India House Hostel, 16 bed dorm, maybe around 10 a.m.
A weird sound-mixture, consisting of the “Sweet Home Alabama” song, roaring from the outside through the window of my dorm, plus this “I will cut ALL this forest tonight”-kind of snorring sound of one of my roommates, slowly finds its way through my earplugs. This weird, dumb soundscape finally wakes me up. I blink, and, half-blind, start to fumble for my glasses and my phone. I glance into the bunk beds next to me. Everybody else seems to be asleep, still. The air is awful, I can barely breath. I check my phone. Roll myself out of my bed. While I search through my backpack for some wearable clothes, I hear some plastic clattering and, irritated, look down at me: one of this really ugly, green-shimmering, cheap plastic, mardi gras-style kind of necklace is still hanging around my neck. What the…
A shower, some “I will bring you back to life” omelette and a good, strong coffee help getting me back in order. I seat myself in the hostel patio and enjoy watching how, one after another, the party crew from last night sneaks or stumbles out of their dorms. Smiling, I notice the glittery leftovers, that are still dancing on some faces or in some hair strains (at least, they shimmer if you look from the right angle), suliminally indicating last nights athmosphere. Some party members are still wearing the same necklace, that I was getting rid off earlier.
Actually, the whole thing started like every “getting out of control”-kindish party night: of course, we just wanted to have ONE drink, just to see what is going on in this famous Pat O’Brien’s Piano Bar. Being so excited, I almost forgot that I actually didn’t know the people I was making this plans with, for more than a few hours. Plus, the bar we would be heading to was nothing more than a recommendation, so we ourselves were quite unsure what (or whom) to expect.
But, fortunately, both (people and bar) should be so worth it 🙂 Entering the packed room with its old, dark wooden and half mirrored walls, one can’t avoid to feel and be soaked into the intense, happy and all on the piano players concentrated atmosphere. People drinking, cheering, singing the songs, that they have been wishing for to be played. The huge, red-colored glasses of the famous “hurricane” rum cocktail dominate the round tables. The woman behind me is singing SO loud, I can barely understand my own words. Everyone found a place and is smiling, just enjoying this crazy place. Like mentioned before, just the very right place to finally enjoy this turning from harmless to legendary night out…
Obviously, this situation describes pretty much, what my New Orleans experience was all about: the bunch of people I just randomly bumped into, was incredible. The food was amazing, and the nights out have been close to legendary (big hug to the party crew! <3). Especially here I realized, how within one day, strangers can become so familiar, how being around them can become so normal within minutes, like as if you’ve known each other for years. When “let’s stay in contact”, becomes more than an often said, but not realized sentence.
A bit more about the city of…♬♪
New Orleans, cradle of Jazz. City of Mardi Gras. City of food. City of nightlife. Crossed by the huge Mississippi, one of the biggest rivers on earth. As we take our first walk through New Orleans, I am already amazed: so different and so much more beautiful and characteristic than lots of the other cities, we’ve seen before (and we’ve seen A LOT). As we make our way closer to the French Quarter, it feels like someone took parts out of the bigger American cities, and decorated “Nawlins” neatly with those influences: the brick houses with their ladders and the black, ornated street lamps remind me of New York. Strolling along the Mississippi at sunset, definitely brings back the San Francisco Bay feeling we’ve had earlier on this trip (gosh, it’s been two months already!). The vibrant, quirly and especially night-vivid area of the French Quarter with all this ugly necklaces and voodoo objects hanging everywhere, finally puts in the unique Nawlins bite of athmosphere.
It’s all about good company
New Orleans is a really good example of how the people and accomodation can influence your experience at whatever place you’ve been to. The India House Hostel is a wonderful place and gives you this really nice, chilled hostel feeling that you’re always striving for (at least, I do). It’s even the first hostel, that we extended our stay in. Well, OK, this decision was also the result of an unexpectedly long night out…but still, it is a nice place 😉
Food & Drinks
New Orleans is a foody city. A famous meal is the “Po’boy” (short for Poor Boy), which is to be celebrated for example in the Parkway Bakery & Tavern.
Try out the Bayou Beer Garden. It’s a bit more expensive, but food and drinks were incredibly good.
A night out
Go to Frenchmen Street or to the French Quarter. A must-do is the piano bar “Pat O’Brien’s“, where you simply write your music wishes on a napkin, tip adequately and with a tiny bit of luck, one of the amazing piano players will heat up the room with your song. The famous “hurricane” cocktails will take care of the rest. The atmosphere is just incredible!
Sometimes, you’re just at the right place at the right time. This has definitely been the case in New Orleans and this is, why I am just amazed of how sometimes, people just find each other and fit perfectly!
The city is a perfect weekend-trip-party location. Good food, good vibes, looots of live music. And don’t forget to manage you one of the necklaces as a souvenir! 😉