You know, I may not be so enamored with the Deep South as I am with the sun. After freezing my toes at the barn last week, we got into New Orleans late Monday night and as soon as we left the airport we were hit with warm, humid air, like being in a sauna that wasn't turned up all the way. Tuesday morning we got up to 80 degree weather and our daughter spent the whole morning at the pool with some kids her age she met from the hotel. Don't get me wrong, I still don't enjoy being directly in the sun, I just enjoy seeing it. I like to be in the shade with the sun next to me. Actually being in the direct sun makes me feel bad pretty quickly for some reason. I may be part vampire. And since it has been established during my riding lessons with Toad that I may also be part thoroughbred (because I understand Toad so well, but I am also high-strung and when inundated with too much information all at once my mind tends to shut down ... something trainers call "a thoroughbred moment") ... anyway, it appears that I am actually a "vampire thoroughbred". Which would fit in just fine in New Orleans.
Since we were tired from getting in late - and a long day of traveling on Monday - Tuesday was our day to not do much and also for me and my husband to catch up on some work that we hadn't finished before we left. Luckily, I was able to finish mine, get it emailed to my boss, get his changes, give my approval on them and now I'm done. My husband is not so lucky and still has some code left to write on his project. Poor guy. In the afternoon we went out shopping for a birthday present for our nephew who just turned two and to pick up some dinner and some groceries to have around the hotel. Whole Foods deli section is a totally different experience down here. For dinner we had jambalaya, chicken/andouille sausage gumbo (to rival my mom-in-law's) chicken and dumpling soup and jalapeno corn bread. They also had lobster bisque, squash bisque, shrimp ettouffee and crab scampi. Wow. We also found a good local radio station which is good because I left our iPod adapter at home on accident.
My husband does not understand why I like it down here so much. Or maybe he understands it but doesn't believe I would like living here. And I wouldn't like living in New Orleans proper because I'm not a big-city girl (obviously!) and the crime is much worse than in Seattle. Although if you look at the latest crime statistics Seattle is actually getting up there. The crime rate is now higher than New York City and Los Angeles and rivaling Chicago. Of course, that could be because the general attitude in Seattle seems to have become feeling sorry for and giving big hugs to criminals is the thing to do. But at the same time don't talk about being Christian because that is not politically correct - which I at least tend to equate being super-soft on crime and letting people walk all over you being an outcropping of misunderstanding Christianity. But then Seattle culture no longer makes sense to me.
I think that a lot of what my husband doesn't like down here that he thinks would bother me is the racism. But after growing up in Seattle I actually find people being open about being racist easier to deal with than the closed-door-racism (and hypocrisy regarding racism) in the Pacific NW. Plus, Seattle is so segregated! It's always a bit of a shock to come down here and realize once again how incredibly segregated Seattle is. Where we currently live is kind of like a weird little pocket of many different ethnic groups but it is still all white Americans and many immigrants from all over. So, that to me is a huge relief to be in a area that is not so segregated.
I do love where we live right now though and I love my new friends and neighbors. I just really like the sun, the music, the food, the culture being so much more laid back down here in New Orleans. Even thought I don't drink I am amused to no end how you can buy a daiquiri at the zoo and get a to-go cup for your drink if you haven't finished it. Although, I imagine living down here that might irritate me after awhile. But I wouldn't live in the city - I would live in Mandeville or Covington. I also wouldn't live in Metairie where we are right now because it's not "pretty" enough. And actually Metairie feels too much like a city for me too even though technically it's the suburbs. I need to be in the rural suburbs where neighbors have cows and horses and you see coyote in your back yard.
Although, my sister-in-law's house is really nice and they are really close to a big park. Plus, I just adore her and her family. My parents-in-law are ... difficult at best. But they seem a lot more relaxed this trip and I think it is because they are finally selling their house in Charlotte, NC and moving back here which I think will end up being incredibly good for them.
I need to get off my butt and go work out before we head out to Covington, LA for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm hoping Cousin Darra's friend, Ellie is there again this year. She has a wildlife sanctuary on her land and rehabilitates hurt wild animals and is so incredibly cool. She lives around the corner from Darra and we got to go see some of her animals when we were here two years ago. And Saturday we get to go to Cousin Debbie's who lives in the swamp and my daughter is very impressed that you can go out onto the docks in their back yard and see gators.
Of course, the only other thing that would make this vacation perfect is if all our pets were down here. I miss our kittens, the pitbull and the horses - especially Toadie because we've been coming so far in our work together. Sigh. Trainer K. texted and said it's so nasty outside Toad hasn't been out to pasture in four days but that "Toad hasn't killed her yet so things must be going ok".
Here's a little test to see how well you'd survive down here. Can you find the gator in this photo?