Saturday, August 20, 2011

The beginning of my German-American roadtrip!

I made the decision to leave San Francisco (thank you for being one of the best cities in the world!) for Austin, Texas. After two and a half marvelous days investigating the city by foot and kayak with Michelle I met up with two Germans, one of whom I met on the BART, which is San Francisco's version on the underground metro; Arvid had overheard a discussion my friends and I were having regarding vegetarianism, and after talking for ten minutes or so, he tentatively invited me to join his caravan back to Boston. After this encounter, we kept in touch for a couple of weeks, and it was starting to seem like I was not going to be able to coordinate my schedule to meet up with him and his friend Daniel, as they went off through New Mexico, while I was still in San Francisco.

Arvid and Daniel are 25 and 23 respectively, and are friends from their involvement in Germany's Green party, which is a progressive party with roots in environmentalism and social justice. Arvid has spent the last year studying for his Masters degree in Cambridge, MA, and Daniel is studying special education in Germany. They are similar, but different, with Arvid being more rational, and Daniel being a bit more radical. They have a strange fascination with American flags, and the white minivan we're riding already has five! They have matching high-quality suede cowboy hats, though Daniel wears his much more than Arvid does.

We drove from Austin to Houston, where we stayed in a newly-founded young professionals co-op. It was great to see such a ripe, respectful community, and to hear that they have people on their waiting list. After checking out a house in Houston that is tastefully decorated with beer cans (yes, believe it! - the owner spent 20 long years decorating his home), we drove off to New Orleans, aka N'awlins. We took the coastal roads, passing oil rigs and refineries, beaches and grasslands. We drove through lightening storms, and ate fried shrimp at Gigi's, as per the recommendation of the ferry operator.

It was so comforting to arrive at my brother Frank's new place in New Orleans. He just moved here a few weeks ago to begin medical school, and his apartment is so clean and welcoming. We had not seen each other for three and a half months, so it was great to see him doing well in his new city.

Today the Germans and I took a trolley Downtown, and toured Bourbon Street (trashy!), the French Quarter, and a few other parts. We visited the Superdome, which is where the survivors of Katrina stayed soon after the disaster. Later in the evening, we met up with my brother, and went to a creole restaurant, which was not as good as Frank remembered it, though the Fried Alligator was actually tasty, not much different from fried calamari. We then stepped into a few of NOLA's famous music establishments to hear some bands play; though we did not know any of the bands, a couple of them blew us away with their energy and skill.

Unfortunately, we have to leave New Orleans for Birmingham in the morning, since Arvid needs to return to Boston for the start of his classes. I wish we could have more time to explore these incredible locations, but to be positive, I reckon that a taste is better than never tasting at all. I have the option to stay behind at my brother's for as long as I want in New Orleans, but I think I'd feel a bit too much solitude without any company during the day, even though I very much need to make decisions regarding Spain and my next steps. Despite this serious source of stress, I will try to enjoy each day, regardless of what happens next. A la prochaine!


Sanaz Arjomand said...

one of the other apprentices moved here from new orleans, and has a lot of love for it. maybe we'll visit it together one day! do you think a stop in/near asheville is in your future, miss jet-setter?

Lauren Frances Moore said...

you're the coolest! you guys have a place to stay in DC if you need it ;) for real!!