Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Orleans Trip, part 4

Saturday, Feb 11
I love water. I am a water sign (Cancer) and I love being near water, on water, on boats, etc. I would never want to love somewhere that wasn't near a body of water, and when I travel, I always seem to be drawn to the water. If I go someplace that has water, I usually like to take a boat ride at some point. When people visit San Francisco, I always urge them to get out on the bay if they can. Seeing the sights from the water just gives you a different perspective.
So when I visited New Orleans, I knew I wanted to take some type of boat ride. I had a lot of choices- there is the steamboat paddlewheeler which has lunch and dinner jazz cruises, there are different boat tours that go to civil war battlefields or plantations, there are airboat adventures in the swamps, etc. I eventually decided on a swamp tour on the slower boats (not the airboats), because you got to see more of the scenery and wildlife, and I wanted to get out of the city for a little bit to see more of the surrounding landscape.

I had scheduled to take a swamp tour on Saturday morning. The tour company would pick me up in a bus at my hotel at 8 am, and drive me to the wetlands south of New Orleans.
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I had a quick breakfast of a Krispy Kreme lemon donut because it was such an early start. By Saturday, it had gotten freezing cold. I mean literally- it dropped below freezing overnight, and it was only 37 degrees when I left in the morning. It was very sunny and clear, but COLD with an icy biting wind. I had not packed for this arctic weather, because the week before the weather had been in the 70's! That was the weather I packed for. I only brought thin knit tops and light cotton sweaters. Even the locals were surprised by this extreme cold, it just does not usually get this cold in New Orleans, it's not normal!

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So off I went to the swamps. The tour was really interesting and educational, but I was freezing my ass off on the boat. I got to see some cool birds, including great blue herons, lesser herons, egrets, red tailed hawks, cormorants, and kingfishers.

Here is a great blue heron
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Unfortunately, I didn't get to see many reptiles, because they do not like the cold. The tour guide said that the week before, there were lots of gators out and about, but they stay in their dens when it's cold. I don't blame them!
And I held a baby alligator that was so cold he wasn't moving at all.
The tour is really good though and I recommend it, just take it on a warm day and you will see a lot more stuff.

skip to 0.27 for the music

So after the swamp tour, I went back to the hotel and I layered on almost ALL the clothes I brought with me, before heading back out to see an afternoon parade. I wore tights under my jeans, 2 pairs of socks, 3 tops, a cardigan, a light jacket and my raincoat, all at the same time. AND I WAS STILL COLD. Because all the layers were thin and light. >: I wish I'd brought a cashmere turtleneck or a polarfleece pullover!

Then I went out to Canal street to watch the Krewe of Pontchartrain parade.
I got a TON of beads and a cup from them, as well as some little stuffed animals.

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I got a funnel cake from a food truck but it was not even cooked all the way, the middle was still liquid batter. :( So I ended up throwing most of it away.
Then I went back to my hotel to stay WARM until the nighttime parades.
By the time it got dark, it was even colder, but I bundled up as best I could and headed down to St Charles to see 2 more parades. Krewe of Sparta's parade was followed immediately by the Krewe of Pygmalion, so it was a pretty long night. Instead of beer, I got some hot chocolate!

The parades were beautiful and I got another TON of beads and throws.

After the last parade I was very tired and freezing to death, so I went back to the hotel for a HOT bath and warm bed!

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