Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Biking in New Orleans

I'm back, with stories and pictures... In a few days. I'm getting a new computer as my old one is telling me in no uncertain terms that it's tired of life.

Meanwhile read what Zora says:

New Orleans is a fabulous place to ride a bike. The fact that I’m mentioning this before the food is saying a lot. It has been a long winter, and I’m a little bike-deprived, so that may account for some of my enthusiasm. Another big asset: We had excellent guides in the form of Dan Baum and Meg Knox, who advised us on everything from where to rent the two-wheelers to which streets had the worst potholes. (Yes, the very same Dan Baum whose New Yorker blog I was admiring just a week ago. Lordy, I love the Internet.)

But in addition to all that, New Orleans is mostly level ground, completely anarchic without being crowded (read: I don’t have to follow traffic rules), and every person you pass has a little something to say, often about your hat. I’m sure in some neighborhoods, at some times of the night, the commentary from the sidewalk might not be so heartwarming, but this trip really reminded me why a bicycle seat is the best space to inhabit as a tourist. And certainly a bike is ideal for 2007 New Orleans, where you have this prurient interest in seeing just what the place looks like post-horror, but don’t want to seem like you’re staring. A bike goes a polite speed, a tactful speed.

(For the record: it is still a disaster, even though/because it’s not in the news much anymore. The trauma is palpable. Everyone wants to talk about it, but no one has anything else to say. It’s a strange place to be a tourist. Compare with Cancun, where everyone sports “I survived Wilma” T-shirts and laughs a lot; only the stubby palm trees are a clue that the biggest hurricane ever in the Caribbean landed here, not long after Katrina hit New Orleans.)

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