Here now and now here or nowhere
Friday, January 29, 2010
I left Nola to head to memphis. Along the way north I stopped in some random town of Winona, MS for bbq. I really only stopped to eat bbq in MS because otherwise my whole Miss experience would have been about driving through the state and that's it. Seemed like i owed more to the state than just a quickie. The bbq joint didn't disappoint. Great, saucy ribs and tasty pulled pork. i liked it so much i went to thank the chef and ended up hugging her. Her name was Bertha and she was a large african-american woman.. a true bbq experience (for some reason i thought it would be a scrawny white dude... what do scrawny people know about bbq?)
memphis was cold and lonely. I got in sort of late and it took me a while to find a place that wasn't over $100 for the night.
When i woke up, i went downtown to historic Beale St and walked around there for a bit, then off to mail some packages and letters. next I ate some delicious bbq at interstate. I couldn't decide what to get so i go the sampler. It was way too much food, but that's ok. pork and beef ribs. brisket, pulled port, smoked link, beans, cole slaw and their signature bbq spaghetti (yum!!!!)
after lunch I toured the stax museum. Really nice little museum with tons of history and relics of the record label that helped shape so much music.
graceland and civil rights museum were closed, so I sadly was not able to take those tours... boooo
So, I decided to go to nashville for the night
upon waking up in Nashville, i did some yoga and then headed out for pancakes at the pancake parlor. amazingness! some of the best pancakes I've ever had... hands down. The liquid crack there (cinnamon and sugar syrup) really lives up to it's name. After, i spoke with J for a bit then headed home to kill some time before my city tour. The tour was nice, we did the Country music hall of fame, then the ryman auditorium for some Opry history. after, we hit some honky tonk bars and then a little history and architecture touring.
once dropped back at the hotel, i got in the car and drove 15min out of my way to loveless cafe for some of what they are known best for... biscuits and preserves... holy shit, they do not let you down. AMAZING! best biscuits i've ever had, and the preserves weren't too bad either. I decided to wash it down with some food, so i got some fried chicken gizzards... why? why not. I do have to admit, they were very tasty...
with food done, i was now on my way to Kentucky!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
While in class I realized that it was at a kirtan in SF that Sean (the owner of Wild Lotus) was leading where I had the vision that I needed to leave SF, to leave this life and travel east then get to asia. It was now the full circleness of it all. Plans coming together. Fate. Destiny. Or what you will. Maybe it's all these little coincidences that just make it seem like there is more of a big picture than there really is. but i don't think so.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
we have possibly the best days of the trip here. When we first get to the guesthouse for the night. we know we're in for a treat. The nighttime check-in guy is AMAZING!!! and he has us laughing like little school children in no time, only he doesn't mean to be. The whole experience just keeps getting better, from him showing us how to use a lock on the door from the inside (you turn the knob) to asking if we need help with learning how to use the heat (plugging a portable unit in to a socket) to the initial laughter of asking what kind of room we want, a B2 or B3 (we have no idea what that means and it just means the room # but how would we know what the differences between them are? this is something that in writing doesn't translate as well) In the room we immediately make friends with the dead cockroach in the corner, and then decide to go down to bourbon street for drinks and dinner.
After walking around a bit on bourbon street, we (k jill found it, not me) stumble into this spot for oysters. truth be told, i didn't want to go there for some reason but am so glad we did. the place is well known for their oysters and they were DELICIOUS!!!!! we head back out to see some more things but also want to go back as we'll have a long day the next day.
I wake up early to plan our last full day together. I want it to be good, no better than good, GREAT! so i sit in the lobby to use internet as it's hard to get in the room. I am shortly met by the daytime concierge whom we will refer to as Ignatius as he reminds me SO MUCH of the character from "a confederacy of dunces" He is over weight and over opinioned. I listen to him talk, and his advice and I realize that i am listening to what he is saying, but him not to me. I suggest this one B&B that I've found and ask his thoughts, he does not like it, mianly because he never heard of it. So I listen to him more about other place, but for some reason this place is calling me. It is a little more than I wanted to spend but I really want to have an amazing evening. And I want to lavish Jill with all the best things. It's the last night of our trip and everything has really just been great (something i think we were both thinking may not be the case). I want her to go home even more happy and so i aim to make the last day and night the most romantic and perfect. This place sounds like a beautiful historic plantation looking spot in the garden district, and they have whirlpool and nice robes in every room. so i book it. it turns out to be even better than i hope, and because the owner had tickets to the game and asks to trouble us to check in early he then bumps us to the nicest room in the joint. and it is BEAUTIFUL! We started the day out by going to Cafe du Monde for their famous beignets and coffee and while waiting for the trolley downtown we ask the guy next to us for a recommendation. He turns out to be the concierge for the Ritz Carlton and boy is he helpful. talk about fate. Actually, NOLA seems to be all about fate for us, all these little things happening and popping up or tying things together. (the whole trip has hints of this, but no where more so than NOLA). He gives us a rec for a great po'boy spot and he is so RIGHT ON! We head back to check-in at the Maison Perrier and then go back downtown to get to our 3:45 tour of the city that Ryan, our concierge booked for us. we actually are there late and the tour has left... and i am upset. I really wanted to get on a tour, and not just for me. I want Jill to have a great day, and I know she likes history and knowledge so a historic tour of the city sounds perfect. we go up to see if Ryan can help, but Ryan isn't working and Rudy is. Rudy calls the tour place and POOF the tour van comes back for us. The tour is great, though i am so tired that i sleep through some of it. Luckily, i am awake for the cemetery part as I have always been fascinated with NOLA's cemeteries. We head back home but not before being swept up in the magic of the saints. you see the saints haven't been to a super bowl in many years, and they have a game this night that if they win will put them there. The city is ALIVE with saint fans and the energy of it all is captivating. you can't help but feel excited by it all. The whole trolley ride back Jill keeps having me check the score on my iPhone. "I think I'm a saints fan now" she exclaims. Back at the Maison we make dinner reservations at a local small spot that my friend Kirran and the B&B ownder rec'd for us, Upperline. Good call, fate again in our favor. We call and they sound like they don't really want to seat us as the game is on and ppl didn't really come in for the night but they do take our name and we have 20min to make it there. Oh so glad we did. upon walking into this famous and very nice establishment we are greeted by the 4 other parties in the spot and the whole kitchen staff crammed around a small 8" tv watching the game. The food, AMAZING! maybe the best of the trip. the atmosphere even better. every table is talking together, everyone is hanging on the game. When the Saints win, the crowd goes ecstatic. The owner of the establishment, who previously had been checking on every table, offers everyone a complimentary cordial or after dinner drink. who are we to refuse such nice southern hospitality. We take a lot of food home, because we're full but also because we want to go downtown and celebrate with the town. They deserve this win, the town needs it (or so everyone says). and as we're heading back to the Maison, i notice at the corner where our street and Upperline meet is the Wild Lotus Yoga center.
but being that i've written so much here, i think i'll save the story and history of that for the next post.
NOLA, I think i love you
woke up to a snow covered car and slush on the ground. got breakfast at a local diner spot and got to try the amazing green chilies i've heard so much about.
made it to marfa. the route along the way was beautiful. open lands and new horizons for new beginnings.
ate a very great dinner at Cochineal. stayed at the thunderbird. fun little hotel. must be off season because we were the only guests. The shampoo/conditioner/soap there is spectacular. took a tour of chinati and then got lunch at food shark, a converted bus to lunch spot.
but we must get back on the road to austin so we peace out.
we find a hotel that sounds nice and historic. The Austin Hotel. there are two rooms so we take the king one (as two beds doesn't sound good to me) drop out stuff off and go get BBQ! The night takes a turn for the better when we go downtown and I get to achieve a lifegoal of riding a mechanical bull. but we're tired so we take a walk around the river and head home to sleep.
the next day involves getting a great little breakfast, and giving the extras of that and bbq the night before to homeless ppl (we're such good samaritans :P). we see two museums (oddities and pop culture) and get a tour of the state capital (it's HUGE!). we meet my friend Gramer, who i worked with in nyc and then hop on the road to dallas area.
In dallas we do dinner with my close and amazingly awesome friend Jess and then meet jill's cousin at a bar for a beatles cover band night. We dance to the music while yelling at the band to play paperback writer (which i have a soft spot for as it was my roommate freshman years favorite beatles song!) when they play it we go NUTS!
we crash at a motel 6 or something like that at 1am.
then wake to make the haul to Louisiana. and just when you think it can't get better.... it does...
some highlights include
a snow/sleet storm. It was so intense i felt like we were driving through hyperspace in star wars where blackness and whitelines are all around us.
a snow/dust storm. where huge tumbleweeds were flying all around us. metal sides of houses were flapping uncontrollably. but we pressed on through it.
Driving on crazy "s" turns and switch-backs at 70-80 mph in pitch black night. no one on the road, just elk staring at you from the side of the road. and you're hauling it to get to the next town, cause you're tired and just want to find a bed and bathroom.
plans to make it to Albuquerque don't happen. We realize it doesn't make sense to go that north to have to drive more the next day to get to marfa. so a new route is made. I only wanted to go to Albuquerque because I like the way the name looks. End up in silver city at around 12 or 1 am. Not really sure as time is different here (both in a existential way and timezone way). Arizona has one time, New Mexico a different. Texas a third and California a fourth. Who knows the date or time anymore? All we know is that the Drifter Motel is open and that's all we need to know for now.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The day started off with me picking up a surprise bunch of baked goods from tartine bakery and then off to J's. We actually were on time for a change, however the weather was horrendous. Down pouring rain coming out of the skies and a car that definitely has some leakage spots to say the least which we found out later when most things were wet.
Highway 1 was beautiful to drive down, even in the rain. Actually, the rain added some natural beauty to some parts of the ride. However, around Gorda California we hit a small rock that punctured the left rear tire and caused us to have to pull over to the local gas station/restaurant. We were able to call a tow truck for help here, and 3 hours later they arrived to help.
So for 3 hours on our first day of the road trip we were stranded, but it wasn't so bad. J really made the most of it. She let me win at chess, chased feral cats, and kept comforting me about the bad luck.
When the tow driver finally did arrive it was clear we needed a tow as far as we could, our spare had already been used and probably would not have gotten us to the next local tire spot. Of course, we had no mobile phone service so we wouldn't know what stores had our type of tire in stock. eventually, an hour into the tow we got reception and through the power of the iPhone i was able to track a store down that had our tire and was open till 6, we could possibly make.
We arrived there, on our spare, at 5:52. At first they didn't want to help us out as it was a holiday and would require OT, but through some pleading and pleasantry Able, the kind manager there, gave the ok and we got a new tire. woo hoo!!
we decided to stop for some local sushi and then get back on the road. the original plan was to do dinner with ariel, josh and biko however with this new time delay there was no way to make that. If lucky we could see them for 20min, and we were in serious need to as ariel was our place to stay for the night.
We made great time, however about 20min before arriving at josh's we got pulled over. A ticket, or something of the sort. Pleading was no use. He said i was going much faster than I was, and I didn't beleive it and tried to argue but no luck. I was instructed that I could appeal online and it may get over turned, most do he said.
Arrived at 10:45 to josh's, saw the crew for about 5 min and then they went to bed and we got the key to ariels, where i am now writing from. Ready for bed and a fun day of driving to albuquerque, which should only be about 12 hours of driving :) oh how fun!
and now to sleep
Friday, January 15, 2010
I'm currently on a bus to go pick up the car that I'll be driving cross country over the next few weeks. About 45min ago i left the job I was working for the last 6.5 years. Change is a coming, i just don't know or feel it yet. Is this the end of something old or the begining of something new? Maybe it's the middle of a long drawn play. I can't really say right now. I don't know what's held for me in the future but I do know that my time with COV is over (for now). So on to the afterCOV. On to the merriment and future of surprises and wonderment and things yet to be seen.
As of this moment, I am gainfully unemployed and ready to brave whatever that may mean.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
"So enjoy, pack well, don’t look at the storage hole as your home – just some bricks keeping your things safe till you back – and its good to be both sad and happy, change should evoke a range of emotions in us, otherwise what is the point?
We should all have a little dream – even if it is a bit of a fantasy. Nice to have something pleasing to think about just before you go to sleep. So here is my little dream for you:
I hope you get lost, I hope you find your way again. I hope the wind messes your hair….or blows your hat off. I hope the sound of silence deafens your mind so you can hear your heart whisper. I hope you arrive…..question……love……laugh……..cry. And I hope you travel safe."
Saturday, January 9, 2010
I don't really have too many dreams, but i do hope that things start to "happen" this year. I have this nice open slate to paint it how i'd like.. i hope that i have something to show at the end of it.
today was the first day that it slowly hit on me that i am leaving the city for a while. leaving my friends for a while. leaving this life i've carved out for myself for a while. I went to the place where i will be renting storage space from, and it hit on me then. Shit, did it hit hard. Funny how it didn't occur to me when i was at my going away brunch with most of my closest friends in the city. then it just seemed like another dim sum meal involving good peeps and good foods. (real good foods, thanks cecilia!). but the empty storage hole that would soon be mine for the time being... that's when it really started to sink in. and I got emotional. I got sad. I am indeed about to depart for a bit... really? yes, really!
Luckily, i have a bunch of really good friends and I spoke with a few, local and distant and they were all there to listen and all there to bring me back down....
and now on to more packing. yay!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
K called tonight to tell me about her neighbor's passing. He was a good friend to both of us. An incredibly sweet man, who wouldn't harm a fly. Having just decided against going to sushi with K, I assumed the call was about that when I saw her face pop up on my phone. Her voice was the giveaway that the matter was of something else. My first thought was boyfriend issues, but as she soon told me i found out that it was much worse.
I listened to what she said, and didn't react. Shock I guess. I knew it was a tragic thing, but it didn't register at all. "He's dead?" "He is not with us anymore?" questions that still are slowly sinking in. I expect somewhat that when I go over tomorrow to be there to support his boyfriend that he'll be there sitting with us. I mean, why wouldn't he? He always is there. Of course he won't be.
After listening (but still not comprehending) what K said, I had one thought. Does L know? I couldn't be the one to break it to her, but if she did know I knew she'd need/want a call of support. As soon as she picked up the call, I knew L has already been told. While she cried, I still was trying to figure it out in my head. We made plans to go over there tomorrow but for tonight we all said we wanted space.
I hopped into the shower, sweaty from yoga class and smelly from a few days sans shower, and the minute the water touched me, tears came down. What is it with showers and crying? Beds are fine and all, but if I need a good cry it's the shower i head to. I blame hollywood.
The pieces are slowly coming together in my head... it doesn't make anything easier at all but at least the shock is fading away.
I'm sure it's been said before... but death sucks!
Monday, January 4, 2010
But I keep saying that we need to live in the here and the now. and the here and now tells me that we need to be together for the time being. if there will be pain either way, is it not better to have the pain after so much pleasure? I'm still unsure of this, but I plan to ride it out as long as she'll let me, as I believe in our love, and love can move many a mountain.
i love traveling. i love the freedom that it brings. seeing new places and cultures. meeting new people. having unexpected unforeseeable things pop up and dealing with them however is needed (even when sometimes it is incredibly uncomfortable and near miserable). It is a form of life that the daily routine doesn't offer. Each day is something entirely new, never knowing where tomorrow will really bring you.
Now maybe I'm just a bit romantic at heart. But I don't see my trip as a finding myself sort of thing. I think yoga school helped more with that. though I do feel somewhat lost on that front, i accept that I think most people do as well and thus it is the norm. I don't see it as a finding, but more so of a losing in some ways. a losing of what has not allowed me to progress forward more in the ways i'd like to in these last few years. a stripping down of all that I don't need or want from my current life so that when i come back i can have a modified fresh Andy. So it's an escape, sort of, but not to necessarily find myself.
more so to the point, and what somewhat matters to me the most, it's something that i've wanted to do for almost 5 years. In many other 1st world countries, travel is a regular part of the culture. how many Aussies did i meet that were traveling for months or years on end. same with europeans. it is something that is part of their culture, that for some reason the US does not have. So I've been saving with every paycheck. talking with people who have done similar things and doing moderate research.this is a journey that has been calling to me for 1/6 of my life and it just feels time to answer that call.
The future is scary for it is unknown and entirely "new" to me. But I trust and believe deeply that things will be just fine. and when and where this is a will, there is a way.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
the packing and general moving process as a hole is still far from being near complete... but there is movement forward. I hope to be ready by the 17th/18th. I also hope to be able to drive this guys car home for him. fingers crossed.
PS, small side tidbit. I titled this post after writing it all out and when i wrote the words two weeks out i was reminded of my ringtone "two weeks" by grizzly bear (see and hear song here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjecYugTbIQ ) the chorus is as follows
Would you always
Make it easy
Take your time
seems apropos for the post, after the fact.