A Week In New Orleans

[

A Week In New Orleans Friday 4/21/2017 to Thursday 4/27/2017

Arrived 10:00 last night fumbled around trying to determine if taxi, uber, or lyft would be best deal. Info I had gleaned from travel forums was out of date.. ride.guru gave inaccurate pricing saying uber and lyft cost $21, when I downloaded the uber app I found it was $33., about the same price as a taxi. Decided to take taxi. Since they were already there waiting to go. Turned out that the fixed rate for taxis had increased and was now $36.00. With tip it cost $40.00., same price as the shuttle and A little more than Uber but quicker and easier.

Friday
In the morning, we hopped on the trolley to the French Quarter, walked along the riverfront, watched the steamboat head out, and. Queued up at Cafe DuMonde waited in line for about 15 minutes, and took our sack of beignets and our cafe au laits to Jackson Square where we enjoyed them in the shade of an old oak tree,we viewed the statue of Old Stonewall, and watched a wedding in the square. We then admired the stain glass windows in the Cathedral and walked down to the Old Mint Building.

The magnolias are blooming

We just happened to arrive at the Mint in time to enjoy a fabulous woman, named Gina Brown in rhinestone encrusted gold 4 inch heels with a 3 piece jazz band in a free concert tribute to Al Jarreau. A wonderful little concert, very talented musicians and a beautiful sultry voice. Inside the Old Mint Building is a small museum with displays about when this was an active mint producing coinage, and upstairs is The New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park. with displays about Louis Armstrong one on Louis Fountain. I got a NPS stamp for my passport at the gift shop. We then wandered through the French Market hoping to find lunch. A tourist office recommended Huck Finn.’s and gave us a discount card. We walked the nine blocks to eat there had jambalaya and crawfish etoufee. We then walked along Bourbon Street it was noisy and crowded, and packed with bars that featured $11.00 food dye and artificial flavor laden daiquiris. We cut over a block to royal street, which was much quieter. Ordered sangrias and enjoyed watching the barflys while sipping our drinks in a cozy corner. At one point a roving band and their entourage paraded by


Saturday
I got snared. When you are a guest at a Worldmark resort, your goal is to relax or to get out and see the sights. Managements goal is to, by hook or by crook, to turn you into an owner. This is our third stay at one of these resorts. When you check in you are required to see a concierge to get your Welcome Packet. This concierge acts like they are your friend and because they want you to have a good time they are offering all kinds of discounts and bonuses. All you have to do to cash in on all these gifts is agree to listen to a representative talk about the benefits of Worldmark ownership, while you eat your free hot breakfast. Such a deal!!! You can tell them that you’ve heard it before. You can tell them how absolutely totally uninterested you are. You can tell them that your partner will divorce you if he is subjected to another of these really annoying sales pitches. You can say no a dozen times. In the end you acquiesce because you will be paid for your time. Of course the concierge has promised repeatedly that 1. You will enjoy the presentation. 2. It will absolutely not take more than 90 minutes, and you will be enjoying a delicious, specially prepared, hot breakfast while you listen. 3. You will not, and this is a solemn promise, delivered verbally and in writing, will not be subjected to any high pressure sales tactics. After all, she says,”This is New Orleans. We are all laid back here. No one pressures anyone to do anything. We all just want you to have a good time and to receive all these valuable discounts and bonuses.” Promises were broken, and the eggs were cold, but the cheesy grits were delicious. After 2 hours of intense salesmanship we walked away without signing any contracts and received the payoff- a $100.00 AmEx gift card and 1000 Wyndham milage points plus a 50% discount on the price of the swamp tour. I think it’s worth it, Trog is pretty sure it is not.

Jasmine perfumes the air

Saturday afternoon was spent at the National World War II Museum. It is big and impressive and well worthwhile, featuring multimedia and multi sensory experiences. Afterwards we relaxed on the patio of the museum’s The American Sector Restaurant and Bar.

Sunday
We walked to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in the morning, wandered around the Garden District gawking at the old mansions, and went on the swamp tour.
The tour company is called Ultimate Swamp Adventure. Their driver picked up in front of the hotel and took us to the historic Westwego fishing village of Bayou Segnette for a 2 hour boat ride.

alligator

sunset in the swamp

Monday
Bought all day trolley passes. The trolley is the best deal in town. Only $1.25 for a ride, or $3.00 for a pass that is good for 24 hours. Headed to thequarter. Wandered around Harrahs. Got muffuletta at the Central Grocery. Wandered through Jackson Square to have absinthe at Pirate alley Caught trolley to City Park. strolled around the Sculpture Garden. And admired the ancient oak trees in the park.

andaption id=”attachment_1671″ align=”alignnone” width=”300″] hoping for some of my beignet[/caption]
Wed 4/26
Checked out Lafayette Cemetery #1. Had a crawfish boil at the hotel, walked into the quarter. Enjoyed live music at the Musical Legends Park with beignets . I had a sazarac and Trog had an old fashioned. I got mobbed by beignet craving sparrows, so we escaped and strolled the length of Bourbon Street and had a look at Frenchmens Street. We wandered again through the French Market (Nothing particularly French about it – it was the end of the day for them, several booths had already shut down for the day. Back to the music garden for a mint julep.
below: Lafayette Cemetery # 1

a pile of boiled crawfish
eat right off the table, no plates
the crawfish boil

Thursday 2/27/2017
flying home tonight, but had time for some sightseeing before going. We hopped on the trolley and rode out to Audubon Park. Strolled around the park, saw lots of turtles sunning themselves on rocks in the creek. Saw a woman with a baby feeding bread to the turtles gathered in the creek below with a baby possum on a hand towel beside her. walked out of the park and past Loyola University to get pecan waffles. The Camellia Grill from the outside looks pretty fancy, but it’s a greasy spoon establishment with no tables, just a counter that spans the width of the building. Two waiters take orders and serve up food while a team of cooks work their magic right in front of the diners.


We took the trolley back to the resort to pick up our bags, caught the bus to the airport and headed back to cold, rainy Portland. Riding the bus gave us a chance to see the rest of New Orleans. Once you get away from the tourist areas, it’s a huge sprawling city that doesn’t look much different from any other major city.

Overheard bit of conversation in the French Market: “I was a woman 10 years ago.”
Sign on a building: “Jazz music shakes the dust off of ordinary life.

Food and drink: The beignets at Cafe Beignet are not much different from the ones at Cafe Dumonde, but the line is much shorter. We had the special of the day at Pat O’Briens, a french fry po’ boy. I am not a fan of putting potatoes into sandwiches but, the fries were really good. Too bad they were smothered with shredded roast beef and an over-salted gravy. But it was a fun place to hang out for a while, and the salad and the drinks were fine.

the hurricane

We had the special of the day at Pat O’Briens, a french fry po’ boy. I am not a fan of putting potatoes into sandwiches but, the fries were really good. Too bad they were smothered with shredded roast beef and an over-salted gravy. But it was a fun place to hang out for a while, and the salad and the drinks were fine.
The jambalaya was good at Huck Finn’s, but the crawfish etouffe tasted too fishy for my taste. We tried to go to Parasol’s, where I heard that the cajun cuisine is inexpensive but really good. It’s in the back room of a dive bar off Magazine Street. When we good there it was packed, no place for us to sit and since it was a half hour before closing time, waiting for a table was not an option. So we wandered down Magazine Street and ended up having burritos at Hey Juan’s, not cajun but quite good.

Eating muffuletta is another must do when in New Orleans. It’s more Italian than Cajun, but still a quintessential New Orleans treat. We went to the Central Grocery for ours. It’s a big sandwich on a large round roll that is cut into quarters. One quarter is enough for a very satisfying and delicious meal.
The best deal on food is at the Voodoo Barbecue on St. Charles Avenue. The pulled pork sandwich is just $2.00 on Tuesdays. The pork was tender and flavorful, but made even better with the addition of Mojo Sauce.

Drinks associated with New Orleans: absinth hurricane, pimm’s cup, sazarac, mint julep.

Mardi Gras beads are everywhere. They are hanging from fences, and adorning porches, wrapped around lampposts, hanging from trees, even at the cemetery!

Back in the US… Back in the US… Back in the…

Oh wait – the original song said “USSR,” didn’t it?

No thanks to Delta Airlines, we MADE it back to the USA. A day later than originally planned and while I had originally said when I discovered Delta had rearranged our return flight FOR us (without asking, I might add) that there were worst places to be stuck for an extra day than Marrakesh, that was BEFORE I contracted “turista” of some vicious stripe. Continue reading “Back in the US… Back in the US… Back in the…”

Moroccan Oil

We visited a women’s cooperative where they make argan oil. The argan is a small nut that grows only in certain parts of Morocco. Moroccan Argan oil is applied to the hair to make it soft and shiny, and applied to the skin to make it soft and supple.

Native craftswomen making argon oil products. Humble team of three apparently can FILL the shop with goods!
Native craftswomen making argon oil products. Humble team of three apparently can FILL the shop with goods!

Continue reading “Moroccan Oil”

Monkey Business

One of the things that I love about travel is the opportunity to see wild animals in their native habitat. I loved seeing the Barbary apes in Gibraltar. Although they are free to roam throughout the preserve they are well cared for. Caretakers provide enough food to provide half of the calories and nutrients  needed by the resident monkeys. ( Although they are known as Barbary apes, they are actually macaques, the only species of tailless monkeys.) The monkeys forage for the rest of their diet.  This gives them something to do and helps to keep them out of trouble. Although sometimes tourists show up who disregard the warnings and bring snacks onto the rock. The monkeys are generally well behaved, but will not hesitate to take food away from clueless tourists.

Barbary apes! (Actually, it's "macaque." And it's "monkey.")
Moroccan Barbary Apes! (Actually, it’s “macaque.” And it’s “monkey.”)

Continue reading “Monkey Business”

The King Is In

As we drove into Fes, I noticed armed soldiers wearing fancy red uniforms stationed along a long privacy wall. The next morning we heard from our local tour guide that the king was in town. That privacy wall was the perimeter of the king’s palace in Fes, and the redcoats were the king’s guards. They must have arrived shortly before we did because the guide indicated that they had not been there the day before.

Palace of the King of Morocco. Well, ONE of them, anyway. He's either in - or he's on his way.
Palace of the King of Morocco. Well, ONE of them, anyway.

Continue reading “The King Is In”

Before Viagra

Nowadays when a man has problems maintaining an erection or a woman has trouble conceiving we head to the doctor and usually come away with a prescription to fix the problem. In days of old, when people had these issues, there were no magic pills available, so people turned to their gods for remedy. Throughout the world, there are places that are said to be the best places in which to appeal to the gods concerning these problems. I have been lucky enough to be able to visit a few of these sites.

Ancient Roman ruins. Actually, they were in fairly good shape until an earthquake in 1755.
Ancient Roman ruins at Volubilis. Actually, they were in fairly good shape until an earthquake in 1755.

Continue reading “Before Viagra”

Rick’s Cafe Americain

In the States, when we want the experience of stepping back into history we put on a costume and go to an event like a Renaissance Faire or a Civil War Enactment. Our sense of history doesn’t go back very far into the past. In Morocco, a visit to the Medina is like stepping back into Medieval times. The Medina is the oldest part of the city, dating back several centuries. The streets of the Medina consist of narrow, twisting alleyways, too narrow and winding for car traffic. While you won’t see cars in the Medina, you do see horses and donkeys, and motor scooters. And people, lots of people. The streets of the Medina are lined with small shops , and wherever there is not an opening for a shop, there are carts and wagons full of goods for sale. By night, the Medina is a residential neighborhood where folks amble about, meeting up with friends or just hanging out having a smoke or watching the passers by. By day, it becomes an open air marketplace, packed full of goods and shoppers. Continue reading “Rick’s Cafe Americain”

Casablanca

Casablanca

A sprawling metropolis; noisy, crowded, plagued with traffic, exotic, noisy, dirty, devout, colorful and ever so noisy! The traffic through the city center and the port area is appalling, and the drivers are aggressive and rude. There is lots of horn-honking, and speeding cars cutting off other cars and gridlocked intersections. Drivers are in such a hurry to get to where they are going that they push on through the crosswalks regardless of the pedestrians cautiously trying to get across. All along the main thoroughfares there are taxi drivers vying for business, offering to take us to the mosque.

The Grand Mosque. Everyone in town knows you're a tourist and will happily assume you are going here - and will point the way.
The Grand Mosque. Everyone in town knows you’re a tourist and will happily assume you are going here – and will point the way.

Continue reading “Casablanca”