Gringo's New Orleans Trip - Part II
Review By: Gringo

Hey, scumbags! This is part two of my, um, two-part article about a holiday I took to New Orleans. If you want to be one of the cool kids and know what the Hell I'm talking about, you should probably go and read part one, which is very helpfully called New Orleans.

If you can't be bothered, suffice to say that I was spending just two nights in The Big Easy and after a drunken misadventure in another city before my arrival, I was feeling atrocious. A lot of vomit had left my body, leaving me a puny little wreck as I made my way through the airport. But you don't want to read about vomit anymore! Let's move on to something much more exciting; 48 miserable hours in a strange American city!

I got into one of those Super Shuttle things to get to my hotel, which promised to be near the French Quarter. I would just like to say there was nothing particular Super about the transport, and if by Shuttle the company means travel at 10 miles per hour and take the scenic route, then that's an apt description. The driver occasionally mumbled something to his passengers when we passed certain buildings. Some people might say he was telling us about some of the tourist attractions in New Orleans. I like to think he was telling each of us the exact day when he'd come round to our house and gut us like fish.

The magical mystery tour was over three hours later, at which point I arrived at my hotel. It was either a Renaissance or a Radisson, but let me tell you, it was one of the scummiest experiences I've ever had staying at a hotel. And Joe can vouch for just how scummy my hotel was when I visited New York. This was worse. A lot worse. The walls were peeling, the corridors had the odour of fresh piss, and the elevators were broken so poor, hungover Gringo had to lug his heavy suitcase up five flights of stairs.

The room wasn't much better. I suppose seeing a strange insect that looked like a mini-scorpion scuttling across the floor when I entered should have been a sign to check out, but I was tired and pissed off. The fact that some annoying little shit of a child was celebrating his birthday VERY LOUDLY in the room next door also didn't help matters. Normally I tire of the same song after 10 minutes, but this kid and his friends found no end of ecstatic joy in repeating the words to Happy Birthday over and over and over again. I hope he doesn't live to see his next one. Because I felt like crap, I ate in the hotel. Did I try some authentic N'awlins cuisine? Did I fuck. I had an undercooked burger and slept intermittently. When I woke up, I was no longer hungover, which was a jolly nice thing indeed. I bounced out of bed, a spring in my step, and got bathed and ready to hit the streets of this fine city.

My optimism quickly crumbled when, on my way to the French Quarter, I was approached by no less than three hobos. Look, I'm no asshole; I've gone out and bought sandwiches for homeless people now and again, but here's a message to any bums who might be reading this (quite): FUCK OFF WITH THE CASH REQUEST! I'll buy you something to eat or drink, but I'm not going to pay out like a slot machine to a random stranger who waves a hand at me and asks for change. And another thing! Have you noticed the fucking disgusting manners of people who ask you for change? It's like it's their right to get cash off strangers, and there's never a "spare some change, please" or a "thank you" if you flip them a buck or two. One more thing! Why oh why do all the unwashed hobos on the subway seem to sit next to me? I swear this one time, a guy had SHIT - actual human excrement - smeared all over his jacket, and I had to jiggle about like I was having an epilepsy attack just to avoid it rubbing off on my clothes. Damn you, hobos!

Anyway! After making my way through Skid Row, my little tourist guide to New Orleans had helped me get to St. Louis Cemetery #1. I remembered this place from the Sierra adventure game Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers. Yes, I'm that dorky. Sadly, I didn't have the ability to Look, Use, Push or Pick Up or write in red chalk all over voodoo queen Marie Laveau's tomb. Plus I didn't stumble upon a murderous, drug-running voodoo cult. Maybe next time.

The cemetery is an odd place. It's sort of in the middle of a regular street, opposite a gas station and near a police station. There's row after row of spooky old tombs, and it's quite easy to find yourself in a part of the cemetery no-one else is in. Apparently the place used to be notorious for tourists getting mugged or attacked, but during the daylight it was okay! In fact, I only managed to pick the pocket of three Japanese tourists and run off with the camera of a fat woman from Georgia. Would I recommend a visit to the cemetery? Sure! Why not! It's not like you can ask me for a refund if you hate your holiday in New Orleans.

After wandering round the cemetery and feeling suitably morbid, I made my way into the French Quarter itself. Many of the streets are nice, quiet places with really rather beautiful buildings with wrought-iron balconies and exotic paint jobs. I was going to say wacky paint jobs, but I'm sure I've used the word wacky already in this article. If I haven't, then hooray for everything!

On Dumaine Street, I found the Historic Voodoo Museum. Being the tacky tourist I am, I wandered inside. The place covers three (small) rooms, decked out with a bunch of potentially hokey voodoo artefacts. My visit here was memorable for the fact that when I tried to pay the woman my entrance fee, I only had quarters and dimes in my pocket. I dropped half of them on her table and half on the floor. I tried to make up for it with my stock-in-trade excuse of "Sorry, I'm British", but she just gave me a look that made clear someone was going to be eating my heart and doing some kind of gris gris shit that night.

The museum is kind of interesting. There's a little wooden figurine inside that's some kind of voodoo spirit you're meant to leave a token for to stop him/her/it causing you mischief. I think it might have been a way for the museum to make a little extra cash, but after my miserable start to the vacation, I threw down $10,000. Now, anyone reading this article is being overseen by Mapso, the great voodoo juju mumbo jumbo lord of bad comedy. Do not forsake Mapso! Donate generously!

One highlight of the Historic Voodoo Museum is a huge, fuck-off snake they keeped locked in a cage. Sadly, the beast was obviously tired of obnoxious humans prodding his cage and leaving fingerprint smudges all over it while cooing "Ooh, that's a scary big snake", because it seemed to be fast asleep. I think it was pretending. The snake had a real name, but I decided its name would now be Cuntaboogoo. At this point, I realised I was probably bored of the museum and decided it was time to move on.

Mostly because I'd spent the past 24 hours ejecting vital goodness from my body via my mouth and into a toilet bowl, I decided it would be a good idea to get something to eat, other than a scummy burger. I had a choice; a nice three-course lunch or a visit to the Cafe du Monde, which was listed in my tourist place as a great place to get sugar-laced dough and sickly sweet coffee. Of course I chose the latter, and I don't really think that last sentence created much suspense, did it? By the way, did you know that receiving anal sex apparently feels like taking a really big crap?

I took a seat outside at the Cafe du Monde, which is actually really rather nice. But the beignets -- which are just lumps of dough coated in very sickly sugary goo -- were far too sweet, even for me. The only good thing was the cafe au lait. But the place was nastily packed. At least there was an upshot. A very annoying table of four pretentious twenty-somethings who clearly all thought they were witty were laughing VERY LOUDLY at their own jokes. However, their waitress dropped beignets and coffee all over one of the stupid bint girls, who jumped up screaming. I burst out laughing. No-one else in the cafe was laughing. I left quickly.

Anyway, I guess this has been more of a tour guide to New Orleans (albeit a lame one) than a jokefest. Oh well. No-one comes here for the funnies! The last thing I have to say about the city is a ghost tour that I went on. I would just like to say that no-one should ever go on a ghost tour. The guy hosting it over-acted so much I half expected him to rub his hands together and cackle "Mwahahaha!" at every opportunity. As it was, I just waited till he and the dwindling crowd turned a corner. And ran.

Well, that's it. The next day I was on a flight to Los Angeles and a whole new chapter of unfunny. But despite the less-than-super time I had there, I want to go back to New Orleans. I don't particularly feel like going during Mardi Gras, when I can just imagine the streets are packed with more drunken fools than usual and the bars become so packed you feel like hurtling a beer bottle into the crowd just to displace some people. If I get back, I'll take pictures for the review, so you can laugh at my face. Deal?

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