Friday, May 7, 2010

New Toulouse Bayou

(Continued from here.)

The small boat let me off at the dock. "Here we ah, Miz Jameson," the driver said in his Cajun accent. The fog swirled around us. I lifted my skirts to step out of the small boat, trying not to trip over the side as I stepped on to the planks of wood. I looked at the items strewn across the dock, including a fishing rod and a bait can. I hoped we were not trespassing. My look must have conveyed that message, for the driver said, "Don't you worry, ma'am, we-yah not goin' to be in trouble, no. People is all friendly down on the bayou."

He arranged to return in two hours. In the meanwhile, I looked about. I crossed the railroad tracks and began walking down a packed dirt road. The ramshackle houses were all open to the humid air, and many of the roofs bore the weight of varieties of moss. I could sense people about me, though I walked alone. No doubt my walking dress and boots, purchased new in Caledon, identified me as a stranger.

Mists obscured the view, but I could see small boats tied up at most of the docks, as the poor road system would have made walking difficult; the boats were considerably more practical.

A ball rolled across the road in front of me. A young boy chased after it, dressed in short pants and a grimy shirt that may have been white at one point, looked up at me. I smiled at him. Ordinarily, my smiles scare small children, but this one giggled, picked up the ball, and ran back behind a shack. I heard the ball bang against the side of a building.

I made a circuit around the area in the two hours allotted to me and was waiting on the dock when the driver returned in his boat to return me to my hotel.

There you have it: the two sides of bayou country, city and swamp, rich and poor.

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