updated 1 February 2000
Where was b? 1999
The US of A- Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
1999 - Livin' in America
January- New Year's Eve in the Crescent City
I swung my butt into 1999 at the Funky Butt in New Orleans. Los Hombres Calientes provided the live soundtrack. Angie and I drank champagne and trumpet virtuoso Irvin Mayfield blew in the new year with the help of Wynton's brother Jason Marsalis on drums, and the Afro-Caribbean beats of Bill Summers from Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. An obligatory cover of Princes' "1999" and a stray bullet in the car hood rang in the new year.
February- Mardi Gras in the Big Easy
I was back in the Big Easy introducing my Japanese lady friend to the traditions of Mardi Gras. In short: king cake, cheap beer, second-lining, parades, beads, Bourbon Street bacchanalian madness, the spirits of many departed saints of New Orleans R&B all on a Mardi Gras Day. I also managed to catch a few Zulu coconuts, the primo treasure of Carnival. Yeah you right!
March- Death, Basketball, Music
We didn't need the ashes of the Wednesday after Fat Tuesday to remind of our mortality. b's last Grandma cracked a final joke or two with the nurse, her heart gave up and she died. We learned of her death in New Orleans in the midst of the NCAA tournament. We drove up to Arkansas to bury our last surviving grandparent.
I was happy to volunteer a week to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. I was well pleased to get an inside peak into one of the greatest events on the planet and the fine people who help put it together.
April- Murder, Reunion, Jazz Fest, Moving On
Tragedy struck with the murder of our cousin David Anthony Nichols. He was apparently shot and killed in his office by a disgruntled worker. He left behind his wife and a baby boy.The morning this news arrived I set out in my '89 Honda Civic for my alma mater in North Carolina.
The car is a bit sensitive so I killed the engine only once on the twenty-something hour drive. That was when I made a pit stop in Birmingham to see Peter who was kicking off his career as a lawyer.
Five long winters had passed but little had changed in the idyllic setting of Duke. Jess and Andrew welcomed me into their new home on Burch St. They were busy with their new baby. I was haunted by many ghosts as I reminisced and caught upwith with friends, professors, and classmates amongst the gothic spires and manicured lawns. Unfortunately, I was short on time and I had to rush home in order to relish one weekend of the New Orleans Jazz Festival.
Jazz Fest! - Dr. Professor Confunkcius say - "In heaven there is paradise. On Earth there is the New Orleans Jazz Fest. Yeah you right!" I managed to squeeze in one weekend of the Fest before flying to Shanghai.
I had a layover in Dallas/Ft.Worth and spent the night with my brother John and and his wife Jennifer. They had just opened their Marble Slab Creamery franchise. I got to sample some of their tasty homemade icecream before catching my flight on a new air-route from Dallas to Tokyo. I had been shopping for a ticket to Chile or Argentina, when I won a ticket to China on an internet auction. At less than $600 rountrip on Japan Airlines it was a good deal even though I didn't plan to use the return leg.
I had another layover outside of Tokyo and had the strange feeling of returning to a familiar and comfortable place. I had spent seven months of 1998 working and traveling in Japan. I didn't know when I would return again and suddenly I was there.
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