More Awlins

27 06 2011

During our short time in New Orleans, we got to explore the French Quarter and saw many a sight. Although it was very warm….we made do. NOLA is definitely a place you’d have to set aside a good 4-5 days to truly appreciate and soak in all the history and sights. There were a few tours I’d love to go on when I eventually relocate there early next year. Such as the walking Ghost Tour through the old French Quarter, the pub crawl down Bourbon street (although my liver would say otherwise), the Plantation Tour, and I would love to just take public transportation around and enjoy the city on the cheap for a whole day.

The day we pulled into town we had to go to the VPC to pick up my car, which took all of 20 mins. In and out. Wham bam thank ya ma’am. It’s a lot faster when you are picking up, vice dropping off. Inspeeeections, paaaaperwork. All that mumbo jumbo this is your car, we are responsible for minor damages..etc. Anyway, so with the ‘Ru-ster in tow, we headed downtown to find our hotel. Which…is an entirely other story dealing with the check-in of two guests, one room, one bed, and only one spot in the parking lot … which..was rather confusing, because we parked my friend’s car in the parking lot labeled for our hotel, and checked in like it was a normal, usual thing. And they were appalled, like visibly offended that we parked our own car. That we had the balls to just drive up in their lot and park of our own free will. And when we explained that it is labeled as designated parking (no mention of valet only) for our hotel, and the gate was open with no one around, they just stared at us. As if we had made it up. It turned into about a 7 minute conversation..which went nowhere and I was as confused as when we started. So, the parking for this particular hotel offers valet parking. No, they don’t offer valet parking, valet parking is mandatory. And so is the fee that comes with it. Wow, how special. So anyway, we handed over my friend’s keys and went to park my car on the road somewhere, since the meters didn’t charge overnight.

After that hooplah was settled, we ventured down to the Quarter to find a restaurant that a friend suggested. We found it and we chowed down. We were starving by this point since it was about 645pm and we had had light lunches. I got steak fajitas, and my friend, we’ll call her Miz T, got a burrito. Both were deeelicious. Our tummies were stuffed. Thanks to the tableside guacamole. No, we didn’t completely finish it, but we definitely tried our very best to scarf it all down.

Then, it was off to see the local shops and pick up some souvies. There were the assorted Mardi Gras items, painted masks, beads, shot glasses, anything a tourest would ever desire. We saw some interesting cooking aprons, and lots and lots of New Orleans Tshirts. I had my eye out for some cute postcards, and maybe a tshirt. This was one of the nicknacks we sighted:

 Pretty creative actually. I had to sneak a pic, because not a lot of the shops allowed photography.

For our second day, we decided to find Bourbon Street, surprisingly not the most popular of places mid-day. It was a bit off the beaten path, Decatur street-by the ocean seemed to be more populated and busy. We walked down B-Street and there were a couple shops open, but mostly barkeeps were washing off the nasty from the night before off of their sidewalks, and people were checking out of various hotels.

Lunch @ the Hard Rock. A big ol burger and fries. That’s how we do it in Amurica.

Then, it was time for the main event. The Grey Line Swamp/Bayou tour. We boarded our bus, and sat back for a 45 min drive to the outskirts of the city. During the trip, our driver filled us plum full of NOLA knowledge and useless facts. Which are, btw, the best kind of facts.

Arrive: Swamp.

We boarded the air boat along with 20 other touristas and began our venture down the bayou. It was a little warm, but there was a tiny breeze that kept us on this side of Hell. Our tour guide was quite personable, I get the feeling he’d probably been doing these tours for 10-15 yrs, but not in the worn-down drawl of his speech, but in his knowledge base, and wealth of knowledge. He did the funniest thing when we were looking for the alligators. He would speak into the microphone like he was calling a dog. The whole “whistle whistle Here boy! Here boy!” routine. Yeah, crazy stuff.

But, what do you know, some little creatures started swimming towards us:

And then they got closer:

Alli

We probably saw about 10 alligators in total, and one of them was 9ft long and 300lbs! He was traveling with his honeywife, just floatin along calm as day. We even got to hold a baby alligator that the guide had brought with! I thought he was gonna feel all slimey and smell bad and be wet…but he was dry..and felt like a snake and he was quite calm. I was scared shitless to hold him, but when would I ever have another opportunity?? Um, never, so I sucked it up and held the little guy. I even squeezed out a smile for the pic.

After our tour it was time to kick rocks, and we headed back to Pensacola, a 3.5 hr drive. Yes, I managed to get caught up at some outlet stores near Gulfport, MS. Damn you fair prices and welcoming sales associates. What’s another purse on the pile, anyway. I mean, you should really have one in every color, right?

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