New Orleans is one of those cities whose reputation can be deceiving. While Bourbon Street often dominates the imagery in my head, I was amazed at how beautiful and enchanting it was. Maybe it was because it was cool and breezy and everything was in bloom.
A small deluge was a welcome excuse to duck into a dive bar on Frenchman Street. The beautiful homes of the Garden District were breathtaking, City Park gave us an unexpected Paddleboating workout and an encounter with a baby gator, and even the infamous Hurricane (very alcoholic drink) was a cheesy treat. The Free Walking Tour was a great Intro to the city and left me hoping I get back.
Another city whose reputation precedes it! Unlike New Orleans, the more soulful and cultural parts are a little harder to discover. Or maybe I should not conflate Miami and South Beach. South Beach struck me as just about the same as many other tourist traps full of overpriced drinks and gaudy souvenir shops. At times, it did truly feel like we were in Europe though: strolling the streets at 11 pm on a Wednesday night and everyone was awake, drinking at cafes or bars. It may take a while to get the character of Miami...perhaps longer than we were there. One afternoon on Key Biscayne and one night at one of Miami's hottest clubs and we were back on the road.
West Palm Beach
After spending time in the party capitals of New Orleans and Miami, it was time to hit the well-known party mecca of the Traditions, a retirement community in West Palm. In all seriousness, it was great to spend some relaxing time with grandpa and enjoy some of the interesting nightly entertainment. Being the youngest ones in there by a good 60 years, we got a fair amount of attention even got called out one night by the "Cowboy Cantor", an elderly man who "raps" about jewish culture (I use the term "rap" very, very loosely). Unfortunately, he does not have the musical ability of jewish rappers Drake or Matisyahu. See for yourself below:
Shout-out to all of our wonderful hosts and guides we've met up with since Texas: Nichole in NOLA, Mamie J in Ky and the Griffins in TN, Kerry in HOTlanta, Hattie in Ft. Lauderdale, Grandpa K in West Palm Beach and Peter and Andrea in Lakeland, Fl! It was fun to see all of you along the way. And Congrats to Mike and Julia whose wedding was beautiful and joyous!