Please stop feeding me

Hot tea causes passive aggression in the South.

Christ, this isn't how it works. You put the bag IN the mug.
Christ, this isn’t how it works. You put the bag IN the mug.

And I don’t care how eccentric your city is, this is just wrong:Collage 2015-11-15 20_14_53

Where are we–day three? I’ve lost my place. I’m going to try to combine all the things into one post without making this a novel. *cracks knuckles*

I think the itinerary for day three stated, “Why do one plantation when you can do three?!” But the hijinx from the night before slowed our roll quite a bit, and we were lucky to even get one in.

I present to you (1) Oak Alley

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(Props to Alex for letting me use a real camera for an afternoon and sharing her pics with me to post for your enjoyment.)

And (2) Ligia, the cutest birthday girl ever.

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And can I talk about my awesome brother for a minute? I am so grateful for our relationship–we tease each other, we tell each other the hard truth, we say things at the same time. We laugh a LOT. We’re lucky.

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Also awesome is the fact that Alex totally caught us in the act of taking a selfie…

#caught
I should feel shame, but I don’t.

Now, for Ligia’s birthday dinner, Little brother got a reservation at a Brazilian joint called Churra’s right outside the city. We were running late, so Little brother called to let them know. And thank god…

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Phew! Glad they didn’t give the table to someone else. For realz though, it was good! The guy carving the meat was the nicest, happiest person cooking and slicing meat I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. Also, we damn near wrecked ourselves with the buffet situation there. We consumed a lot of food. Good lord.

***

Speaking of food, our last full day in Nola was not for the average eater.

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You name it, we ate it. Even though we shared family style, we were in a world of hurt by the end of the day. I’m super impressed by the hollow leg each Colombian is carrying around. I have no idea where they put the food. I, on the other hand, will be recovering for quite some time.

***

So New Orleans is pretty badass. I love that all of our party stayed within three short blocks of each other and met up on the sidewalk each morning with a hug and kiss on the cheek. I love that Garrett gets excited about the courtyards and history of this little city and shared all of it with me, bypassing staff in some cases to show me little gems around each corner.

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In truth, Bourbon Street is not my speed. There’s no way I could do Mardi Gras. No way. I know my limits when it comes to crowds. The rest of it, however, is great and a lot to take in. Looks like I’ll have to go back to further my education.

And then there was the trolley ride where Ligia sat behind Little brother and me and was verbally abused by a crazy lady, who, incidentally, is a tour guide in Nola–we don’t know where, so luck of the draw getting that tour, I guess. The crazy lady went on and on and on and on about what a mess this country is and how she’s going to move to Scotland. Little brother and I texted the conversation to each other in real time and giggled like 12-year-old girls. And poor Ligia knew exactly what we were doing.

Mostly her words. A little commentary from me.
Mostly her words. A little commentary from me.

On the last night, we took the Voodoo Bone Lady Haunted Tour, which was great. If you watched season 3 of American Horror Story, you’ll appreciate the true Lalaurie house of horrors. If you haven’t heard of this, go read up on it and give yourself nightmares.

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***

I want to take a moment and give a shout out to all of the people I shared this experience with. Alex and Garrett, you are fun and gregarious and welcomed me with open arms. Ligia Sr., you are a good sport–you stayed up late with us every night, and walked around with us every day. You’re a sweetheart, and if I knew how to say any of this in Spanish, I would. Ligia, thank you for having a destination birthday and for taking good care of my brother. You are an incredible woman, and I love you so much. And Michael, I’m sorry my Venn diagram from the earlier post disappointed you. But I’m so happy I got to take a vacation with you.

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An ass shot at a classy museum. Again, I should feel shame. But I don’t.

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xoxo

Zebra does not fit zee political conversation

The premise of this Nola trip is to celebrate my sister in law’s birthday. But Little brother’s itinerary definitely has me in mind. On day two, we headed to the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, LA, for a safari tour. I  didn’t think much of it until we drove onto the grounds and had to wait for antelope to cross the road. Then I was all…

About to board the safari tour, and I’m suddenly an 8 year old giddy with excitement.

GWC hosts these wagon tours around their 900-acre grounds a few times a day. You can pay extra for feed for the animals. Little brother and I obviously chose to get an embarrassingly large sack of feed for this 90-minute tour. No pellet was spared.

Ligia and me surely discussing something of deep importance. Also, the weather was crap because I’m here.

As the tour begins, it’s fascinating to see animals walk across fields and right up to the wagon to receive food. According to the guide, visitor feedings are the sole source of provided food in the warmer months.

🎶 I’m in heaven 🎶

“You’ve got a little something there between your teeth…”
Baby zebra, one week old and clever enough to snag his own food cup.

The giraffes were jerks and wouldn’t come over to see us. But I learned you can take a private tour in a jeep and drive all over the grounds. So when I come back, the giraffes won’t stand a chance.

So what does one do after a safari tour in Louisiana? Go eat Thai with natives is, of course, the answer.

When I think about this trip, I think of a Venn diagram:


Little brother married Ligia. Her sister is married to Garrett, a native. I’m a hot mess bouncing around the page. I think that’s an accurate description. Also, I suck at Venn diagrams, so leave me alone.

But when we had dinner with two local couples, Little brother and Ligia knew them. Fancy that! And while all of the couples discussed trips to Fiji and New Zealand and Alaska, I wondered whether I’d be feeling up to driving all the way to the grocery store when I get home.

                          ***

Back in the French Quarter, we were ready to get our drink on after a long day of petting zebras. We could hear the bar pumping out music at the end of the block and Garrett suggested a first drink in their apartment.

(For a pretty good idea of the bar down the street, listen to THIS. Little brother and I start in with this pretty regularly, much to Ligia’s chagrin.)

We never left the apartment.

Colombians are adorable and tiny–I know three, so I’m pretty well versed in Colombians. Little brother and I are large and oafish in their adorable tiny world. So when Ligia slammed her cup down after tossing back her first drink, I looked down at my full cup and was impressed. After the second drink, she started gesticulating and getting passionate about something. Paper towels? I don’t know. But that’s when Garrett cleverly diverted the conversation toward politics like some topic ninja.

So I tossed my drink back and thought, “I’m goin’ in.”

I would say the conversation got heated, but I think it was really just Ligia. She adorably pointed and slurred in her Colombian accent. Garrett volleyed back and forth with her. A couple of locals left a bar nearby to say hi. We flatlined their buzz in 13 seconds. Little brother was sitting next to me, texting funny things being said. I drank rum like my life depended on it and texted cryptic things back. Ligia and Alex’s mom politely sat beside me, taking it all in and understanding God only knows how much of the debate.




Drunken selfies–good for stopping political conversations 20 seconds at a time.

And my favorite shot of the night–Northern liberal considers Southern conservative:

The conversation was fun and enlightening. I think the entire nation should sit back with some Malibu and get a funny dialog going. Because at the end of the day, when you clear all the bs from the table, our basic values are the same. And geographically, our experiences are so vastly different. We need to listen to each other and not whatever windbag has the podium. Because I don’t know jack about the oil refineries down the road, but Garrett does.

Our North-South delegation ended around 3 am, when the Oreos and mixer ran out. And Ligia, three hours into her birthday, and Little brother and I walked up the center of Royal St. to our respective landing spots for a light slumber. This was definitely not on the itinerary, but exactly the evening I wanted to have.

Making a pig’s ear out of Nola on day one 

I’m pretty much the last person in the world to visit New Orleans, so I can’t dazzle you with the unknown like I can when I drive all over Canada. Because I know you’re dazzled by that. 

We’re in New Orleans to celebrate my sister in law’s birthday. We’ve got a cast of characters, and we’re staying in separate places in the thick of the French quarter. 

Little brother, bless his heart, made an itinerary for this trip. This is part of what I love about my brother–our extreme differences. So, where I put gas in the car and pretty much just drive to Canada, my brother sends our rag tag group a full-out plan, complete with highlights, colored fonts, and links.  

It’s hard to believe, but we are related.

But Little brother should have remembered that 2015 has been the year of miserably rainy vacations for Mill Girl. So we’re already rejiggering some of our plans. 

By late afternoon of day one, I had already had a Separator in a gay bar and attended a bacon happy hour. So kudos to our local guides Alex and Garrett for instant magic.    

  

I don’t think it gets much classier than this.
 
For dinner, we went to Root, an upscale farm-to-table operation. Now, the problem is, I’m sitting next to this guy:  

Garrett is Trouble. Yes, that’s a capital t.

So when the kitchen sent out a complimentary amuse bouche…  

 
Garrett looked at the size of it and made it clear his bouche was not amused. “We’ll be looking for a cheeseburger later on,” he mused. 

And it did appear that way at first. We ordered all but one main course and did it up family style. Dishes were small and respectable. Luckily, I’m not interested in blood sausage, so more for everyone else. 

Now, I’m not going to lie–I’m one of those terrible carnivores who loves meat but doesn’t want it to resemble its former animal self. I don’t eat meat off the bones, and I don’t ever want a fish eye looking back at me from my plate. So I had inner turmoil over the crispy pig ear plate. I was down with “crispy” and “pig.”  “Ear,” however, was disconcerting. And it was definitely a fried ear, cut into ribbons, on a plate. Sigh. But I tried it. And it was pretty good. Now I need to move on with life and not keep seeing the larger portion of pig ear that was on the plate–the part that clearly connected to the rest of the pig. 

In addition to being a bad carnivore, I’m a terrible Saturday night Nola tourist. I’m still not over daylight savings time, and I’m an hour behind here. So after dinner, it was going on 11 pm Mill Girl time. With travel, it had been a long day. So we all said our good nights and parted ways. I’m hanging out in a sweet little apartment, which I’ll write more about later. I’ll just leave you with this for now: