Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
88Trip End Feb 01, 2005
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Where I stayed
What a crazy place! Bourbon Street in the French Quarter is madder than it sounds (especially for someone whose previous exposure was a bar at Highpoint Shopping Centre by the same name).
Within 45 minutes of arriving at the India House Hostel I had hooked up with Bruce (Queenslander) and Mike (Washington State) and was getting ready to hit the French Quarter.
The night started with a half hour walk to the Quarter and then a trawl down Bourbon Street, which, at 6pm hadnīt yet been closed to traffic. The neon lights were flashing, touts with signs were standing in front of the bars and people were dodging traffic.
After ambling down Bourbon Street we decided to go to Frenchmans Street where there was apparently a good bar which was recommended by some of the long term residents at the hostel
I was feeling a bit lost in the Quarter however the boys werenīt worried about not knowing where Bourbon Street was, they were content to piss in vacant lots and street corners, drinking their travellers. I almost thought I would have to rescue one of them when they dared each other to climb a razor wire fence around a church or some old building.
Thankfully we were back on Bourbon Street and we decided to be vagrants and not go to any of the bars. Instead this is where I discovered the wicked Little Debbie and her amazing array of sugar rush inducing products. Waiting for the boys to buy their drinks, I stumbled across a 25cent fudge brownie and impulsively purchased it. Within minutes of consumption I was a livewire.
Bourbon Street suddenly became a massive playground with anything okay. I spent the evening dancing up and down the street, pausing outside a bar to dance for half a song before moving on to the next joint. We played a game of frisbee with Mikeīs hat and had bets on who could land the hat on someoneīs head
By midnight we were stonkered and decided to catch a bus home. During the evening I almost kissed Mike in Bourbon Street, it was so close that it wasnīt funny. Anyway, I knew that I would collect when I got back to the hostel.
On the bus ride back to the hostel I was sitting next to a street lady who called herself Mother Nature. She started talking to us and telling us that her son had gotten a set of Beatles collector cards for a job that he did (not sure if they were hot or not) and then told us that he sold the pack for $20 all except for a signed Paul McCartney card. I was loathe to believe her, however she then pulled out a creased black and white card of Paul McCartney, and there in blue felt tip pen was his autograph.
Back at the hostel I collected my kiss from Mike, which wasnīt worth the wait
The next day, Australia Day, I went on the Creole Queen Paddlewheeler on the Mississippi, the reason I was in New Orleans. After clapping eyes on the Mississippi I am glad that the Murray is my local river. The river is so big, dirty and choppy, with ocean going container ships anchored midstream and barges lining the banks.
That night, no one wanted to go to Bourbon Street, and I was scared that if I did go again I wouldnīt have a night anywhere near comprable to the night before, so I hung out at the hostel with the guys and a couple more Little Debbies.
At some point the evening suddenly turned quite debaucherous. I think that it was when I was sitting in between Carlton and Mike on the couch and Carlton was heading to bed and so I gave him a kiss on the cheek. A French Canadian chick who should be in the porn industry, said īThatīs not a kissīand proceeded to show me how it should be done by grabbing Mike and pashing him. I ended up carrying Carltonīs guitar to his room and he got a proper kiss then. This was much better than the previous evening, however I had to leave it there and went back to the lounge where I kissed Mike again.
New York is more magical than I could ever dream. It snowed on my first evening there, and when I left the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof show with Ashley Judd and Jason Patric in it, it was snowing even heavier. I was like a child walking the 12 blocks back to the hotel in the snow. The snow continued to transfix me, even after it turned into New York slush and left puddles on the street corners.
I was content to just wander around the city, marvelling at the buildings and that there are Duane Reade pharmacies on every corner. The only touristy stuff I did was to go up the Empire State Building and discover that the view from the 80th floor windows is better than then 86th floor observatory and check out the 20acre hole where the World Trade Centre was. So many of the buildings around the site are still out of commission and the little shopkeepers in the area must be struggling to find a few people to buy lunches when there is nothing and no one really around.
My second night in NY was spent at the cinema and it was really bizarre to watch Along Came Polly, which was set in NY and then to step outside and see the city in real life. I also watched the Butterfly Effect which I really enjoyed. On my way back to the hotel I stopped in an Irish bar for a drink.
I handled the cold much better than I thought, even though it only got to -5 celcius during the day. I was rugged up and walking so it wasnīt too bad.
I went into a shop where they were selling Ugg Boots for $99US and got chatted up by the shop attendant who wants me to send him a picture of me in Brazil. I had been warned about New Yorkers and this guy didnīt seem to notice that I was looking like the Michelin Man with glasses.
On my last night in New York I walked 16 blocks to Hells Kitchen before finding a bar that looked good. I went right to the end of the bar and ended up talking to Robbie Williamīs Irish twin brother. Ended up pashing the Robbie lookalike and was glad that he was also a good kisser.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED
* All New Yorkers J walk
* Security at US airports only care to search you when you are travelling domestically
* I have unfinished business in NY