Let's call this one GULFPORT MISSISSIPPI.
I'm not actually there of course, and I'm actually a little foggy about Loisiana/Mississippi/Alabama... but I'm trying to give this out in bite-sized pieces for you of the ADD Nation.
Side note: I wrote a section for almost two hours in a restaurant.. had it done... WIFI connection blinked at the wrong moment and lost it all. No worries, it were crap anyway. Now I'm at a plush marina in a yet-to-be-disclosed location with a Strong Connection.
Onwards Through the Fog.
First, here's some photos of the Gulf Coast region.. make it easy on all of us...
|THAT'S LOUISIANA, IF YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR GLASSES |
Left Baton Rouge after waffles and headed north into the Mississippi Delta, opting out of a full-tilt New Orleans mission after a Hooters waitress and an overall-wearing mechanic named Wink advised me at separate times that Borboun Street might just might be a little too sketchy for a guy riding a motorcycle in.
"As long as you stay out of the Ninth Ward," admonished Wink. He peered at me ruefully. "You're not goiung to the Ninth Ward, 'er ya?"
Well, if I'd had any idea about going to the Ninth Ward before, wherever that was, I sure dismissed it quickly. North to the Blues Country.
The Delta, from the few hours that I rode aound it, was not the table-flat cotton-fields that I'd pictured Robert Johnson trading his crossroads soul on; it was more rolling-hilly and wooded.
|"... PUT SOME BLEACHER'S OUT IN THE SUN..."|
Stopped in for gas in a tiny Exxon station crossroads and some large Gangsta came in with chrome spinners on his Lexus and large shiney chains. He was busy yelling at some woman he apparently knew... but the both of them had such heavy Southern accents that I couldn't iunderstand almost anything. "YO, WAS' DA TUMBLE-ONFREE TAKIN' SAS-BRING YAM SO FUGGIN FROOSA STOO"
They peeled off in separate directions and the man was shaking his head, but he had a secret smile as he turned awa and climbed in. The stuff you see going past... the little details that almost can't be communicated with any perspective.. I'm chock-a-block.
Natchez... not much of a town... a mix between Remote-Poor and CVS America. Crumbling pine shacks next to Bank of America. I fell for a sales-pitch at a Suzuki shop from some young guy swore by this certain type of chain-lube that I bought and susequently regretted, (anything without that sticky, black Moly in it is simply useless). I heard these heavy accents around me and I really wanted to mix it up somehow... find out who these people kind of were ..but as I've mentioned, Time and Money are extremely limted on this little expedition, and you have to save-up for places like Yellowstone.. Oregon... San Fran... Navajo Nations. I made small-talk in the convenient stores and gas-pumps acorss the country wherever I could. My Conclusion is that people almost everywhere... but increasingly-so outside the cities, are kind, well-intentioned and friendly, if perhaps a little skittish when confronted with people that are somehow outside their Envelopes. PS.... a full one-third of all Americans live in some sort of mobile-home/trailer dwelling.
I don't know that for a fact, but it sure seems about true from what I've seen.
Pointed her East over past McComb MS and then south for a couple of hours baqck to an intersection with I-10... always I-10. Walking The Plank. But this time I looked at my map and realized that I-10 actually runs directly through the center of the Big Easy... and although it was getting a biut late, I decided that I at least deserved to see the city skyline. The road goes across a 23-mile long casueway bridge that spans Lake Pontchitrain... interestingly for me, I lived next to a 24-mile bridge in China over the Hangzhou Bay. Anyway I began to see the sunlight glinting off the downtown sky-scrapers... pick-up trucks covered with Saints artwork... quickly found myslef immersed in urban traffic flows... saw signs for the Superdome. I flashed through the city on elevated 10, buit I stared deeply into the neighborhoods as best as I could. .chrome high-rise office buildings mixed in with.. peeling wooden houses, painted in bright-but-faded colors...ratty palm trees punctuating here and there...shades of... Panana...Caribbean...Tropical! Ancient French port city...Haiti..
On the eastern edge of the city I saw what was probably the infamous Ninth Ward... a long district below the elevated roadway where many seemingly modern commercial buildings were abandoned; some showed signs of water damage... in many places thick layers of sand still were visible across the parking lots. The flip-side of that coin was that many other businesses, especially around the cross-streets, seemd to be well-lit and fully functioning. Sort of an odd excersize of Apocalypticaly Progress Capitalism. What do I know... I drove through it all in twenty minutes.
Here's a few shots..
Took it east to into Gulfport MS where I completed the Motel 6 Drill and fquickly ound myself in a flat-roofed, low-slung "lounge".. drinking with rednecks who I heard mention the words "Longhair" and "haircut" over the screaming Hank Williams karaoke speakers