Alligator hunting was not the fearsome experience I had hoped for, but still loads of fun.
Like many travellers before me, I had big expectations of New Orleans. I heard so much about how quirky and fun it was to hang out there and I imagined myself decked in beads wandering the colour filled streets in the evening and alligator hunting through the day.
As we pulled up out the front of our properly lush hotel, a delightful man appeared by our group. We didn’t realise what was happening until he tried to follow us into the lifts from the hotel lobby.
I think he was on something illegal but a few of us notified staff and hung around waiting for someone to deal with the situation. In true Aussie style, we cracked a beer and just hoped he had left.
Our first night out involved trying authentic Cajun food. Due to my seafood allergy I had to settle for chicken gumbo. Frankly I was disappointed.
Firstly, my landlord made me a much better gumbo a few days before I left Australia. Secondly, they didn’t offer us dessert despite the fact pecan pie was clearly on the menu.
I mean can you believe the nerve? I got the impression we were considered “just tourists” so it didn’t really matter if we enjoyed the food or not.
Out on bourbon street, it was far less seedy at night. Well, either that or it was just too dark to see. The music wasn’t as good as Memphis and I felt the vibe was lacking (possibly because, as I later found out, it was a Tuesday).
In defence of New Orleans however, both the hurricane and the hand grenade were delicious cocktails and most of the group couldn’t feel their faces by the time we got back to the hotel.
Sensibly, I managed to palm off most of my hand grenade to others in the group.
Delicious cocktails made for a fun night and a rough morning.
We did also take a tour of a swamp to spot snakes, turtles and alligators.
Again, I really enjoyed this but I have done something similar in the Daintree rainforest at home and seen crocodiles that could happily eat a human in one gulp. I also recently had a funnel web spider infestation in my house and just before I left for the trip, my brothers best mate was attacked by a shark.
So when I saw a non-venomous tree snake sleeping on a branch I wasn’t overly impressed and I definitely wasn’t concerned despite the gasps of horror from the other Americans on the boat with us.
The scariest thing was having an ice addict chase our car down the road trying to get in and wading bare foot through knee deep floods to get back to the hotel entrance.
It poured with rain throughout the second afternoon and we stayed put in the hotel for a nap before venturing out for a wander to get coffee and beignets.
Did the sensible thing for dinner and shared a cheese platter with some red wine in a slightly off the the beaten track pub. Much more pleasant.
Night time was spent on a ghost and voodoo tour of the French quarter. Our guide was definitely a bit of a nut bag but she was great, and super knowledgeable on the history of the city. Surprise surprise, I didn’t see, hear, feel or get photos of any ghosts, but I did learn a lot about New Orleans and its debauchery. I fell a little bit more in love with it after that. With more time I would have made the trip to Frenchmens street for some proper music. I think the city was starting to grow on me and perhaps if I’d done this it would have made the New Orleans experience a little more enjoyable. Luckily the company was good and we still had fine despite the crazies and rain.