Day 1 (12/20):

  • This idea to go to New Orleans, Louisiana  (NOLA) came up three days before (Sunday)
  • the day before I had nearly called off the trip bc I had fallen ill
  • I drove for 10 hours and stopped in Dallas (Dallas parking lot: sheared my back bumper as I slowly eased off a short [say, 1 meter long] ramp) and baton rouge
  • arrived at a sketchy Airbnb around 11PM with the previous host leaving us with kind regards and a warm welcome by saying “treat yo-selfs to some weed-butter (weed-butter is a thing? or did he say weed and butter?) in the freezer” — come to find out there was no weed, just butter in the fridge
  • According to a Lyft driver, we were living in “the hood”

  • We watched “kill bill v2”
  • I didn’t sleep with a blanket 🙁 which probably exacerbated my sickness

Day 2 (12/21):

  • french quarter
  • state museum (influences of British, Spanish & French)

outside the museum, Andrew Jackson statue

We’re at Disney World, (no jk), this cathedral is adjacent to the state museum (which is on the right, behind me). From left to right: Fariez, Ducha, Suman, Nabihan, Me.

Day 3 (12/22):

  • our neighbor mistook me as Nabihan’s wife…Do I look like a married woman to you?
  • voodoo museum–voodooism is everywhere (voodooism created penicillin, relations with Christianity, and derived from French and African interactions (?))

voodoo doll

  • Lafayette cemetery: where they bury the dead above ground! some bodies are placed inside walls.
  • cafe de monde: first time trying beignets (powder sugar covered fried dough)–newfound love

  • first time trying oysters (char-grilled yum!)

  • first Jazz bar (sung by a half-drunken man)


Day 4 (12/23):

  • NOMA – New Orleans Museum of Art ft. Picasso, Degas, Manet, Bellini etc.
  • biked in a six person bike around park
  • another round of beignets, please!
  • watched “the Breakfast Club”

Day 5 (12/24):

  • We checked out of our Airbnb around 11AM and quickly made our way to the nearest diner: Seafood Cajun, where 3.5 scoops of shrimp fried rice and two pieces of fried chicken cost less than $5.

got lucky with 3 pieces this time 😉

  • I drove us to the border of LA so that I could nap while Nabihan drove us to Dallas. But right before I began to fall asleep, I overheard an Austrailian story via a podcast about a serial killer (and an engineer) who had committed suicide. When the police looked back at his most recent medical records, they found that he had been hospitalized for lacerations on his dick. How? Apparently, he was wanking with a vacuum. (also apparently this isn’t a novel thing to do? But I’ll never look at a vacuum the same way again). Anyway, I quickly fell asleep to the voices of Fariez saying how something in the car stunk and how Suman thought it was probably Nabihan farting again.
  • Around 6PM, we were driving through Mesquite, TX. Nabihan was driving at a steady pace on the right lane when VROOM a black pick-up truck sped by. No big deal, glad we weren’t in his way we all thought to ourselves. Soon afterward, two police SUV’s were in hot pursuit..followed by three more…and then two more state trooper and sheriff cars flew by. This was clearly not a typical speeding ticket.  As we continued to drive on, we soon noticed that all seven police cars had stopped at an exit, blocking the entrance because it had now become a crime scene. Slowly rolling by, we all rubbernecked to see that the suspect had abandoned his truck and ran into the woods. He didn’t even have time to close his door before he ran away (sorry I’m assuming his gender). Four policemen with flashlights were running on foot at the perimeter of the woods. This was wild. Bruh, this was an ABC 20/20 Live special. (I never found the news coverage–the closest things was: this ) We were all coming up with stories like: what if this guy was a murderer and he had just dropped off his body in the woods, or he was an armed-bank robber doing what he does best (bank robberies still happen? sounds so obsolete) etc etc.
  • Around 7PM, we stopped by a Malaysian restaurant called “secret recipe.” This restaurant only accepted credit cards (hmm fishy…tax evasion anyone?) which meant, we broke kids had to run to the nearest atm (0.7 miles away at a QT gas station) to grab some cash. The food was all right–spicey but tolerable. And soon afterward, we got back into the car and headed our way back hom—you thought–we went to H-Mart because every Asian needs tax-free groceries!
  • After shopping for groceries, we finally got back in the car and made our way home to Oklahoma. As I began to drive, something seemed a bit off. We all felt some shaking and vibrating from the car–consistently becoming stronger the faster I drove. I thought: could it be the engine, the tires (usually there are indicator lights that would tell you if either situation happened but nothing was indicated). I was settling around 80mph in the left lane thinking it will just be a straight ride from here…Then abruptly… BOOM! followed by a BOP! The boom was the sound of my tire being popped; the bop was something that had been ripped from my car.  At that moment, I lost control of my car. I was swerving in and out of the last two lanes (thank God no one was near me). Ducha, sitting in the shotgun, was screaming and chanting –repenting all the sins she could think of before her life flashed before her life, and Suman staring at the concrete barrier that separated the two different sides of the highway thinking that was our final destination. I didn’t make a sound. I was just praying I wasn’t going to make a fool of myself. My knuckles turned white.  within the longest five seconds of my life,  I steered the car across four lanes to the far right shoulder. I was traumatized. We all scrambled out the car to investigate the damage and saw that my tire was shredded, with fibers protruding and rubber burning. (looking back, that weird smell Fariez had noticed earlier, might have been the rubber starting to burn) A part of my back bumper was ripped off and left some of the internal parts of my car exposed. I thought to myself: could this be caused by that ramp in Dallas that sheared my bumper or could this be a cruel joke from our neighbors. Suddenly, Ducha cried out “Julia, Julia something is flying in the road! It’s from your car!” I quickly ran to fetch a small portion of my bumper nead the side of the highway when cars were speeding by. We were fortunate that we had such strong guys–with the three inexperienced men with us (well actually Suman was a mechanical engineer), we were able to replace the flat tire with a spare efficiently off the side of the highway (with us ladies holding the most important jobs: providing light). I called my dad (poor dad, so worried about me) and he told us that we could visit a nearby truck stop to buy a new tire (he thought I had replaced the tire with a donut, but really it was an actual spare). When we arrived, the lady at the desk said they only sell 18wheeler tires. But thankfully, Suman had hit up a guy working in the back who was kind enough to check the air pressure on the spare and make sure our locknuts were tight. When all was good, we hit the road again–arriving back in Oklahoma around 1:30AM.

    chopped off bumper and fibrous flat tire