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…
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.
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.
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.