Destination 5: New Orleans, Louisiana [Part II]


Our second day in New Orleans wasn't quite as successful as the first but an adventure nonetheless. You know how they say "the best way to get to know a city is by getting lost"? Well, it's sort of true.

We started out with a fantastic lunch at Domilise's, the sandwich shop featured on the Food Network. Dad, Mom and I had the shrimp po-boy, which was delicious in every way. Daniel had a meatball sandwich and Mary and Robert chose to wait for a fast food joint afterward (they really have no idea what they're missing out on). The shrimp was fried to perfection, the fresh baguette had a crispy exterior and a soft, buttery texture inside. The special ketchup mixed with the mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles perfectly. It was all just...perfection.

[Hole-in-the-wall spot]

[Mmmmm all the glory of the shrimp po-boy right in front of your eyes]

[Robert's first encounter with a classic Coke bottle.
He's happy, I promise you. He just doesn't know how to
smile for pictures and not look like he's having a miserable time.]

After lunch, we took the ferry boat to what we thought was the Mardi Gras World, a museum of how the Mardi Gras celebration started. Let me preface this by saying that it was 95+ degrees with about 80% humidity, something we are NOT used to in good 'ol sunny California. We moved like sloths (except for Robert, who has a magical source of energy that he stores God-knows-where in his little tiny body) and our half-frowned faces looked a little less than miserable. Anyway, we took the ferry boat to the other side, only to realize that the museum moved 2 years ago but they never had a chance to get the word out. By that point, we realized that a) we were too hot and exhausted to hunt down the museum and b) if no one knew that the museum moved, it must not be very popular and interesting anyway. We had to wait another hour for the ferry to come back, so we went to an air-conditioned cafe and got some ice cold drinks.

We hopped back on that ferry an hour later and the parents made a game-time decision that we'd get to know New Orleans by car. Not only did it have an air conditioner, but it also allowed us to pass by the darker, less family-friendly parts of New Orleans (Bourbon street is lined with bars, sex shops, voodoo shops, etc). It's obviously for a different crowd. The next street over, however, was Royal Street, a much more family-friendly place with cute antique shops, cafes and souvenir shops.

After an hour or so of driving around, we went back to the hotel for more night swimming and then, went to bed early for our swamp tour the next morning.

* * *

The next morning, we woke up early to get to our 9:45 a.m. swamp tour on time. I was paranoid that we were going to be attacked by swarms of mosquitoes, you know, it being a swamp tour and all. But we were informed that morning tours usually didn't have that problem. Regardless, Mom and I practically soaked ourselves in Deet, which I'm happy to report kept all the bugs away!

The tour itself was so much fun! We were on air boats, which allowed us to go really fast and turn sharp corners. Our tour guide was Captain Montey, a very unique character to say the least. Calling him a southern redneck doesn't do the man justice. He claims the swamp is his backyard and he loves huntin' for them gators. He cares for them, thinks they're beautiful and also thinks they're the tastiest things ever.

[Not our boat but one just like it]

[Robert ready to go]

[Beautiful swamp]

Well, this Captain Montey loved the kids and really did everything he could to make sure they had a good time. We saw about 8 alligators and got to hold a baby one. We were quite lucky seeing so many...apparently, it varies hour to hour. The captain fed them marshmallows, which they love (who knew?) and provoked them to open wide for some perfect picture opportunities.

[I spy an you?]

[Four alligators! One is in the very corner and one has a marshmallow hat,
courtesy of our captain. How undignified! haha]


[The big one coming at us]

[Say "hello" to Vicki, one of the oldest and biggest alligators in this area]


[Vicki is 70 years old and 13 feet long]

[Mom trying to hold Robert back from falling into Vicki's mouth]

[Captain Montey]

[Yuck! Don't mind the wet-dog look, it was raining]

[Robert LOVED the alligators. In fact, after our tour,
he said he wanted to be an alligator tour guide]

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