Today was another day that was broken up a little by plane travel.
The strange, unusual and funny times started early today. My dear sisters-in-law and wife had done some research to find a service that would allow us to store our luggage for the day so we wouldn’t have to lug it around New Orleans all day as our flight was at 1730. My wife had already read some reviews on a similar company’s service which were quite far from glowing. So when the unmarked Toyota Corolla turned up half an hour late I kissed my luggage good bye and resigned myself to the fact that I would never see it again (okay a slight exaggeration, but it wasn’t totally out of my consideration)! The idea of the company was that for a fee they take your luggage and then return it to you at a given point at the airport at an appointed time. Spoiler alert – we did eventually get our luggage back with fairly little hassle apart from a slightly disgruntled delivery driver who said that he had to get out of bed to deliver our luggage.
However, returning now to the start of the day. The coffee we got yesterday was so good we went there again (Spitfire coffee in the french quarter). After going there we only had 2-3 hours until we needed to catch a lift to the airport. We decided to hire some bikes and go for a ride to the ‘lower 9th ward’, an area of New Orleans that was particularly devastated by hurricane Katrina. First thing that was noticeable is that it wasn’t as rough as I thought it would be. Whilst I certainly wouldn’t want to be walking around there alone at night, it wasn’t as if you felt you would be stabbed or shot every time you saw someone. The lady at the bike store had a particular heart for this region and was able to point us to some worthwhile places including a business which a guy reportedly spent his life savings on to try and get the community going again.
We managed, despite my wife getting a flat tyre and us having to call the bike shop to get a replacement, to get back to the bike store relatively on time and then caught an uber from out the front of the store. This was another interesting experience – our driver was a muslim guy who had moved to America from Palestine and was born in Jerusalem. He told us of the fairly desperate state of the middle east where he comes from and how there are tensions between Jews and muslims, something I already knew. But he was quite adamant that the Jews were to blame and that the Jews in a particular area he was talking about had boxed the muslims into one particular area and given them three choices 2 of which being get out or be killed (and the third I can’t remember). Now if this is the case then yes I condemn it as wrong, but it did seem rather strange when sharia law gives non-believers some very similar choices the other two choices being – convert to islam or pay higher taxes (or possibly a one time higher tax, I can’t remember the specifics)(I also recognise that there are different interpretations to sharia, though many of the sources I have mined, including the qur’an have suggested some of these things)
. I would have liked to talk with him more extensively and in a scenario where my life didn’t rest in his hands, but honestly I was a little nervous. Though, to us, he was a nice guy and a good driver!
After collecting our luggage and then checking it at the airport we pursued a late lunch/early dinner. I had a ‘po-boy’, another of the local foods. Which really isn’t that much different from something you would get in Australia, it was basically a subway but with more distinctively Nawlins-ish (New Orleans-ish) fillings. Then we said goodbye to New Orleans and flew into Washington D.C. The flight here was a little rough in parts. But we got here in one piece and with all of our luggage to boot!
Our place here is REALLY Kool, we’re not even half a mile from the ‘U.S Capitol’!!! You walk out our front door and you can see it! Not only that but the apartment we have is great. I decided I like it so much I was going to buy it off the hosts and live here forever (I got my citizenship in Mariposa after all remember??)
Once we got settled we went for a walk around some of the streets here to try and find some food, unfortunately unsuccessfully, so I had a sachet of Vegemite that my sister gave me before we travelled to America 😛 What we did find however was the Capitol Hill Baptist Church, whose head pastor is Mark Dever, a pastor/Theologian that is well respected. So my wife and I are going to go there tomorrow… VERY EXCITING!!!
God bless y’all.