How you doin' today...? Friday 20th Feb, 4:45pm

by tosca on Saturday, February 21, 2009

I've made a point of greeting everybody I walk past and, believe you me, that's a freakin' mission and a half in a place as busy as New Orleans seems to be right now. They all seem to reply with, 'How you doin' today?' I haven't yet met a rude person. What's with that?!? Not that I want to, I just haven't. Of course, a lot of then want to strike up conversations: in shops, in a few bars I've been in, on the ferry, waiting for the ferry, walking around Algiers, at the cornerstore dairy where I've been going for my daily fix of Coke & M&Ms, standing in queues in the oddest of places. A lot of ppl seem to take my accent as a starting point for a conversation and, this being New Orleans and the peak of their tourist season, I just go with the flow. One freaky note: on the free ferry over to Algiers? They have guards who carry rifles. I shit you not - and how did I know they were real? Because one daft tourist went up and asked if he could touch the gun D'OH Did I? Hell no! I might be born in NZ but even I know a real guy when I see one, geez, and I don't wanna touch it!

Did the Vampire tour last night and omg freaked myself out totally. Bumped into (amongst others on the same tour) a really nice couple of ladies from San Antonio, Texas who're here for the same reason as me - see as much as you can see in as little time as possible. Wandered around the area with our very knowledgeable guide and freakin' A who knew this place was such a hotbed of vampiric activity? I had an idea but it's a totally different matter to hear it. And doing the tour at night...and then having to walk back to the Banana Courtyard on my own ARGH. Was jumpin' at every shadow and footstep LOL Needless to say, the police presence here is VERY strong so walking back was not a problem at all.

Got back to the B&B and stopped for a yarn with Mr. Richard (Miss Mary is still in Mississippi atm) and the 2 Canadian couples who'd also spent the day roaming, much like me. After a few glasses of wine, some hilarious chatter, I headed for bed at oohh 1am? Something like that? I came back, after the Vampire tour, through the French Quarter to unwind after all the blood and gore chit chat (seriously, that's some freaky shit, right there) and wow - it's crazy on Bourbon Street LOL That's all I can say - I've seen enough female boobs and hairy chests to be put off FOR LIFE. Funnily enough, it was the men flashing people on the balconies for beads LOL I had one guy come up and physically start counting the beaded necklaces around my neck and then say, 'Seriously? You flashed THAT many times?' I've heard NZers are pretty laidback but we've got nothing on these New Orleanians, eh. Absolutely nothing.

Slept in late - too damn tired to get up early. Was meant to head on down to the Garden District again for a Ghost Tour (yes, I'm here for the tours AND the booze - not to bare my boobs and collect beads, and besides my beads from home are prettier) but decided to cancel it and head out to NOLA for lunch instead. The next paragraph is for Markie & Jax (nephews).

MARKHIEM & JAX: Guys! Emeril has THREE restaurants in New Orleans - Delmonico's Bar & Restaurant, Emeril's and then NOLA here in the Vieux Carre (French Quarter). They only do lunch on Fridays so I rang 'em up and made a lunch reservation. Went on down and omg their food is INCREDIBLE. I did get you a copy of their menus (the dessert/coffe menu and also the entree/mains menu). I did NOT - repeat NOT - steal it. The fabulous waiter, James, quite willingly handed them over in a paper bag. So I tipped him $20. Seriously, the service there was great and the place is so busy. I had something like 3 waiters trying checking on me throughout the whole experience. One kept topping up my drinks (which I don't remember paying for actually), one kept asking if I was ok and wanted to know what the ingredients were in each dish and the third would sort of swoop by and check I had everything I needed. When I tipped them at the end two of them made a point of coming up and thanking me personally. Whoa! Do we get service like that back home? We gotta stop eating at Burger King LOL So, I have the copies of the menus, just like you wanted, legally obtained, though :-) Only one copy of each, though!

Every shop I enter? If there's a woman behind the counter she wants to know everything about me: how old am I? Why'm I travelling on my own? So I'm single and do I want to meet her son? LOL Good grief :) I took the Canal Street Ferry on over to Algiers Pointe because I wanted to go see Mardi Gras World and I ended up on the other side of the Mississippi River like I was meant to, but not at Mardi Gras World. I got caught up in the Jazz Walk of Fame and then wandered around Algiers for a bit looking at the houses. Historical and so heartbreakingly beautiful - those pictures you see of homes here in New Orleans that're slightly run down? Row up on row like that. Wandered around and took some photos - beautiful place.

Stopped at Rouses, which is a local supermarket on St. Peters to top up on shampoo & toothpaste (the essentials, eh), and a couple of New Yorkers in front of me got into a verbal tussle with a couple of locals. Talk about uncomfortable. I looked everywhere (up at the ceiling, down at the floor, sideways at the shelves) and tried not to see it going on. It had the tiniest aisles ever but I suspect for all other parts of the year it's not that bad. The lady behind the checkout counter (should've seen her nails they were FABULOUSLY covered in glittery sequins and things), when ppl complained, said to ppl, 'All y'all want an express lane? Then come back on Wednesday when Mardi Gras over and everyone else go home.' Everyone stopped complaining LOL Gotta luv the attitude!

Popped back down to Jackson Square and watched a brass band busking - this place is a musical dream. It pumps out of every bar - I've heard rock, pop, zydeco, alternative, heavy metal, jazz of various styles, both live and pre-recorded. Not just the bars play their music loud but the shops, too. There're so many of these little Mardi Gras shops they sell all the touristy type stuff (that I'm such a sucker for) beads, shot glasses, mugs, t-shirts, masks, feather boas etc. and they play their music just as loud as the bars. Bourbon Street is this fusion of crap I can't even explain it. So I won't LOL Anyways, was down at Jackson Square, near the St. Louis Cathedral, and the band was awesome. People were dancing away in the square. I want to take a carriage ride of the French Quarter but prob won't be a good time until after Tuesday when it calms down a bit.

Have stopped in at the postal shop where I've been using their internet access daily and they know me by name, now. That's kinda freaky - but great service. Am about to head back to the B&B to get changed and come back down for the New Orleans Ghost Tour. Yes, another night where I've voluntarily paid to be scared shitless, but it's ghosts! And I'm Maori, I can't resist a ghost story - that's my story and I'm sticking to it :-)

JAX: I DID get your beads but they're not covered in vomit (how I'm gonna explain that to Customs anyways who the hell knows). Was walking up Bourbon St last night with a margarita and some guy came racing up and said he'd give me the beads if I'd be in a picture with him - how can you say not to that? I didn't, and so you have beads. Anyways, the vomit thing? Is kinda hard, New Orleans is very quick with the clean up crews here. As fast as mess is made it's cleaned up again. Gawd, I'm tired and I needa get changed.

Missing home - but not enough to cut my trip short :-)

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