We arrived in New Orleans at 11pm in thick fog. It swirled and danced around the streetlights as we drove along nearly empty expressways. I heaved a huge sigh when I recognized the downtown buildings – familiar sights to us after our 4-day visit in 2006. We had promised ourselves that we would return for a much longer visit - and here we were!
As our GPS guided us into unfamiliar territory I asked The Man if we were going in the right direction. He explained that Pontchartrain Landing was in an industrial area situated on a canal from what he could see on google maps. It was hard to see anything in the swirling fog but I didn’t care. I love fog and mist and I wanted to get out and dance in it.
When we arrived, the office was dark but the Christmas lights blinked and glowed huge red and green blobs in the fog. The office was built on top of shipping containers and The Man climbed the steep stairs up to the door and checked the phone numbers listed and pulled out his cellphone and started dialing. Knowing him as I do I was amazed! Normally he would have brought the numbers to me and asked me to make the call as he hates talking on the phone. While I sat in disbelief, a truck pulled up and a man jumped out – a smile wreathing his face.
“Sorry about getting in here so late.”
“You must be our Canadian friends. You’re only a couple of days late. Did you have trouble on the drive down?”
I listened to the conversation as the two men shook hands – both of them smiling broadly. I got out of the vehicle and walked around and introduced myself to the campground manager.
“Hi – I’m Aims.”
Nate stuck out his hand and said, “Welcome Miss Aims.”
I just about swooned right then and there. SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY! There is nothing like it!
We piled back into our vehicles and he directed us to a grouping of trailers and helped The Man back all 13 feet of our trailer in amongst them before leaving us to get settled. We tried to quietly get everything set up so that we wouldn’t disturb our neighbours before we too joined them in sleep.
It is amazing to wake in a new place and discover what the darkness hid. I always am up far earlier than The Man. If I do not rouse him he will sleep until 1pm. It drives me crazy. I always think of how much daylight is being slept away and how much can be done in those hours that he is sleeping. However – this 5 week holiday was all overtime. He had worked many long hours to get all this time off and he still had 5 weeks of holiday due him. We’ll be taking those weeks some time this year – I hope.
Once he was up and had gone to check out the campground washroom, we worked on setting up the trailer for a month’s stay. The Man had worked on installing a solar panel on the front of the trailer so that it would keep our battery topped up while we weren’t driving. He had also rigged up a phone system so that I could call my brother over the internet and he had ordered a US sim card for his cellphone so that cellphone rates would be much cheaper. While he did ‘The Man’ jobs – I washed the trailer. It was caked with salt and dirt from the long drive through winter conditions. The sun was warm and I worked in my shorts – a far cry from the cold winds of Memphis!
We walked over to the office and officially signed in. They gave us maps to the nearest grocery stores and pamphlets on what to do in New Orleans. Then that evening we drove to the French Quarter and just walked around and looked in any of the stores that were open. The fog swirled in as the night came on and I was again in my own little heaven. The fog gives everything a softer and mysterious look. Some nights it was so thick you could hardly see 10 feet in front of your nose. I remembered watching Gone With The Wind and thinking that the scene at the end - where Scarlett is running back to Rhett through the fog – had to be fake.
I didn't think they got fog like that in the deep South. I thought it was more like the fog they got in England. I was wrong. And I was delighted to be wrong! I wanted to run through the fog and call for Rhett myself!
We strolled through the nearly empty streets of the French Quarter holding hands. A few store owners told us that the weeks before Christmas were the slowest times in New Orleans. Wait until after Christmas!
In the morning, while The Man slept, I walked over to the office. Five women stood behind the desk and smiled at me as I hid behind my sunglasses. These women were campground workers and were learning the ropes at this particular campground. For those of you who don’t know what this is –
Rvers can work in campgrounds for their site rentals and for extra money as well. It is great for people living in their Rvs for long periods of time. I faced these women and put a huge smile on my face.
“Um. Do you think we could be moved?” I asked.
“Oh! Is there a problem?”
“Well……We have that little 13’ trailer.”
“Oh yes! It is so cute! We all were talking about it earlier,” they chorused.
“Yes. It is cute isn’t it? However – it makes a lot of noise – if you know what I mean. And um….I was wondering if we could move to a secluded spot so we could – you know – make a lot of noise without everyone listening in.”
I stood there and watched as all five women worked through what I had said and came to the same realization at once.
“Of course we’ll move you!”
I walked back to our trailer with a big smile on my face and told The Man we were moving and relayed the conversation. It was hard for him to hitch up the trailer again when his face was so bright red. Hey! I’m not dead yet and I don’t care who knows it!