I’ve noticed that I’ve waxed lyrical about a lot of serious topics lately and I thought I would lighten the mood by taking y’all back to New Orleans and the rest of my time there.
So after I got chased away by the guy that wouldn’t take no for an answer in McDonald’s I headed off to find the river. I wanted to read my book in peace by the water. I’d missed being by the water by this stage. Living in Sydney means that I’m near the water all the time and at the beach at least once a week. Having gone nearly 2 weeks without seeing water was making me anxious.
I wandered over and started to read my book for a few hours. At which point I figured most the shops would be open and I should go and replace that phone I lost while being a drunken wench in Austin.
As I was walking back from the riverside I walked through Jackson Square. And you know, Jackson Square is just beautiful. The park in the middle would become my go to place to read in the mornings with my cup of coffee before the heat got so oppressive. The one thing about NOLA that I love? The history. It seeps into your bones as you are wondering around. There are tales of pirates, vampires and witches all over. Ann Rice might have expressed the beauty of New Orleans a lot better than I am.
I did find a phone shop eventually along Canal. There was a bit of a communication issue with the phone seller guy. I think it was the American/Australian thing. I asked for a phone, he wanted to sell me one on a plan. I advised him that I’m only in the country for a few more weeks and a plan for 24 months is pretty useless to me unless he was planning on marrying me to keep me in the country since I’m pretty sure American SIM cards were a wee bit useless back home in Sydney. He blinked at me and looked really bloody confused. You’d think I’d just told him the secret to rocket fuel.
Maybe I got him before his morning coffee? Gods only know I am pretty sure I get that look when people start asking me things before I’ve had 2 cups of coffee in the morning.
Eventually I spelled out that I wanted a smart phone, not on a plan… he couldn’t understand why since those were cheaper. I finally found an LG one that suited after telling him that he needed to point me to the bit of the wall that had unlocked phones for prepaid.
By the time we got over the language barrier I had a phone that worked and I was able to check into my hotel! Horray! Well, sort of.
I’m not sure how to phrase this next bit without sounding really racist, because I’m not. I think it was a real culture shock kind of thing. I somehow ended up being the token white person in the entire hotel. Not that it was a bad thing in any way. I just felt the difference. And considering back home, we’re a pretty Anglo-Saxon looking bunch, we don’t have many coloured folk. And if it was up to our Prime Minister he’d keep shipping the refugee’s to a town so far out west that no one else wants to live there. Asshat. It took some getting used to but after a few hours I was pretty happy with the idea. I mean, I got smiles everywhere I went and the hotel pool seemed like a popular destination, which I longingly looked at through the glass doors because I didn’t have any bathers and I don’t do skinny dipping in places where I’ll get arrested within 5 seconds. 5 seconds don’t give you much of a head start if you need to run away quickly with your clothes held against your body.Wait what? No, that’s totally not the voice of experience talking. Nuh huh. Never. I’m too classy.
4th of July in New Orleans. On my own. I tried to leave my hotel room to go out, but between the thunderstorm that turned up and left within 5 minutes the heat was oppressive and there wasn’t enough tequila in the world that would entice me out of the air con at that point. So I had a bath. With tequila. Because you know, tequila is the have anywhere drink.
So after a long soak, a bit of a nap and some more tequila I decided I should head out before the sun set so that I could walk along Bourbon and meander down to the riverside for the fireworks.
On my walk down I found Rue Bourbon to be quite entertaining…
I mean, I found an old style Absinthe house. Which I totally would have gone in, except I got alcohol poisoning from absinthe not that long ago. I was scared! So I kept walking. And I came across this busker. Only I glanced at him and then stopped still and stared like a tourist. Because it wasn’t that he was painted in silver. Oh no. It was because he has this pink penis balloon sticking up between his legs. I might have started laughing at this point. As did all the other women around me who thought they were passing another busker.
I weaved in and out of the side streets and found voodoo shops and cigar places. Being that I’d given up smoking I didn’t really stop in those, but I did stick my head into the voodoo shops. I mean, it’s one of those things you have to do no? Exactly. Like gumbo and po-boys.
I thought popping into the Cathedral on my meander through would be a nice thing too. Just to double-check to see if I got hit by lightning or not. Plus, Cathedrals are usually pretty to look at inside.
And St Louis Cathedral was one of those. I didn’t get hit by lightning but there’s a certain kind of peace to places like old cathedrals. I’m not sure what it is, it could be that people don’t really talk and all that stone means that its cool inside. But it’s peaceful. Unfortunately I didn’t think they’d like me pulling up a pew and reading my book so I stuck to just looking at things and going ooooh because I’m a non-believer and this was possibly the 5th church style thing I’d ever been in.
I’ll share a secret, you see the middle picture up there? Well it’s of a confessional booth. And at this point, Loki is possibly rolling his eyes, however… I want to fuck in one. Yes. I want to fuck in a confessional. Possibly in some horribly frufru-ish wedding dress, except if I ever get married I ain’t wearing no frufru-ish wedding dress. No, you see, I don’t want to get married in one. My mother would disown me if I got married in a church. I just want to shag in there.
After I gawked at the confessional for about 5 minutes, I decided that I was probably staring for an inappropriately long time and I should move on.
By the time I’d made it out of the Cathedral the sun had set and the lights were all on and Jackson Square was still bustling. Artists, tarot readers, palm readers, psychics, artists, horses… there were all sorts bombarding you with come hither calls. Well except the horses, they just stood around waiting for people to get on their carts to walk around. I can’t say that I didn’t have the urge to cut the cart off said horse and ride away into the distance.
But then realised that I’m not a cowboy and I didn’t really have anywhere to ride the horse to.
I finally made it to the riverside and noticed that everywhere there were people. In groups, in couples, in family’s… they were sitting, lying, picnicking and canoodling. There were bands that would pop up and play jazz for a bit while people got up and danced and then they’d blend into the crowd and disappear only to be replaced by another band with more dancing. There were a line of people along the grates on the river. I decided I would go join them as I didn’t know what to expect. So while I was waiting I took some pictures… as you do.
I ended up being wedged between this lovely woman who pushed the guy on the other side over a bit so I could fit in and see since you know, I’m a short ass, thank you kind lady!
And then the fireworks started.
Now, colour me a bit disappointed, but maybe I’ve been spoilt. I’m used to things like this…
But what I got in New Orleans was this…
Bright side: I was in New Orleans for 4th of July!!
I decided that I needed a drink and found a vendor along the river and got myself a bucket of tequila. It was hot, I looked amaze in my cherry dress and I was bloody thirsty.
So during my weaving back to the hotel after dancing around the riverside on my own to the lovely music, I thought I should at least eat. Food. I’d somehow forgotten about food in my haste to drown the heat in tequila.
I did get accosted by a palm reader on my weave back to find food and I thought I’d let her have a go. I mean, I’ve never really had anything read so it might be a good laugh. She sat me down and stared at my palm for a few minutes and looked up at me people watching while clutching my tequila in the other hand. I might have looked at her staring at me and said, “Sorry, did you say something?”
She smiled at me and said I hold back a lot don’t I? …
Uhhhh, me? No, not really. I consider myself a pretty open book. You know, say it like I see it type. Sometimes I forget to install my brain to mouth filter and things usually get pretty interesting at that point if you get my drift.
She said no, that’s not what she means. She means that I don’t let people into my heart easily.
I blink at her a few times and slurp my tequila. Oh right. That elephant in the room.
I waved my hand at her and say that’s just because I haven’t found anyone worthy enough. She clucked her tongue at me like my mother and smacked my hand. I felt the urge to skull my tequila at this point and run away. But I stayed put, oh the willpower it took!
She said I’d been hurt badly in the past, I think “no shit Sherlock”, she says I need to learn to open my heart otherwise I’ll never meet the right man, “or woman” I think, and I’ll get married and have 2 children in 2-3 years. I laughed. A good belly laugh at this. Hearty. It startled her. She asked me why I’m laughing. I told her because the doctors tell me I can’t have children. She tells me they lie, I lost one but it’s ok, they will be back with my next 2. I blanch. Wtf. How did she know?!
I thought she was on crack. I was adamant not to give her any information. I don’t think I did. Damn those old women that have mother powers and read all this stuff off you. Suffice to say we had a good chat about Australia and why I was travelling alone and why I hadn’t found true love yet. I was standing strong in my belief that true love is a myth, she was trying to convince me of the error of my ways.
I ended up paying her $50 for the privilege of arguing over whether I will have children, a husband and/or love. and whether it exists. Next time I’ll just call my mother. She’s cheaper.
I did find the gumbo shop, along St Peter St, that did a mighty fine gumbo. And the gelato place tucked away in a little alley that did quaint little cups of gelato that hit the spot at 10pm.
The food was so yummy and I’d run out of tequila because the palm reader had disturbed me more than I cared to admit so I figured I needed another bucket of tequila ASAP. By this point I had no idea where I was, but I did get some lovely pictures.
Finally I followed the noise. And voila, all roads lead back to Bourbon. Well, they did. Or it could have been the smell of tequila.
After I’d procured my bucket, I decided that I wanted to find a queer bar because straight bars make me nervous. So off I went, it’s the french quarter, surely there’s a queer bar somewhere!! In my meanderings I got smiled and waved at by a bar wench, who was totally cute but I was too hammered to do anything about it except keep walking. Oh and then I came across some police people. ON HORSES!!
Blurry image courtesy of my intoxication and the fact that I might have squealed as I whipped out my camera and took this wobbly picture.
At which point I decided I should get back to the hotel to finish my drink as crawling back was not an option.
The next day would see me try to get my hung over ass to the Garden District. I ended up on the tram. It was too hot to walk. I took pictures as I zoomed past. It was perfect.
I vowed to come back to do New Orleans when it wasn’t so bloody hot and once back in the French Quarter went on the hunt for more tequila. Maybe it should be renamed tequila land?
Although I do have to say that New Orleans is definitely a place you want to go with friends to. I spent 3 days there not talking to anyone apart from bar staff or restaurant people to order food. People go there in groups, with friends and they aren’t as open as everywhere else I went in America was so a single person travelling.
And there was no nookie! None at all. Well, ok, I lie. I picked up a stray off OKC about 1am on the morning of me leaving town and he came around at about 2am since he lived in the french quarter. We shagged like mad until about 3.30am and then I kicked him out because I needed to pack and get ready to go to the bus station to get my 6am bus outta there. The sex wasn’t all that amazing, but it was nice actually having someone to talk to when I’d spent the last 2 days not really talking to anyone.
So when I bid farewell to New Orleans for my 2 day bus ride back to Vegas, I was contemplating if I would ever do New Orleans again and how I could bend my friends to my will to do it with me.