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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