Day 22 – An air boat ride in the bayous of Louisiana, and French quarter scammers in New Orleans

• After a luxuriant 5 pillow sleep, it was time for an air boat ride amongst the bayous of Louisiana. A quick look at the forecast of the day suggested tshirt and shorts would be appropriate. This was a lie.

• We left the city, and headed further out into the marsh to where the air boats hang out. Fun fact: Louisiana is the only state where you can own waterways, and the airboat company owns a lot of it. 20,000 acres apparently. There’s some caveats like navigable water is considered public but the banks are privately owned so you can take your boat through and fish and what not, but you can’t go ashore. And if the waterway was man made (like a lot of the bayous in this area are), then you can’t access it even if it’s technically navigable. What a mess of legalities.

• As we hopped out of the car I realised I may have made a booboo cause it was bloody freezing and the wind was howling, but luckily the combination of my toughness and bravery, and the sun taking the edge off the chill made it bearable.

• The airboats are flat bottomed aluminium boats, with a 5.7L V8 that spins a glorified ceiling fan. They’re obnoxiously loud, but they can cruise around in puddles of mud where anything else would get stuck. Not to mention all the goop in the water gumming up anything that spins under the water.

• Saw an alligator, and some birds. Being so cold the alligators weren’t getting up to much. Beautiful scenery though. Lots of grandfather’s beard hanging from trees, which they call Spanish Moss here. It’s neither from Spain, nor a Moss so another tops naming scheme going on there. Apparently it used to be used as seat cushion filler on Model T Fords.

• After fanging around the swamps for a bit, it was back to New Orleans to check out the French quarter / Bourbon Street. Lovely aesthetics and a very unique part of town, but totally not my thing. Super touristy, scams galore, everyone has their hand out or in your pocket. Head two different people trying the “ayy nice shoes, I bet I can tell where you got em!” (the scam being that if you take the bet they say “you got them on your feet! give money now”).

• We found a quiet-ish place to get food where I had jambalaya and an alligator sausage bread roll, then abandoned ship. The random jazz bands playing in the street were cool, but having to avoid hawkers constantly had me stroppy. Also the few stores we went in to were just flogging the same cheap Made In China trinkets as every other major city we’ve been to, except with New Orleans sticky taped to the front.

• Headed back to the hotel for a shower ready for a night adventuring, but ended up opting for going for a walk to a nearby Mexican restaurant instead. It does get a bit exhausting trying to fight crowds all the time, especially for me who finds any more than 1 or 2 people per square kilometre a bit too social. Mexican restaurants are the real winners is this trip so far. Always such good food and such good prices.

• Tomorrow it’s off to Houston so a fair bit of driving to do. I suspect Willie Nelsons “On The Road Again” may make another appearance.


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