Southern fare

It seemed so far away last July when I planned this trip to new Orleans with our compensation tickets from American Airlines – compensation for having given up our seats after a windstorm upset air traffic along the entire northeastern sea board. In exchange for a 500 dollar travel voucher each we agreed to take a later flight, requiring a four hour wait in a crowded gate area with lots of angry people. We simply put on our headphones, pulled up a nice book on our iPads and waited patiently. It was a small price to pay for a free trip to New Orleans with change to spare. To make for the perfect vacation where all money is spent on food, we got our friends’ unused timeshare exchange place for a week for around 100 dollars in fees and that was it.

And now we are on our way to join Tessa and Steve who are already there – having taken a much more direct route (a three and a half hour flight on Spirit Airlines versus our whole day adventure with stops); but we can’t be picky.

The first time I was in New Orleans was in 1973, with Peter – it was a different America then, and the south was particularly different, mostly segregated except for New Orleans if I remember. Was it because the white tourists came to listen to music that was played by Black Americans? I am sorry I can no longer remember which musicians we listened to. I did not know much about jazz.

Tessa thought NO felt very European, whatever that means – French maybe? And that may also be the reason why, on that grand tour of North American- at 5 dollars a day all these years ago, NO was one of our favorite cities. These also included San Francisco, Boston and Montreal.  On the other hand, Detroit, Denver, LA, Houston, Miami, DC and New York were so utterly new and alien, so very American in their expansiveness and bigness that we walked around in awe, though not always in admiration. The bigness related to houses, skyscrapers, parks, cars and people. Obesity was already visible then, the tip of the iceberg, though not openly recognized for what it was, ominous, by public health experts and the public at large. The companies that sold (and still sell) ingredients that produce obesity were having free reign. It took more than 40 years and we are not there yet, to rein them in.

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