Here we are on our second whirlwind week in the Hot Zone. Although we have a PO Box, we have yet to receive mail, which makes us suspicious because of the ineptitude of this place. At least two mistakes are made per transaction. The weather has gone from the cool 80's to the high 90's with an average humidity of 85%. That's hot, but there are fewer cars and less pollution here than in Boston. The people are much friendlier and more laid back here as well.
Bohemia lives! It feels like San Francisco in the early 1980's. No matter where we are or how we dress we feel comfortable. There is always some one weirder walking in the other direction.
We have visited a number of different neighborhoods. It is still possible to buy into semi-gentrified neighborhoods around here so we've been looking around.
We live in a small apartment in a semi-renovated, semi-gutted complex surrounded by ornate albeit rusty iron gates. It's Spanish style design with a little grassy courtyard in the middle. Looking out the window, you can see large green bugs crawling up the side of a neighboring building. They are tiny chameleons! There are also palm trees and bright tropical flowers the size of your hand.
There is also the look, and smell of decay and poverty everywhere, even in the richest sections of the city. It is like a Banana Republic. There is enough monoculture here to make things quite familiar: Coffee Shops, Walgreens, McDonalds, and enough decadence to keep the Bible Belts at bay.
Louisiana is Bible Belt but New Orleans is the underside! Some pho-european outback where every one goes to let down their hair and hide from their real lives. But of course there are people living full time here too from yuppies to gutter punks. It's small enough so that we're beginning to recognize people on the streets.
I hope you are doing well. Say hello to the family.