Published: May 27th 2009May 27th 2009
(An editing note: “Hakuna umeme” translates from Kiswahili to English as “There is no electricity.” Part 1 happened in Tanzania with Kayli and Sara and resulted in a plethora of ridiculous photos.)
We went to see the Alamo this morning. It is so strange to see it sitting there in the middle of downtown San Antonio. Obviously it is old. But also the history surrounding the building. 139 men, not all of whom were Texan (in fact, they came from many different states, including 1 from New Jersey) defended that fort. But it wasn’t really a fort. It was supposed to be a Catholic mission but 70 years after starting the construction they decided to close the mission. With the roof of the church still incomplete. It’s such a mix of strangeness and standing inside of it didn’t undo any of the confusion.
We left the Alamo and San Antonio and went to finish the final 208 miles of I-10 located in Texas. Thankfully we finally got out of the state and did so with some pretty nice views of downtown Houston. I’m pretty happy with the pictures that came from the drive. Oddly enough, to use the express lanes you need to pay a toll. We saw this before in California but didn’t think it made sense. Well, Texas does it too (says nothing about the logic of the plan, but shows that it’s popular in more than one state).
As weird as this may sound, getting to Louisiana was significant in my mind. Finally we reached the “East” and real civilization. California is its own case in craziness. But to me, Louisiana is the first state that was part of the “old” United States. It’s hard to describe what I mean, but even though we drove through forests, swamps, and little towns, I felt closer to home than I have since getting to really rural Western Illinois. It’s as if Louisiana went through the process of Americanization much in the same way as New Jersey and Maine and Georgia. For me, the change was monumental. Texas just didn’t cut it, and South Dakota was the first state totally on the other side. Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois teetered on this line that I imagined (as I said before).
Louisiana itself is green and watery. I-10 goes over a huge swamp on this ridiculously long bridge that I found stunning. The views were amazing if you really like to look at swampy things. And then we finally arrived in Baton Rouge. The 150 miles of Louisiana definitely were easier than the 880 miles of Texas. Not like I ever doubted that though. We got to Kayli’s apartment and sadly she is not here with us because she is moving to New York (I know her because she is my fellow sister from Tanzania - we had homestays in the same house overlapping for 2 weeks). BUT it is a nice apartment. And would have been nice from the moment we stepped in had their been electricity. Yep, the storms earlier in the day knocked out power.
I usually don’t mind not having power except it is just the two of us. The people who usually inhabit the apartment have both moved out (I am aware that our being here is a very strange arrangement). So we didn’t really know where things were and all I could think of was the time in Tanzania when the power went out (fine, there were a lot, but I think it was something like 3 days before I left Dar es Salaam) and Kayli, Sara, and I took lots of crazy pictures. With an amazing flash. But without knowing what the other people in the picture were doing. Baton Rouge is Dar es Salaam? Not nearly, but I do find it ironic that the power went out here of all places….
Hakuna umeme? Not quite, but nearly. Kuna umeme sasa, omba na Mungu.