Thursday, October 20, 2011

Let The Good TImes Roll

Last week, Dr. Lifesaver went to India. I didn't pester him with the usual "letmegoletmego" spiel, because last week, I went someplace cooler than India. I was in N'Awlins, cherie.

When I say that New Orleans is cooler than India, I am speaking figuratively. It is HOT in New Orleans, humid, steamy, sultry. But that's part of the distinct, New Orleans package.

In my travels, it seems that Boston could be Atlanta could be Cleveland could be Phoenix, with the same strip malls and McDonalds.

But New Orleans is  not like anyplace else. First,there is the sub-tropical weather  that is perfectly fine with the gecko's and feral cats  who pretty much have run of the city. The homes, all up on slabs, waiting for the next flood, are vibrant with painted colors of fuschia or purple or neon green. And the lawns? Honey, there are no manicured  lawns in New Orleans, just a patch of land with palms trees and elephant ears all running wild.  The natives are too busy worrying about serious stuff, like food, to let little things like lawn maintenance bother them.

Did I mention it was hot there?
The food....OMG....The best oysters I've ever had were found in a dive named Coop's, at the end of the French Quarters. Those oysters were soooooooo good that I dragged my friend Gwen back there several times for them. The last time we were there, I begged to speak to the cook to get the recipe. I tell you, that cook couldn't have been nicer. She came out the the dining area, gave me complete step by step directions in her thick, Creole accent. 

When she left, I turned to Gwen and asked, "What the hell did she say?"

Lucky for  me, Gwen's been in New Orleans long enough to have been able to decipher Creole. When I make these oysters, I will be glad to share the recipe if the oysters turn out to be disappointing. If they are as good as those from Coop's, I swear I will call the receipe a  family secret and take it to my grave.

Plus it was quite humid. Have I said this already? 

The best catfish ever came from this place: The sign reads, "Warm Beer, Lousy Food, Poor Service."Maybe they were just trying to scare away the tourists.

Nowhere else in the world can you find those incredible beignets, which are sort of like funnel cakes on crack. I am soooo glad that I had Chris and Gwen with me when we ordered. Chris knew exactly how to pronounce it, which rhymes with ben-gay. Left to my own devices, I would have ordered a bidet. 

'Course, it wasn't all about food. Gwen and I also spent time in the bayou, a most pristine piece of earth. I don't know how the mosquitos figured out that I was  coming...maybe some skeeter Tweeter.....but every mosquito in the bayou came to welcome me and get just a drop of my exotic Baltimore blood. Didn't see any 'gators, though. A native asked me if I had ever seen a gator, and I replied that I had, once, in Florida. 

"Hmph," he snorted, "Louisiana gators are better than any ol' Florida gator. " 

I don't know what he  meant by "better" but I do know that if I ever get real up close to a gator, I am  not asking for ID. I be too busy running.

It was a free steam bath every single day. Just to give you an idea of the weather, in case I haven't been clear.

Here are some pic's. Please, if you ever get a chance, go to New Orleans, the most original, unique, interesting place in America. Just stay hydrated and you'll be fine. 'Cos its hot there. Just so you know.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Big and It's Easy

So I am off again, seeing the world. This time, the destination is the Big Easy, New Orleans. My friend Gwen lives there, and Monday is both her 40th birthday as well as the 40th anniversary of our meeting as freshmen in high school. That's right, we were fetuses during our freshmen year. 

I just know I am going to love me some New Orleans. Gwen and I get to indulge in two of our favorite things--shopping and eating, all of which is first class in NO.  The one thing I am not doing to be shopping for, however, is voodoo stuff. Voodoo scares the bejezus out of me. And, seriously, I wrestle daily with enough real-life demons which I can administrators, crazy drivers on I-83, Comcast Cable...I don't need to add an entire mafioso of invisible goofballs to add to the stress. 

My plans were almost  dashed on Tuesday when I awoke with the most horrific pain in my left ear.  Thinking I had an acute ear ache, I got to work at 6:30am and went to the Hopkins ER. After waiting about a zillion years, and  meeting the most interesting  people, I just left the ER,  came to my office, and asked Dr. Lifesaver to check it out. No ear infection, as it turns out, but an emergent visit to my dentist revealed some pressing jaw strain. Jaw strain. Who the hell gets jaw strain?

"I don't know what that is, or how I did it, but fix it," I screeched to the dentist. "I can  not, no, I WILL NOT, go to New Orleans and not be able to eat. Fix it, Fix it, FIX IT, FI..." Then he gave  me a muscle relaxer and, all of a sudden, I calmed down and felt much better. 

So me and my jaws are now feeling oh-tay, and ready for some shrimp jumbo and crawfish and yap, yap, yapping with Gwen. Those native New Orleaners thought Katrina was a force to be dealt with? They have no idea what is hitting town on Monday. 

'Course, I am taking my muscle relaxers. Just in case New Orleans hits back. 

Talk to you in a few weeks, ma cherie.