Surviving New Orleans: Day One

Good evening, readers! Matthew here.
I would like to start by welcoming you to another adventure with your favorite virtual travel companions, the Pearons.

This year, our adventure is leading us to the southern half of the United States, to a place of many names. A few of the names we’ve run across: The Crescent City, The Birthplace of Jazz, The City that Care Forgot, Paris of the South, NOLA, N’erlins (thanks, Ryan Gosling), The Big Easy — among others. Whatever you want to call it, we’re headed to New Orleans, Louisiana.

Our route isn’t quite as direct as I generally like to make them because we were invited to attend a wedding in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, Oct.13. Most of our time today was spent between solid and dashed lines painted on asphalt … I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ll include a few photos throughout this post.

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We stopped in Springfield, Mo. to see Valeri’s cousin, Beth and her two kids, Miles and Hazel.
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The biggest event today was a pre-wedding celebration that I’ll touch on in just a bit — but first, a rant.

I might offend some people here (please don’t hate me), but Texas has just never been on my personal list of dream travel destinations. For whatever reason, I’ve just never had the desire to spend much time (or any time, honestly) in the Lone Star State. I’m not sure if it is the Southern Drawl, the oversized trucks, the endless Longhorn emblems, the “everything is bigger and better in Texas” attitude or some other nonsensical reason I developed in my brain — I just haven’t really wanted to see Texas.

You’re angry with me, right? I get it. I’ve just insulted a massive number of extremely decent people for absolutely no reason. Well, dear reader, stick with me for a bit and allow me the opportunity to undo that offense.

Are you ready for it?

I was wrong.

Yes, I actually said it. Texas is just fine.

The people we’ve encountered here have been as pleasant and welcoming as any person could hope to be. I offer two simple examples to support my statement:
1. The host of our stunning Airbnb has been one of the best we’ve interfaced with. Very responsive, full of local tips and nice things to say. The apartment is furnished well enough that I’m actually a bit sad to have to move on from it in the morning.
2. As part of the pre-wedding celebration, Valeri and I were welcomed into the beautiful home of people we had never met — but were greeted like we had been friends for years. A big smile and a plate of food is probably the quickest way to my heart, and these people attacked on both fronts.

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Valeri and her mother, Joy, during the pre-wedding celebrations.

Are you okay with me now? If not, it’s okay; maybe I’ll grow on you throughout the rest of the blog entries. Worst case, read every other entry, because Valeri and I take turns writing these things.

We have another full day in Texas before moving on to Louisiana. It will consist of some quick exploration of Dallas, a wedding and hopefully lots of good food.  Check back tomorrow for more updates!

For more photos, check out our PhotoStream.

“How did you fall in love with New Orleans?”
“At once, madly.  Looking back, sometimes I think it was predestined.”

   – Andrei Codrescu

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