Crazy Voodoo and All That Jazz

04Nov09

Originally written on November 4, 2009

Hey guys,

The past several days have been awfully hectic. I’ve been running around like a madman trying to do everything I was supposed to do. Luckily, things have finally slowed down; hence, I’ve found time to write this email. 

 

Jackson Square, New Orleans

New Orleans (NOLA), the city of jazz, hedonism, voodoo, Southern hospitality and Cajun cuisine was just an O.K. experience. It isn’t a city I wish to visit again since it doesn’t have much to offer.

The weather was fantastic – mostly sunny with the temperatures in the 20s, which made a great difference from cold Toronto. It was also nice to walk though the French Quarter and enjoy the architecture dating from 1700s onwards. Nevertheless aside from that, there wasn’t anything impressive to me. After all these trips over the years, I could say that I have spoiled myself; not many things leave me impressed anymore!?!? 

French Quarter, New Orleans

The conference, itself, went very well. It was a fantastic experience and a great exposure for me. Ever since hurricane Katrina at least, NOLA has been trying to revitalise itself with major difficulties. Many restaurants, for instance, still need to be reopened. The biggest influx of tourists is for Halloween and Mardi Gras. The rest of the time, it seems like most strangers come to the city only for the conferences. Four conferences were held in town during my stay.

Halloween Parade for Children, New Orleans

The nightlife in NOLA is minimalised to unsophisticated bar hopping and drinking alcohol on Bourbon Street. The state of Louisiana allows drinking in public as long as one drinks out of a plastic cup and not from a glass. Thus, one can have a cocktail-to-go! Hehe…

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

The Bourbon Street is the epicentre of nightlife, and it carries a striking resemblance of the Red Light District of Amsterdam both at day and night time. (Yes, M.N., there are live sex shows in NOLA as well! Hehe…) Moreover, the stench of alcohol, urine and vomit never fades away from that street.

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Since I was in town on the company’s expense, I wasn’t shy to abuse this opportunity to the fullest. Thus, I tried to make the best out of my stay by indulging myself in food and trying everything – from grilled alligator meat, that tasted like cooked ham, to drinking absinthe (apparently it’s legal over there!) to sweet potato ice-cream at one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants. Despite a plethora of fresh sea food, for instance, the local cuisine consists predominantly of fried food, and a lot of people have complained about having stomach aches.

Case and point, I tried mufulletta – an Italian sandwich with olive oil spread, cold cuts and cheese that was invented in New Orleans. Many of you know that I can eat A LOT, but I ordered only half a sandwich and was able to eat only a half of that. It was too heavy for me! At the end, I threw out the rest of the sandwich despite hating to waste food. I just knew I could never finish it!

 

French Quarter, New Orleans

The weirdest thing I saw in NOLA were aligator heads and claws in various sizes as a take-home souvenirs. No, I didn’t buy one, but I was contemplating buying an aligator belt. At the end, I decided I prefer crocodiles. hehe… 😉

Right now, I’m on the train from London to Cardiff going to visit my sister. The scenery is exactly as I imagined it to be – green pastures with sheep and cows. But this is a part of another email … 

I hope all of you are doing well!

I’m exhausted and finishing this email RIGHT NOW! Peace out!!!

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