Saturday, 22 April 2006

The Demilitarised Zone

20 April - Upon the recommendation of several of the locals and visitors me and Val headed to Dwyers for an authentic cajun breakfast. We arrived at 10:50 and sat down and waited for the waitress to bring the menus. After 10m I went to the counter to get them bt was told that breakfast was over. You're kidding? We only serve until 11. it is 11. No, it was 11. We've been here for 10m. Well, so much for the fabled weezian hospitality. Did a little bit of town wandering and was taken to an Accadian museum and gift shop by Jackie who seems to be trying to get me to appreciate the wonders of the cajun music world (i don’t think its going to work). Steve, a native Floridian and Connecticutian (???) helped me plan out the next few stages of my trip, he's done a lot of travelling around the east coast of the country and gave me some great ideas. He came to Lafeyette to find work as a cook on an oil rig and apparently was pretty succesful today, which has gotta be a good thing. Eventually got away for the drive to New Orleans - got stuck in traffic for a while but it was a really nice drive - the highway is suspended over the bayous for miles - despite havingseen the devestation of the city on tv and being warned about it from other travellers i was still blown away by what Katrina has done to this city. There's trash all over the highways still and after a few wrongturns trying to negotiate my way to downtown (i always forget to plan how i actually should enter a city - unless its a small town there's usually dozens of entrances and its a maze to get to the bit where i need to get to) i was shocked at how bad the conditions of the city are. The French Quarter, being one of the biggest money earners for the town, has been restored and is working at capacity but even half a mile up the road the entire entire city is deserted. The street where the hostel is in is completely abandoned and still doesn't have any phone line and wont likely have one for months. There's water damage all throughout this building and just about every other building i've seen. The clientele at this hostel dont seem to be as friendly as any of the others ive stayed at but there's still the fair share of weirdos and ne-erdowells to make for an interesting experience. I took a trolley downtown with a crusty old driver wo was telling me and the other two passengers (a transient georgian and a philadelphia hooker with extraordinarily bad teeth) all about how bad the dmage to the city was and how the displaced population is holding back on returning to the city until they find out if the levees survive the next hurricane season. Wandered through the french quarter for a while which seems exactly like a bangkok's khao san road only its longer, had better music, more expensive drinks, more looters (black people) and salvagers (white people) and less thai people. Interesting, but wandering amongst drunken people was not what i wanted to be doing that night so i found a pub that served pretty amazing cajun food - ate gumbo, chickenand rabbit jumbalaya (new animal!!!), red beans and rice, creole sauce and fried chicken before wandering back to the hostel, which took a lot longer than expected and was probably not the most sensible thing to do but no incidents occurred so no harm done.

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