I have a new obsession.
Well, its been a slow build, but it definitely has peaked since December 2014, our first ever trip to Louisiana. After 9 months, I have to say it out loud and proud: I love Louisiana. J’taime Louisiane!
Louisiana isn’t the prettiest state. To be honest, parts of it, especially New Orleans, remind me of the worst things about Metro Manila, those little things that I am glad that I do not have to deal with it every single day (for now).
The weather – heat and humidity – is bonkers, especially in the summer, as we’ve learned in last weekend’s trip. Its the kind of heat that debilitates because you sweat and tire even if you’re doing nothing at all. It zaps all your energy and motivation to move your body, even chewing your meal feels like a workout. Its that kind of humidity where your hair, your shirt, your shorts just stick to you like velcro. When we ate at the outdoor patios (of course because we had Obi with us), I just melted. Sweat everywhere -beads of sweat forming and rolling down my forehead, my cheeks, my neck, my arms and even leggs. My sweaty skin, despite the thin barrier of cotton, stuck to the back and on the seat of my pleather chair during Sunday brunch. I wanted to look chic, while sipping mimosas on the patio, envying the others, whom I assumed were locals, who strangely still looked fresh and unkempt. But, gosh, the heat and humidity was just something and there was no way to look cool at all.
Its been a while since I’ve been through this beating from a heat and humidity combo.
The streets were narrow and, at times, confusing. The uneven, potholed, ignored roads, damaged by the floods as well as government non-support, felt as if we were riding the moon buggy, instead of a sedan. The sidewalks are gritty and grimy.
But Louisiana has its redeeming qualities.
The locals are warm and genuinely extra friendly, which is pretty typical of people from The South. Never afraid to share a smile or even give glowing praise and recommendations of the delicious things you’re about to partake. Or even offer to cook for you!
And yes, the food. The food! It is just crazy good. I’m going to be all Asian and say “Hallelujah!” almost every main entree has RICE. Then I will be all Filipino and say “Hallelujah!” almost everything has SARSA. All Filipinos will understand the pain of eating dry, non-saucy food for too long. We live for sarsa (sauce / gravy)! The flavors are so unusually complex with the mix of spices and new ingredients like crawfish. Mmmmm…crawfish.
Let me tell you how Louisiana is just a stickler for good food. When you watch a NBA game in the Smoothie King stadium, you won’t get any crappy American food. No stale nachos. No burgers, hotdogs, pizza and the like. You can order kanin at ulam (rice and an entree), po’boys, alligator sausage sandwich and other Louisiana delicacies in the stadium. Imagine that!
I’d travel to Louisiana just for the food. And I think we just did.
Louisiana’s culture is so rich with an interesting mix of Native American, French, Spanish, West African, Sicilian influences from all the people who have come, gone and stayed in the state. There’s jazz and, as I’ve discovered, other music genres like swamp pop, a style exclusive to Acadiana, and Zydeco.
Oh, I did talk about the food right?
I can’t wait for possibly a next trip. This time around to Baton Rogue!
Have you ever been to Louisiana? Did you love it as much as I did, so-so or hate it?