed close enough.)
For our initial experience we visited a great US institution – Walmart. Our local branch was a shed covering about 10 acres with a 15 acre carpark in front. It had seen better days and so had most of the shoppers. Walmart is famous for attracting weird looking customers causing me to spend a few minutes gazing at my reflection in a shop window to discover if I would stand out. Flypaper assured me I wouldn’t. (I need to think about that) We purchased a GPS system for our rental car. The units fitted by the rental companies cost more than buying your own and I’m proficient with the Garman system given I have units for New Zealand and Australia, Europe, parts of Asia, major cities of the world and now the USA and Canada. The next task was a basic telephone with a local sim card. Again, we have about 7 phones that do little but talk and text. Following an agonizing time making this $50 decision we later discovered the Walmart assistant had sold us a card that was not compatible with the telephone. I felt a little kindlier toward people who choose to carry guns.

Having been in several Walmart’s I have formed the opinion they are not the sort of shop people with a brain should, or indeed do, frequent. The stock is strewn all over the shelves by people who open the packaging to check the product out – then take one still packaged. The shop fittings show signs of abuse. (I understand that and felt inclined to contribute) The employees do their best which typically leaves a lot to be desired. I now understand some people really are unemployable and it’s a mistake to inflict them on paying customers. For all that, Walmart does have one redeeming feature …they provide electric shopping carts for the aged and infirm. These are effectively an industrial grade mobility scooter with a big basket on the front. The basket has a sign ‘No children in basket’. Surprisingly, the only people we have seen using these carts are not the aged and infirm, but the grossly overweight. And astonishingly, quite a few have chubby children in the basket. These people are allowed to vote – and obviously did so recently.

Later that night after being unable to set up the new simple telephone I called their ‘helpline’ on my New Zealand phone at $1.75 per minute. That was a mistake. The US is a bilingual country and I only spoke British English – which is not one of the options. Its not so bad if I can study the body language and watch the lips moving or look in the direction of the pointed figure. This doesn’t work on a telephone. After running up more phone charges than the new one cost, we discovered the replaced ‘wrong sim card’ did not allow for international calls. This is important. Flypapers phone is a NZ roaming phone – an international call. The reason for the new phone was principally to call her whenever one or both of us are lost. (It’s critical to arrive back at the same hotel each evening because I need to know which clothes are suitable for my next public appearance.) The voice attempting to solve my phone issue agreed to sell me an ‘international extension’ for $10. Sounds like a reasonable deal … except they couldn’t accept an international credit card because I don’t have a US Zip Code. “Zip” I said, “I have all sorts of zips – jackets, trousers, luggage – but none of them are secret … or able to solve the problem. ‘It’ finally advised me to return tomorrow to my local Walmart. (This could be the last correspondence you read from me.)

Next day we took the minor roads East through Bayou Country and passed into Louisiana. We prefer back ‘country’ roads and interesting towns. Anyway, the Freeways are far too scary.
Lunchtime found us in a sleepy town that specialized in catching catfish, crawfish and shrimps. We chose “Edith’s Place” a small eatery named after the lovely proprietor’s wife. We did see Edith – her picture was painted on the wall. It was not flattering. We felt culturally inadequate and conspicuously white. Our host proffered a couple of menu’s and recommended the blackened catfish. We countered by saying we just wanted something small and a couple of coffees. The delightful man replied he didn’t do small but we were welcome to help ourselves to free coffee. He said, “Yower in real Cajun Country nower”. This would not do. We had the reputation of pale faced visitors with a properly registered car to uphold – so we chose a dish described as a ‘Poor Mans Lunch’ … and added, “to share”. Two plates please. He looked at us and said, “My, yower real po-wer an’t yo”. We slunk to a table and enjoyed superb coffee while waiting for ‘meat loaf, corn, weeds, rice and corn bread’. It was delicious – and huge. Us po-wer people left quite bit on the plate – together with the best tip he probably had all week. Oh, nearly forgot. We took advantage of the cleanest and most well provisioned toilets we can recall. On the wall was a sign, “Wash your hands. Say your prayers. Germs and Jesus is everywhere”. This made me recheck my fly.

Evening found us at our French Colonial hotel in the ‘French Quarter’ of New Orleans. New Orleans old town is indeed old. It shows. Situated on the banks of the huge Mississippi River it has had little upkeep since its heyday in the mid 1800’s. While I’ve not seen them all, its streets and footpaths are likely to be in the worst condition in the US of A. There are worse in Central Asia which leaves New O with the challenge of further years of neglect. The buildings emit an air of genuine dilapidation that no amount of new money could replicate. The words ‘shabby chic’ were coined to describe this old CBD. We are here during the quiet time. I imagine the busy season is best avoided – its bad enough right now to bring out the noisiest Jazz Bands and restaurants have the courage to be a bit ‘slap-dash’. Don’t be surprised if your order turns out to be something quite different and presentation is not exactly an art form. Peasant food is passed off as de rigueur. Be prepared for it all to taste the same – highly spiced.

The ‘Old Town’ should not be confused with the greater modern city which is typical of every other modern city – too much traffic, too few parking places, too many hotels and businesses fleecing unsuspecting tourist. The Old Town tended to be habituated by a younger set of dubious gender and an obvious desire toward poor moral behavior. The New Town is teaming with middle aged tourists and elderly woman who moved here on the strength of their late husbands’ life insurance. I was glad Flypaper put is in with the younger set – but disappointed that she disallowed any lowering of my moral standards.

Having eaten exclusively Cajun food for 3 days I consider I’m an expert. This knowledge was difficult to grasp. For one thing, I thought ‘Gumbo’ was short for gumboot – wet weather footwear in the rural community I grew up in. Here it means a spicy fish, crab, shrimp stew ruined with ‘Okra’. (You look it up. I’m afraid to learn the answer.) One thing you can say for sure about Cajun food – it gives one gas. Copious gas. Don’t however be concerned. The Jazz is perfect for disguising the source and one simply has to look searchingly around – to discover everyone else is doing the same. Initially I though the river was the source of the pervading aroma but I believe the correct origin has been identified. Once gassed up it’s possible for anyone with rhythm and a healthy sphincter to join in the music and feel very much part of the scene.
I was having language ‘issues’ in Texas – then we arrived in New Orleans. French Creole language spoken by the Louisiana Creole people and sometimes Cajuns and Anglo-residents of the state of Louisiana. The language consists of elements of French, Spanish, African, and Native American roots. It cannot be understood by anyone proficient in any of those mentioned languages. Whenever faced with a question I learned to say, “mi fanm-mwen” (mee+fan+m+mweh) – “This is my wife”. That way, we cut straight to the final decision.

Following a couple of 'Plantation Tours' at which there were no plantations - just a couple of very large old homes (never-the-less, interesting) the last evening in New Orleans was spent on the Natchez Riverboat cruising the Mississippi. Nothings too good for Flypaper and I even donned a clean shirt for the occasion. This seemed like a mistake when, after 2 glasses of Natchez Jazz Punch I ended up in the engine room. Given the chief engineer wouldn’t let me tune it for more speed the shirt remained good enough for the dinning room – where enough ‘gas’ was being produced to render steam an obsolete energy source. The effects of the Punch were still evident at the end of the evening when we found ourselves peddled home in a rickshaw bike. I considered the skinny young peddler an insolent brat who continued to defer to Flypaper during our pre-ride haggling and between them agreed on an outrageous price for a 3 block ride. I had the last laugh when he navigated to the wrong hotel and had to peddle twice the distance. This gave me ample time to make vocal observations regarding his style, speed and lack of suitable physic to be transporting 2 well fed guests both encumbered by heavy metallic joints. At the same time, I could advise the walking peasantry as to the obvious privileges affordable by a lifetime of hard work and saving.

A lot more of Southern America lies in wait for us.

Posted by Wheelspin 08:34 Archived in USA Tagged telephone new orleans houston texas luggage austin cajun creole louisiana walmart lax gumbo Comments (2)

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