Sacked by the "downturn", an unemployed architect touring the country in a bus...

I used to live in New York City. I designed homes for the tycoons of Wall Street; Park Avenue, Scarsdale, Greenwich. It was great fun. And, after years of saving up for a down payment, I was just about to buy my own little place in Fleetwood, half an hour north of the city, when the economy fell apart. Architects are like canaries in a coal mine when the economy slows, and true to form, there were massive layoffs in firms all over the country. Devastation of the profession. So, I decided to try to find something else to do for a while. I bought a 23' school bus and I'm on the road to see if I can figure out what that might be.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bridge City

As I headed west, a calm fell over me that I had not felt in a while.  It was the calm of no deadline and the luxury to explore. I headed west on 87, a smaller road than I-10, and came to the Rainbow Bridge into Bridge City.  It's one of the very tall bridges that I have mentioned before, which are common here; they allow for large ships to navigate below.  As I crossed, I wondered if there would be a way for me to get a picture, and sure enough, there was a turn off right at the far side.  What was there was a gate to a chemical plant compound, and to the right of that, a tiny road leading back to the bridge's supports and the waterway.  The little road intimidated me and I parked and walked a little way, until a car appeared heading the same way.  I waved to the driver, a young mexican, and he stopped.  "Can I drive down here?" I asked.  He only grasped a vague sense of my question from my pointing and shrugging, and his repy was mostly a mumble and a nod, but I understood that it would be ok, so I got the bus and drove down.  100 yards along, I passed a middle aged couple walking a dog, and we waved, and I realized there was nothing to fear at all.  It turned out to be a tiny community of shrimp fishermen and retirees in ramshackle houses and trailers and boats.  Here are Peanut, and his son Cele, pronounced see-lee.

Peanut was as jovial as he appears in the photo above.  I asked how the shrimping was going and he said this year he could not catch enough on a run to cover the gas ($450.)  He thought it had to do with the cold and stormy weather, not like previous years.  He never stopped beaming except for a brief mention of the economy and the tough times.  I told him my story, too, and emphasized how lucky I feel to be able to travel.  His smiling was infectious, and we spent a moment or too just keeping company.  Cele was more grumbly as he prepared his car for a trip to Montana, where he has some work lined up.  "I shouldn't have put everything in one basket," he said, pointing to the boats.  It was clear to me that he want's to leave, but is torn; the timeless story of generations.

For some pictures of Rainbow Bridge and some shots of the fishing boats, click here

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