We woke up in our pricey rented tent, and began the long process of getting everything back into a car. Loading snakes back in the can. There is a lot to see in this city, and it wasn't terribly clear where to start. I'm not a Professor of Tourist Destinations, so we decided to get on some bikes and just see what happens.
Cruising around with a dog is always nearly an issue, but a real problem has not yet developed. We didn't plan ahead for any way to get Daisy to join us on bicycles, but I managed to work it out with no great difficulty. I have a pannier along. I stuffed a sleeping bag and jacket in the bottom, and Daisy was able to peer out the top. We rigged up a system of straps and a binder clip, and we were on our way to town with a tiny dog riding sidecar.
People write whole books about what to do in New Orleans. I didn't write any of those books, and I didn't read one either. It's more my style to just show up and loaf around a bit. Walk in some circles and peer around corners. Maybe turn over a stone in the process.
Finally, the temperature was rising. My winter-addled attitude began to improve in earnest. Cruising at nine miles an hour with my girls - a waft of air billowed memories of Key West into my nozzle, and I felt genuinely happier and more at ease than I can remember. Here I am. I'm on vacation and I'm getting away with something. I'm late to work, or I quit my job. I'm skipping school, and I snuck into the movie theater. I don't need to be anywhere at any time. My life philosophy is to aim for an existence of wasting time with impunity. For this moment I've attained it. I'm wearing shorts. Everything is a-ok.
We got beignets at the famous place that sells them. We walked around the ancient crumbly cemetery, and watched some great busking feat. three trombones, a banjo, a sousaphone (thank god) and at least a guitar or two. A repertoire of predictable classics, served saucy and loose. Tons of people want your money. Every other person in New Orleans wants to get your dollar bill. Some people want to buy booze, and others promise they won't. Some claim hunger, and others seek compensation for performance. It's all great. It's all good enough.
I could move here easy - I could see myself quitting the north and posting up here with cheap rent and loud music. To call the atmosphere relaxed doesn't quite cover it.
I could stay forever, or continue down the road. We made a half-hearted attempt to find a couch to surf on, but ultimately decided to revisit this place another time. Cooler temperatures were forecast, and the road to California is a long one. We have business to attend to. Matters of the highway...