Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Vic’s Touchdown Cafe Near RaceTrack, LA

We’re headed home again, but the day has dawned shrouded in a thick Halloween-y fog drifting up off the bayous and covering the low lying roads. We get on a fast road, and decide to have breakfast, hoping the fog will break.

We exit almost as soon as we got on the road, headed South on a road heading toward the Gulf, looking for something that is not fast food. And there it is, on the left, we just passed it, so we circle back for breakfast at Vic’s, Breakfast Lunch Dinner.

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As it turns out, I believe the real name is Vic’s Touchdown Cafe. The interior is full of sports trophies, banners, team memorabilia, and stuffed deer heads. There are other customers, eating breakfast, chatting with a man whom I believe is probably Vic. We ordered breakfast off the plastic menu table mats, and settled back to listen and learn.

People in Louisiana are hospitable, and kind. They asked us questions, shared some local lore and when I asked Vic if he had any milk, he opened a little bottle of milk just for me and put it on the table so I could have milk in my coffee. I was impressed, but I get the impression he thought it was just good manners. My kind of place.

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I didn’t take photos of the food; it might have spoiled the mood. It was traditional breakfast; eggs, bacon, biscuit and AdventureMan had hash browns. It was all good, even the coffee, and even better because it was not fast good. This was a great stop.

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By the time we had finished, the fog had lifted and we had clear sailing all the way back to Pensacola 🙂

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Character, Cooking, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Natural Beauty at Pointe-Aux-Chenes

Pointe-Aux-Chenes was probably one of the most beautiful drives on our trip. You start off driving along a small canal, and you’re going to need your smart phone or a map to make the right turns to get to this isolated location.

We had read there was an wildlife observation point at the Pointe-Aux-Chenes Nature Refuge, but we looked and looked and never found it. Never mind, there was so much to see.

As you go south, and you get closer and closer to the Gulf, houses go up on stilts.

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This is still very much a fishing community:

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Is this a mistake? A misunderstanding? The area is called Pointe-Aux-Chenes, Oak Pointe, but this sign refers to the tribe as Pointe-Aux-Chiens, Dog Point Indians. Hmmmm.

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It is so hard to capture anything that looks like a dolphin, even though at sundown, the place was full of dolphin – or porpoises, I am not sure I know the difference. Even though I didn’t get a good shot, it was a glorious place to be at that very moment.

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Can you see the eagles perched in the distant trees?

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For a moment, I thought I was in the Camargue with it’s wild ponies, but a local man said he thought these belonged to someone and just cropped on this salty grass at the end of the road.

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So many beautiful things to see in one spot!

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November 5, 2014 Posted by | Birds, Environment, Geography / Maps, Living Conditions, Road Trips, Travel, Wildlife | , | Leave a comment

Big Mike’s BBQ in Houma, LA

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Where do you eat in Houma, Louisiana? Just about everyone we asked started with Big Mike’s, so after our swamp tour, we gave it a try.

The place was packed. There are menus near the door; you look at the menus, you go to the counter, you place your order and they give you a number which you place on your table and someone brings your meals to you. The smell is divine.

This is cane sugar country, so of course, the sweet tea is cane-sugar sweet:

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Several different seating areas in Mike’s:
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The chicken with corn on the cob and jambalaya – delicious!
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Pulled pork:
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Big Mike’s has it’s own BBQ sauce, rubbing spices, t-shirts, etc>
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November 5, 2014 Posted by | Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Food, Living Conditions, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | Leave a comment

AOL Termination Scam

I keep getting these; it’s just annoying:

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And here is the return address – of course, not AOL at all:

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November 3, 2014 Posted by | Financial Issues, Scams | , , | 2 Comments

Confuse, Confound, Devastate and Dissipate ISIS

When I was a kid, I did not like reading the Old Testament, all those old-timey people, and it all seemed very confusing to me. As I grew older, I find I like the Old Testament part of our readings very much, the people come alive in all their faults and bad decisions, and God’s mercy shines through as we continue to rebel against him and follow too much our own devices and desires of our hearts.

I love Genesis 11, where mankind, in all our pride, decides to build a tower, and it must have been pretty good because it got God’s attention and he didn’t like it. He didn’t like it so much that he created confusion among all the languages spoken, but I bet it was also confusion and dissension among the decision makers, too, to scatter the mighty population.

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As the wandering descendants of Abraham began to settle, they often went up against armies and peoples much larger than they were, and God always told them not to worry, he would confuse the armies. He put fear in their hearts, in the confusion, mighty armies collapsed and scattered.

And why am I bringing this up, you might wonder?

This ISIS Army, it seems to me, is already cobbled together. I hear people people talking, people who know, they say ISIS is smart, fights smart. I believe they have some smart leaders, but I am willing to bet that they have some fatal flaws, also. They have overstretched. They are trying to enforce their will by violence and killing off the opposition, which might encourage the appearance of cooperation, but in reality breeds legions of those who will turn on them in a heartbeat.

Yes, we mistakenly dropped weapons which they were able to access. Mistakes happen in war zones all the time, with modern communication we just hear about it a lot sooner, not like 40 years from now when it is declassified and someone writes a book about it. Frankly, it’s not that big a deal.

What I believe is a big deal is their lack of cohesion. Lacking any strategic direct line to important decision makers, I am praying, and what I am praying is this, words from Psalms:

Confuse, O Lord, confound their speech

Disintegrate ISIS from the inside.

Create, Great and Merciful Father, miscommunications, misunderstandings, competing agendas and internal strife among the ISIS force.

All Mighty, All Powerful God, create a massive collapse, let their foot-soldiers drift away, drift home to their mothers and fathers and their families, and leave the Iraqi villages and the Syrian villages in peace.

Dry up the wealth of the Gulf, funneled through corrupt money changers in Kuwait, let it be mishandled, go missing, be stolen, be diverted and find its way to true charitable organizations providing a means of survival to those thousands of refugees who have been displaced.

Oh God! Collapse this abomination, the Islamic State of the Levant and Syria, collapse it utterly from within, strip it of all its power, devastate it like a virulent plague from within!

Oh God, bring good out of this downfall. Teach the remnants who return to their homes to live together in peace, to form peaceful and stable communities and then nations whose lives honor you!

All this is possible for the God who can do all things. Confound their speech, Lord, confuse them utterly, devastate and collapse them utterly from within. You are the one true God, there is no other God.

We are not without resources. We have the mighty fist of prayer.

November 2, 2014 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Charity, Civility, Counter-terrorism, Cultural, Doha, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Quality of Life Issues, Relationships, Social Issues, Spiritual, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Swamp Tour With Annie Miller’s Son

Annie Miller was a woman ahead of her time, out trapping, hunting and doing whatever she needed to do to keep her children fed and clothed and going to school. When oil went bottoms up, the town of Houma approached Annie Miller and asked her to start up some tours of the swamp, to attract business to the area. She did, and was so knowledgeable that people came from everywhere to take her tours.

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Now her son does the tours, and we liked his approach. We call it “Under promise and over deliver” which we think is a great slogan for contractors everywhere. At one time AdventureMan worked for a giant company whose contracts were called “The Gold Standard.” His company cost a little more, but they delivered on every promise and were good at figuring out problems that cropped up mid-contract and working with the government to support the mission.

As this tour departed from the gathering spot at Bayou Delights restaurant, the guide told us that with the colder weather, he couldn’t guarantee that we would see any alligators at all, but that there were other things he would show us. I love that approach. It prevents excessive expectations.

As it turned out, we saw all kinds of wonderful things, both inside and outside of the Mandalay Wildlife Refuge.

This is a revolving bridge over the Bayou Black. You can see the round base on which it can swing sideways to allow really tall boats up the Bayou. The guide saws he has never seen it work in his lifetime.

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Almost immediately, we spy an alligator sunning on the side of the bayou.
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Entering Mandalay Wildlife Refuge:

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Shooting digital is a crap-shoot. You have that tiny delay, but a tiny delay makes shooting wildlife less predictable. I didn’t even know I had this shot until I uploaded my photos to my computer. It was absolutely glorious to see.
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I have never seen anyone call an alligator before. “C’mon Ruby! C’mon b-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-by! C’mon Ruby!” And Ruby came!

So did Little Latin Loopy Lou! She jumps for the pieces of chicken that he puts on the end of the stick:
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This is more exciting to me than alligators. These birds are gorgeous.

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These two eagles would swoop at the same time for chicken skins; unfortunately, against the dark bayou, you couldn’t see them as they swooped, but I loved catching two of them together as they chowed down on their meal.

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Back at the lovely Marriott Courtyard in Houma, I love having a balcony, especially in this weather. Gorgeous sunset, gorgeous weather.
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November 1, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Birds, Character, Cultural, Environment, Photos, Road Trips, Weather, Wildlife | , , | 1 Comment