It's quiet right now. I'm sitting here, on aphexious' hardwood floor in New Orleans, with my laptop appropriately resting in my lap. I've just gotten back from an early-morning stroll down St. Charles street, before the streetcars have begun to move and traffic consists mostly of stragglers from the night before. The occasional drunk wanders across my path, muttering to himself (all drunks seen so far this morning are male) and minding his own business. The past two days I've been doing battle with my stomach, which really, really sucks. You see, I have this condition called gastritis- kinda like an ulcer only not.

I went to the Voodoo Music Experience with toastido and a few others. I had gone against my body's wishes, it telling me in no uncertain terms that my stomach wasn't in the mood to do anything remotely physical. That included walking, standing, breathing, eating, talking... well, anything, really. I ignored my body's cries for rest and went ahead as planned- hell, the tickets were $35, paid for by toastido, and I wasn't about to simply throw them away for a little stomach cramping, right? Ugh... what a bad decision.

We made it to templeton's without incident- meaning I hadn't thrown up yet or passed out from agony. We had stopped to get me some Pepto, which helped a tiny bit, but nowhere near enough to made me road-worthy. Still, I ploughed on to the park where Voodoo was being held. I was all but writhing in pain. The SUN hurt.

We got through the gates without any trouble- cops were all over the place, waving metal detectors over people like magic wands. I lost a small Swiss Army pocket knife in the exchange, but it's a small price to pay for good music, right? We trudged through throng after throng of people until we finally found the main stage and I swear people were giving me strange looks- to get strange looks from people in New Orleans takes some amount of skill, apparently. I saw some people that would have been drawing crowds in Nashville for the way they were dressed, but in N'awlins, nobody hardly noticed. Me, however, with my paling face, awkward gait and chest-grabbing, as if to make I was having a heart attack (and it felt like I would at any moment), well that was nothing short of outlandish for some folks. But no one said a word. Toastido shot a few concerned glances in my direction, but I kept silent, groaning only when the sub-woofer of some concert stage pounded just a little too hard.

We found the main stage where Better Than Ezra, Bush and Tool were scheduled to play and pulled up a patch of grass to call our own. The act that we'd come upon sucked. I don't care what anyone else says, they simply sucked. It was like Jamioquoi meets Seal meets Limp Bizkit- ugh. The bass speakers were beating the hell out of me, making the pulsing in my stomach ten times worse. Imagine putting a peeled banana into a plexiglass vat with water in it, then pounding that vat with sub-sonic waves. Now... eventually that banana is going to disintegrate into nothingness... and that's exactly what was happening to my digestive system at that concert. I needed to leave or things were going to get very ugly very fast.

I rose, explained the situation to everyone and began to make my way out of there with an escort from the group. Indra363 was with me the whole way back to aphexious and BAR's pad. We hopped onto a coach shuttle bus, courtesy of Sheraton Hotels (and the $5 fee paid by Indra363), got dropped off in the middle of downtown New Orleans and flagged a taxi for the rest of the ride "home."

I must tell you here and now that New Orleans has the absolute worst roads ever, anywhere, anytime. I would gladly go back to Nashville and deal with all the construction crap there than stay here and live with these roads on a daily basis that CAN'T be fixed because of the damn water level here. Those roads, riding in a taxi cab, were like murder on my stomach. Every ten seconds I groaned pitifully.

As soon as we reached our destination I plodded my way into bed and stayed there until about 2 hours ago. I think I slept for maybe 20 hours total. My stomach is still unhappy, but I'm treating it better today. I don't want my gastritis to get in the way of me having a good time here in New Orleans. This will likely be the only vacation I'll have for another 5 years and I want to make the best of it. Sitting in bed can be done anywhere. I have only a few days left in N.O. Somehow, someway I will get better and I will make the best of this trip- even if it's the last thing I ever do.