Josh's birthday is today, Friday, July 9. We met just a little while before getting off the train in New Orleans. He lives in the Big Easy, and was willing to show us around.
First let me say: Huge shout-out to Marco at The Parkview Guest House for letting me use this computer! If you've been following the blog, you know that my computer broke... I'll catch up with D.C. when I have access to a computer where I can download my pictures and Rachel's pictures as well. Thinking we'll probably download (or upload or whatever load it is) all of the pictures we have onto Shutterfly once we get back to Sacramento.
BEFORE THE TRIP: We got up relatively early, went to Arlington Cemetery; braved the heat. More about Arlington later, when I have access to more pictures... After the Cemetery, back to the Virginian Suites, relax in the air conditioning. Rachel swears she's gonna take the big lounge chair in her purse; it's so comfortable. I get antsy, start to make plans. If you know me, you know I can't sit still for very long. Let's go to the Safeway, go shopping, leave early, eat at Union Station. Okay? Ok. We start walking. It's still well over 100 degrees, and the heat index is probably up to 115 or so. Why do people live in a place where the humidity is so high in the summer, it snows in the winter, and you can probably only ride your motorcycle two or three months of the year???? No clue.
Anyway, so we walk to Safeway, and low and behold!.... Red, Hot and Blue on our left! Whoohoo!! This changes plans, of course, but for the better. The beer is wonderful, the food is great, and the service... well, I talked to Darrell.
I asked him his take on this dilemma: you just meet a girl, right? Then the girl leaves for three weeks for a fascinating exploration of the eastern side of the country. You like the girl. But you've only been out together, like, three times. Do you communicate with her? Or do you not bother her on her trip? Darrell says he would. Says he would call her, text her, whatever, just to make sure she knows he's interested. If he liked her, that is. Please note: This is a read-between-the-lines message for one person. If you are that person, please read between the lines. Otherwise, you can disregard the preceding story.
The DESERT was phenomenal. We shared a banana pudding. I had to lick the parfait glass. Yes, I LICKED THE PARFAIT. Couldn't help myself.
Ever been to a Safeway in a compact city? It's not like anything you've seen in little cities, like Sacramento, where there are parking lots for customers. No room for parking lots in Arlington. The Safeway is tucked away in an office complex, and they have a parking garage. Almost missed the building completely cuz it's tucked away... in an office complex.... weird. Get snacks, back out into the heat, back to the Suites. Call a cab, go to Union Station.
THE TRAIN RIDE: We get ready to get on the train. This time Rachel is ready. She wears long pants, brings a sweater, wears covered shoes. Got snacks, got sweatshirt, wearing my over-the-knee black-and-yellow striped socks that I bought in Pittsburgh. I'm ready. We situate ourselves. We sit. Read. Listen to music. Talk. Rachel texts. Rachel texts some more. Sit. Sleep. Rachel texts. Sit. Listen to music. Rachel texts. Let's pretend it's 1980. What does Rachel do in 1980? On a 26-hour train ride... Rachel reads. Rachel, stop texting. Read. Write. I think I'm gonna write a poem about Rachel texting. Later.
I'm bored after 20 hours or so on the train (most of the time spent sleeping, Rachel texting), so I go to the cafe car, sit and listen to music. Make friends with the Trails & Rails volunteer. You should look it up. They tell you the history and culture of the areas through which you are traveling. They have little games/informational programs for kids. They will stamp your National Park Service "Passport" book. I got some pamphlets, made a new friend, and even got to talk to a cute guy in a green polo shirt. He was going to a bachelor party in The Big Easy.
We're almost there. Rachel texts me! I'm in the cafe car. She's in the coach car, texting, obviously. She texts me about a couple of "rednecks" talking about being "homosexual" (try to imagine this word being said by a Louisiana gay boy). She wants to slap them. Both. So I come to the rescue. We officially meet Josh, whose picture you see up top. His friend, Kiel (pronounced keel), has a T-shirt on which says, "I'd Do Me... Twice." Nice. Josh gives me his cell number. Promise to call later. Josh is going to show us around Bourbon Street. It's his birthday, at midnight. We're gonna have fun tonight!
Wait for it... look for it... right now gotta go.