Sweaty Hoppin' & Calf Poppin' Down the Dark Hollow

Day 21; Shenandoah National Park & Washington DC; 23rd July
Survived the skunk!

Today we were heading off to Shenandoah National Park.
Now 21 days into the tour and today was the first time I got a double seat to myself!
No offence to Emily, she was a great bus companion, but once you have a double seat I understand why everyone was so unwilling to share again!
I took full advantage of this space and spread right out! 
Slept like a baby in all the positions.

We had a lunch stop once we got into the park, which consisted of a cold bolognese sandwich because we'd used up all the lunch meats. 
It was actually real good. 

The hike we were going to do at Shenandoah was the 
"Dark Hollow Falls Trail"
Sounds mystical yet dangerous and as if something bad was going to happen there. 
We were told to be careful of our footing because its very rocky & lots of steps downhill.

Last step down and *snap* go over on my ankle. 
I'm quite experienced with twists and sprained ankles so could immediately tell that it wasn't a serious injury. 
I couldn't walk on it though so it was a hop over to the river to soak my ankle to hopefully stop any swelling.
It was freezing!
Em & Adrian stayed behind to wait with me while everyone else carried on the hike. 
My foot looked kinda blue so I thought I should probs take it out the river before my whole foot snaps off. 

I was actually surprised & proud I'd not injured myself before now. 
I'm quite the cluts so getting hurt on holidays is the norm.
The amount of injuries on school trips and sports tours is unreal!

As I mentioned we hiked downhill. 
So I had to hop uphill. 
It was eventful! 

I was sweating all over Emily to my right and Adrian was pulling me up the steps on my left.
It was a hot and slow process. 
At one point I thought "F it" so started hopping on leg up each step at impressive speed.
My right calf was aflame and had doubled in size! 
I was dripping with sweat.
It got us up quite quickly but boy was I knackered.
The rest of the group had caught up with us so I let him go ahead as I carried on hopping up. 
So many steps
"Think these are the last ones"
Round the corner, more steps

We waited in a car park while Adrian went to find Kayla with the bus.
Sarah kindly let me borrow a crutch of hers and it was bizarre!
Ive never used that kind of crutch so it hurt more using that than just hopping. 

On the road again, and good job I had my own seat eh, needed the space to spread out my leg and keep it raised.

We were on route to DC baby! 
When we booked Washington DC wasn't one of the places that screamed out to me and was never really fussed about visiting. 
Since doing more research I got more and more interested so at this point I was really looking forward to arriving / cursing my ankle because I knew there would be a lot of walking involved in DC! 

We arrived to our camp site and tents were up! 
We had a night tour of DC planned so needed a quick dinner so had a pizza party :) 
Ready for the tour we hopped (literally) on Griffin and had another grand old sing along on route to the capital! 

DC is gorgeous!
It is one of my favourite cities from the trip.
At night everything is lit up beautifully.
We parked up and I attempted to crutch my way with everyone.
Our first stop was at the Washington Monument.
It was so pretty all lit up and is so central that you can look in all directions and see all the other main memorials and monuments. 
We had an hour to explore & had to meet up at Lincoln's Memorial later on. 

The Washington Monument

A group of us headed in the direction of The White House.
There's The White House, and then there's a building to the left of it that's not The White House.
I thought we were outside the other building.
Everyone else stopped and started taking pictures, and me thinking im being super clever pipes up
"Do they think they're taking pictures of The White House?" 
".... they are"

Didn't see Obama so we left. 
We walked (crutched / limped / bitched about the crutch) towards the WWII Memorial Pool,
All the memorials are so beautiful and don't take away from what they represent. 
I don't know whether its just me but I always think of Americans doing everything OTT and assumed any memorials would be the same which may distract from what they stand for but they were spot on.

WWII Memorial with Lincoln Memorial in the background
I gave up on my crutch here and Colin looked after it for me while I just hopped and limped on.
I couldn't last more than an afternoon on them they hurt so much. No idea how Sarah coped for so long using them!! 
We walked down the Reflecting Pool and ended up at the Lincoln Memorial.
Why so many stairs eh guys??!! 
Hopping up to the top, I got a look at Abe.
He's a lot bigger than I thought he'd be! 
From there we got an incredible view back of the reflecting pool, Washington Monument and the Capitol building in the background.

Abe the Babe

The Reflecting Pool & Washington Monument
We met up with everyone and continued onto more memorials.
First the Korean Memorial;
At night this is so eerie! 
I was just waiting for one of the statues to jump at me.
Next we crossed over to the Martin Luther King Memorial.
It looked really new and had loads of his famous quotes along a wall behind the massive statue of him.
From here you could see the Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin.

MLK Memorial 
Tidal Basin & Jefferson Memorial
We headed back to the bus and by now my ankle was hurting loads so was dreading the thought of walking on it all day tomorrow on our free day to explore DC because there was so much I wanted to see! 

Back to camp and it was early nights all round ready for our big day of sight seeing. 
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How NOT To Put Out A Fire

Day 20; Nashville & Appalachian Mountains 

Matt ready in his cowboy getup. 
Yesterday Adrian had mentioned an optional activity for people to do today; shooting!
With this in mind I made sure I looked the part!

But first we stopped for breakfast at McDonalds and had the most unusual thing to eat.
A McGriddle. It had syrup inside the bread! INSIDE?!
Food shop done and we were on route to Kingston for those who wanted to try out shooting some guns.
We went to Frontier Firearms Shooting Range.
Em, Matt, Sarah, Colin & Me Lady Jane all wanted a go. 
I was in my hat and the boys in their boots.
We unfortunately had the slowest man serving us and it had been 45 minutes and we still weren't inside the range! 
Finally it was time to pick the guns and ammo, Me, Em, Sarah & Matt picked the same gun and Colin  went for a massive beast!
They had specific names but it was just: black gun, bigger black gun to me. 
50 bullets each we kitted up with our goggles and headphones and went into the range.
It was crazy! I can understand how people can get into shooting and want to own a gun, the adrenaline was pumping everywhere! 
Em went first on our lane and then Lady Jane. 
We actually were really good and all out shots were within the middle and smallest target zone ....
until Matt came and had a go on our lane.
Holes everywhere in our paper! 

We ran waaaaaaaay over time because of how slow our guy was so the rest of the group had come back and were just sat outside in the bus waiting for us. Oops
We took loads of pics and the occasional slow-mo video of the gunshots and it was time to leave.
As we paid up we played with the 2 cats they have there; Koko & PurrBaby
No srsly those are their actual names. 
Purrbaby was my fave.

Purrbaby <3
We even made it onto their website. LOL

Into Virginia and to our campsite.
It was getting dark so we had to set up camp quickly and it was my groups turn to cook dinner; 
"Spaghetti bolognese"
Someone mentioned they'd seen a skunk so we were on high alert! 
Michaela got a fantastic picture of it glaring right at her! 

Here's a great lesson now for you kids:

How NOT to put out a cooker fire. 

So group 2 is making dinner, we need water for the pan. 
I volunteer to trek down to the toilets to fill up the pan. 
Pan was too big. 
So flooded the bathroom. 
Back up the hill. 
Asked to clean out bigger pan.
Flooded bathroom again.
So tried to clean it in the shower.
Shower drenched me.
Back up the hill.
Suddenly the hob and gas pipe sets on fire and we kinda all just stood there like :/ Ummm.
Kayla's shouting instructions to get water.
So I'm back running down that bloody hill to the bathroom again filling up the pan in the shower.

Meanwhile back at camp, Kayla's throwing all sorts on the fire to put it out;
Ice - didn't work
Milk, OJ - didn't work.
Everyone else was still just stood there watching, because we're so good in emergencies.
Jana finds some water and saves the day.

Im still in the shower at this point filling up the pan hoping there'll be a camp to return to. 
Couple days pass and the pan is just about full so I run back up the hill ready to be welcomed by applause as I extinguish the fire. 
Its out. 

Glad we can all laugh about it now :) 

The water for the pasta refused to boil so we did what we could but basically had a massive lump of soggy gloopy pasta each with some tasty bolognese. 
Eating dinner, Jana whacked out the 60s playlist and it was good times from then on! 

We settled around the fire, still on lookout for the skunk. 
Maho takes charge and is straight out with the crackers, chocolate & marshmallows to make smores. 
I tried something abit new tonight, used a Reece's PB cup in mine, but forgot to break the cracker in half so had one massive smore.
Colin was tucking into his PB cup and realised he'd left the wrapper on.

I visited the bathroom one final time for a shower, even though I was already soaked and then headed to the tent to get changed.
Im in the tent getting dressed when I hear Ellie outside.

"There's the skunk, its circling someone's tent over there - who's tent is that??"
"Which tent?? Is it near me?"
"Oh, yeah its circling the one you're in"

Death by skunk it is then. I awaited my fate.
Any minute now it would spray and i'd be doomed. 
But thank the lord it never came! 
My torch scared it away and I was safe.

I tried to sleep, but skunks faded in and out of my dreams.
I just hoped I'd survive the night.
Surprised I didn't wake Emily up saying there's skunks in the tent tbh! 
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The Birth of Lady Jane

Day 19; Memphis & Nashville; 21st July

Zero sleep
Extremely tired
Unbearably hot
Its safe to say I wasn't a fan of Memphis!

Somehow managed to wake up without any new mosquito bites so I guess thats something. 
The majority of the group were going across the road to do a tour of Graceland (Elvis' home) but a few of us had no interest so wanted to get a taxi in the centre of Memphis to have a wonder round.
Me, Ellie, Em & Maho all set off.
Everything was closed.
Great start. 
It was 9am and already boiling.
So we walked around aimlessly in search of anything that was open.
No luck.
We took a walk down to the river and were tempted to cross the bridge and into Arkansas to tick off another state off the list. 
"What did you guys get up to today?"
"Oh ya know, we popped over to Arkansas"
We didn't though. Didn't want to make everyone too jealous. 
We strolled back into town and by now the Rock & Soul museum had just opened to we paid our $12 and took a tour. 
The first part was to watch a short film, in the dark.
I barely stayed awake! 
The museum itself was ok, enjoyed it more than Sun Studios, but again its not really my thing so its not something I'm going to rave about. 

Taxi back to the campsite and our taxi driver claimed to have a PhD in BBQ. 
He talked on and on and on about BBQ ribs and my mouth was literally watering by time we got to camp! 
We were a bit early to meet everyone so we walked to the gates of Graceland for a few pictures and met up with the rest of the group before departing towards Nashville. 

Our campsite was called Jellystone Park and was Yogi Bear theme. 
Set up camp and then headed to the pool to cool off. 
We didn't have much free time as we were headed out for dinner tonight on the main strip in Nashville. 
It was at Jack's Bar-B-Que and it was amazing!
I had the pork shoulder, ribs, mac & cheese & potato salad.

After dinner people headed off to do their own thing and explore the shops and bars; but I was on a mission: I wanted needed a cowboy hat. 
The ultimate souv! 
Colin & Matt were also on a mission: to find their dream cowboy boots. 

I thought shopping with girls was bad, but shopping with boys is worse!
We found a cowboy boot shop, and it felt like we were in there for hours!!!!!
They just couldn't decide which ones, what colour, which size. 
Me, Em & Maho got bored so wondered off to find me a hat. 
Found one.
I tried it on and the man working on the door said to me
"Don't waste your money, you've got too much hair for a hat and you'll lose it"
Excuse me?
I am quite aware I have frizzy Hagrid hair right now mate but you should be encouraging people to buy your hats!
I ignored his comment and purchased the hat. 
As soon as I stepped out, I put her on my head and I become a new person.
Lady Jane is what they called me.
Lady Jane is everything you'd want from a cowgirl;
she was bold, confident, adventurous and cheeky southern belle.

We went back to the boot shop hoping they'd bought some but still nothing! 
Eventually they picked some so Colin, Matt & Kayla all bought their boots and we were off to Riplys to meet up with the others and show off our purchases. 
A few cocktails later and we were having a blast listening to the live bands playing all the country music you could wish for. 

Emily & Lady Jane ;)
Adrian had big plans for us; to try moonshine. 
What is moonshine you ask?
Good question - wtf is this disgusting drink we all tried?
According to wiki: 'moonshine is a high-proof distilled spirit that are generally produced illicitly'
I had the sweet tea flavour and it was rank. 

Headed off to find the bus, we were a little early so we found a bar, and a boy named PJ so we renamed him Peanut Butter Jelly. 
Emily was straight onto the dance floor having a hoedown throw down with some stranger.
Loving her life she was. 
Lady Jane stepped up and had a go too and it was great fun! 

Emily, Lady Jane & Colin
The moonshine shot!
Photo Credit: Colin Wiseman
Photo Credit: Maho Hayashi
Cheeeeers! *Note, no one is holding eye contact! Shocking*
Photo Credit: Maho or Colin - can't remember sorry ha!
Emily's Hoedown #hoe
On the bus & back to camp it was time for bed. 
I think, there's 3 lines of writing in my journal saying what we did next but I can't read what they say so I'm assuming I wrote them whilst drunk that evening. 
Probably saying I'd not worn underwear again or something?
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Memphis Go Home, You're Too Hot

Day 18; Memphis; 20th July

Sun Studios
Waking up was painful; an early start so we could get on the road and cross into and through Mississippi and into Tennessee by the evening.
Manic pack by dumping the entire contents on the bed into my bag and we were good to go; well, apart from having to leave half of my beads behind :( 

*There's a line in my diary here that says 'need to start wearing underwear'. So I can only assume I didn't wear underwear on this particular day? Glad I documented only the important bits on the trip*

As we're packing up the bus we have our final farewells with Joe before he embarks on his solo travelling to the East coast. Hope he isn't too scarred with what happened last night! 

Getting on the bus today I had a new bus buddy - Hello Matt :) 
Matt, however looked a bit different this morning.
I couldn't quite put my finger on it ....

Matts shaved head.
Photo Credit: Alan Ly
Alan proceeds to tell us how Matt had tried (& failed) to shave his own head last night. 

Into Mississippi and we're off to Walmart (yeeeeey) for our daily food shop. 
A little complication over getting alcohol for Matt because he left his I.D on the bus;
It would seem that if you're buying drink for someone, don't let them stand next to you at the checkout because chances are that its probably 100% likely that they'll also get asked to show I.D which they don't have on them. 

A lunch stop was to follow with the usual sandwich making and our first try of a Twinkie. 
I still don't know what to make of this creation. 
It wasn't horrible, it just wasn't nice either ha. 

A key fact about Emily here; she's never watched any Lord of the Rings or Hobbit films. 
Oh the horror and shame of calling her a friend. 
Colin luckily brought his tablet on the trip and had all the films so we could fix this. 
Forcing her through what probably seemed like 12 days of just the first film I could tell she was hooked ;) 

Many hours later and we crossed the border into Tennessee and headed to our first destination;
Memphis is home to rock & roll so it was only fitting that we visited the famous Sun Studios where the likes to Elvis recorded songs back in the day. 
Now I'm not really a rock & roll / blues / soul / Elvis fan so this wasn't exactly an exciting activity for me and tbh I found it quite boring. 

Arrived at camp which was just across the road from Graceland, Elvis' home 
Yeeeey, more Elvis :/
& we set up camp, whilst sweating buckets. 
It was bloody hot in Memphis.
Hot & humid. 
Unbearably hot and humid!!
& what do we have for dinner ..... curry! HOT curry!

Our evening plans were to head into Beale St.
We parked up and walked over to the Lorraine Motel; the place where Martin Luther King was shot. 
Great way to set the tone for the evening I know ;) 
Now we're all outside the motel Adrian starts telling us about MLK and that we're outside the room that he was shot and its all very serious. 
& then we're like :/ 
Oh wait, isn't it that room over there?
You know, the one with the memorial flowers & plaque outside?

So for future reference for anyone planning to visit the Lorraine Motel (now the Civil Rights Museum), it is room 306. But I'm sure you'll figure it out when you see the room with the big wreath outside it. 
Civil Rights Museum
Room 306 ;) 
Onto Beale St and in comparison to New Orleans' Bourbon St it just wasn't that great. Maybe it had something to do with the fact it was a Monday, but still Memphis just wasn't cutting out to be that fun.
We had an hour to wonder down the street so we did a lap and me & Em fell into a bar and had some drinks - Coke if I'm correct? Cray! 

Beale St
Buzzing off the coca cola 
Back to Griffin and back to camp it was early nights all round. 
Pffft, or so we thought.
Into the tent and I get my first glimpse of what mosquitos look like. 
They were everywhere. 
We spent a good hour swatting & squishing the bugs before we were happy to try and sleep.
But sleep we did not.
It was too hot and humid so zero sleep it was. 
Our tent was basically a puddle of sweat by the morning. 
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Gators, Gumbo, Hand Grenades & Hurricanes

Day 16 & 17; New Orleans; 18th & 19th July

The Bayou
By now everyone had been eaten to pieces by mosquitoes; Nicola & Ellie by far the worst!
I however was immune to the bugs / my skin tasted like shit.

Today we were travelling to ....N'AWLINSSS!
So excited to go here!
But also sad because it was our final couple of days with Joe & Sofia as they would be leaving us :(
But a lot of fun was to be had before that happened!

Once we crossed the border into Louisiana we stopped for lunch at 'Popeyes' which is like KFC but not and they have chicken and shrimp. I had the shrimp which I later regretted. & so did Michaela from what i'm told.

Another really cool optional activity for us today; swamp tour! Ooo
So off we drove to Cajun Pride Swamp Tours
& Alan was our guide (not our Alan, a new Alan).
First thing we noticed as soon as we even stepped off the bus; there were bugs everywhere, and big ones at that!
Matt picked up this massive cockroach thing and was waving it around scaring people (Colin's now run off and back in Texas) ... and then throws it up in the air to see if it could fly.
It couldn't.
Splatted straight back on the ground haha!

Its soon our turn to get on the boats and we all clamber on.
Alan is a very 'southern' man, his accent was brilliant and I loved everything about him.
"I don't believe in no voodoo"
He takes the boat through the bayous and we see loads of raccoons on the banks following the boat; next minute Alan's throwing marshmallows to them??!!
Learn something new everyday; apparently raccoons & alligators love a good marshmallow.
The bayous are so pretty and full of wildlife. We start spotting more alligators approaching the boat for food, but no big'uns yet.

Feeding the raccoons
Alan starts telling us of a big female gator we're off to see; she was big alright!
Lurking under the branches in the swamp he starts calling for her waving chicken off the side of the boat (I say side, he was on a small platform dangling over the end of the water) and suddenly there's movement and she slowly starts swimming towards us.
He teases her with the chicken but she eventually reaches out of the water and snaps it up!
Everyone on the boat had rushed to that side so the boats basically tipping and I'm thinking if we're not careful she's going to be eating a lot more than scraps of chicken!
All fed we leave her and carry on down the swamp.
Alan starts telling us of a baby gator he raised because she was abandoned and that he had tried to release her into the wild but she kept coming back every time he called her.
So I'm thinking he's going to start calling for this alligator and she's going to appear in the swamp and we'll all be like "awwwww".
How incorrect!
Alan starts digging around in the back of the boat and from a cooler pulls out an alligator.

Nearly lost your hand there mate ;)

Corrrr, she's a beauty
Alan casually whipping out an alligator 
Me with the gator :D 
She was so cute though and he said if we did it quickly we could all pass her around and get a picture with her before she dries out and gets agitated.
So one by one we're passing this live alligator round the boat taking pictures with it.
It was so bizarre but so cool at the same time,
She was much softer than I expected and really light.

All pictured out he puts her back in her cooler and we head back to shore.
It was a really cool tour which I'd recommend to anyone ever heading to New Orleans.

Back in Griffin and it was time to head to the city and find some booze and then our hotel.
A quick stop at a very dodge place we're stocked up on the road again.
We're driving through a really rough area in New Orleans and seeing some sketchy characters and suddenly we stop and Kayla & Adrian are like "Ok we'll go get us checked in, we'll be right back"

Wait, what?? Don't leave us here!
Everyone's looking around outside, and then looking at each other like :/ They can't be serious, we can't stay in this area!? We'll die.
It was a little judgemental but we were a tad scared.
They come back and we get our stuff and everyone's spilt into rooms;
In ours it was me, Em, Ellie, Nicola, Maho & Michaela.
We find our apartment and go in.
6 of us .... we could have fit the whole group in our room!
I've never seen so many beds; we even had more than in a bed shop!
Literally beds everywhere.
It was a decent room for 2 nights and had air-con so we couldn't complain.
One bathroom though between 6 girls however was a little stingy.
So we pick a bed (I actually ended up with two in different rooms because I stupidly unpacked all my stuff on one and couldn't get into it at night ha) and then start the shower rota to get ready for dinner reservations that night.

Fresh out the shower and my hair was already dry; the humidity was insane!
Trying to get dry from the shower and i'm getting wet from sweating so much!
Everyone threw on their best evening attire and we came outside to find half the group had already started walking to Bourbon St to the restaurant without us.
Kayla waited for us so we're basically power-walking / jogging through the streets to get there in time, meaning more sweat & more frizz.
We arrive at Bourbon St and it was heaving. It is such a lively area and was so fun to even just walk down.
We ate dinner at Olde N'awlins Cookery and it was delicious.
Dying of thirst we order our first hurricane cocktail to tick it off our bucket list.
It was so good!
I ordered my 2nd helping of shrimp for the day; the shrimp fettuccine alfredo which was incredible.
Adrian was asking if it was wise to have shrimp again because apparently it gives you the shits and I was like 'ye ye I'm fine, its not affected me.' That didn't last long. #TMI
Stuffed and buzzing to get into the bars we pay up and leave for a night on the town.

Bourbon St is my life.

Group at dinner :)
Photo Credit: Matt Hoskin
Bourbon St
We went into a beach themed bar and ordered another (massive) hurricane cocktail and headed for the dance floor.
I'd noticed everyone was bearing colourful beads & I needed to know how to acquire these.
A guy comes over and starts talking to me, I wasn't really paying attention to him I just noticed he had beads & I wanted them. Cutting him off I just ask for a bead and he happily obliges.
I should never have put that first bead on.
Something changed in me that second & the addiction began.

All the girls were called onto the stage to dance so we went up and danced away looking like pros and having a great time. But there was more to see so we left and headed for the next place.
As we're walking down the street I noticed there's beads EVERYWHERE. 
Hanging on the railings of the bars and restaurants, people are throwing them down onto the street and there's perfectly good ones just lying in the gutter.
I'll have them thank you.
Soon I had about 10 and was feeling pretty great.
& then Kayla started collecting them, and then she had more than me.
That wasn't ok.
So the real contest began and it got dirty.
Literally racing each other across the street and frantically searching the gutters and cobbles for unbroken beads on the floor, pushing each other out of the way if we struck gold.
We were animals.
My collection was up to about 30 & I was feeling confident.

As we're walking down Bourbon we notice a shop selling loads of masks and we immediately know we have to buy some. Me, Em, Colin, Matt & Kayla all buy some fabulous masks and look pretty damn incredible!
Matt's is just too funny!

Emily, Matt, Colin & Me modelling our fabulous masks! 
Adrian, Sarah, Kayla, Sofia, Maho, Me & Colin at Pat O'Briens 

Kayla, Emily, Me, Colin & Matt all looking on point! 
We head to Pat O'Briens and I had the sweetest and most colourful cocktail ever; rainbow (duh).
Some more drinks and we continue down, acquiring more beads as we go.
Another drink on our bucket list was the Hand Grenade which comes in a really cool cup.
The drink however was actually gross, it tasted like sour grass.
Meanwhile Kayla & Sarah had snuck off and were busy stocking up on beads outside to beat me. Bitches. Its on.
I drag Colin down the road with me to find as many as we could and we 'stumble' across the biggest and best massive bead out there. There was no room left on my neck but we carried on; I needed to win; these beads were basically possessing me.
Back to the bar to claim victory, Kayla was impressed by my collection. Only a count up in the morning would decide the real winner.

Rainbow cocktails at Pat O'Briens
The Hand Grenade!
Sofia, Alan, Colin, Em, Me & Adrian 
People started drifting off and heading home but a few of us weren't quite done so we kept the drinks coming and tried a few more bars.
Eventually we walk back and just round the corner from our hotel we're stopped outside a gay bar by a woman who drags us inside trying to tempt us with more drinks and air-con.
No thanks m'aam.

Outside the apartments we find Alan's randomly outside on the street because there had been a black out?! Still not 100% why he thought being outside would help.
Me & Em climb up our steps to our door and try both keys; didn't work. Maybe we're just drunk. Keep trying, nope. Uh ow.
Luckily Maho had heard our struggle and came to open the door for us.
Sorry Maho!

Creeping in I realise I'm going to wake everyone else up if I attempt to get all my stuff off my bed so I go through the last room next to the bathroom and claim a bed in there.
Now, Emily's learnt that when I'm hot (which was basically through the whole trip) I like to wear as little as possible for bed. And tonight was no exception, it also didn't help that I didn't know where my pjs were. So I threw on a tank top and slept in that & my thong.
I tried to position the thin sheet over my bum to keep my decorum.
Turns out when I woke in the morning I must have rolled over in my sleep because my arse was on show. So I apologise to anyone who may have gone to the bathroom and turned the corner to that site.
I can't imagine that's one of the first things you wanted to see in the morning.

A new day & a full day to explore New Orleans.
A quick count up of my beads ... 47 & the big one so basically 50.
I'm going to claim victory for that one.

I think we have a winner ;) 
A few of us went to check out the French Market this morning.
Joe was hanging & apparently completely floored it on their balcony last night.
We got to the market and it was so cool!
I loved it. So many souv stalls and within 5 minutes I'd already bought a voodoo doll.

Joe's still suffering, Colin's started on the booze & I find a gator stick to eat for breakfast.
Now, I did feel a little bad.
Only yesterday I was holding a baby alligator and now I'm eating one.
Oh well.
It was actually really tasty!

New Orleans is hot ok, and very humid so we're all struggling massively. We try to keep out of the sun by visiting a few more souv shops and then find the famous 'Cafe du Monde'.
They sell french donuts called beignets which look yummy.
The queue for a table was very long, and tbh the queue for takeaway food was just as long but me & Maho were determined to try them so we queued for a while.
Totally worth it.
You get 3 in a bag covered in sugar and they are delightful.
We walked across the street to Jackson Sq to eat them in the shade with a lovely view of St Louis Cathedral.
Managed to finish 1 and we're all folding up the bags to save for later
"Did you like yours Maho?"
"Yes, i've eaten them all"
What?? Seriously where does she put it all!!??

A quick trip across the road to see the mississippi river and we decide to stop off somewhere so Joe can attempt to eat something.
I wasn't hungry but do wish I'd ordered because Emily's Gumbo (which FYI was in the biggest bowl on the planet!) was amazing. I tried some so technically could tick it off the bucket list.
One final thing in New Orleans was to visit a voodoo shop.
We tracked one down and I wanted to buy the weirdest thing as a souvenir for my sister;
Raccoons penis. Done
They're supposed to 'protect you' so she can't complain.

Beignets from Cafe du Monde
St Louis Cathedral in Jackson Sq
The walk down Bourbon St was very different to how we left it last night.
No broken beads on the floors, full of lovely little cafes and shops and all the buildings are so cute.
We all decide we're dying and too hot so head back to the hotel to shower and play some cards on the boys balcony before deciding what to do for dinner.

As people returned from their day out they joined us in cards and soon the drinks we out as we played 'fuck the dealer' - Adrian got well and truly screwed over!
Sarah explained another card game called 'Pimps & Hoes' and you have to shout out Pimp or Hoe if you think either your team or the other team has won.
I don't know whether Maho just got confused or if she just thinks this about me;
Turns to me "Whore"
Now as we're playing the sky starts to go grey, a very dark grey and just to spite me; the lightning came. Very close.
Not cool New Orleans.

Now I mentioned that both Joe & Sofia would be leaving the tour, but we were also getting a new member to the group; Anya :)
She was coming back from her day out as we're playing cards so we have a brief intro before we all start disappearing off to shower (again) and get ready for dinner.
Adrian & Kayla were taking whoever was around to get hotdogs for dinner and then onto Frenchmen St to some bars.
I opted for my 2nd gator dog of the day.
This time covered in cheese, bacon & ranch.
It was insanely good!

We all got to know Anya over food before heading across the road to watch some live music and get the cocktails in. Maho & Anya head back and shortly followed by Adrian & Kayla.

Me, Em, Sarah, Joe & Colin left, we walk down looking for a new bar and find a cool jazz club with a pretty hot band playing ;)
Sarah decided to head back to the hotel; so the last 4 standing as usual.
Now the drummer of this band was a total catch.
Mr Ronnie Williams; ideal, won't have to change my surname when we get married.
Think Em had her eye on him too so we'll just have to fight for his love.
Now Ronnie babe was roughly in his 70s and was loving his drums.
We kept catching his eyes over the drums and he just loved the attention.
I got his name muddled up and let slip
"I love willy .. RONNIE, I MEANT RONNIE!!"
Joe "Whats that, you love Ronnie's willy?"
Alot of inappropriate actions later and Emily comes back to the table with no idea what we were howling about.

To the next bar and here something truly hilarious happened.
I still get fits of giggles thinking about it.
I just wish we'd filmed it so everyone else could share the horror & hilarity of what happened to Joe...
Colin's gone to the bar so the 3 of us are just standing watching the band.
A shot-girl comes strolling over, asks me & Em if we want any, "No thanks", so she turns to Joe.
I'm pretty sure he said no, but this minx wasn't taking that for an answer.
She pulls out 2 test tube shots and shoves them in her mouth.
... where's this going :/
Next minute she grabs poor Joe's face and shoves it into her massive boobs and starts waving his face around trying to get him to motor boat her.
Me & Emily are just stood there, mouths on the floor in utter shock!
I don't know how he survived that tbh, how could be breath??!
Eventually she lifts his head for air and before he even knows what's happening she's shoved the shots in his mouth (whilst still in hers) and then starts pulling and pushing his face.
Basically making him give the tubes a blowjob.
She tips the shots into his mouth and stands there looking pretty pleased with himself.
"That'll be $6 please"
You're charging him for raping his face?!
What is this madness!!
Me & Emily at this point are doubled over crying with laughter as Joe has to hand over his cash.
It is one of those 'you have to have been there to find it funny' moments.

After that ordeal we were ready for bed and headed back to the hotel.
Again the last ones back and once again locked out.
This time one of the hotel employees was outside and tried to help us in - even he couldn't work the keys so we had to knock until someone let us in.
Sorry Michaela!

My bed was still covered in my stuff so back into my 2nd bed but made sure I covered my arse properly this time!

New Orleans is such a fun city and I would urge people to visit. I will be returning, how else am I to get Willy Ronnie to love me. ;) 

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