…You wait for one post and two arrive at once.
I’ve been in Atlanta since June, so I do have an excuse (sort of).
During this time, I’ve been blessed to visit New Orleans and attend the Essence Festival for the very first time. Lots of celebrities were present and I did manage to listen to Alicia Keyes talk about the AIDS crisis, Mary J Blige sing her heart out and observe many just mulling around (sometimes aimlessly). I kept my cool though (unlike when I met Will Smith way back in 2008!)
* So there is something up with my computer today and I can’t post any pictures. Just know that a very nice picture would have gone here!
The history of New Orleans is fascinating. The Spanish and French influences in the architecture make it like no other US city I have ever been to. Such a short visit this time, I did get to attend a drumming session in Louis Armstrong Park. If you get a chance to visit New Orleans make sure you check it out. These men and women meet every week in the spot where hundreds of years ago, African slaves danced and sang songs of their homeland. When asked if they make every Sunday, one of the participants said; “We try never to miss a Sunday.” What heartfelt dedication.
What about the food? Well, the influences of those ancestors forcibly removed from Africa to the USA during the time of slavery is very real and present. I tried Gumbo for the first time and this immediatly reminded me of a Nigerian dish called Peppe Soup. I also had the best hot dog I have ever tasted (please trust me on this) situated across the road from Louis Armstrong Park, called Dreamy Weenies!
So I am back in Atlanta (home away from home) and continuing to sample what this city has to offer. The weather has been great, except for the almost daily rain… I guess there had to be a reason for all the lovely trees.
Unlike many of it’s residents, I’m not driving whilst in Atlanta so have been getting around on the MARTA train and bus system. Now I am used to the fast and plentiful London transport system, so let’s just say that when the local bus only runs once every hour and not on the weekends, this becomes VERY INTERESTING.
But I am enjoying this ride.
Atlanta has the sunshine, the odd celebrity walking around any given area-but the best thing about here? The people.
I like to just talk to people, find out their story. Is this because of blatant nosiness or fodder for a future book? Who knows? But I have met so many wonderful people on this journey so far. In New Orleans I met a former 1960’s civil rights worker, now a retired Pastor who was once babysat by Mahalia Jackson; the man who drove my hotel shuttle bus each day, disclosed that he had once been tortured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The list is endless and I get to add to it every single day.
It’s the southern hospitality that keeps bringing me back to Atlanta, without a doubt- oh and the sunshine!
So, as the title of this blog post suggests, you’re getting two posts for the price of one.
Next up, writing coach Rosemary Dun let’s us in to the world of First Drafts & The Alchemy of Teaching Creative Writing…
Enjoy (and sorry for the lack of pics- they were good too- blame the computer or slow internet connection!!)