Sunday, April 24, 2011

Finding myself again, in the South

After San Antonio, we made our way down to Corpus Christi. I'd heard many things about Corpus, so I was excited to experience it. Since my uncle lives there, we got to stay for a few days and really check it out.

The aircraft carrier USS Lexington is there, a museum now. But it was quite interesting being on it, imagining this vessel of destruction in action. How many lives it had taken. How many spared. What capacity we have as humans, for war, for battle, for ingenuity. And how our curiosity is never abated.

We spent a lot of time at the beach. I hadn't been to the gulf since high school. It seemed saltier than the Pacific. Luckily the water was perfect, and we got to swim. We also got sand in our faces because the winds in Corpus are notorious. Apparently it's the place for wind sports.

The birding there was rather fantastic as well. I am so unfamiliar with water birds, so it was really cool to get out the books and the binoculars and have at it. The funniest birds are the Laughing Gulls because, of course, they truly sound like they are laughing. Every time I stepped outside and heard them, I'd question myself just a little- like what are they laughing at? Did I forget something? Did I miss something? They're in on the cosmic joke. And I'm not. Oh how lovely to be near them. We also saw them mating. Quite the hilarious ritual. I'd love to learn more about those birds. There were also many other types of gulls, herons, sandpipers, pelicans, and many more.

After taking a day to rest and do laundry and all the other mundane necessities, I was beyond ready to be sleeping outdoors again. I missed the moon and the stars and the sunrises and the sunsets. I'm starting to think of the tent as "home"- an interesting phenomenon.

My uncle gave me a GPS- something I never thought I'd have, but which has turned out to be very useful. We've used it every day since then, and although I was a bit resistant to the idea before having one, it's actually saved time and money. So we followed it into Bay City, TX, where we didn't spend much time at all, but did camp next to a swamp with the loudest wildlife I have ever heard. It was beautiful. All night long I felt like I was dreaming in a swampy symphony. What music! From there, we headed to a state park outside of Lake Charles. This one is also in the swamp land. The area was great, but the campsites weren't. Also, it turns out everyone goes to state parks for holiday weekends. We'd forgotten Easter was soon (it's hard to keep track of time like this), and so we could only stay one night because everything was booked. Other than the mosquitoes (I was eaten alive), it was nice.

We ended up asking around about other places to camp because none of the RV parks allowed tents, and all the state parks were booked. We were informed of a parish park. These are not listed on maps or the internet or anything, but apparently they are gems. Camping was $4 per night, and there were fewer people there. So- when in Louisiana, ask around for the parish parks.

And yesterday we rolled into Lafayette to visit my former and much admired French professor. We all went out to dinner at this delicious Indian place that had so many vegan options on the menu. It was so good. And our visit was so lovely as well.

Today we head just outside of New Orleans to meet up with some friends for a few days.

It's really interesting being back in the south. In Texas, I was catching the southern drawl, and here the accent is just intriguing- the whole creole thing. I want to ask people to keep talking just so I can revel in their accents. The humidity is really awesome. I'd missed it. Although I didn't miss feeling like I needed 5 showers per day. The mosquitoes are wretched, but I've learned my lesson with them. The trees and birds are exciting too.

It's time to hit the road, so more later. Love to everyone.

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