Trek Diary: Day Eight (4th July)
It didn’t actually occur to me until a few weeks after i booked trek, that we would be over in the States for the 4th July AND would be spending it in New Orleans!
The other van left quite some time before us after the discovery of their ant invasion. After a quick (cold) pop-tart, I shotgunned again and we set off. No attraction stops today, only a quick lunch stop where we took group photos next to a Louisiana sign.
It was quite surreal knowing that i was about to spend the next two days in New Orleans. It was a major stop on a previous itinerary i had made with my ex, as we had been planning a trip across the USA at one point. It was sort of weird now that i was doing it alone…well, i wasn’t exactly alone! On the way in, Steve drove us around the outskirts of the city (with my poor navigating skills) and we saw a lot of the damage from Katrina. We even saw an abandoned six flags park that was in the process of being built when the hurricane had hit. They decided against continuing work on it, so there are incomplete rollercoasters that can be seen from the highway. I didn’t realise that there is still a lot of damage and some places may never fully recover. Across from our hotel there was a boarded up building, and this was just a few blocks down from Bourbon Street.
Our hotel was “The French Quarter Suites” and i would definitely stay again! The hotel was gorgeous, we had a nice pool and the rooms were beautiful. We also had air con and BEDS! Me and Lisa did “The Grand Entrance” something that should be done as soon as you enter a hotel room – a running leap onto the bed. The afternoon was spent lazing besides the pool, sorting out washing and getting ready for the night ahead. It was also spent in hysterics after a potentially embarassing situation for me. I had just gotten out of the shower and was pretty much starkers when i saw something out of the corner of my eye. A flash of a yellow tshirt. Who was wearing a yellow tshirt? “Oh shit! LISA! I think Steve just saw me naked!” The doors of each room had glass in them, so I have no idea WHY i didn’t get changed in the bathroom or at least out of sight! (subconscious exhibitionist?) After 10 minutes of Lisa laughing at me freaking out, some of the other girls came over and we realised that you cant really see inside anyway. I breathed a sigh of relief. Awkward situation had been averted!
We took a walk down Bourbon street in the late afternoon and brought our Southern Comfort along with us. Steve told us things about the city and we walked all the way over to the river where we took group jumping photos – a trek tradition. We were pretty rubbish at these! We went out for dinner too and i had jambalaya – which was much better than the gumbo that the majority of the group had.
After a quick change at the hotel we joined up with the other van and set off for the river again to watch the fireworks. They were pretty good, but i think Disney has ruined all future firework displays for me – nothing compares to Epcot’s display! The task for tonight was to drink lots and try to stay together! The drink of the night (and the most famous in New Orleans) was the Hand Grenade that can be bought from the Tropical Isle bars. Since our return home, Lisa looked up the ingredients for this drink (although its apparently a secret recipe) and it called for “grain alcohol”. Grain alcohol is basically ethanol, pure alcohol. I had two and that was enough for me! It was an awesome night, which was started off at a bar called “Krazy Korner” who had a band playing songs such as “Living on a prayer” and “Don’t stop believing”. There was lots of singing, inter group hugging and Natalie even got up on stage. Just like Tennessee, tonight also has gaps missing. I remember Natalie getting on a motorbike, kissing strangers for beads, dancing on stage with some of the girls and having the best time ever!
At one point drunk me had obviously had enough and decided that Lisa should go home and be put to bed (she was falling over at this point) Natalie and Ben joined us on our stumble home. Drunk Amy was upset for some stupid reason and sobbed to Natalie for a while. By this time, Ben and Lisa had run off to join everyone else on Bourbon Street (who were all at a gay bar). Natalie and I stopped at a gas station near our hotel to get something to eat but as i went to pay, i realised my purse was missing. So the tears started up again and didn’t stop for the next few hours. I had either dropped my purse or it had been stolen. Apparently pick pocketing is rife in NOLA and they picked the perfect target; the white British girl, in a floral dress who could barely stand up. It was pretty scary that i was with 25 other people and nobody noticed anything. I still have no idea why i didnt just take money with me and not BOTH of my cards. Once we were back at the hotel, Ryan let me borrow his laptop (which i cried all over) so i could get the numbers of my banks. Annika (from the other group) was really nice and offered to walk back to the club with me to see if it had been handed in at all. I think i cried the whole way and talked absolute nonsense between sobs. The next hour was spent on the phone to my bank and travel card company to cancel my cards. Amazingly, through the intoxication, i managed to remember all my passwords and secret questions! I was pretty unhappy at this point and i remember the man on the phone trying to console me. The conversation went something like this…
Natwest man: “Do you have anyone to talk to? Wheres you trek leader?”
Me: “Umm, im not sure.”
*I turn around and see Steve sprawled on the patio*
Me: “HES SO DRUNK!”
Natwest man: “Oh. Is there anyone else you can talk to?”
*People are either taking a photo of Steve or stumbling around hugging each other*
After the phone call ended and after realising that i had missed out on pizza, i got pretty stroppy. (If i was rude to anyone – im sorry! I didn’t mean it!) Everyone was crowded around Ryan’s laptop watching videos on Youtube. The title of this particular video was “Monkey Rapes Cat”.
I decided it was time for bed.