So long and thanks for all the burgers
Trip Start Nov 03, 2004
165Trip End Nov 23, 2006
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inundated the parts of Florida we had left that morning. Finding
accommodation was difficult, not because of evacuations, but because
of those still displaced by Katrina. We finally found a room in a
motel otherwise full of refugees. They'd been here eight weeks with
little support and even less information. The atmosphere was
crowded and resentful, uncertain and disenfranchised. Things had
degenerated to feeling like a flat on the verges of disintegrating -
as long as you and yours were OK screw everyone else
We were glad to leave very early the next morning heading for
Shreveport and Dr Dick and Judy Davis, who were the first
globalfreeloaders to stay with us in Auckland.
We stopped off in Vicksburg to visit the battlefields there, site of
one of the longer and messier battles of the civil war. Miles of
roads lined with memorials wind through this enormous battlefield.
The memorials glorify battlefield commanders and headquarters
generals, they commemorate those who served and those who fell.
They don't address the sundered families, mutilated bodies, maimed
minds and spirits of newly independent Americans. The cemetery is
simple, democratic and filled with far too many stones with no names.
After some navigating around Shreveport, Judy and Dick, Chelsea and
the now late Chauncy (their Chinese Pugs) welcomed us into their
lovely, warm arts and crafts style home. They feed us, surrendered
their hot tub and internet connection to us, showed us excellent
Mexican and eccentric vegetarian haunts and took us to one of the
most beautiful places on earth.
They kept talking about taking us to a cypress swamp. Where we come
from swamps are muddy, odiferous and crawling with, well, crawly
things. Cypress swamps are the beautiful Louisiana bayou.
Statuesque cypresses with shaggy bark rise from mirror glass lakes
dotted with waterlilies and dragonflies. Discount the contented
mumbling of fly fishermen in ugly hats and the smug splosh of fish
who know better and the silence of the birdsong is deafening.
We were surprised by the US. It fed our minds, senses and souls to
an extent we had not expected. We saw rampant consumerism, racism
alive and bigotry dressed up. We saw compassion. We saw wonders of
men's minds and invention. We experienced warmth and hospitality.
We gloried in a changing, magnificent, tranquil landscape. We were
impressed, distressed and challenged by its society and thrilled by
it's beauty. We will definitely be back.