A southern gentleman who settles bar tabs by writing, I live in a townhouse in Harlem owned by a celebrated milliner and his English partner.
Between our own inebriated antics, the tom foolery of our cat and dog, Ferris and Fergus, and the world we live in, I thought it something wise to share.
I cannot recall the last time my head hit the pillow at 9:30pm. Nothing is more luxurious to me than that. Well, waking up in the middle of the night with a cool breeze sweeping through my room and the crash of waves heard in the distance is equally lucullan, I must admit.
I just spent five gloriously relaxing days in Tulum, Mexico to celebrate Abigail and her bachelorette weekend. I have known Abigail since the halcyon days at the College of Charleston back in 1995 and both she and Claire have championed me into coming back into the fold of the deep South by buying a home in Charleston. I have been looking forward to spending quality time with two of my oldest friends for many months and to get to know the other ladies in the bridal group. I guess I need to address why in the Sam Hell I am a bridesmaid. Well, that’s just what Abby wanted so Chris Millspaugh (another one of her oldest guy friends) and I were asked to be a part and I am honored, and happy to throw a kink in staid wedding traditions.
Nick and Abby welcome us with beer, naturally.
Now that she is getting married we had to celebrate in a big way and I am very appreciative that she chose Tulum over some wild weekend in some other popular hen party destination.
Claire, Abigail and I met at the chaotic Cancun airport where we rented our cars post haste and then bobbled down the 307 on the coast of the Playa de Carmen towards Tulum, about a two hour drive. I have never traveled with these two dames before (amazingly) but I had no doubt all would be fine as we are equally head strong. When the Budget rental chap brought around two cars that were on empty, telling us that is all he had it was if the Indian Goddess Kali erupted from both of them. The agent quickly saw the fire he had conjured up in both of them and quickly appeared with at least one car with a full tank. I just sat back and watched him fumble against two hot headed and incredible lawyers.
I have been hearing about Tulum for several years now as it is the fashionable new spot for New York’s hippest and earthiest. Sure enough as soon as we arrived in the small, dusty town I started seeing Ray-Ban’s, Ooops – I erased the name of the shoe (?) - check its' spelling. and Tom’s shoes in every direction. But it was a good thing. It is nice to see New Yorkers actually relax. Nobody was an iPhone zombie.
We arrived at Tita Tulum around 4pm and check-in consisted of some random man giving us a key to cabana 2 (El Jaguar!). We didn’t even look at the room before we had thrown shoes into the sand, yanked off socks and ran to the beach to behold the splendor. And splendor it was - palm trees as far as the eye could see, thatched roof cabanas peeking out here and there and in front of us the pantone perfection of azure blue.
We met up with Abigail’s brother Nick and his hysterical girlfriend Lisa, both living in New York, grabbed beer, and left unpacking for another time. They had arrived the day before and had kindly booked a table at Zammas for dinner.
We watched the sunset and then headed by car to the restaurant near the top of the trendy Tulum beach. I have never been anywhere quite like Tulum. Once you turn onto a main road there must be 50-60 hotels next to each other, each with only 8-10 rooms, some tent lodges, some luxury and most just quaint eco lodges. We sat outside and ordered drinks pronto. Abigail was excited to order a whole fish but the waiter said it was too late. “Mañana,” he deadpanned. ‘Mañana’ would be our favorite word during our stay.
After dinner we were all a bit weary after a day of travel so we drove back to Tita and passed out. Vacation mode was in effect.
I woke up at 6am, threw on a caftan and stumbled to the beach where I sat on the sand and saluted the sun as it crept up over the ocean. Kids were already out playing and dogs were waking and going on morning expeditions. My favorite part of the morning was watching a svelte Latino hippy jog past in his shorts and in a trance. All of a sudden he looked to his right and saw the sun rising and stopped and began jumping up in down, hands raised in the air, welcoming Apollo to Tulum. He was truly happy, excited and honored to be a part of such a ceremony and I was equally touched to watch.
After an hour I decided to get some work done before starting my day so I packed computer and phone and headed to the Tita restaurant (also the lobby, also check in, also hang out) and plugged in and got to work for another hour until Claire joined me for breakfast. The rest of the crew had booked a Scuba adventure that morning so we were on our own. (I tried to book with them but the diver kept asking me for a .24 cent deposit and I was leery, so I decided to see how their’s was before booking).
We then took a long stroll up the beach and checked out some of the other lodges dotting the beach. We fell in love with Shambala with its' all white buildings and giant painting of Ganesh on one wall. Their yoga studio was all glass and looked out over the beach. We would be coming back that evening. When the heat became too much we stopped at Posada Margherita for amazing watermelon, mint and basil fresh juices before heading back on the street side to see the front of the properties and to check out some of the shops.
For lunch we went next door to Coqui Coqui. This is the epicenter of coolness in Tulum, constantly featured in Vogue, Departures and others, we were excited to be located next door to see the action. Claire and I sat outside on a huge divan and watched all the skinny girls and guys smoke cigarettes and sporting their Tom Ford shades while drinking gallons of wine. Yep, chic happens! We had yet another seriously fresh and fantastic meal of ceviche and tacos. It was one of those lunches I will remember forever for it’s beauty, simplicity and our hipster, mulletted, harem pant wearing waiter.
Once back we chilled on the beach and later went back to Shambala Petit Hotel for a serene yoga class. With all the windows open and palm trees growing through the studio and through the roof we zenned out over the ocean watching little kiddies run around naked in the waves, dogs trail their owners and clouds passing by. That is the way yoga should be done!
After class we met up with the rest of our group and they were a little peeved over their unorganized dive, even though they ended up having a great time. Claire and I spotted a dive sign next to Tita so I went over there and knocked on a hut. A tall and handsome guy came out and said he would be happy to take me cave diving the following day. I left him a deposit and we decided to rendezvous at 11:30am the next morning. His name was Joaquin and I was a happy diver.
That night Abby and Nick’s cousins Courtney and Brodie arrived and our gang was complete. We headed to a spot called La Zebra for dinner where we had a riotous evening. Once again Abigail tried to order a whole fish and once again she was denied. I finally popped a gasket and calmly told Manuel that, ‘Mañana’ was not an option and a fish was to be delivered to Abby tonight. He sighed explaining it would take 50 whole minutes, we said that is the perfect amount of time for cocktails and ceviche. He relented and cracked a smile. He knew we had him. The rest of the night he was known as, ‘Mañana Manuel’ and he cracked up too many times to count. After getting rather sauced we headed back to Tita and Claire and I passed out at 10pm and the rest of the crew went to Hartwood to book our table for the following night.
This morning I woke up at 6:30. Slept in! Again I saluted the morning sun, worked a tiny bit (it is the weekend after all) and we all rallied and went to breakfast at another yoga lodge to check out their scene. I love how you can stay at one little lodge and just bounce around all the rest for breakfast, lunch, dinner and yoga.
At 11:45 Joaquin came to find me on the beach and we headed out on our adventure. He is from Argentina and has been in Tulum for a year and a half with his girlfriend. She runs the front desk at a private yoga retreat and he takes people diving daily. They live in a hut on the beach half the size of my bedroom and are happy as can be. How refreshing.
The entire dive trip seemed straight out of a Wes Anderson movie to me. Joaquin is tall, skinny, monotone and very funny. He looked at me after we got in the van and said, “So we have another guest, he is German.” Then he shrugged, turned on the ignition and barreled out of the parking lot. Sure enough at the dive center there was a very eager looking German waiting for us. I could only imagine how this would pan out.
We got our dive gear organized and headed to the first cenote (underwater river systems found in this area) near the ocean that is half salt water and half fresh water and located amidst the mangroves. It was surreal. We strapped on our gear and headed in. As soon as we plunged in the German’s mask fogged up. He spit and spit and spit in it and kept complaining how he didn’t have enough spit to defog the mask. At one point Joaquin looked at him and deadpanned, “Man you are going to dry out.” I thought I was going to pop my wet suit I laughed so hard. But the German continued until the mask was a mini spittoon. The dive was beautiful and very therapeutic. Gazing up at the mangrove roots with the sun dancing between them, illuminating small schools of fish and several big tarpon. I always forget what a joy being underwater can be, just observing, not talking, just hearing your breath and soaking in the surreal surroundings.
Our next dive was at Grand Cenote and it was a serious cave dive. Joaquin mapped out or dive and showed us a map as to where we would be going, Cenote dos Ojos or ‘The Two Eyes’ was the name of the area we would be exploring. It was a hard trek with a tank on your back and very steep steps down to the cave but we made it, plunged in and luckily for us the German had coughed up enough crud to keep his mask fog free. We descended into a truly magical place. I felt as if I had entered Neptune’s palace. Stalactites, stalagmites, ‘soda straws’ as Joaquin called the smaller points hanging from the ceiling were everywhere. We turned on our flashlights to enter the cave and as would only happen to the poor German, his flashlight failed. So I had to follow him to light his way as Joaquin was in front with a super sized light. I bubbled out a sigh and carried on.
About ten minutes in, Joaquin pointed up and we ascended into what I would soon discover was a bat cave. Once I was oriented I heard hundreds of squeaky balls and had fatherly thoughts of Fergus and his favorite loud toy. Then I saw one bat swan dive down and then I realized there were hundreds. How exciting! I shone my light on one and watched him preen, fidget, squeak and then fly away, righting himself from dangling upside down.
There was a small hole in the top of the cave where they would dart in and out and we all just floated on our backs and watched in delight as the little darlings would twirl about doing whatever bats do. The German fidgeted with his camera most of the time.
The next opening was the other ‘eye’ of our adventure and it was where all of the snorkelers come to take a gander from above. I thought I had entered Neptune’s disco as all of them were above us twirling their flashlights into the dark trying to catch a glimpse of something extraordinary. I did have to have a moment as I spaced out on one big bootyed girl who I don’t think had ever touched water before. Her entire body was rattling around like a Maraca and witnessing her jiggle was worth paying for. Hooter’s should invest in a water tank!
We made our way back through the mysterious passages back to the first cave where we all floated up in silence and just took everything in. I think even Joaquin finds religion in those cave dives even though he goes there almost daily. I can see why the Mayans were so attracted to them eons ago.
After the second dive we were famished so Joaquin drove us back to the dive shop and we wandered into dusty little Tulum’s city center and ordered quesadilla’s off the street. I had a pollo and a zucchini flower one. Those little Mamacita’s with neon eye shadow took my taste palate to another level. Get it girls! When I got back to Tita I gave Joaquin a hand shake and a hug and we parted ways. He mentioned he is trying to get to Zanzibar to teach diving there; I wish him the very best of luck.
I regrouped with the crew and didn’t have much time to change before it was time for our big night out. We booked at Hartwood across the street and it is the hippest place to dine. We arrived at 6pm and the place was already poppin. We were seated and the drinks began flowing. Lisa had brought a bag of ‘Pecker Whistles’, something to embarrass the bride to be, and doled them out to all of us. She tried to give one to the hostess but she declined, “Oh I have plenty!” she said with a laugh.
Tonight’s meal ranks up there as one of the best in memory. Everything is cooked on a wood burning fire that roars nearly 24/7. Abby saw a whole fish on the menu and was hell bent on having another so she ordered that with her cousin Courtney. I ordered slow cooked rabbit empanadas and a lentil salad with mango that was sensational. Every order was special and we took turns fawning over each plate. Claire and I were the only smart ones to order dessert and the coconut ice cream and coconut cake drizzled in Mayan honey will be conjured up in our Charleston kitchens this summer for sure.
After dinner we went back to Tita for drinks in the room before heading to a full moon party at a hippy camp called Esperanza. Claire passed on the ordeal but the rest of us soldiered down the beach, the moon’s silver glow our guide (I have never in my life been anywhere with such a bright moon! Moon shadows? My new favorite thing). We heard drums so approached a small hut. Now to back up, we had been told by several people that the Pirate Party for the full moon was going to be THE party. We saw fliers for it and even Joaquin said he may stop by. Well, we entered the hut to find six half dressed dudes banging on drums and shouting at each other. No welcome, no passing of the bottle, nobody got up. Awkward! We danced around a bit and Nick banged a beer bottle on the table to add to the percussion but nobody moved, so one by one we just trailed off back to the beach in complete hysterics. What just happened we will never know but that wasn’t what we had in mind.
We laughed all the way to the next bar where we ordered Margaritas (and a Margarita pizza by accident) and recapped our bizarre encounter before heading back to Tita, some of us giving that full moon a run for it’s money, others taking pictures in abandoned boats. After such a big day I retired but the rest of the crew stayed on the beach for a late night cocktail and moon lovers dip. I did rejoin briefly as I found a huge black crab in the shower and promptly escorted him into a water pitcher and took him back to his home on the beach.
It never fails the the day before one leaves a vacation one is most relaxed and in tune with the place.
Today was utter perfection. I really slept in and rolled out of bed at 7am. I glided out to the beach for my now routine sun salutation and watched the kids running up and down the beach.
The rest of the group rallied and we headed to Casa Banana for breakfast. My fruit plate and bread and jam were delicious but it took quite some time for it to arrive. I never understand wait staff who don’t write things down. There were seven of us and you could tell our waitress couldn’t keep track, especially when we added and subtracted items from our meal (Pineapple Juice!). After about 20 minutes she brought out four plates of food and with a very pleased expression she said, “So are we missing anything?”. Poor thing - “Only a few marbles”, I wanted to say. We all busted out laughing as she missed quite a lot. But it all finally arrived.
After breakfast we said goodbye to Brodie who was flying back to the States and Claire, Abby and I drove out to the Mayan Ruins. What a treat! Not only were they fascinating to see but the iguanas lounging (and loving!) all over the park were an added bonus. But the real magic was the glittering beach below the ruins. I can’t imagine how it must have been when this was a busy port and mini metropolis. I can think of no better place to spend the day. We came prepared with bathing suits and towels so we trotted down the steep stairs to the beach and ran in the waves with abandon.
On the drive home we stopped at Anna y Jose for lunch where I ordered my first silly cocktail of the week, a massive bowl of Daiquiri. The girls ordered ceviche and I had gorgeous grouper.
The rest of the day was a blur on the beach. Another first of the week- I totally passed out, drooling and all - total bliss. I am sure the bowl of booze had something to do with it.
For the last supper we headed to Casa Jaguar where we had some seriously sensual food and drink. Too bad their septic tank needed to be emptied. Peew! And the lack of breeze brought out the bugs so on my very last night after being bug free I got three juicy bites. But it was all worth it to experience that darling little spot on our last night.
This morning I had my last sunrise on the beach and Claire and I drove out at 8am. We made a pit stop at Mateo’s for a quick breakfast. Wow! We certainly went out with a bang. They brought a bowl of fruit big enough for the town of Tulum and our egg and bacon burrito wraps were worth missing our plane for. But we didn’t! Our tummys full of happiness, we puttered back to Cancun to catch our flights back to work, back to cold, back to another world.
I was blown away by Tulum, I can see why it is such a hot spot but I am pleased to see that it doesn’t feel that way at all. I had many special moments to myself to reflect, relax and enjoy the love of being with some of my oldest and dearest friends.
I still feel like I am in a foggy dream. I think reality will soak in when I wake up in Harlem tomorrow morning. I bought a home in Charleston. A true dream come true. Last New Year’s Eve I wrote a wish and put it in the annual NYE resolution jar at Claire’s house. It read, ‘Two Years Till Charleston.’ Who knew it would happen only 11 months later?
I came down to Charleston in September to spend 12 days and to see if I truly wanted to live there part time. To feel out the neighborhoods, people, energy. To sum it up, I teared up every day with sheer happiness.
-Riding my bike down cobble stone streets with a pink sunset guiding my way - magic.
-Watching Fergus run wild in the dog park with friendly dogs, nice neighbors and cool breezes - so special.
-Sitting at Nick’s dining room table and writing, working, emailing as wind chimes gonged and the sweet smell of Coastal Carolina wafted through the house - I was home.
Just to feel out the real estate I reached out to Claire and Abigail’s real estate agent, Nancy Rehm at Century 21. We set a date to meet at Starbucks and open dialogue on what I was looking for. If you ever buy in Charleston, buy from Nancy. First of all she is an absolute Southern hoot. The things that fell out of her mouth had me exploding internally from hysterical laughter. And God help you if she turns on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal- it’s an apocalyptic hissy fit and I loved every minute of it.
She is also damn smart, savvy and held my hand through every aspect of this buy. The next day she handed me a folder of houses to look at and the first one was 118 Spring Street between Rutledge and Ashley. We drove over, parked next to a church and took a look around. Built in 1890 the home is a traditional ‘Charleston Single’. Three bedrooms, two piazzas (they aren’t called porches or balconies in old world Charleston) and lots of doors. Apparently there used to be a tax on the number of doors facing the street, so everyone built their houses long ways with one door on the front and the rest on the side.
The bay window has two panels of color blocked stained glass and the door was painted purple. I was in love although we walked into Armageddon. The home was bought by a family for their daughter to live in while going to College of Charleston but once she graduated it turned into a college kid fantasy land with four people bunking in, one in the living room turned bedroom, complete with Jameson bottles on the mantle and a rebel flag on the wall.
Student life never ceases to amaze me. In the dining room turned living room there was a mini bar fridge next to the sofa so stoners wouldn’t have to get up and go in the kitchen (the next room) to get a beer. Above the mantle in that room was a list of ‘Top Ten Quotes to Get Laid’. I kind of wish I kept it. The bathroom toilets were black with scum (that was the girls room mind you) and the garden was piled sky high with beer and wine bottles. But we saw through all that to the bones, the light, the great Magnolia seen from the back bedroom and the amazing location.
Next door is Black Bean, one of my favorite health food restaurants, across the street is Octo Batchi, an udon noodle bar, one block away is Xiao Bao Biscuit, a brand new hip Chinese restaurant opened by a couple from Brooklyn, one street away is my favorite restaurant in the world, Hominy Grill and next door to that is a Mexican bar and restaurant called Fuel, located in an old gas station.
On the west side of the house is a church. Bingo. No rowdy frat boys living next door keeping me up. And I love a tambourine shaking on a Sunday morning. This also leaves me with great views from the top floor piazza. I was hooked.
We looked at five or six more places. One old Victorian on Charlotte Street had 20 foot ceilings and ornate fireplaces in every room, but it needed so much work and was so far away from everything that it didn’t seem worth it. We looked at a couple of duplexes in old houses but for my first home I don’t want to hear heels clicking above me and to have to share a yard with who knows what.
We visited 118 again, this time Claire came too. She did a thorough inspection and was surprised at its space, condition and location. I had found my home.
I will spare you the next two months of closing procedures. They were relatively painless (Thank You SunTrust!) minus a really horrid situation with my now fired tax accountant who wouldn’t send us some paper work because ‘I am on vacation, I don’t need your money, don’t call my office again.’ Gladly!
I flew back down Thursday November 29th to close on Friday. I went to dinner with a friend at Hominy and walked by the house. Although the kids got keys to their new home four days ago they were moving out the night before I closed. It was a spin out but one of them saw us looking at the house and asked if I bought it. He was kind enough to let us come in and much to my chagrin nothing was packed or moved!
I went to bed with a bit of a yank in my stomach and woke up the day of the closing at 8am and took Fergus for a walk back over there, hiding behind a flower shop so I didn’t look like I was stalking them. Sure enough the kids were still pouring beds and sofas out of the house. The cleaning crew arrived and there was no way they could clean with so much still in there so they would come in on Saturday. But the house was glowing in the morning sun and I saw it from a new angle and with new love. Teary eyed again.
The closing went smoothly and once it was over Nancy dropped me off at the house to putter around. It was finally empty and finally mine. I walked back to Nick’s house, picked up Fergus and brought him back to explore. He is enamored with the second floor piazza where he can bask in the sun yet still hold watch over the street. I went across the street to the deli and met the owner, Charlie. He is a sweet older man and he welcomed me to the area. I bought the essentials: soap, Solo cups and beer. I was having some friends over that night to celebrate and had zero. Rodrigo came over and we cleared the trash from the front yard and sides, raked the back (with a borrowed rake from Abigail) and had a couple of beers until Abigail and Claire arrived. Abigail brought me my own rake, a tool box and a poinsettia as house warming gifts. Claire followed with champagne and wine glasses.
It was so special to spend the first evening in my first home with some of my oldest friends who I met in Charleston back in 1994. Full circle. We then went to Xiao Bao Biscuit for dinner, had a little too much to drink and then weaved back to our respective homes. My mattress would be delivered in the morning so I had to wait one night to spend the night in the new home.
Saturday was a little fuzzy but Claire and I did serious TCB. We headed out to Marshall’s home goods store and went through our list we made on a soy sauce stained napkin the previous night of everything from trash cans, comforters, pillows, bottle openers to scrub brushes, cleaning supplies and a coffee maker. We then zizzed home for the mattress delivery and darted back out to Lowe’s for ladders, light bulbs and yard bags. Once we were done I washed those sheets as fast as I could before plopping down on my new bed and taking a nap with Fergus.
That night I had dinner with Li, Punchy and Wade at Fleet’s Landing and caught a glimpse of the holiday boat parade. I can’t wait to be a part of that next year on Abigail’s boat. We then came back to 118 and broke open some bottles of wine and enjoyed a warm winter night on the piazza, my new drinking spot.
Sunday was another whirlwind. My contractor, Anthony, and his cousin Damond met me at the house at 10:30am and we dropped Fergus off at Abigail’s for a puppy play date then headed to Home Depot to figure everything out for the renovation. It is so difficult to pick out everything you need and want in such a short period of time for a place that you hope to be in for a very long time, but we did it. New sinks, faucets, tiles, lighting, gas range, paint colors (this place is going to be poppin’ with color!) and cabinets. Both Anthony and Damond are very good at what they do and had great ideas that helped narrow down choices and make the best decisions.
Once we were done with that gargantuan task we were starving. I offered to take them to lunch and they asked what I wanted. “Soul Food please”. “Anthony turned around from the drivers seat and peered over his glasses, “Oh you want soul food? I got you covered Mister Cator.” And with that he drove us to his uncle’s house where he left us waiting in the car only to return with a plastic bag for each of us filled with home cooked fried chicken, collards, dirty rice with sausage, sweet potato pie and the best damn crab cakes I have ever tasted. You show me a contractor in New York that will take you down the river of family cooked soul food.
I inhaled the crab cakes in the car and saved the rest for later where I could get nasty with it all alone. We then stopped by his dad’s restaurant where he offered us jumbo cups of sweet iced tea and sat down and discussed the renovations with us. He is a contractor too and had some very good ideas. He was such a lovely man, truly caring and his Gullah patois was delicious to listen to.
On that note Anthony drove me home where I sat in my kitchen and dug my fingers deep in that juicy, greasy chicken, fried to perfection. Tears of joy welled up again. How blessed have I been on this journey?
That night was the first I had all to myself in the house. I picked up Fergus from Abigail's and helped her decorate her tree then walked home, sat in bed and worked for several hours before passing out with one big deep breath of gratitude before falling fast asleep after such a busy day and a belly full of home cooking.
Monday was busy just picking up last minute things for the house, locks, batteries, etc. and biking around Charleston learning where I am in the city and trying to remember street names and directions. It was my first morning to wake up and lay out my yoga mat and meditate on my piazza. The sun was intense at 8am and Fergus joined me in stretches. Having that time with him really sealed in the joy of owning this home.
This morning we moved the yoga mat to the soon-to-be master bedroom and laid on the floor together and gazed at the great Magnolia. I can’t wait until that is my morning view next spring when it is in full bloom.
I am now back in New York, settled into 202. Fergus is passed out since he gets nervous flying, and the sun is setting over Harlem. It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that 118 is down there, locked up, ready to be spruced up and to be the setting for the next great chapter of my life.
Mama has been to New Orleans several times but I had only been once for a long weekend when I was 17 and in a French emersion program at Georgia Tech. Clearly, I don’t remember much. I was eagerly awaiting this part of the trip since so many friends in New York rave about modern New Orleans and how it will be my spirit home.
Sadly, I missed what they find magical and I don’t see myself returning there. I think some people who don’t know the South find this the perverted, dark South they read about. I guess there is that, but spending so much time in the incredibly elegant cities of Charleston and Savannah, New Orleans simply fell flat.
(His face and her arms had me in stitches)
(Check out the needlepoint belt we found mama's going to make for me!)
(Fantastic Perfumeur- Thank you Douglas Little for introducing me!)
It had it’s highlights. Our hotel, Soniat House, was sublime. I will never forget those biscuits.
Commanders Palace lunch was amusing, Galatoire’s was chaotic but epic Red Fish menieuiere, potato soufflé and Oysters Rockefeller. The carousel bar was a hoot and I nearly got sick spinning around that thing. I loved, loved Magazine Street and its charming boutiques and great antiques and Myscha Lake belting out standards at The Spotted Cat was gorgeous. And who can complain about the architecture?
(The Garden District)
But the amount of drunk, delirious, drug riddled people that greet you at every corner in every area was sad to me and mother, not to mention scary. We were admiring the beauty of a white husky regally perched on the sidewalk while his filthy owner was drinking and attempting to play a guitar. When another dog came up to say hello the owner grabbed the husky by the collar and threw him against a wall. Mother and I were so angry and certainly said something but he just threw an F-bomb our way and went on looking for discarded cigarettes. Another man yelled at his son so loudly we just ducked into a corner to wait for him to pass. A drunk man was waving his paper bag of booze around so violently in front of the Carousel Bar even the door man got nervous. And you can forget Bourbon Street.
I didn’t find any of it charming, amusing or exciting. It was just dirty, depressing and dangerous. Those poor 18 year old girls slouched up against poles in thongs and too big heels waiting for customers just turned my stomach.
(The New Orleans Athletic Club- jogged over for a quick workout and a rubber neck)
Maybe I’m getting old! Maybe I am in a different head space, regardless, it soured the city for me. One place I did go gaga for was the New Orleans Athletic Club. Our hotel has free passes for guests so I got up Tuesday morning and jogged over to the Edwardian explosion for a little work out. The marble slab showers, indoor pool and deep red drinking room were enough to make me want to move in.
(Myscha Lake belting out standards at The Spotted Cat)
This morning mama and I woke up for one last biscuit before heading to the airport on the busiest travel day of the year. We were blessed with great weather, no traffic and two hours to spare before our on time flights.
I can only imagine what boat we will float on next be it on the Nile, the Ashely or Bosphorus. Stay tuned.