Update: flood, solar eclipse..


Two weeks ago Sunday, New Orleans received 6 inches of rain during a period of 4 hours, which was too much for the pipes to handle. As a consequence many neighborhoods flooded, ranging from not so severe sidewalk coverings, to knee-deep water in Mid-city where people were paddling their kayaks. Some people biked through the flood like this one guy whose bike was covered half way as he tried to pedal his way out.

I had not been paying attention to the rain or thunder until I received an emergency warning text.It was hard to ignore it. There was a flash flood warning and it urged people to stay out of flooded areas  I watched the rain fall outside my window, hoping it wouldn’t about too much.  The rain had covered the sidewalks and most of the streets. As it’s common to find in New Orleans, the street are not always leveled so there tends to higher and low area that easily get flooded. Around my neighborhood the water did not get beyond covering our sidewalks. No one was outside at the time since it was raining hard and the streets were completely covered, but once it stopped, cars began passing by. There was still a large concentration of water, so that when cars passed, they pushed the water to the side. I don’t think it went into anyone’s house but it looked like a shallow river out there, as the water moved in waves.


Solar Eclipse

I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve seen a lunar eclipse before, but never a solar eclipse. I found about it several weeks ago, and quickly began searching for the solar glasses, but to no one’s surprise they were sold out on various sites. If you didn’t already have it, you were screwed since experts advise not to stare directly at the sun, because it will ruin your eyes, possibly causing blindness. Also I needed binoculars and camera filters, and those were also sold out. I watched some YouTube videos on how to make a DIY filter, but where would I get the Black polymer sheet? It seemed like a lost cause. Luckily, I knew someone who had the solar eclipse glasses, and so I wouldn’t be watching from home or only when the moon was fully covering the sun. Most people are driving to the line of totality ranging from Oregon to South carolina.

I ended up watching it in Mobile, Alabama, where we were expecting 85% totality. I tried out the solar glasses days before when the sun was out. At first I didn’t see anything because some clouds were in the way. I could only see my eyes, but then the clouds dispersed, and there it was. The SUN. It appeared small, slightly orange, and so benevolent that I didn’t recognize it. I could feel the heat, but my eyes were safe under the solar eclipse glasses.

I wondered how it would be the day of…

When traveling

New Orleans gets plenty of tourism, and it’s no surprise friends and family come to visit. It’s always a revelation to take them to the French Quarter and the surrounding neighborhoods like Marigny and Tremé, depending on their curiosity. I find it interesting the way they perceive what is unfolding before them, often expressed in simple comments, awes of silence, the flashing of photos, the way they interact with people or their nervousness when seeing a new place. They may notice everything at once or notice nothing at all. The most annoying aspect is when you find a visitor glued to their phone and failing to interact with anything outside social media.

While some are open to everything a place has to offer, others may want to frequent the same corners they would encounter back home. And it’s not abnormal to want what is familiar, because we all want our comfort—to be in a safe, secure place that makes us happy and fulfilled, and usually those places are the ones we feel close to. On the spectrum of possibilities we search for the closest avenues to our reality, ones that would easily satisfy us. While this seems to be a practical view in the short-term, and uses time efficiently, it can also prevent us from a genuine experience that could teach us a profound lesson.

It’s not surprising to find that tourists carry their life with them, as if in a suitcase, often comparing their home to the new destination. I wish they could leave their home for a bit and explore with fresh eyes. But that can be difficult for anyone, since we are tied to the place we live, which is inevitably attached to biases. This affects how we perceive a new place dissimilar to the one we encounter everyday. A trip anywhere could be more fruitful if you go with an open mind. I have come to understand that not everyone is willing to fully immerse themselves in an experience.

Some people are initially cautious, but despite their fears do eventually jump at the chance to be active explorers. Their hesitancy quickly fades when they acknowledge that experiences don’t have to fall into two categories good or bad, and that there’s a spectrum of emotions each rich with thought. They give themselves a little more room to explore even in places they had not expected to encounter. Traveling often challenges our way of thinking in one way or other, even if we don’t want to admit it. Traveling changes us and I think that’s the whole point.