Remiss- Catching Up
Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
63Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
I spent the last week in Dallas with my best friend from college. It truly is amazing to spend time with someone who knows you from the days when your only real goal was to get up on time to make it to class! Our friendship goes back to 1978, and remains a great comfort to me. Craig and his partner Brian (I was best man at their wedding) have two children (and I am proud to be Godfather to both!); Christian, almost five, and Claire, almost two. The vast majority of my time was spent enjoying time with them in their beautiful house. It was great catching up on news, and wonderful playing with the kids!
There truly is something healing about being around young children. What a joy it is to see the world through their eyes. Christian is finally moving on from "Thomas the Tank Engine" (thankfully) and we started exploring Dr. Seuss together: The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, Green Eggs and Ham! We also played a great deal in the pool and watched movies. Claire is learning animal sounds (Moo! Being her best so far) and appears very attached to sunglasses and shoes. The pace was calm, the excitement was minimal, the time passed far too quickly.
Of note, while in Texas I spent a few hours with my birth mother. For those who don't know, I am adopted and some years back was able to discover her, my father, and my extended family (which includes a full blood brother). Mary and I met for lunch, which extended for three hours. It is hard to describe what it feels like to look at your mother when her face is not all that familiar to you (although everyone says we are almost twins). Through a series of odd coincidences (and they are many indeed, not enough time to detail them all here) she lives in Dallas, not more than 15 minutes from Craig. In fact, when I was in graduate school I used to unknowingly drive within a mile of her house every day.
Mary and I have met about 9-10 times over the past years, but I always have a sense of frisson prior to meeting her, and for hours afterwards. We caught up on our respective families and it was wonderful how easily we shared news and personal feelings. I have met most of my extended family on her side and always welcome updates on each of them. As always, she brought pictures (and I always forget) and a birthday gift for me (again, I always forget).
The conversation, of course, ranged pretty widely, and I was really happy that she again extended an offer to use her house in Greece. Mary married a Greek man (Alex, an extremely nice guy) and they built a house on his home island in Greece some years ago. The house is on Karpathos, the last in a chain of twelve islands. Reached by ferry, it is a rather unspoiled place with a small town where the ferry docks and not much else. Their house is eight miles from town, and fifty feet from the ocean. Alex is still there doing more work on the grounds and I am seriously considering her offer to go out later in the year and have him meet me and help me get 'settled' before he returns to Texas! As an alternative to Mexico (I find the days slipping away, I was supposed to be in Puerto Vallarta already!) I wonder if there will be time to go to PV and have the solitude I want to reflect, make decisions, and write. As an alternative, a house on a beautiful Greek Island by the sea is not bad!
While in Dallas I also made a trip to the dentist to have my jaw looked at. I'll compress the three hours(!) to some simple things- Panoramic x ray shows bones fine and in place (and, I swear this is true- while standing waiting for it to begin, the technician said "I just have to ask you, can I run my fingers through your hair?" and did so! WHATS WITH THE HAIR!?!?). They wanted to send me to a TMJ specialist, who will next be in town in four weeks. Since that was not possible, the dentist prescribed massive amounts of anti-inflammatories, which I have been taking. It is almost a week, and while not pain free, I can eat again! Teeth still not aligned as they were, but as long as the pain decreases, I'm fine with that.
I gave a lot of thought to how the trip has gone thus far. While I love every moment of seeing friends, I am spending a huge amount of time on the road, and that makes for boring reading for you, and even more boring times for me! I have decided to abbreviate the driving portion (cutting out Florida, for example) as me back ain't enjoying this either. The goal, while seeing friends, is also some further travels and adventures- and I am getting ready for that. I think staying with friends has been a good transition from my 'previous life' to the new one- which is a little bit daunting in that it involves being alone and in strange places. So, with that in mind I left Dallas and headed to New Orleans rather than further west.
I went through Shreveport and Alexandria (and must report the drive through Louisiana is boring boring boring). I stopped last night in LaFayette (heart of French Louisiana) as I was just too tired to drive further. Of course, I stayed in a Holiday Inn. Of course, there was a relative of my friend from Mexico on the floor of the bathroom. I think he was sent to even the score, but, intrepid traveler that I am, sent him off for a good swim in the toilet. After a rest, I explored LaFayette. Small downtown, very quaint. LOTS of bars, per capita, they must be on par with New Orleans. I watched some pretty fancy country/Cajun dancing and wandered into the only gay bar in town.
It was sparsely populated (everyone comes out later for the 'all you can drink' night- $10). Only a few people in the bar, I spoke with a nice man (Tony, about my age) who it turned out was also from out of town, here helping a friend rehab her house before the birth of her third child. We had an interesting conversation and he noted he did much the same thing I am doing- and found his 'bliss' in the Grand Teton's in a remote cabin in the snow on a night of a full moon. We had a pretty deep talk about philosophy, the journey of life, respect for the earth and so on- and then a 20 year old (Brandon) walked in and suddenly I was chopped liver! So it goes. Both of them gave stern warnings, and the bartender joined in, about New Orleans (N.O.) they said it was far more dangerous than reported on the news, said to never get lost, never be off a main street and really consider if I wanted to go there. Great.
Drove in to N.O. today- was wild going through the Atchafalaya Swamp (looked just like a swamp!) and I can't imagine how the elevated highway was built through there. N.O. didn't look too bad as I drove in (of course, was on a highway) but in looking around, I missed my exit, got lost and of course was in a shitty neighborhood! Managed to get out and here I am at the Hotel.
Know how on TV they always show the Hotel with the great wrought iron balconies where everyone throws beads down to the street? Am there! Of course, am in a garrett room on the fifth floor but have view across the multi leveled roofs of the French Quarter to the Spires of the cathedral three blocks away.
So there you have it, not exciting, but you is caught up! Plan, Two days here, then head for Georgia and start swinging North. Goal is to be back in Philly by month end or so and then park the car- next stop- either Mexico or Europe, good money on Europe at this point (and yes, I finally heard the news about the bombers).