Friday, March 19, 2010

Mardi Gras

Well my time in the South has ended and I’ve found myself back in rural Iowa in a place called Wapello. Its pretty tiny. As in 2000 people live here and none of my friends from Iowa have even heard of it and its not exactly a diamond in the rough but its kinda nice to be back to a slow pace of life after spending six weeks in the south during Mardi Gras. Now don’t get me wrong, it was great being down there for all the hubbub, excitement, parades, unending king cakes, and just getting to experience for myself what a huge part of the culture it is down there.

One of the last weekends in Alabama a group of 12 of us did a 24 hour trip to New Orleans for the big Mardi Gras weekend which at the time seemed like a great idea but I would never do it again. My only responsibility for the trip was to rent two mini vans for our group which I thought wouldn’t be a big deal except the day that we were supposed to leave none of the mini vans were returned by their drivers so they had to give us three SUV’s which cost a little more but I’m not gonna lie was kinda sweet because I felt like Obama driving with his entourage. We left right after work and drove the two hours to New Orleans and first stopped at our sweet apartment room we rented where we slept three to a bed and everyone else got the floor. I was lucky enough to grab a middle spot on the bed and I don’t know how I slept that night because half of my lower body was hanging over the bed. Eventually in the middle of the night I got up and grabbed a chair for my feet to rest on which was a big help. Within minutes of us getting to the apartment the guy who was renting the other room in the apartment who had obviously been smoking pot all day came over and was super friendly and wanted to hang out with us and then invited himself to come down to Bourbon St with us which we ultimately didn’t mind because he paid for all of our trolley tickets. Again, probably because he was high but hey I’m not picky. Unfortunately the trolley we were taking dropped us off like two miles away from Bourbon so after a long walk and a bathroom break in a random hotel lobby, whose toilet hadn’t been flushed during the past 20 uses, we finally made it to Bourbon and it was a whole lot of crazy like I’ve never seen before. It was literally a half-mile street with wall to wall people. Within seconds of going into the crowd we all got separated and then of course all of the cell services were crashing because of all the users which was super inconvenient/thrilling/terrifying because I was trying find my friend Adam who was only two blocks away. And normally one wouldn’t think two blocks to be a great distance but it literally took us an hour to find each other and of course by that time we both had to pee and I hardly had any voice left after spending an hour shouting into the phone to tell him which street corner I was on or what the florescent sign I was standing under.

The next morning my one and only goal was to go to the French quarter and grab and beignet at Café du Monde’s but after driving around for an hour looking for a parking spot I gave up because we had to return the cars before we got charged an extra days fee but this just gives me a reason to return someday.

On Fat Tuesday a bunch of us went to the last Mardi Gras parade in downtown Mobile even though I was less than enthusiastic about going considering I’d already gone to several and in my opinion you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. I mean it was pretty fun the first time grabbing as many beads as you could and I even caught a teddy bear that had kisses all over it which I loved at first until I found out a majority of the stuffed animals came from Goodwill so I became a little concerned about where that thing had been. But anyways the parades are pretty dangerous so even if you don’t want to catch anything you still have to hold your hands up to shield your face in case you get beamed by a stray handful of beads. Another thing they love to throw is moon pies which is a nasty desert that’s basically 300 calories that I’d rather consume elsewhere. Anyways they’ll usually just throw one or two at a time from the float but every once in a while you’ll get some fat lazy guy on top of the float who doesn’t have the decency to open the box to throw one so he’ll chuck the whole box of moon pies from the top of a possibly 200 ft float. You wouldn’t believe the momentum those things can gain and they can do a lot of damage. I feel sorry for the innocent bystanders who had to hear me shriek like a 12 year old girl and cover my eyes the first time I saw one of those boxes coming my way.

Another alarming thing is that Mardi Gras tends to draw out a lot of gang activity which I learned because as some of my teammates were waiting for the final parade to pass by and end the Mardi Gras celebration someone was shot in a McDonalds right by where my group was watching the parade!!! Thank my lucky stars I decided to leave early otherwise I’m sure I would have been in line during the attack patiently waiting to pick up my small fry with a hot fudge sundae which I’ve recently become OBSESSED with as I’m slowly working away at using up my 50 dollars worth of gift cards from mama.

Long story short. I’m loving me Iowa these days because my life no longer feels threatened. Of course that’s only temporary as well because I would not want to be here during hunting season with a bunch of Dick Cheney’s running around if you know what I mean…

P.S. Dear Jess Miller. Thanks for showing me how to attach a picture in my post. You inspire me.

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