I think due to my lack of a presence, my blog has taken on a mind of its own and is publishing old blogs, so I apologize to those of you who are subscribed and have been receiving random past posts. To combat this problem, I thought I'd write some new blogs! Prepare to get plenty of updates and pictures over the next couple of weeks. :)
|Green pasture on my brother and sisters farm.|
After leaving my dear friends in San Diego, Lono and I hopped on a SUPER tiny plane from the cutest airport ever in Carlsbad to fly over to LA to catch our red eye on a big plane back East to fly in to BWI, (Baltimore-Washington International Airport). In Baltimore, we picked up our bright red Chevy Aveo rental car and headed to West by God Virginia to go spend some time with my brother, sister, and my amazing nephew that I missed so dearly. (My sister is my sister-in-law, but we're definitely close enough to be blood sisters… and with all the West Virginia jokes out there, I thought I'd clarify all that for you). So much had happened since the last time I had seen them. They had bought a house on a farm and Warren, my nephew, was now two and half years old and smart as a whip!
|My sister and nephew ready to show Lono |
and I around on the ATV. :)
I arrived early, so we spent the day on the farm, riding the 4-wheeler and catching up. I spent a lot of the time chasing Warren around with my iPhone for pictures and little videos since every word and thing he did I found to be either adorable or completely awesome. Their farm reminded me just how green the fields can be back east in the spring time. Lono enjoyed running full sprint through the grass… and even faster than the 4-wheeler when he wasn't riding on it. Seeing family is definitely one of my favorite things in life… especially them, as they are not just family, they are best friends.
|I had to pull over to get a picture of this|
dogwood tree. *Blow it up* :)
I was trying to stay keen on the weather, and the news report showed heavy rain for the next couple of days. My bucket list in mind and having the rental car for only a week, I decided that this would be the perfect time to drive down to New Orleans to knock out seeing two more states, (Mississippi and Louisiana), leaving only Alaska to unveil. Lono and I packed up, promised the family we'd come back in just a few days, and off we went the very next morning. Chris and Kristina, (my bro and sis), let us borrow their GPS, (a LIFESAVER!), and upon punching in Bourbon St., New Orleans, it gave us only 20 more hours to go…
|Oh yes, to be back East. West Virginia delicacies...|
20 hours was a big fat lie. It took us quite a bit longer, stopping our first night to sleep at a rest stop in Mississippi. Thank goodness for Jun, (my incredible guy), who was sweet enough to keep me company on speaker phone in those hard hours driving into the night. Virginia still holds the beauty award as for driving south in my eyes with its beautiful mountain ranges, horse pastures, and sweet little towns. My little joys came from playing the Powerball in each state, (there is absolutely NO lottery or gambling in Hawaii), stopping to try different kinds of foods and snacks, (from beef jerkies to dill pickle flavored potato chips), sight seeing, cheap gas, beating the bad weather, and the long conversations on the telephone with Jun.
|Thoroughly enjoying my 2nd|
Bloody Mary to some live jams.
We arrived in New Orleans on the 2nd day and could only find parking in a shady, (not as in "out of the sun" but more so as in "super ghetto"), parking garage a few blocks away from the main district. The swarms of people there were there because it seemed like the entire US Navy was celebrating a vessel, (The Queen something?). Bourbon and all other main attraction streets were swarming with men and women in white uniforms, even some that I met were from the Canadian Navy. We spent the entire day walking around, stopping in shops, trying to find "the blues" musicians New Orleans is so known for, and of course eating and drinking. I found a sweet little spot at a hidden outdoor terrace of a restaurant where a young man was playing an acoustic set of all music I loved and had a voice reminiscent to Jack Johnson. It was there that I got my first two drinks, spicy bloody mary's. Figuring that New "Awlin's" is known for its seasonings and tangy spices, it did turn out to be exceptional, with lime, celery, and long pickled green beans thrown in there for a twist.
|My dining neighbors tray of crawfish.|
Later in the day we stopped and tried some local beers, again at a different outdoor terrace at a restaurant, and it was there I tried my very first gumbo, (chicken gumbo for me as I'm allergic to shellfish). It was totally "Wow"ing for its spices. I could definitely taste the influence from the French as well as from the South. The man next to me was happily grinding away on his HUGE platter of crawfish. Having to have a picture of the main local food attraction, I introduced myself and asked if I could snap a quick shot. We got to chatting and he was there for a bowling tournament and was from, (can you believe this), Silver Spring, Maryland! He had flown from where I was born and from near where I had just driven 2 days ago. It's a small world after all…. ;)
In summary, I can't say that I found what I was searching for in New Orleans. I got to try some interesting and tasty food, (though not food I would want to eat regularly as a lot of it's super unhealthy), and I got to walk down the street carrying a beer, (which felt wrong but was right), but I couldn't find the music I had expected and the overflow of tourists/tourist traps, early drinkers/drunk people, scantily dressed transvestites, and peep show sex clubs every other door advertised by cleverly posed naked women made it a place I found to be PG-13, (totally inappropriate for kiddos), and really only great for those still in their party day prime… but hey, I wasn't crazy about Vegas either. Maybe a country/island girl should just stay in the country/islands after all.
So after our day of perfect weather and strolling through New Orleans, we got on the road to head back North stopping, (I believe somewhere in Tenn.), at a cheap and disgusting motel along the way where I wore all my clothes to go to bed and felt cleaner not showering in their shower. The next day with Jun on the phone and my numerous cups of coffee and Lono as my worthless co-pilot, (he literally slept the ENTIRE way), we made it back to my brother and sister's farm at around 2 a.m.
I was very happy for the experience and got to knock that part of the South of the list, but like I said, New Orleans is just not the place for me, (although I did stock up on hot sauces, funky foods, and a groovy mardi gras mask)… Lono and I did thoroughly enjoyed being tourists for a day.
Adventures back "home" to come as we visit family and friends, go for hikes and drives and rock out at a concert on the East Coast. Stay tuned!
***Enjoy more pictures from our first few days on the East coast below. Start by going to the VERY TOP and clicking on the green pasture, then scroll through the images blown up for better visibility.*** :)
|Only in West Virginia?|
|Lono takes his first bathroom break at a |
lookout in West Virginia.
|Drinking a brew in the streets definitely felt bizarre.|
|My first gumbo ever. Yum Yum!|
|Yep, we even saw this too... YIKES!|
|Lono's favorite look-a-like ass! They even had similar markings and|
harness wear! They totally hung out and smelled each other...
|Me and my bubbles...|
|More of Lono's favorite mule.|
|Looking both ways before crossing the street. :)|
|Driving back over the bridge from New Orleans, it was a|
Love and Aloha,