Friday, August 5, 2011

New Orleans

The time I spent in New Orleans has been incredibly interesting, but also a little unfortunate. New Orleans is definitely worth visiting, even in Summer when it can be very hot and humid.
As you may have read in a previous post, I have lost my iPhone with all the video footage for my planned video blog post. Fortunately, there may be some pictures available that I have sent to my girlfriend before leaving the hostel.

Getting there
After my last blog post from the Greyhound station and some good Mexican food, I went on a 22 hours bus ride with transfers in Orlando and Tallahassee. The schedule was unfortunate because all passengers had to leave the bus for "service and cleaning" at 12.30am and 4am for 50 minutes, resulting in little to no sleep.

In some TV shows, I saw that New Orleans is considered to be the most dangerous city in the United States, so I decided to take a cab to a hostel which I booked on the bus. I found out later on the list of the most dangerous cities in the US, New Orleans is only ranked number #13, behind Cleveland, OH, (#4), where I have stayed without concerns. Before leaving the hostel I heard from two girls who were robbed two nights ago. They got off the street car (a kind of tram) two stations too early and encountered two guys, supposedly with guns, threatening to kill them if they did not give them their handbags.

Even though I had just heard this story, I decided to walk to the famous French Quarter because it was 10am and there were cars on the road. The French Quarter is incredibly cute and different from everything I have seen in the US so far. The buildings are over 200 years old, which is quite rare in the US. What you can see during the early afternoon are many different small art galleries and bars preparing for the night.

Bourbon Street, New Orleans LA

I had the choice between the Louisiana History Museum and an exhibition about the Kathrina Hurricane and the floods that followed. I decided for the latter and spent three hours in the Museum. It was very interesting to see an exhibition about an event I remembered and read about myself. Five years after this catastrophe I could not see any sign of what had happened.

I tried to escape the heat using the hostel's pool, but even that was rather warm. I took advantage of the comfortable backyard and skyped with friends and family in the shadow of some trees before going for dinner downtown. I then went to Morton's Steakhouse, which is an upscale restaurant, where the waiter showed me the different kinds of meat and fish they had. He also showed me on real vegetables how they are going to be cut and held a living lobster under my nose, explaining how they were going to prepare it the kitchen.
I ordered the Eisberg Salad with Blue Cheese,  the New York Cut Steak with sautéed spinach and mushrooms, and a warm chocolate cake with ice cream. Even though it was super delicious, I was not able to finish all of it so I let them "doggie-bag" for me. As it would not have been very comfortable to take it with me when visiting the bars, I decided to give it to one of the few homeless people at the riverfront. I hope that they enjoyed it.

After eating, I started walking to Bourbon Street. Since I received more feedback from the last video blog post, I wanted to improve my video blogs even more. I wanted to make it seem like a documentary, so I filmed myself walking through Bourbon Street, going in bars and commenting on the music and the atmosphere. The disappointment of the first five bars got blown away at the last bar, where I first did not even want to go in. I saw an incredible performance of Chucky C singing both his own songs and also covering Louis Armstrong and other famous Singers. I liked it so much that I bought a CD. If it works, here is a sample one of his songs.
Chucky C and his band

The night was rather short due to my early bus leaving at 6.15am the next day. I prepared everything the night before, so I could just take a shower in the morning and then leave. I sent a last Whatsapp message to my girlfriend before taking a cab to the Greyhound station. Ten minutes after the bus had left New Orleans, I wanted to take a picture of the swampy landscape. That is when I realized that I did not have my iPhone anymore. You can read in my previous post what I did to try to get it back. Had I known that I had to buy a new iPhone, I would most probably not have eaten that luxurious the night before. Anyway, when traveling, one needs to be aware of unexpected cost.

I am now arriving in Phoenix, AZ, after a 33h bus ride. The plan is to visit some friends I have stayed with on my previous travels.

Thank you for reading and for commenting.

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