The Big Easy - New Orleans :-)

by tosca on Thursday, February 19, 2009

Well, we're not in Kansas anymore! OMG what can I say? Contrary to what I've heard from travellers, Americans are actually really REALLY friendly! But I suppose sitting next to them on a plane for 11 hrs has that Stockholm Syndrome kinda feeling to it. Oh and at the baggage claim at LAX, after having come through Customs, I bumped into an old neighbourhood friend. In fact, he lives about 5 mins walk away. Funny story, I bumped into his older brother in Dunedin while I was bumming around a few years back. So - go Takanini :-)

All's I saw of Dallas, I'm sad to say, was the damn airport lounge. Ooh, I did get to take the Skylink - which is this fantastic tram thing up in the sky and it goes WHOOSH. I had no idea where the hell I was going so just followed the signs (and Paul Brown, if you're reading this, that whole retail layout that you tell me about - NZ could learn a thing or two from the signs at American airports) and ended up somewhere on an upper level catching a tram. Struck up a conversation with a lovely family waiting and the father was nice enough to respond when I said, 'Uhh...what the heck is this?' I did NOT, I repeat, did NOT, get to meet a cowboy in the Dallas airport who said, 'Howdy, ma'am' while tipping his hat to me AND wearing cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and big belt buckle :-) Maybe next time.

People keep mistaking me for being Mexican - which is nice. Have had a few at the airports (LAX and Dallas and New Orleans) ask me for directions in Spanish. Hah! They look a bit blank when I start speaking. Everywhere I've gone today people keep telling my accent is beautiful. Oh, and a few have said they liked my beads and want to know where they can get some. The sad truth of it is - I bought all of my plastic beaded necklaces from New Zealand with me on this trip. YES I know I can buy beads here for about $2 but I don't want THOSE ones - I want my own. Admittedly, I had to leave behind some shoes to do it - so I only have 2 pair for a 3 week trip. I'm sure I can buy jandals, geez.

Oh AND I got my palm read and sat for a tarot card reading here on Bourbon Street (which is where I'm updating my blog from atm) - Hey, it's New Orleans - if you can't ever get it done here then where CAN you get it done?? Scarily enough the guy was spot on, right down to my dad having diabetes and a whole host of other stuff (which I'll tell my sisters/mum about when I get back home and no doubt they'll agree with him). One thing he told me, in between calling me 'Bebe', was that I have only ever had one serious relationship and it wasn't worth the time of day, and that in about 9 months I was going to meet a NZer (which probably means a hori boy from Te Kuiti knowing my luck LOL) and, within 3 yrs of meeting him, get married. The order of children would be son, daughter, son. I was not impressed with the marriage/kids thing LOL And when I told him so he simply said, 'Bebe, I tell you but it doesn't have to be that way.' So there! Oh god, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this place. Although I am tired and a tad bit hungry after roaming the French Quarter all day. And who knew you could get drunk on $11?

The weather here is about the same back home - 17 degrees (although the day I left it was 30 at home) only a tad bit more humid. I am literally within about 3 mins walking distance of Bourbon Street which is a deceptive place when you enter it from the top like I did. It looks like nothing on earth I've ever seen before, although apparently that's normal for New Orleans LOL Walked all over the Vieux Carre - and was lucky enough to hear a jazz brass band busking down by Jackson Square. I also visited the Aquarium of the Americas and saw the whitest alligator ever, as well as an anaconda. I also went to the iMax theatre next to the Aquarium and watched 'Hurricane on the Bayou' which was a fascinating look at how come Hurricane Katrina tore parts of Louisiana apart. According to Tab Benoit (Cajun musician and conservationist) the levees are a both a godsend and a curse. They stop the natural soil from rebuilding the wetlands, and that leads to the trees not growing back - and the trees are vital in slowing down or lessening the force of a hurricane. I'm not a meteorologist so most of it went whoosh over my head but what I did get was fantastic.

And the alchohol! OMG I shit you not - there are these neon lit bars all up and down Vieux Carre and you simply pop in and you can order a margarita, a pina colada or any other sort of cocktail or daiquiri. I asked for a large (boy was that a stupid idea) and my eyes about popped out of my head. I managed to walk all up and down Decatur with his GI-NORMOUS cup of Hurricane (for $11) in the open with police walkin' past saying, 'Hi ma'am' and not get arrested. You get in trouble if it's a bottle so it can only be a plastic cup. How civilised is that? LOL

RONGZ: you would love it here - every other man and his dog drives a truck. And I'm not talking some pissy little toyota (sorry, dad, who's a toyota freak). Oh no, ma'am, I'm talking Dodge Ram here, and a Chevy Blazer there and umpteen F150s. To prove it I've taken a shot or two of a carpark by the French Market (down near Decatur by the Woldenberg Riverfront Park) and I counted at least, AT LEAST, 15 trucks. Will post is when I can get a hold of a gosh darn usb cord (which is probably at home doh). One thing I need to do soon-ish is get a hold of an American AC adapter. My Blackberry's a goer but even she's starting to wind down a bit.

JAX: we have got to come here together - you can booze it up in the middle of the street and rock on home. Admittedly only at Mardi Gras but still! I overheard a young girl sayin' to the guy she was sittin' with, 'Y'all know I'm crazy! He shouldn't a done it - ya heard?' I also heard one of the guys with the carriage rides yellin' out to someone on a balcony, 'Where y'at, cher?'

HEMZ: trucks, mate. It's all trucks here although I've seen enough Mustangs to sink a battle ship :-)

Forgot to say, everyone here has a story about Katrina - some of it enlightening and some of it absolutely heartbreaking. The devastation we saw, back home in NZ from the safety of our homes on the other side of the world, here it's a living, breathing, everyday reminder of quickly life can change. People are quite optimistic maybe despite it, perhaps in spite of it. Wow.

To everyone (friends/family) back in NZ: Not wishing I was there and glad you're not here LOL

Naku noa na,
- catatonichataholic =)


Tosca, ma cherie, you are a BLOGGING MACHINE. *bows down in awe*
Hey, when you have your three lovely kids maybe ours can play together ;)

by Danielle on February 19, 2009 at 1:26 PM. #

Welcome to the USA Tosca. The crazy land of my-truck-is-bigger-than yours, supersized meals, cheap drinks and where they seem to think every kiwi is mexican. Remember "No hablo espanol".

Don't forget jandals are called flipflops cos everyone will look at you like you're insane if you ask for jandals.

New Orleans sounds scrumptious. Definitely worth a trip. I'm jealous!

by Kelly on February 19, 2009 at 6:43 PM. #

Too Funnneee!
Jandals, flipflops, LMAO sounds better than having to ask for thongs or double pluggers as we call them Down Under!
Have Fun!!

by Teddyree on February 20, 2009 at 10:24 AM. #

Honest to who girl?! Would you go and have some damn fun that ain't educational unless it involves newly discovered positions, f%#k me up cocktails and an animal or two? Preferably all at once! YOU'RE IN NEW ORLEANS!!! I dare you, scrap that CHALLENGE you to earn those damned mardi gras beads the authentic way. Forget my original present idea i don't want scooped up vomit or a knocked out tooth from the street the next morning or a vial of bayou scunge I WANT BEADS....ditch the librarian, show me the freak I know you can be :oP PS - dear tosca's friends, please don't encourage squareness, that's what work's for :o)

by MissJaqsin on February 20, 2009 at 12:56 PM. #

'Hola chica' Rolling on the floor laughing at Miss Jaqsins idea 'Yes show us the freak in you gal' :)Choo hooo...Hmmmm so 2 kids huh! tehehehe nice!
Well, let you get back to you New Orleans experience, will be tuning in to read some more.....Toodles

by Shaz77 on February 24, 2009 at 1:29 PM. #

My inner freak has been so long subdued it has forgotten what it used to get up to :-) 'Sides, I'm havin' such a HOOT catchin' up with the locals, trying a different bar/drink at least 3 times a day. Tell you what, it's the non-locals on Bourbon St now and it's a HORRID place to be at the moment and every minor infringement is an arrest waiting to happen LOL

by catatonia on February 24, 2009 at 1:45 PM. #

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