New Orleans

5/03/18 – 19/03/18

“Tom. I want to get up at 6 tomorrow morning. Be quick showering and eating breakfast – I wanna be on the road by 7am. NO FUSSING.” He responds with an “Okay baby”, pats me gently on the head, returning to his Twitter feed.

The bus doesn’t leave till 10:15 the following morning and it’s a 15 minute Uber ride. Better safe than sorry right?

There are no complaints – it’s easier that way. Our Uber driver, Timothy, comments on our very “eager” arrival. I just laugh because we’re going to be on time and everything will go to plan.

An hour and a half after we arrive at the station we’re informed that the bus is delayed till 12pm. Tom turns to look at me with burning rage. I smile sweetly at him and bury my head back into my book.

2 and a half hours behind schedule we pulled into New Orleans smelly and tired.

After a 50 minute walk and a Burger King stop, we finally made it to where we were staying, India House Hostel.

AND THERES A CAT. *hyperventilating*

While Tom is trying to check in and sort everything out, I’m obviously more interested in the cat. I try to inch closer but I’m pulled away from the furry feline, for now.

We’ve got a pretty cool setup. Our room is next to the garden area, which is cool, BUT THE TOILET IS NEXT DOOR. At least we have our own private room so we don’t have to deal with other people for now.

‘The Birth of Venus’ drawn on the bathroom walls.

Feeling fresh after a good night’s sleep, we step out into the beautiful sun prepared for the day ahead of us. My friend Jeffinson gave me a list of things of things to visit while in the area (thanks against buddy!) which we didn’t do any of our first day. I like to get my bearings on the first day so we spent most of it wandering around the French Quarter.

 

“New Orleans is truly unique. It is by far the most European city we have so far visited on our travels through the USA, and I am pretty confident it will retain this crown when the time comes for us to leave. On many occasions I had to remind myself where I was – the architecture in the French Quarter encapsulates the city’s French and Spanish roots. The narrow one way streets are lined with two-storey buildings, the windows adorned with shutters of contrasting colours to the pastel paintwork, and fronted with balconies decorated with flowers. Sticks of burning incense tied to lampposts fill your nostrils as you wander past darkened boutique stores, selling a selection of unusual gifts, each shop different to the last.

Away from the French Quarter, the dual-carriageways of Canal Street are separated by palm trees either side of the streetcar tracks – giving the place a Caribbean vibe. Despite not being the quickest way to get around, the streetcar is popular with locals as well as tourists. No one here seems in much of a rush, clearly handicapped by the muggy heat that hits as you step outside the air-conditioned shops.
The French Quarter, specifically Bourbon Street, is where you will find the bars and restaurants that so many visit New Orleans for. This area was particularly busy, perhaps due to us arriving in the city during Spring Break, and also the day before St. Patrick’s Day – a celebration that, according to various Uber drivers, is only behind Mardi Gras in terms of popularity and flamboyance.” – Tom P.

How did I not realise we were in New Orleans for St. Patrick’s Day? I planned this trip but didn’t take it into consideration. The Americans take St. Paddy’s quite seriously.

Bourbon Street in The French Quarter. On a normal day there’s a fair amount of drunk people but today is 17th March. Its crazy – it’s like being in Kavos.

Green. Everywhere is green. People are painted green. There’s a guy dressed as a leprechaun crossing the street. There’s a man braving a bright green shamrock suit. I can’t register what is happening.

I need a drink drink because a coffee isn’t going to help. We headed over to Pat O’Briens where I, in the spirit of the day, ordered a “Fuzzy Lep” and Tom, of course, gets a Guinness. Six bucks for both. It was a tight squeeze but we managed to find a table out back. Music was blasting from the courtyard, people were drinking and dancing. I can only describe it as utter madness.

 

 

After two drinks, I was a bit tipsy, (I never do too well day time drinking) and needed food. I knew exactly what to get – Gumbo. Another of the recommendations was The Old Coffee Pot, which thankfully was right next door.

We both ordered the same Gumbo – Chicken with garlic bread. I think it was the best food I had in New Orleans… Tom said something like “it’s good but it’s basically just chicken soup”.

Sobered up it was time to leave this wild place and head back to the hostel. For our final day in this wonderful city we decided to take it easy. I desperately wanted to do a swamp or plantation tour but we’re on a budget and without a car it would have cost too much. Tom wanted to ride the St. Charles Avenue streetcar. It was beautiful – to sit back and watch the world pass was so relaxing. Bonus, the houses are stunning! (Roughly $1.50 each a day for the streetcar.)

Though I didn’t get to go to the swamp and we hung around the French Quarter far too much, New Orleans is a very quirky place to visit.


Where did we stay? India House Hostel. It was such a funky place and had a bohemian theme throughout. Did I mention there was a cat? His name is Taj Mahal. Overall we really enjoyed our stay here. It was the first hostel we had stayed at which was noisy (drinking till 5am St Paddy’s morning!) but that’s why earplugs were invented. They make breakfast till 1pm and all under $7 which is a bargain – plus dinner for $5/6. The only downsides were the WiFi was terrible in our room, so we had to sit outside to get our fix. Also the toilet and shower situation was pretty annoying.

Would we stay here again? Tom says yes, in a heartbeat. Me? I was a bit put off by the whole toilet situation. I don’t wanna walk outside around drunk people to get to the toilet. But I probably would return – if only to see the cat again.

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