H+77 hours - And so much for all that. The inspection was painless, although we got nailed for unsatisfactory shaves. Our drill commander fscked up the marching routine, but not quite as bad as the last time. The real story of that day is, however, the night, when we loaded ourselves into the Liberty Bus and, thirty minutes later, onto the streets of New Orleans. If you've ever heard tales about what a wild time it is, they're probably all true. It is a massive, never-ending party that encompasses virtually the entire inner city, and for those in the right frame of mind it could be the time of a lifetime.

H+90 hours - And for many, it was. How can you not enjoy yourself in a town that has drive-through daqueri huts? Some of us came out in worse shape than others, but our bus has the same number of bodies on it this morning as it did when we left home. No small achievement, since several of these kids were avowed alcoholic virgins before the weekend. Most were seasoned pros, or at least experienced amatures. I began the night with a pitcher of Bud at a nasty Mexican restaraunt somewhere off of Bourbon Street, continued with several cans of Bud and Heinie and Amber Brock, then wrapped things up with a pair of "Hand Grenades," the fruity drink of choice for the hip party clientel. They come in neon grenade-shaped cups, but I failed to retain either of mine. I don't remember doing much except walking around and buying drinks, but everyone assures me that I was having a good time.

So last night I stayed in and played hearts and basketball. This morning as we crossed the Mississippi Delta again I felt an even deeper longing for the sea. The ripples and crests are pillows, the foam a blanket, this endless empty blue sky the only roof I need. I could and someday will rest forever among the waves. Good Lord, what a sentimental moron - humans are no better suited to live in the ocean than they are to live in space. Whatever primitive genetic memory I'm addled with is just that, primal instinct. When the waves do close over my head God will be laughing at me, the Big Idiot, for thinking this was somehow right and proper.

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