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8th Jan 2011
So Chloe & Georgia landed in NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) rather early. While Chloe collected the bags, I sprinted around trying to find a toilet (“The RESTROOM is over there.” – Lady who was clearly offended by my use of the word “toilet”).
We then boarded a shuttle bus to the French Quarter, where our hotel awaited us. (Yes, hotel, as we were meeting up with our friend Emma and between the three of us it was the same price as staying in a hostel.)
After dropping off our bags and sending a text message through to Emma, Chloe and I were told there was decent Italian place around the corner. So we headed that way – finding hilarious horse-shaped street posts along the way (yes amusing photos were taken)
Lunch was good – we had delicious spinach & artichoke dip as well as an amazing pizza, and to top it all off: the tablecloth was paper and crayons were supplied! HOORAY!
From there we did a bit of a tour – using my travel guide map as a base – to discover all of the best the French Quarter had to offer! It’s really beautiful, and much of the architecture was French-themed, as the name suggested. We realised that this area hadn’t been badly affected by Katrina, as it was all still in tact. What struck me most about the Quarter was the colours: everyone had fun coloured houses! Nothing boring! Pinks, blues, yellows, greens – soft, but still vibrant enough that it was unusual, not normal neighbourhood colours!
We then hit the edge of the Mississippi River, where there were some little museums to visit (we were saving the big ones for when Em arrived!). One of the museums had paper and instructions to make origami ducks… Both Chloe and I discovered we SUCKED at paper-folding!
We visited the markets later on, they were a bit dead – but we figured that was because the weather wasn’t very nice so there wasn’t much reason for people to be out!
That night we struggled to find a place that would serve us dinner, as Chloe was not 21 and all the restaurants had bars so they wouldn’t let us in! How rude! So we ended up eating kebabs in our hotel room. 😛

9th Jan 2011:
Emma’s flight was delayed coming in to NOLA, so Chloe and I headed for the two major museums close by. One focused on the history of New Orleans and Lousiana – from ancient times through to modern history, while the other had become a Hurricane Katrina museum (it had previously been a Mardi Gras museum! So sad we didn’t get to see the Mardi Gras one, as good as the Katrina one was, it would have been nice to see both!). Emma arrived while we were at the first museum, so we went around it again before venturing over to the second!
The weather was MISERABLE that day, and it poured with bitterly cold rain. So we decided to warm ourselves up with some beingets – deep fried dough with a mountain of icing sugar piled ontop. DELICIOUS!
We wandered along the river front, which was a bit miserable looking, but I wonder if that was cos there wasn’t a single scrap of sky that wasn’t forlorn grey… I’m sure the river is much nicer in summer!
We went to see where the ferries left from, and got caught waiting for the world’s longest (and emptiest) little train in the world! I reckon it took about 15mins (with a stop) for it to pass by us before we could get back into the French Quarter!
While we waited for the train, we discovered cool reflecting art and mucked around taking photographs of ourselves in it.
Lunch was $4 mexican food – so delicious! Cheesy quesadillas with roasted veggies and warm burritos kept us from starving.
Dinner was… somewhere? Obviously it wasn’t memorable!

10th Jan 2011
We started the morning by heading for the Mardi Gras museum – which is the LONGEST walk from the FQ and we should’ve just sucked it up and paid for a taxi!!! But the museum itself was worth it! There were endless floats to look at, all carved from styrofoam, in every shape, size, animal, human and colour of the rainbow! They even had Mardi Gras cake for us to try (it tasted much like a finger bun from the local bakeries here) and Mardi Gras costumes for us to try on! (Yes there are hilarious (“embarassing” – Emma) photos from this part of our tour!
We then ventured across the Mississippi on the ferry, only to turn right back around again cos there isn’t much on the other side of the river as it’s still all being rebuilt from Katrina.
Chloe INSISTED on visiting a Wal-Mart, and this was her last chance to do so – so we trekked and trekked until we came across one in a really shifty neighbourhood. Worth it? Yeah, she was THRILLED! It IS a pretty magical place though – it has EVERYTHING you could ever want or imagine wanting all under one gigantic roof!
We finally got out of the shifty neighbourhood (it was difficult, NOLA isn’t known for its public transport!) and found our way into a shopping centre, where we did a wee spot of retail therapy (also they had heating and it was still bitterly windy outside.)
For dinner that night we stopped into what claimed to be an authentic gumbo restaurant just outside of the tourist enclave. Chloe didn’t like hers – but Emma and I both enjoyed our warm southern stews, mine with beans and hers with seafood. We also all treated ourselves to ‘hurricanes’ – an INCREDIBLY potent drink that is the same colour as agrum but with long island iced tea affects! Delicious!
We didn’t go out after our dinner as it rained and rained and that’s gross.

11th Jan 2011
We started this morning (yet another cold one) with a trip to the old nunnery about 4 blocks from our hotel. The man who ran the nunnery museum was a bit of a nutter – and couldn’t see properly (so insisted on standing VERY close to you) – but thoroughly amusing.
The nunnery was totally worth visiting – the gardens were beautiful and the architecture was simple in the way many religious buildings are, but with hints of detail in the most unexpected places. The little church inside had a really southern feel about it – similar to that of the churches in Santa Fe – but with lots of old-world European decal (is decal even a word?). A little over the top in the religious figurines, but pretty nonetheless.
We then took a tram ride going north (past the cemetaries that many tourists like to visit, but that didn’t seem very appealing in 2 degree weather) to the art gallery of New Orleans.
The Art Museum was really random. I’ve been in art galleries all over western Europe and north America (not to mention Australia) and have never seen anything like the art gallery in NOLA! The art didn’t have much of an overriding theme to it and it wasn’t well organised. Much of the art was RANDOM as (like one Renaissance painting of a man in a chair with another man’s head peaking out from a hole in the ground below that chair!) and some… well I wouldn’t call it art! The top floor of the museum was dedicated to the kinds of trinkets you find at your grandma’s house – painted porcelain dancing ladies and animals, weird coloured glass shapes and those tacky glass animals you can buy at old lady shops. Art? Well… that’s questionable!
There was also one room that was playing Alice in Wonderland (the Disney version) with random dubbing over the top that made little sense – I think it was trying to be modern, but it didn’t make any sense and to me it looked like someone had taken Alice in Wonderland and then just decided to change the words! I didn’t like it, and I have a pretty broad appreciation for art… This was one weird ass art gallery!
Luckily, the sculpture garden outside didn’t disappoint and we spent a fair amount of time exploring the gardens before opting to return to central FQ.
On our way back, we met people from Taos (two hours north of ABQ, where Maja and I bonded over some weird chocolates) who were surprised to find I knew where, let alone had been to, their little town!
Freezing, we stopped into Maccas, where Chloe decided she wanted a Happy Meal. We all got one, and they came with hilarious little animals (I still have my unicorn toy that I specifically requested) that we took amusing photos of. The Maccas in NOLA also have signs on the walls that say things like “No loitering in McDonalds for more than 20mins” and other things like that… God, do they really have problems with people never wanting to leave? Well, I guess it’s Maccas and it’s a pretty sweet place to be!
That night, after dropping Chloe back at the hotel, Emma and I set out to see some jazz. We stepped in just intime to catch a really awesome band playing some sweet tunes. The only unfortunate thing was that the singer had no microphone/amplification so was difficult to hear.
From there, we wandered across the road to the Cat’s Meow – a karaoke bar that served GIANT hurricanes (I don’t know how Emma got through two, I was nearly passed out after one!) and was full of drunken antics and bad singing! I dragged Emma up on stage for two songs – an awesome rendition of Single Ladies, including dance moves and then a hilarious take on Down Under – after which the host asked what my downunder was like (to which I drunkenly replied: “HOT!”).
Sufficiently drunk and having publically humiliated ourselves enough, we wandered across the road for kebabs and some photo taking that I don’t quite remember… Kebabs so good drunk.
We then wandered back to our hotel, ready for some slumber after an awesome day.

12th Jan 2011
I woke up about 8am to still find Chloe lying in bed next to me… WTF! She was supposed to leave hours ago!
After pulling out dad’s emergancy credit card, we managed to book her a flight to LA that meant we had to get her down to reception asap!
Following that drama, Emma and I headed downstairs for waffles (did I mention we had waffles every morning for breakfast?) before taking advantage of the small amount of sunshine NOLA was offering us. We went to the markets again, saw some public art and ate burgers at a little pub before heading over to the New Orleans Cooking School for some lessons in down home southern cooking!
Our hilarious Southern Belle host taught us how to make chowder, gumbo and pralines (“praaaaaaaaahh-leeeeeeeeeens”), while we munched on treats. The lesson was right up both our alley’s and we left with special spicey mix ideal for gumbos to take home. Yum!
I have no recollection (or photos) of dinner so I assume it was lame.

13th Jan 2011.
Emma left at like 5am, while I was still sound asleep.
My flight wasn’t until 1pm and I wasn’t being collected by the shuttle until 11:30, so I had lots of time to kill! I walked around, mostly aimlessly, and took photographs of pretty houses. I also bought my mother an awesome “Cooking with Jazz” poster for the kitchen. Then I went to the airport and killed serious time (as the shuttle driver didn’t have to pick anyone else up) eating Subway and being bored as nothing was open.
Sadly, our trip was over, but I still had another month and a half in Albuquerque to look forward to! Going “home” to my friends back in the ABQ was so exciting and I was looking forward to being back somewhere familiar.

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