Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vacation From Autism

Since I've been a bit of a lunatic here lately, I figured I'd lighten things up a bit and take my lovely readers (all four of you) along on our autism vacation. 

As the husband and I have lately become increasingly fuzzy on who we are outside of our parenting/therapist roles, we decided we needed a break and were taking off on a getaway for two. Budgeting for a family with autism being what it is, it had to be cheap and local.  Since New Orleans has been synonymous with the word cheap in many senses of the word for years now, and it is just a short drive from us, off we went.

We had a plan.  Really we did.  It just kinda fell apart since we neglected to remember it was Veterans Day, and major museums tend to be closed on holidays.  Selfish bastards.

My husband grew up in New Orleans, as did my mother, so we are both familiar with the area--although neither of us had ever really played tourist in the city.  So, we winged it.  We stopped in a guide shop in the Quarter (just past Crescent City Brew House, which has a bar built right out into the street for curb side service.  No kidding.  It's not even the only one, they're pretty much everywhere), and picked up some brochures. 

Along our self-guided walking tour, we were trailed by aggressive pigeons.

I'm pretty sure this one stared me down and cooed "I will cut you."

We browsed some interesting vendors.

iJesus.  Miracle iPhone repair.  No, seriously.

Ate some fantastic food at this place.

Stopped at a few candy shops.

It's blurry, and Blogger is flatly refusing to rotate it, but this picture is a box of candy that includes the disclaimer, "Not for Weight Management."  Um, no kidding.  This is NOLA.

We watched some street performers.
These guys like to remain perfectly still until you've finished laughing at the gullible tourists for thinking these jokers are actually statutes, and then when you're leaning closer for a second look, just to make sure, they move and scare the holy hell out of you.
Crazy bastards.

Then we stepped into an appropriately snotty museum, where I reviewed my sweet southern belle culture.

Yep.  That's us, all right.

There were Zydeco dancers, and musicians.

Nothing says NOLA like dancing and singing in the street.  Except maybe hand grenades and garbage.  But whatever.

We marveled at the various quirky things to be located in the French Market.
A huge variety of hot sauces

 Wake the @#$%! Up coffee

Does this really need a caption?

The architecture and history were amazing.
 Ironwork.  It's everywhere.

As was the, er, food.

Yes, my husband managed to finagle sushi out of this trip.  Although the rolls to the left are Cajun rolls.

Then, night fell.  I'd kind of forgotten what a different world the Quarter is after dark.  We hung around to take a haunted history tour, and our group met up on the corner of Royal and Bourbon.  Bourbon, for the uninitiated, is at the heart of the Quarter, and is closed off to traffic every night by the local police, just for partying.  And by partying, I mean drunks, shady clubs, and street hustlers.  Don't get me wrong, we had fun sniggering at the drunks, but the hustlers made me realllly nervous.  The clubs I did my best to ignore.

Side note: when stopped by said hustlers, and they say, "Hey man, I can tell you where you got yo shoes at!" the answer will be, "You got yo shoes on yo feet, right here on Bourbon street!"  Sorry if I ruined it for you.  Just tryin' to save you a few bucks.  And your watch.

The haunted history was a ton of fun.  I mean, I can't say that I was surprised, but I had no idea New Orleans was the birthplace of the Mafia.  Or that doctors, and their wives, were so damned crazy back then.  It did, however, confirm my suspicion that Nicolas Cage is not, in fact, the badass he portrays in the movies.

  It was a solid two hours of walking all around and into the outskirts of the Quarter, peering into darkened windows and shooting suspicious glances up at deserted balconies.  We were all a little jumpy by the time all was said and done.  Although that may have had a little to do with the continued presence of the hustlers.  Those dudes are everywhere.

So, after hours of walking, and eating until I was pretty sure I was just going to declare a moratorium on the process for a while, we drove home, with our wallets still intact.  We were worn out, but had had an actual date for the first time in a long time.  

Turns out, that guy that put a ring on it?  I'm still kinda fond of him.  

After all, he was pretty badass with those hustlers.

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