I’m back on the northern side of the Mississippi! Amazingly, I’m alive somehow. As luck would have it the adventures of this redhead were nothing along the disappointing avenue, rather they were at times too colorful for me imagine. Before you all start conjuring up images of me in some drive-up daquiri daze on Bourbon St., let me clarify. I was not drunk.
And any pictures that do make their way into this blog post were taken post day one, which was so terrifying I didn’t take a single shot.
I’ll back up. I was in New Orleans last week. I went to visit my best friend from High School who I haven’t seen in 5 years. Exciting, right? Sorry to disappoint again, readers, this post will not be a blast from the past or a list of Top 10 Things To Do With Your Bestie. I’m going to tell you how to survive on your own for a week in New Orleans living like a kinda local.
Rule #1: Though you’ve planned this vacation months in advance, you’re friend will be working all week long. So get used to asking for directions.
Rule #2: Those preemptive extra bottles of contact solution, hand sanitizer, and 2.5 ounces of shampoo will NOT save you from the Louisiana heat wave! Or from the constant smell of sweat and piss both inside and out.
Rule #3: When your friend says he’s arranged for transportation, you might want to check the measurements and pack any necessary safety features that aren’t otherwise included. For example, my friend gave me a bike to ride, but it was too tall, and made for boys, so naturally, I fell…A LOT. I wished I had a helmet, knee pads, wrist guards, shin guards, and yes, a giant padded diaper around my ass, because I was in immense pain after day 1 and illustrated bruises I didn’t know were possible.
Rule #4: Learn how the locals eat, and react calmly. If timing isn’t your host’s forte’, you may want to snack in the kitchen or dig in immediately when the food is done and just be that person, because what my midwest manners did instead was wait until everything was ready and set out on the porch, which then consequently became COVERED in flies, and I don’t know if you’re aware but flies VOMIT every time they land. It’s true. I took science.
Rule #5: It’s not a joke when they say there are sharks in the water. When your friend tells you we’re all gonna go swimming in Lake Ponchartrain and how it’s a salt water lake that bull sharks go to breed in, don’t laugh, he’s telling the truth, though you won’t learn this until you later jokingly ask a cab driver and he confirms it.
Rule #6: Don’t mess with the police. So, if Lake Ponchartrain happens to be closed, and you have to hop a fence, trip through some thicket and steak out a hidden corner of beach to go swimming, it probably means the police will be MAD if they find you there. Especially if they find you hiding in the thicket.
Rule #7: Bike rides aren’t for wimps in New Orleans. Again with the bike, you say? How bad could it be? It was BAD, ya’ll! Several of our gang were falling off their bikes and hitting pavement hard. There were busy streets, scary potholes, and loose gravel. One member got separated from the group and was run down by a car yelling obscene comments. She walked home with her bike and a badly cut arm.
Rule #8: If in the morning you feel like crying and going IMMEDIATELY back to the airport after such a first day in a new city and you’ve slept all night on a pillow that stinks like B.O., just know you’re not alone. I’m right there with ya. And I’m here, alive, with no current police record, to tell you that New Orleans was ok. Laissez le bon tou roulez!
Stay tuned for more of my epic adventure! What have you all been up to? I missed you guys!