Wow. New Orleans kicked our butts last night.
We were pretty lazy yesterday - after I posted, we walked around the city, got some food, checked out smoke shops looking for a pipe for Mark, and then went back to the hotel around 4. It was interesting because yesterday was the "Red Dress Run" - a fundraising event where everyone, guys included, dons a red dress and goes running through the streets. Many cities do this event, but none like New Orleans. I'm told people start drinking around 9:30am, and the race isn't until 4:00pm. It's quite a spectacle, and people come up with some interesting outfits. I'm pretty sure there's a large group of people who don't actually run, they just show up to drink in a red dress. (We overheard two people talking - "Are you going to run?" "Nah, I'm too drunk.")
Mark ended up sleeping for a couple hours in the evening and I sat around and relaxed, and we finally headed out on the town at about 10. Just before we headed out though, I got an email from the Couchsurfing website, and it was from the New Orleans "Last Minute Request" group, which I joined to try to find someplace to stay. It was from a girl who was road tripping across the country and hadn't found anything, and was just driving around town hoping someone responded, which resonated with me. I've done that in a few cities, and usually just ended up camping (Salt Lake City, Fargo, Rapid City). So I figured I'd offer the floor in our hotel room - it isn't much, but slightly better than sleeping in a car on the streets of New Orleans.
She ended up finding someone else to stay with, but her host was already heading to bed, and she wanted to see the town, so she said she'd meet us on Bourbon street and hang out with us for the night. While we were waiting for her to come down, Mark and I started by getting some food at Pier 454 on Bourbon Street - red beans and rice (real stuff, not truck stop stuff) for Mark, crawfish tail po-boy for me, and we split some gumbo. Real New Orleans stuff. It was a fantastic meal, and not too expensive either.
Then we started off the night with a ceremonial "Black and Gold" shot - half and half Jaegermeister and Goldschlager - and a hand grenade (unknown alcohol, pretty strong though). We'd done quite a few of each of those last time we were in town, so we figured we should do them this time too.
After taking our hand grenades to go, we went to the bar we had spent most of the night at last time we were in town. It's a cool place, not too big, and there's usually a good live band playing. There's also waitresses walking around with test tube racks full of shots for $3, which had gotten us into some trouble last time - that's a story for another time.
So we were just standing around watching the band, drinking our hand grenades, when a waitress walked by. I decided Mark and I should do a shot from the waitress for old time's sake - we did a few last time, so maybe we could do one just to celebrate - and I flagged her down. She took my hand grenade out of my hand and set it on a nearby table, took two test tubes out of the rack and put them, well, in her rack - right in her cleavage. Then she grabbed the back of my head and shoved my face down onto the test tubes, and rubbed my head back and forth in her boobs a few times. Once I had the test tubes in my mouth, she pulled my head up, slid her mouth down onto the other end of the tubes all the way to my lips, and then pushed my head down to drain the shots into my mouth. She then grabbed two more, stuck them in the front of her pants, and repeated the whole thing.
Then she dragged Mark over and did the whole deal with him as well - though she really had to work to get him to, because he really didn't want to. I hadn't really wanted to either, but didn't have the benefit of knowing what she was doing when she started. After finishing with Mark, she grabbed two more tubes, stuck them in the front of my pants (and rubbed them around a little bit - I'm not sure if that was supposed to be a turn-on, because it just felt awkward) and then took them. She had one left, so she put it in her mouth, stuck the other end in Mark's mouth and took the shot.
Then she looked at me and said, "Forty-five."
Looking back, I think she did her math wrong, but I didn't notice at the time. I was just kinda pissed that she did all that without me even asking for a shot, so I paid her but didn't give her a tip. She balked at that, and I told her the shots she took were her tip. (And since it should have been $33 for the shots, she got her tip anyway.)
That was the beginning of the end for us... four shots all at once when you've already had one and are working on a strong drink will get you drunk pretty fast. Not long after we went over to Pat O'Briens and got a hurricane, which was pretty intense, and waited for the couchsurfing girl to meet us. We walked over to Frenchman street with her, walked back, went to some other bars... things get a little hazy.
The last thing I remember in the night is that I'd gone to the bathroom and when I came out I couldn't find Mark or the girl. So I started walking back towards the hotel, but about halfway down Bourbon street couldn't make myself go much further, so I grabbed onto a light post, wrapped my arms around it and clasped my hands, and then just leaned against it. Or tried, it kept spinning around in weird ways trying to make me lose my hold on it. Fortunately, Mark found me not long after, and we went back to the hotel - so I'm told.
Mark woke me up this morning a little before 11. I'm not sure what time checkout is at the hotel, but after a night like that, 11:00 felt like waking up at 3am on a normal day. We packed our stuff up, and then went back to sleep for an hour. Then we got out of the room, checked out, put all of our stuff on the bikes, and then went back into the lobby and sat around on the couches for about two hours - I fell asleep on the couch a few times. Finally around 2:00 we walked down to the McDonalds and ate, or tried to. Food did not taste good to me at all.
Fortunately, we didn't have too long of a ride - only 270 miles or so, and by the end of it I was feeling much better. Now we're hanging out in Destin at a resort house that a friend of mine has, and tomorrow we'll hit up the beach for a while before parting ways - Mark is going out west to Las Vegas to visit his brother, and I'm heading to Tallahassee and then up to Atlanta and Charlotte.
I had a blast in New Orleans once again, but for the second time, I feel like it also took a few days off my life.