There is a house in New Orleans
They call the rising sun
And its been the ruins of many a poor boy
And god I know I’m one
– House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
I’ve still not found this so-called house, and no-one seems to be able to guide me there (yes I actually asked).
It’s 10:00 AM, I’m running on about four hours sleep, after passing out around 6:00 AM this morning. And it’s my last day in New Orleans.
Remember that itinerary I mentioned on my first day here? The one that metaphorically went “out the window”? Yeah, that’s all coming back to me now.
World War II museums, Food and Beverage Museum, cemeteries, yadda yadda etc?
Still not done them… I probably should not look back at the choices I made during this trip. As I am pretty sure that “sensible Jim” would probably hit me upside the back of my head. With a baseball bat. With nails in it. And barbed wire…
Meh, I’m on holiday, “Eh la bas bruh”
Since it was the last day, I decided to start my day by going in the other direction from the French Quarter. Something I generally have only done when guided on pub crawls, by girls… in their early 20s… for the past three nights.
I’m heading towards a park, with something called the “Tree of Life” there. And of course, the other end of Magazine Street (the part people keep raving about).
I load up on eggs, and bacon for breakfast, along with pancakes from the hostel. Then, showered, and dressed head out to Audubon park (ironically, one of the first things on my original itinerary).
Karma is going to have fun with me
For once, I don’t have to wait too long for the Streetcar (+1).
The problem was that it was not going all the way to where I needed to go (-1).
The nice streetcar driver did not charge me for the ride (+1).
The problem is that it has started to rain (-1)
When we had to get off the tram (-1)
Decided to not go to the park and go to the French Quarter
Again the tram going in the other direction turned up quickly. Unsurprising since it was the tram that I just had to get off (+1)
My camera lens cap is lying on the seat I was originally sitting on. Did not even realise I had dropped it (+1)
Looks like the rain is not going to hit the French Quarter (+1)
In essence, I have just spend an hour and a half on Streetcars to get to the French Quarter. A journey I usually can walk in 30-40 mins(-1) if it was not for my knee (MINUS INFINITY).
Karma wins by TKO
My Bro went to New Orleans and all I got was…
The one thing I am never a fan of doing is the whole souvenir shopping thing. Mainly because it is never for me. It is always for other people. Going to various shops to find something that would impress my niece and nephew who are under ten years old (voodoo dolls), and a nice decal for my laptop (OK, so I did buy something for me).
And fridge magnets. Everyone wants fridge magnets! I’m not sure why. I buy one for my mum because she collects one from places that she, and by extension, the family, have been. But why other people? dunno… Possibly the whole “living vicariously through ‘X'” is why. Who knows…
As always, there are still a bunch of “interesting” candidates in Jackson Square
Should mention the shop Skull Paradise. They had many many funky skull/skeleton related items that generally would have been nice as a souvenir…
…if I had bag space.
And I would walk 500 miles
I digress, it was fairly sunny at this point, so I decided to try Audubon again. Because I have totally run of things to look at in the French Quarter. Which actually is a lie because there were many buildings to visit. However, there are only so many times you can walk down Bourbon Street wondering how people are getting absolutely smashed at 1:00 PM. Then all I have to do is remember me at that age. And getting wrecked from 11:00 AM in Amsterdam, and nearly ending up comatose by 4:00 PM. Happy times.
Before jumping on the Streetcar I took a quick walk to the Ruby Slipper. A restaurant recommended by someone at the hostel. However, the queue said no! And in all honesty, I wasn’t that hungry yet. And… well it’s looking just for too touristy, even by my (low) standards.
Fast forward a little bit, and I’m on the Streetcar and heading over to Audubon. Which is a surprise. I generally have not been able to get the streetcar going in this direction, besides the day I turned up at New Orleans. My knee is grateful for the respite from walking, and yes, at the very least it has stopped raining.
Getting to the park, a thought hits me: parks plus heavy rain equals muddy, and puddles everywhere.
However, I at least can wander on the main path. And run into the standard folk you’d expect at a park. Joggers, cyclists, people bird watching, lying down on park benches taking it easy etc.
Then you mindlessly cross a bridge and find yourself on a golf course…
It’s at this stage that I’m finally at the “cannot be f***ed” anymore and just plug in the directions for this Tree of Life, which is in the park on the OTHER side of Magazine Street…
Finally, I am at the “tree of life”.
I am half thinking “is that it?”. The expectation is something more on Yggdrasil scale (or Nordrassil/Teldrassil for you WoW fans).
And it’s this point I actually remember I have another lens for the camera (50mm f/1.8 macro something something).
Ten days, and only NOW I remember to use it…
Probably would be better if I found better subjects to take photos of, besides trees, and pavements.
At 3:00 PM hunger has finally struck. and I’m on Magazine Street. Which, after a quick google search, actually does have lots of places to eat. So I’ve decided on a Vietnamese place called Lilly’s Cafe. It’s a 20 min bus ride from the park. And it’s a 10-minute walk to the hostel (bonus)! I’m basically going for pho, in some vain attempt to take it easy from all the bbq, and gumbo, and beignets, and all the other gorgeous food here. I may have mentioned previously that I have a slight obsession with pho after Vietnam.
During the bus trip I run into some of the girls from the hostel, and we use the time to trade notes on what people have done so far, and if they’ve done something you haven’t (and vice versa). It would be at this point, that, again, I’m questioning the choices I have made so far on this holiday…
Karma says hi
Getting off the bus, I wander around looking for Lilly’s cafe. It shouldn’t be too far from the bus stop, however, I’ve come to learn to not put my trust in Google Maps. As I walk pass a few stores and shops I notice one sign.
Totally love that sign.
I finally come find what I was looking for. It is a lovely small cafe. It has lots of greenery making it inviting and casual. It is a lovely purple colour. It is called Lilly’s Cafe. It is closed…
(insert expletives here).
Suddenly Tequila becomes all the more inviting, so I go back to the restaurant that had that sign outside. It is called La Caretta, and as expected, it is a Mexican place. What, the Tequila sign didn’t give it away?
WIt’s quiet inside, unsurprising since I’m trying to get lunch at 3:00 PM. Service is quick, and the menu reflects what Mexican food is good at (I guess, not really a connoisseur of Mexican food).
I’ve ordered a massive burrito, with a fried egg on top. Mainly because I had a burning question: why this was an optional part of the order. Not that I expect my burritos to have an over easy fried egg on top at all times. But is there a reason it is a part of this menu? Is it actually a thing that Mexicans have on their burritos that never made it over to the UK? Or is it just because there are people like me, who love fried eggs on everything?
Again, not an expert on Mexican food, but this dish truly hit the spot!!!
And now… the end is near
At this point, I’m now heading back to the hostel. It is only 4:00 PM but, knee, heat, sweaty mean that I’m just shattered.
I’ve taken a shower and packed the majority of my clothing away (not at the same time), and I feel totally knackered. The only thing left to do is nap… for three hours. Since I know what the evening is likely to bring…
It’s likely to bring food. There is a place called VooDoo BBQ and Grill which is 2 minutes walk from the hostel. I have passed this place multiple times, every day I have been here. I decided that dinner tonight would be this place.
They serve your standard staple of comfort food and Creole cuisine. Things like mac and cheese, gumbo, bbq meat by the half-pound, jambalaya adorn the menu providing far too much choice for my meagre brain to process. Somehow I don’t think “one of everything” is going to work in this instance.
After much deliberation (and patience by the lovely lady behind the counter) I’ve decided on the BBQ jambalaya. The one thing that I have not tried so. I tack on a side order of mac and cheese as well. because… well because I can. I’ve not paid attention to the advice given to me when I first got here about just ordering one dish, no point in starting right now.
Now I’ll be honest, the picture probably reflects what I was thinking. Red plastic plate, small cornbread in the corner. plastic cutlery. I should not really complain considering the price I paid (much cheaper then ANYWHERE else I’ve eaten on this trip), however, I shouldn’t expect too much.
This is where I was wrong. The food still tasted fantastic, and I am pretty sure there is a cliche (or a meme) that could be quoted here. But suffice to say, my meal ended up with me kicking myself (metaphorically) about why I didn’t try this place earlier, and more regularly… *sigh*
We are back at the hostel, it’s Friday night, and as always, the festivities are in full effect.
With people from all over the United States, Canada, India, France, Australia, and of course the UK (including two guys from Oxford), it is, as you can expect, a messy affair.
Add a beer keg, and drinking games, and you have something like:
Well, they are heading to Bourbon Street later, and if anything, it definitely does get people in the right frame of mind. What that frame is? I don’t know. And yes, I said “they”. Oh what am I saying, of course I know what that frame of mind is. But somehow “Sensible Jim” has finally woken up…
So no. Sadly, I am not joining the group for the Bourbon Street pub crawl. As much as I have drunk my fair share of beer so far this evening, I can honestly say, that I do not have the capacity to do what my mate did last night and just stay awake after coming back from the bar.
So it is with a sad (and drunk) goodbye, I see the majority of the group leave. To get wrecked with Hurricanes, and Hand grenades, and other drinks the size of fishbowls. While I, and a few others, tend to my knee.
I did mention that there was a Physio Therapy conference in town didn’t I? and yes, more than enough were staying the hostel too. Pretty sure, that for the assessment, and treatment I got they would have charged me a pretty penny. Instead, I got a decent massage, and a light chiding to get my knee looked at when I get back to the UK.
I may have mentioned before in a previous travel post (particularly the Barcelona ones), about how I can get paranoid about my snoring. Well, somehow, I’ve found someone who snores even worse than I do. This meant, that, no matter how hard I tried, I only got to sleep fitfully over five or so hours. This is then reinforced, by the Bourbon Street card rocking back in at 4:00 AM. And, while it was not like the night before where they stayed up for ages afterwards. They actually pretty much just came straight into the dorm room and fell asleep. They did make enough of a racket to wake me up. And then there was even more snoring.
Should have really just gone to Bourbon Street…
Anyway, time to hit the airport, and go home…