A Travellerspoint blog

Voodoo in New Orleans

sunny 29 °C

Today I departed the rock and soul capital of Memphis for New Orleans, Louisiana. On my approach to New Orleans, I crossed the gigantic Lake Pontchartrain, covering an area of 1630 square kilometres it is the second-largest inland salt lake in the States – when I first saw it I thought it was the ocean it was that huge! When entering New Orleans I learnt about voodoo. Voodoo is a religious practice which celebrates the dead using potions, powders and other things. The people, culture and customs of New Orleans people are typically called ‘creole’ referring to the melting pot of French, Spanish and English settlers to the region. On another note, Mardi Gras, the celebration prior to Lent, is a massive event held in New Orleans annually.

The first event for the night was to ride the Creole Queen, a paddleboat, down the Mississippi River. Fitted with furnishing from the 19th century, the paddleboat took me on a relaxing and smooth ride down the Mississippi on a warm May night. It was great to just sit down on the top deck and watch the river go by. I had a traditional creole dinner which consisted of Cajun rice, green beans, potatoes and fish – it was delicious; I went back for more!

After the paddleboat cruise I partied on Bourbon Street, the top party destination in New Orleans. It is a tradition in Bourbon Street, particularly during Mardi Gras, for women to collect beads from men as trophies by showing them their breasts – I didn’t see any of that happening. First stop for the night was a bar which wasn’t too busy but I had my first traditional New Orleans drink, a hurricane. A hurricane is made with fruit juice, syrup or grenadine and rum. I didn’t like it too much because I don’t enjoy rum but after drinking half of it I couldn’t taste the rum anymore! It was then time for the club, Club 455. It wasn’t too special, although there were very desperate waitresses coming around with alcohol-fuelled syringes and test-tube shots forcing people to drink – quite funny! Also, I learnt a new dance – the cupid shuffle. It goes like this: shuffle to the right (4 times), shuffle to the left (4 times), kick (4 times), step right-left-right-left as you turn to the left, repeat. That’s the cupid shuffle. It’s very easy to pick up and a lot of fun!

First time activities:
• Cruising down the Mississippi River on a paddleboat
• Dancing the cupid shuffle
• Partying on Bourbon Street

Posted by mccardj 16:11 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged new orleans bourbon_street Comments (0)

Graceland – the King is in town

sunny 28 °C

Today I travelled to the home of the King Elvis Presley. I walked through his home, Graceland, which was very well preserved just as he left it. For a man of such wealth the home was smaller than I expected but the property was large with a field for horses, racquetball court and swimming pool. The interior of the house varied from dark, depressing colours in the lounge room to bright yellows in the television room. At the end of the tour I paid my respects at Elvis’s gravestone. It was something worth going to.

The rest of the day I spent doing laundry; it took about 5.5. hours!

Posted by mccardj 21:30 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged elvis graceland Comments (0)

Home of rock and blues - Memphis

sunny 32 °C

Today I departed Dallas, Texas for Memphis, Tennessee. On the way I stopped in Texakarna, a town on the border between Texas and Arkansas, to take a photo of me straddling the two states simultaneously. My second stop was Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas. The city was discovered by a French man who sailed down the Arkansas River and saw a little rock – the name stuck. Little Rock was made famous for being the first city in the United States for desegregation of blacks and whites to occur. In 1957, black and white students were integrated in school systems for the very first time.
Later that afternoon, I crossed the mighty Mississippi River into Memphis, the world capital of rock and blues. Before heading to my hotel, I had a short stopover at the Lorraine Motel the site of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.
The night involved a visit to the famous Beale Street, a street important in the history of the blues. I wandered the bustling street and caught a horse drawn carriage with my friends back to my hotel to end a fun day.

First time activity:
• Riding in a horse drawn carriage

Posted by mccardj 16:15 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

JFK and rodeo

sunny 32 °C

Today was my free day in Dallas. I had been longing to see The Hangover Part II for many months and today was my chance to see it! I went with Corey and Penny to the cinemas and saw The Hangover – it was hilarious, totally fucked up and quite extreme! After the film, we went to the Sixth Floor Museum, a museum dedicated to the assassination of President John F Kennedy. The museum is located on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Downtown Dallas, the exact floor where it is believed Lee Harvey Oswald used a telescopic rifle to assassinate President Kennedy as his motorcade entered Elm Street. He was later captured and charged with the President’s murder but before his trial was killed by Jack Ruby. Both the museum and the film JFK, which I watched the previous day on the bus to Dallas, were very interesting and told a sad story.
In the afternoon I went out of Downtown Dallas to Fort Worth, a city deeply rooted in its western heritage and architecture. I wanted to try a traditional cowboy activity – bull riding! I rode a mechanical bull and it was incredibly painful! You have to hold one hand tight between your balls and throw the other in the air as the bull bucks and twists – it was not fun but worth it! In the middle of the Fort Worth Stockyards is the main attraction, the rodeo! I knew very little about a rodeo – I didn’t even know the difference between a cow and a bull but now, thanks to Danni, I do – so I didn’t know what to expect. The rodeo was indoor and was a competition between riders from all across the globe. It started with the bull riding. The bull rider must remain on the bull for 8 seconds to receive points – it is much longer than you think! The bull bucks and turns ferociously; hanging on to it is no easy feat. However, bull riding was not the only activity in the rodeo. Calf tying, which was quite unsettling, rope tricks, kids chasing a calf and sheep and barrel racing were very exciting and fun to watch. The rodeo had a great family atmosphere to it and I tremendously enjoyed it overall – I want to go again!

First time activities:
• Riding a mechanical bull
• Watching a rodeo
• Dancing in a coach

Posted by mccardj 16:37 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged rodeo Comments (0)

Dallas

sunny 28 °C

Today I departed Amarillo for Dallas, Texas. The state of Texas was involved in the Civil War. The Civil War was a war between the North and South. The North wanted industry to dominate the economy, whereas the South, such as Texas, wanted slavery and cotton, two massively profitable industries for Texas, to remain. The North won and slavery was abolished. Texas is also the birth place of the rodeo and cowboys, who first came from Mexico.

That night in Dallas I went to a karaoke bar and had some fun.

Posted by mccardj 21:20 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged dallas Comments (0)

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