We arrived in New Orleans on January 25th, which in Australian time was Australia. The first day was spent wandering around the French markets district, and having some delicious beignets (French donuts absolutely swimming in icing sugar) at Café Du Monde. There were a lot of street performers and paintings for sale along the street, so the whole area had a great market feel. As we walked along the river we came across some very friendly locals who went crazy over the fact that we were Australian (and one New Zealander). I just figured I’d mention that, because it happened relatively often throughout our trip.
7pm New Orleans time was when the Hottest 100 started. I was very eager to celebrate Australia Day while away from home, so we streamed the countdown while getting ready to go out on Bourbon Street that night. Bourbon Street wasn’t great, probably to some extent because we went out there on a Wednesday night. Though I had heard from other people that it was a bit of a tourist trap- there were certainly a lot of mardi gras beads being thrown around and bars selling take-away grenade drinks, but I guess it’s OK to
be touristy every once in a while. We got to show off some of our line dancing skills in a bar called the Bourbon Cowboy, which was probably the highlight of the night.
The next day I had my first proper bout of alone time in well over a month. I had lost the novel I was reading in my brief sojourn to Mexico, so found a book in the French market area then settled down in a local public park to read it. It was a nice afternoon. That night as we were walking along to dinner (where Jono had a burger made primarily of bacon and peanut butter) we walked right into the shooting of Gordon Ramsay’s show ‘Kitchen Nightmares’. He brushed right past me on his way off the street. After dinner we headed to Frenchmen St, which was supposed to have some of the cooler and less touristy bars. It did not disappoint! The first place we went to had a great jazz band and everyone was dancing (and some dressed) like they were straight out of the 1920s/30s. The second place we went to was really tiny and had a little band playing in
the corner, with one woman playing a washboard which she was wearing as a dress.
On the last day we checked out the actual French Markets (we had just been in the area up til then and not actually seen them) where I tried some crayfish soup. Then we went to Mother’s which had very highly recommended po boys. I really liked the fried shrimp one, but the beef one was pretty darn good as well (its hard to get good beef in America). The other local cuisine I got to try while there was a delicious jambalaya- I can’t wait to make it back home.
From New Orleans it was onto Houston, where we were meeting up with Georg (our German friend from Austin). The first night we ate at Chuys, which is a wonderful tex mex place (which also has a restaurant at Barton Springs in Austin which I also enjoyed). The first full day in Houston, Jono, Jordan and I went to NASA (Emma and Georg had already been). I really enjoyed it. There were shows about things like how astronauts live on space shuttles, and the progression of the space program, but probably most
interesting was the tour- where you got to visit the NASA control room and see a retired rocket.
We had wanted to go to a shooting range that afternoon, but the one we found was way too expensive, which is a shame because it means I went over 4 months in Texas without once shooting a gun. That night we ordered in pizza and made Georg play quelf, and then we checked out the Houston nightlife, which was a bit mediocre.
We woke up relatively early in the morning to say goodbye to Georg and drive him to the bus station, then it was time to say goodbye to America and head to the airport for a flight to Mexico….
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