vineri, 8 februarie 2008

Carnaval in New Orleans

February 03
La noi exista un fel de carnaval, cu masti, diverse personaje, etc, in Moldova, dar de anul nou. Dupa toate aparentele traditia carnavalului provine din perioada precrestina, sa ne aducem aminte de Bacanalele romane sau Dionisiacele grecesti, ca si de Saturnaliile care i-au determinat pe ierarhii crestini de prin secolul 4 sa stabileasca data nasterii lui Iisus pe 25 decembrie. Pt o data atat de arbitrar stabilita (ca si mutarea zilei de odihna de la Shabat Duminica = Ziua Domnului dar pastrand denumirea Sambetei de la noi f aproape de cea originala, in spaniola de ex, adica Sabado) e ciudat cata importanta dau persoanele religioase zilei de 2 februarie, ziua cand, cf traditiei ebraice,la 40 de zile de la nastere, Iisus a fost dus la templu de parintii sai, Maria si Iosif.

Iata cum povesteste Editor Bob despre experienta new orlensiana
Rick and I decided to go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I had never been there and wanted to see how the city has fared since Katrina. Boy was it hot, even in February! It was like walking around in front of air conditioner exhausts all the time. I grunted and complained to Rick and our cab driver said, "Nawlins is hot any time of year!" He also told us that the festivities had already started on Bourbon Street, so we headed directly there to see what all the fuss was about. It was a good thing we only had a backpack each because we barely made it out of the cab! The streets were so crowded and people were everywhere!The sights and sounds were overwhelming. There was music everywhere and a crush of people, and police on foot and horseback. The floats were huge, but my eyes kept getting distracted by the pretty girls. I tossed a couple of coins at a saxophone player playing Miles Davis. Then we passed a half-door in the wall. Rick whistling his tune, grabbed my sleeve and pushed me closer to the door. It was literally a closet, set up as a bar, where you can buy booze in a plastic cup to walk along Bourbon Street during the evening."That's a custom I could get used to," said Rick. We bought lagniappe (Creole, we think, for trinket - actually cheap plastic beads) to throw at the ladies. I have to say, there were plenty of pretty ladies to be seen. We kept walking around and ended up over on Rue Royale heading down towards the Café Du Monde, a place suggested by Donna before we left.We found a table right next to a group of lovely young ladies and ordered ourselves some beignets and chicory coffee. Rick asked me where the hotel was from there, so I went to dig the address out of my wallet. It wasn't in my back pocket. It wasn't in my backpack. It was gone. I had been the victim of a pickpocket. The coffee and beignets arrived and we discussed what to do. Rick had his own cash, but mine was gone, along with my driver's license, credit cards, everything."This is most unfortunate," said a rather distinguished old African-American gentleman seated at the next table. We asked him to join us and next thing you know, he's telling us to scrap the hotel and come along to his house. Now, back in New York (or Pasadena, even), children are told never to go with a stranger, but this guy seemed all right. We decided to trust him and accepted his invitation. He drove us to a part of the city called the Garden District. At this point we couldn't see much, it being late and all, but these were real mansions, with big cast iron fences and gates. We passed through the gateway to his place and entered a carriageway that took us back into a courtyard at the rear of the house. As the car passed through, we saw that the entire courtyard was lit up with hurricane lanterns. Plants and flowers of every description could be found there. A fountain was gushing forth, and get this, the guy had two peacocks strolling across the way!We were greeted as if we were family. They took us in, fed us a huge feast of southern and Creole specialties, and made up beds for us to sleep. These were some mighty kind and generous folk, and I slept soundly and comfortably, even in the heat. Over the next few days, Henry took us on a plantation tour, and even to the bayous to look for gators. We had jambalaya, po-boys and mufalattas. He took us to fancy restaurants on Bourbon Street, showed us the best jazz clubs, and even taught us about the cemeteries. When it was time to leave, I was actually sad to go. Henry and his family had definitely shown us that famous "Southern Hospitality". We swapped contact info, but Henry said it's too cold up there in the "Nawth", but we'll always have a standing invitation to visit him again... maybe this year?

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