Friday, January 26, 2007

8- The Story of the Night of the Hand Grenade.

A week ago today, the Assassin and I landed comfortably at Louis Armstrong Airport and were waiting at the baggage claim when a jazz band walked up and started playing. We both got a big kick out of it, and enjoyed two or three songs before our bags finally came around the carousel, a process that seemed ridiculously long at best. After all that, we headed out to catch a cab downtown.

The cab was by far the worst smelling cab I had ever been in, and I've lived in Chicago and New York City. I mean, it just plain smelled. I wasn't sure if it was mold, BO or what, but it was not a pleasant 30 minute ride. It was an interesting view, though. From I-10, you can't really see how damaged the city was, but once you get closer to downtown, you notice certain things, like buildings missing some windows still, some signs are still broken and as we got off the highway, I noticed a house with the now very familiar FEMA cross on it. Over the weekend, I saw this a few times, but never took a picture of it. It was just a little too eerie.

The first thing I noticed about the French Quarter was how close the buildings were to each other. It was a little weird at first, but I grew to really like it. Especially since walking 4 blocks in the French Quarter is probably the equivalent of walking 2 in Chicago. After checked into our hotel, we went looking for dinner, as neither of us had really eaten that day. We found a nice place, had dinner, and then went wandering down Bourbon Street for a while. I noticed that there were a lot of people walking around with small plastic glasses shaped like hand grenades. We finally tracked down one of the 5 places that sold them. Now, the side of the glass proclaims the Hand Grenade as "New Orleans' strongest drink." And holy shit is it ever. We each ordered one and wander around, even visiting touchdown jeebus, where the Assassin said a little prayer for her football team, who, oddly enough, was playing the local team that Sunday.

I always get a kick out of it when she's religious.

After wandering some more, and being thwarted in our attempt to have a voodoo palm reading, we settled into the Tropical Isle, the home of the Hand Grenade. We had a few drinks and talked a lot with the bartenders. We threw plastic hand grenades into a net hanging from the ceiling. She got hit on by some drunken idiots while she was trying to talk on the phone. It was, all in all, a fun night.

Then, I decided I wanted to keep one of the glasses, so I ordered another one. The Assassin bought me some beads, and we snapped this lovely picture, perhaps the last one of the night where I didn't look completely wrecked. We walked back to our hotel, which was fortunately very, very close and ran into another couple in the elevator. "You guys are having hand grenades tonight, huh? I had one of those once- it took me most of the night to finish it."

The guy seemed nice enough, and I was in a making-friends mood. "Oddly, this is my second. I'm not sure what kind of morning we're going to have."

"Good luck with that!"

"Thanks man, bye!" We crawled into bed and passed out pretty much right away. The sad thing about this entire story? It was 11:30.

New Orleans' strongest drink? It definitely gets my vote.


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