The first thing I noticed driving through Chalmette, La last night was that there were a lot of cars on the road. Last year, you were lucky to see another pair of headlights during the long trip out to camp.
We aren't staying nearly as far out as last year, but it's clear that there are more people and businesses in this area. I think there must be a law that requires at least one Dollar Store per square mile. They are everywhere! And there are a lot more bars and taverns open.
There's also a new Wal-mart that looks like it must have just opened, a dozen fast-food places, and also some new branch banks. To be sure, there are still store fronts that are shuttered and have been for more than four years already. But the street lights are working, new businesses, and people on the road.
We're staying at a motel. It might be generous to give it a 1/2 star. Really. And that 1/2 star would only be for the wireless access in the lobby.
It's easy to say that I would prefer to be back in the storage room behind the school office we stayed in last year, or the 12 to a bunk with one bathroom cabin we had the year before. There are bugs everywhere. There are flying things that are bigger than gnats but smaller than mosquitos. They don't bite, but they seem to be everywhere and particularly seem to like our bathroom sink/counter area.
Before I arrived, my roommate told me that she didn't want her feet to touch the carpet. I said, "but it's a motel!" She said, "uh-huh." She's right. The carpeting is gross. Evidently they don't really vaccuum. The walls are covered in spots where previous guests tried to kill big bugs. We know this because in less than 12 hours I have already witnessed the creation of two more spots on the wall. The bugs that left those marks were huge. Not medium-size, not big, not even large. Huge. We've decided that they are waterbugs and not roaches. It's possible that those are two names for the same kind of creature.