Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New - OrLINS

The drive to New Orleans from Atlanta was interesting. I started seeing landscaping that was a little more rugged than what I’m used to. We drove on highway that was on stilts because of the marsh/swampy stuff surrounding it.

We made a small detour off the highway so we could see the beach. We went to Biloxi, Mississippi and got out on the hot sand for a brief stop.

We were curious to see if we’d see any oil – we did not. However, the water seemed very dirty to us. I don’t know if it’s always that way or not, but it was brown and washing up leaves and junk. My daughter found a dead fish which she got a kick out of pulling ashore to check out – but then got grossed out when she could see it in all its torn-apart glory.

One thing that stood out to me was the "untamed" grasses in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. They look like they need to be mowed, but it's not that they are being neglected; I think it's just the terrain. The grass seems rather long and houses are on stilts by the water. So different to see!

We made it into New Orleans in the late afternoon where we checked into our motel and crashed. Then we decided to go ahead and trek on down to the “Riverwalk” and eat dinner at the Hard Rock Café. Enroute on the Riverwalk, a gentleman was playing jazz tunes on his trumpet. He stopped us of course, and wanted to play something for us to which my husband tried to get him to play “Summer Breeze.” He paused and thought about it and as my husband tried to help him recall it, he would go “Shhhh! Shhhh!” Hushing him with his hand. It was funny. He finally played a tune – which wasn’t Summer Breeze and concluded telling a lady as she was walking by with her dogs that they were going to kill her. We got a kick out of him. Our first welcome to New Orleans.

The Hard Rock was nice to enter because of the air conditioning. Plus I got a huge “Haystack Salad” which was delicious. I wish I could’ve taken some of the leftovers with me! We also discovered the correct way to pronounce New Orleans. It is “NEW ORLINS” not “NEW OR-LEENS.” So there you go.

We concluded our day with a swim at our motel’s rooftop pool. Love those. We had it all to ourselves and played “Marco Polo” to which I’m not so good at. HA HA

Monday we got up and headed into the French Quarter area. It was hot. It was humid. It was sticky. Each store we went in was a relief from the heat.

They were making a movie on “Royal Street.” I tried to ask what it was called but couldn’t understand the guy. Cap Shaw? Something like that. So we had to hurry along or get out of their shot every time w crossed their “movie shooting area.” All I saw was them squeal a car up to the door of this place and run out. So maybe it’s an action movie.

We took a picture by the Bourbon street sign. I got a little feisty about Bourbon street as a lot of the adult clubs are on this street. I didn’t want to walk it.

We ate Beignets at Café Du Monde. Someone should have told me how messy these things are! But boy, were they delicious. They are a hot donut pastry thing with powdered sugar on them. Mmmmm…..

We saw the Cathedral. Walked some more. Ventured into the French Market and Flea Market area where I was told you could get things cheaper than in the French Quarter shops. You could. The girls and I scored some New Orleans masks. BUT….the atmosphere was a little uncomfortable for us. The smells were terrible. My husband and daughter smelled and saw someone smoking marijuana. We tried not to hang around too long.

We were done with the French Quarter by mid-afternoon. We were so hot, we were wilting. I will say it was fun to see. It has a lot of “personality” and “atmosphere” to it. But for me, it was more run-down and dirty than I imagined it would be, I guess.

On our way back to the motel, a storm quickly came in and we got caught in it since we were walking. When it decides to rain in the South - boy does it rain! The sky opened up and just poured. Luckily we were only like a block from our motel and we made it in just before we were too soaked.

This morning, we got up and headed for our swamp ride. The closer we got, the more nervous I got about the alligators. We went with “Airboat Adventures.” Let me just say, it was a blast! I loved it. It was so fun to ride the airboat. I never once felt unsafe. And yes – we saw alligators. We saw maybe 15 or so alligators. Some while driving – others while we were stopping and they’d swim away or up to us to get marshmallow treats. The biggest one we saw was around 13 feet (I think). I loved the beauty of the swamp. The tons of fireflies that were flying around, the sounds, and the airboat ride itself was really fun. The saddest thing for me was hearing that the oil spill mess is only about 9 miles out and heading that way. They said they might have to shut down their swamp tours in a week or two and in all likelihood those animals are in true jeopardy of dying when the oil seeps into the swamp (which unless they do something fast – it WILL.) Who would have thought I’d feel bad for an alligator? But I did. We also saw a little baby wood duck which my youngest and I got to hold. So soft and sweet!

About the last ten minutes of the two hour adventure, the storm came in again. We’d heard the thunder earlier and gotten wet a tiny bit but it stopped. Not this time. I told my husband that God has a sense of humor because I’d debated whether or not to curl my hair and get pretty in the morning or not – and I’d opted to go ahead. But God – in all his humor – dumped the sky down on us and we were soaked through by the time we got back to land. I mean S-O-A-K-E-D. I felt bad – we didn’t even tell our guide “thank you” we just hopped off as quick as we could and got to our car. A few minutes up the road, we pulled over and dug into our suitcases for dry clothes as we didn’t want to sit in wet clothes for our 5 or so hour drive to Houston today. I think the downpour will just be part of the fun memory though and I’m so glad it happened at the end instead of the beginning of the ride.
So, we’re on the road again. Saw another semi completely on its side in Alabama on the way to New Orleans, a pretty bad crash today, and some near misses with people swerving in front of us and flipping us off. You must be praying – for God is keeping us safe.


Lori @ Just Pure Lovely said...

It would have been a hoot if we'd have run into each other in N'Awlins! But I haven't gone over there in quite a while. Glad to get an update on it!

I haven't seen any good beaches in Mississippi, either. Next time you do a roadtrip and are between Mobile & Pensacola, let me know and I'll show you white sands and emerald beaches.

Dionna said...

Lori - I didn't realize you lived so close to New Orleans. Yes, it would have been so fun to meet you over there. Would love to see some white sands and emerald beaches... :)


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