Tour Blog

Welcome to the Princeton Girlchoir and Princeton Boychoir Tour Blog! This blog is updated every summer while the boys and girls are traveling to perform across the country and around the world.

Day 7 - And it comes to a close

After nearly a week, we're wrapping up our Arizona tour traveling back to Phoenix before our return flight. We've all had a wonderful time participating in the International Boys and Men's Choral Festival here, meeting new friends and experiencing music in new ways. We'll be sad to say goodbye to Arizona tomorrow, but I don't think we'll miss the heat.

This morning after checking out of our dorms at U of A, we drove to Scottsdale, just outside of Phoenix. We were treated to boxed lunches from a Tucson staple - EG's, some tasty sandwiches and fruit slushies. From there, it was off to the Musical Instrument Museum, which was definitely a highlight of our time in Arizona. The museum highlights the musical styles and instruments of countries organized geographically, as well as rooms dedicated to exhibits on famous musicians, guitars, and mechanical music. We particularly enjoyed the Experience Gallery - a room filled with instruments just for playing! We all had a great time exploring, and it was fun to hear their favorite experience from each of the boys.

From there it was off to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet (thanks, Cici's pizza!), and checking into our hotel for the final night in Arizona. Even though we got in a bit later than planned, we still arrived with just enough time to squeeze in a final treat for the boys - we headed over to the cinema around the corner for a showing of Toy Story 4. We even got recliner seating, and because of a surprise special on Monday nights, popcorn!

It really has been a wonderful week from beginning to end. I hope to share a few "guest posts" from some of the boys over the next day or two, capturing the experience from their points of view, so that's something to look forward to after today. In the meantime, we're looking forward to seeing our families again, even if it means saying goodbye to our brothers for now.

Day 5 - In which the internet didn’t work, but Sedona was lovely!

As a phone isn’t the most conducive mode for posting, stay tuned for more information once I’ve worked out my technical issues in our new digs at the University of Arizona in Tucson!

Day 4 - Caves, Concerts, and Chicken

After an early breakfast, the boys headed over to the final "working" rehearsal of our combined festival music - a quick chance to work any additional spots that needed finessing and continue building the ensemble sound. After about 90 minutes, it was time to load the buses once again for another adventure - this time, Walnut Creek and a visit to the Sinagua Cliff Dwellings.

To mix things up a bit, they split the bus groups with all the trebles in one bus and all the tenors/basses in the other. It was a great opportunity to spend time with more boys from the other choirs, build camaraderie and making new friends. We continued hanging out in some of these new groupings while exploring the cliff dwellings. We were warned ahead of time, but it was still a little surprising just how many steep stairs we went down to get to the dwellings (even more surprised how many we came back up - is it possible they doubled?)

After a couple of hours exploring, we came back to the university for lunch and a little "chill" time (as Mr. Meads instructed us) before heading to our dress rehearsal. It was a nice chance to walk through the logistics of the evening concert and rehearse each of the combined songs once in the hall without an audience. This was also when Mr. Meads discovered that the 15 minute set he had planned for our solo spot had been cut to 10 minutes. Since we had a few pieces we really wanted to perform, we got creative and started figuring out how we could make a few cuts to shorten time and still at least sneak 4 pieces into the time allotted. Rehearsing the cuts (particularly on Hold Me Rock Me) proved an eventful rehearsal, but in the end we got there and everyone felt good about where the piece landed.

By then, it was time to grab dinner and head back to the dorm for concert prep. Luckily Mr. Meads packed his trusty steamer, because some of the dress shirts had a HARD trip!! We will apparently need to have some lessons on packing. We had already sorted all of the uniform emergencies (BIG thanks to the mom who overnighted uniform pieces, not naming any names...), so after a bit of steaming and lint rolling the boys were looking good a ready to sing.

 

The concert went really well. Each choir sang a solo spot (some DECIDEDLY longer than 10 minutes...), followed by the combined festival choirs. PBC chose to sing Tungarre, Hold Me Rock Me, Ride the Chariot, and Come and Sing! It was a wonderful, receptive audience, and the boys enjoyed singing for them.

After the concert, we gave final instructions for tomorrow and while the Treble Choir headed back to the dorms to start packing and hang out with Mr. Meads, the Young Men's Ensemble was invited to join Tucson's YME for some post-concert nuggets at Chick-fi-a. It was a fun opportunity to continue getting to know our new friends from the west. The order for the rest of the evening was PACKING! Tomorrow we leave Flagstaff for the much hotter climate of Tucson, with a fun stop in Sedona along the way.

Day 3 - We are definitely in the west!

“Beautiful doesn't begin to describe it. A flower is beautiful. But this is beautiful the way that a person is beautiful- terrifying with its jagged edges, yet seductive with its crevices that hide so many secrets.”
~ Jeri Smith-Ready, speaking of the Grand Canyon

We had an amazing day experiencing this true wonder of the American West. After a couple of hours on the bus, we arrived at the visitors center to watch a short introductory film about the canyon before heading over to a gorgeous lookout point. Here we took a number of group shots, both of the full festival and of our Princeton Boychoir contingent. It was a perfect introduction to this magnificent landscape. Also to the fact that there are some nutty people out there who make some strange choices (like climbing out on rocks they probably shouldn't be climbing on - luckily none of our boys!). We also met some of the boldest squirrels we'd ever seen. They will come right up to you and stand on their back legs waiting for you to give them food, or just start digging in your bag if you're not careful.

After our photoshoot, we went to another area of the park for our picnic lunches, which was brought to an umbrupt end by some rather ominous sounding thunder and wind. Luckily the rain only toyed with us for the afternoon, and just provided enough clouds to keep things cool and pleasant with an occasional droplet, but nothing that would actually consitute rain. That said, we were never certain enough of the weather to feel comfortable heading off on any real hikes, so instead we chose to keep close to visit several outlook points by foot and shuttle, followed by the requisite visit to the gift shop and ice cream stand. All in all, we were quite happy with our choices.

Despite loading the buses for our return on time, we somehow ended up getting back about 30 minutes after dining hall here at NAU was scheduled to close. Luckily, the festival organizers called ahead and the whole staff at the dining hall was gracious enough to stay open for us. We had a quick and tasty meal (I've been very impressed by the number of salads I've seen consumed on this trip), then walked over to the music building for an impromptu, relaxed rehearsal for PBC of our solo repertoire prior to tomorrow night's concert. The guys sounded great and had a fun time singing together, although one of our singers was definitely ready for a nap (and somehow managed to get one WHILE singing standing up!). That's what they get for not following Ms. Butler's advice to rest on the bus...

Finally, we wrapped up (or should I say "roped up") the night learning some trick roping or "lariat" from our friends at Tucson Boys Chorus. Everyone tried, with varying levels of success, and some even got pretty good at it (you might find a few more photos and videos on our SmugMug photo sharing site). Regardless of the end result, we all had a great time hanging out with the other boys, and there are certainly some great stories to be told as a result!

Day 2 - In which we nap and see some crazy tricks

A quick post tonight as we all want to rest up for tomorrow's adventure at the Grand Canyon!

After an early night and high hopes of a lot of sleep, most of us were awake by about 5am (darn jet lag!), but on the upside that means we were quite prepared to leave for breakfast at 8am. Or at least we thought we were until we started going through the list again of everything were were supposed to have packed for the day. After the majority of the group went back up to their rooms to collect whichever item had previously been forgotten, we were off. We're getting good at navigating the dining hall and they are taking good care of us.

Today was filled with several rehearsals, both combined and in our respective treble or tenor/bass choirs, with a great break in the middle of the day for a visit to the University's Aquatics center. The highlight there was definitely the diving board!

After a nice rest time, we had our first opportunity to rehearse as PBC onstage in preparation for the evening concert. It was a little rough getting used to the new space, but we selected the pieces we wanted to sing and went to grab some dinner before returning to our rooms to dress for the concert. While at the dorms, we also started posting the first of our "gratitude notes." Mr. Meads has asked each of us to notice the good things each other are doing for us or others and jot them down on a note. The goal is for everyone to write at least 1 note everyday. The notes are then stuck to Ms. Butler's door so we all know where to find them. It was fun seeing the start of a great collection this afternoon.

Finally, it was time for the first concert of our Arizona festival. We really enjoyed hearing from all of the groups participating, starting with our friends from last year's Baltimore festival, the Boychoir of Ann Arbor, then the youngest singers here from Hong Kong, who are also struggling with jet lag (and had a little trouble staying awake for the concert in the row in front of us - Evan has found his long lost best friend Oliver, an 8 year old who was out like a light the entire evening, with the notable exception of when they sang beautifully). Princeton Boychoir sang next, featuring all the boys together, as well as the Treble Choir and Young Men's Ensemble on their own. Then, we finally got to see what we've all been waiting for - the Tucson Boys Choir did their rope tricks while singing, and we were all suitably amazed. Sadly, the concert ran a little long, so they rescheduled our rope tricks lesson for tomorrow night. Believe me, we are all excited and just a little nervous for that one! Stay tuned - I have a feeling there may be some good stories coming out of that one...

Day 1 - Princeton Boychoir hits Arizona

Today marks the beginning of PBC's first extended national tour, and it's be a long but fun one. After a successful carpool to the Philadelphia airport and fairly uneventful experience checking everyone's bags, we headed over to a slow and rather inefficient security line, but the boys rolled with it and all things considered did a pretty good job of following directions. Once we got to our gate, we still had 30 minutes to use the bathroom and get lunch to eat later on the plane. This also gave us a chance to practice the buddy system (which is more complicated that you might think - did you know that if you just theoretically know where you buddy was when you last saw them, but aren't with them now, it doesn't count?) Luckily, it was a closely supervised buddy system experience while our younger ones are figuring out the finer points

Our flight to Phoenix was great - quite smooth, and the boys had a great time playing games. We even landed about 25 minutes early. That meant a little more waiting after we gathered our luggage before loading the shuttle van to Flagstaff (luckily enough time for another bathroom trip and a visit to Ms. Butler's snack bag). There was also a Starbucks conveniently located nearby, so everyone was happy. After about 3 hours in the van, during which many of us managed to get at least a bit of rest, we arrived in Flagstaff, mostly unscathed. There was a bit of excitement with a temporarily missing phone, but it turned up and all is well. For the record, Jack gets credit for guessing exactly where it would eventually be found - too bad he didn't think to tell anyone that was actually looking until after the fact!

Turns out, Flagstaff is at a higher altitude than Denver - 7,000 feet! Who knew? A few members of the group have experienced some minor reactions to the altitude, but nothing extreme. Everyone is doing a great job of staying hydrated, so that's definitely helping. We've also started the reminders about sunscreen - it might not be as hot up in the mountains, but the sun can affect you quickly!

After settling into our dorm rooms, it was time to visit the dining hall for the first time. Who doesn't love an all you can eat dining opportunity? Luckily, the hall is well-stocked with a variety of options, and the boys were pretty responsible about finding well balanced meals. I was particularly impressed by how many of them started at the salad bar!

Finally, it was time for our first rehearsal where we met the other 4 choirs singing in the International Boys and Men's Choir Festival with us, and sang through all of our combined pieces. I loved hearing all of the boys singing together for the first time, and it was great to see them starting to get to know other boys from Michigan and Arizona who love to sing.

By that time we were all exhausted! Not surprisingly, most of the boys were settled into bed before curfew, and all the rooms were completely silent before 10:30. We will all sleep well tonight, which is good because we have another exciting day ahead!

Day Six: And all that jazz...

Whelp, here I am writing my last blog post of the trip (unless you are interested in the details of our flights...who knows?). I'm up a bit earlier than usual because we've got an early call to head to the airport and I need to hit up Mothers for one last breakfast before we go. 

Yesterday started out with yet another hotel breakfast, and it was a lot quieter than usual because a) we slept in and so were after the morning rush crowds and b) there weren't really many crowds to compete with because lots of groups had already left for the airport to head home. We are one of the only groups who stayed around for an extra day after the festival ended. We said goodbye to our California friends as they boarded their bus for the airport and we started on our walk over to the French Quarter for one last adventure on Bourbon Street. Our destination? Preservation Hall.

Preservation Hall is housed in a 200 year old building that used to be a private home, was then converted into an art gallery, and then finally into a venue dedicated to preserving traditional New Orleans jazz music and playing. Also of note: there was no photography allowed (by the girls, at least--I didn't break any rules to bring you the photos I took, so don't worry!), so the girls had to have their cell phones put away--so that they could experience the music as they would have in the past--not only are they preserving the music, but they are also preserving the way we used to experience live music without viewing it through our camera app on our phone! We were treated to a private concert by the Preservation Hall Jazz All Stars, a group made up of a trombonist, trumpeter, clarinetist/saxophonist, pianist, drummer, and bassist. The girls got to ask many questions throughout the performance, and the guys in the band were friendly and seemed impressed by the depth of the questions being asked. The girls were amazed to learn that everything they were hearing was completely improvised then and there on the spot, but the players seemed equally amazed by our singing on the numbers that featured audience participation. One really cool moment happened during the last number, "What A Wonderful World", where the players all dropped out and just let the girls sing. The trumpeter broke that Hall's rules and pulled out his own cell phone to take a video of the girls, and you could tell that the band was genuinely touched by our singing. It was a very special moment.

After getting the band to pose for a picture with us (and Pearl getting her moment to shine on the trumpet), we headed back to the hotel for a quick change into concert attire and a brief bite to eat before heading over to the Children's Museum of Louisiana for our last concert of the tour. While the girls warmed up in their own space, I went to work constructing my own specialty piano bench from the available materials (we brought our own keyboard, but didn't have space for a bench). I was pretty satisfied with my own engineering, and the girls seemed impressed as well. We had a nice audience of smaller children who happened to be visiting the museum, we sang beautifully, involved the audience in some sing-along songs, and Pearl even made a new friend in one of the little girls in the audience. After the concert, we had a few minutes to explore the museum (the bubble table was the biggest hit of the day), and then we headed back to the hotel, getting caught in another rain storm along the way.

There was a brief stop at the hotel to change out of our wet clothes, and then we headed over to Riverwalk for some free time and shopping. Having spent the last of our souvenir cash, we headed back to the hotel to change into yet a different outfit for our farewell dinner at Lucy's (a taco place). We enjoyed tacos and Shirley Temples, and continued the tradition of handing out paper plate and postcard awards, ending the night by singing "The Lord Bless You And Keep You" to our graduated seniors who are on their last tour. Lots of laughs, lots of hugs, and even a few tears.

And so that is it! We've made it to the end of the tour. I hope you've enjoyed reading about our adventures, and I hope this blog can be a prompt for some questions and conversations when your girls get home. We've had a blast, but we're looking forward to making our way home today!

Until next YEAR,
-R

Day Five: Gala Concert!

Good morning from a very tired blogger. I'm sorry, but the hotel Wi-Fi is being rather slow this morning and it's taking forever to upload photos. I'll have to add them later.

Yesterday was a big (read: long) day for us in New Orleans. It started off easily enough with another fabulous hotel breakfast (thank you for the hookup, Ms. Butler--you da real MVP!), and then a quick walk over to the beautiful Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Once we found our way inside and out of the sweltering heat (even I would agree that it was oppressively hot and humid yesterday), we were treated to all sorts of beautiful sights of various fish, birds, and reptiles. An early highlight was watching the stingrays being fed (apparently they love broccoli!). We saw alligators, penguins, owls, red tailed hawks, eels, jellyfish, sea horses, and sharks. I'm willing to bet the majority of us also dared to touch a sting ray in the "Touch a Sting Ray!" exhibit--I must admit, I was surprised by how slimy they felt--and a few of the girls even spent the $3 to experience hurricane-force winds in a simulator.

After our aquarium adventure, we wandered on over to Bourbon Street (the first block--don't worry!). While on the move, some of the girls serenaded me with a modified version of "Let It Go" that featured altered lyrics to make it about me--it was...interesting. We enjoyed all sorts of food options, sang along and head-banged to "Bohemian Rhapsody" (a video exists on Facebook), and checked out some of the memorabilia around the restaurant (my highlights were a pair of Elton John's sunglasses, Eric Clapton's pants, Louis Armstrong's trumpet, and an awesome stage-worn lamé suit/cape combo of Little Richard's. After enjoying two chocolate chip cookies and singing a rousing "Happy Birthday" to Mr. Bezick (who just happened to be walking down Bourbon Street while we were there), we walked a few blocks to the Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church.

We then had yet another marathon concert, and I managed to nod off a few times (video evidence exists somewhere, I'm sure) while we were waiting for our turn to sing our solo number. It was fun for me to hear the results of the intense rehearsing, but boy was I tired. I snuck away for a few minutes and managed to track down an extra extra large iced coffee at a local place, and then I was pretty well jacked up for the rest of the evening. We finished our rehearsal and headed back to our hotel, had about an hour or so to change clothes, get a snack, and pee (after 6PM!)--because there was no bathroom at the concert venue! We piled onto a school bus and made our way back to the church, took our places, and then proceeded to rock the house with both our solo and combined numbers. The concert was enthusiastically received by the audience.

After the show, we waited outside for some buses to pick us up. In the meantime, that extra extra large coffee afforded me the opportunity to enjoy the restroom in the verrrrry swank hotel across the street from the church. The paper towels were so luxurious that I took an extra and used it as a pocket square for the rest of the evening! Once we had a bus and packed ourselves and an all-boys choir into it like sardines, we drove down to the riverside and boarded the steamboat Natchez for a dinner and dancing cruise. While it was fun, it was also very late--it was definitely after Dr. Jenkins' bedtime. The noise and craziness of 400 screaming and dancing children wasn't enough to keep her away from her sleep, though.

After the walk back to our hotel, we headed right to bed and set our alarms for a later breakfast than usual. And that leads me up to right now! Today is our last day in the city, so we're hoping the extra sleep has reenergized us all. I look forward to a few cups of coffee...

Until tomorrow,
-R

Day Four: Garden District adventures

Good morning!

Once again, I'll be adding photos later due to some time constraints this morning.

Yesterday started out with another breakfast at the hotel, supplemented by our own yogurt and cheese for some protein. I once again opted for a breakfast at Mother's, even though the "Early Bird" special turns out to only be a Monday through Friday thing. Oh well--$11 for all of that food beats the $14 coffee at the hotel. 

We all managed to fit in one streetcar (and we met a lovely gentleman whose life story was apparently stolen by Disney after he was kidnapped to keep him quiet--thanks for picking up one of our girls' left-behind phones, though!) and made our way over to the very beautiful Garden District of New Orleans. Because we had left early in anticipation of some potential problems fitting all of our girls in one streetcar, we had some extra time to indulge in some ACTUAL coffee at a cute little cafe while we waited for our tour guides to arrive. We then split into our two groups from our French Quarter tour and headed into the Lafayette Cemetery #1. Honestly, it was more fascinating than creepy, despite the knowledge that there were so many people's remains entombed all around us. Be sure to ask the girls about how get all of the bodies in the tombs, what happens when you put the bodies in a tomb in New Orleans and let them sit in there, and WHY they decided to put the bodies in above-ground tombs in New Orleans. We saw many interesting tombs and decorations of tombs, including a fire engine and what once was a charming little lamb but now looks like a lamb that would mug you in a back alleyway. We also took the opportunity to learn about New Kids on the Block, much to the delight of Ms. Butler and myself--for some reason, they filmed one of there music videos in this particular cemetery. By the end of the tour, one of the girls in our group decided that all of us at PGC should be entombed together in a NOLA cemetery, and it was pretty unanimous amongst the rest of the group that it was a great idea. It was less morbid-sounding if you were there--cute, even. Trust me on this one.

After that, we headed into the residential neighborhoods and saw all sorts of amazing architecture, flowers, trees--generally just a lot of pretty things that made us say "ooh" and "aah" and "I want to live here". We did a little bit of celebrity stalking (we stopped by Sandra Bullock's house, John Goodman's house, Archie Manning's place [which has the nicest sidewalks in the whole neighborhood--ask the girls if they know why], and Nic Cage's old house (which, appropriately, has a gazebo out front that looks like a cage). We stopped by a mansion that features in American Horror Story (I think?), where the girls excitedly posed for pictures. I also helped to reenact a scene from "Freak Show", Season 4, Episode 2, where our tour guide is murdered by having his neck snapped (like, the actual guy who did our tour was murdered in the show). He said I was very gentle, so I didn't feel to bad about the whole situation. As my group walked back to meet with the other group, we caught a couple of lizards and tried to get them to bite and hang from my ear (apparently, this is a thing that cool kids do in NOLA), but they weren't having any of it. Oh well.

After getting back on the streetcar and serenading a lovely lady for her 50th birthday, we headed to Mulate's for a delicious lunch. The girls then headed back to the hotel for another marathon rehearsal while I went on another solo adventure in the French Quarter, picking up some rare Elton John records at a local record store and attempting to get into another cemetery--too bad this one costed $20 to get into. It's alright, though--because I managed to find one of the Louis Armstrong statues that our French Quarter tour guide called "one of the most hideous pieces of public art I've ever seen". At least I HOPE that was the one he was talking about, because it scares me to think there might be something more horrifying lurking in the streets of New Orleans than what I saw.

After a short break, we then had a solo rehearsal/group therapy session (I'll leave it at that--I'm sure the girls have stories to share) where we had to quickly change our plan for this evening's solo performance at the gala concert. The good news is, we are an awesome group of young ladies who roll with the punches and will rock it out tonight, no doubt! We then made our way over to the Chicory where we wined (or lemonade-ed, if I'm being honest), dined, and danced the night away with 400 of our closest friends. If you're not friends with me on Facebook, I'll be accepting friend requests if you have any interest in seeing an epic video Ms. Bulter, Dr. Jenkins, Ms. Shennick, Ms. Wan, and R-Dawg rocking out to some Whitney Houston. We all had a lot of fun, but were slightly disappointed when it ended promptly at 9PM. [overheard during the last song ("Don't Stop Believing"): "What? This is, like, a 9:30PM song! Why are they playing it NOW?!"] After the lights came on and the majority of the crowd had dispersed, we made our way down the stairs and back to our hotel, in time for our 10PM curfew.

So that's all for yesterday. Until tomorrow, have a good one!

-R

Day Three: Now we're cookin'!

I apologize for the brevity (I say that, but I'll still probably write more than I was expecting to), but we've got an early out-the-door time this morning and I'm writing this as I scarf down some more of Mother's eggs, grits, sausage, and biscuits. Also, I will add pictures this afternoon, as there are a lot of fun photos to share but not enough time to sort and upload at the moment...

We had a relatively chill day yesterday. It started with a "breakfast" provided by the hotel (muffins, fruit, cereal, and some donuts that needed creative solutions to give them some semblance of tasting like an actual donut--notice the distinct lack of protein in the equation). The girls had a marathon rehearsal with both the leader of the festival (Cheryl Dupont) and Bob Chilcott while I took advantage of the hotel's gym (gotta burn off those beignets, right?) and then a quick walk through Lafayette Park and a final stop at Starbucks. Since I wasn't actually IN the rehearsal, save for a few minutes of taking in the action of Bob Chilcott rehearsing his brand new "Samba Mass", I'll leave it to the girls to describe the experience. All in all, it sounded like a productive rehearsal from what I've overheard from the girls throughout the day.

After the three-hour rehearsal, we walked back on over to the French Quarter (I think we're starting to get our bearings in NOLA) for a nice lunch at Landry's, a local seafood place, where I enjoyed a lovely pre-salad salad and a salad. Don't worry--the girls had burgers, chicken tenders, fries, and shrimp options, too. I just figured since we've been eating so--shall I say "decadently"?--it wouldn't hurt to eat something mostly green for a big meal. Once lunch was done, we had a bit of time to wander and explore around the French Market (this time, they ACTUALLY wandered around the French Market!) before heading back to the hotel for a bit of a rest. We were momentarily trapped under a balcony by a sudden thunderstorm, but, honestly, the rain felt pretty good in such a hot and humid clime. Have the girls mentioned that it's been hot and humid?

After recharging our batteries, we headed out for a pretty wild adventure (pun intended) at the Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour. We knew this was going to be an interesting experience when we were greeted by a sign that commanded "DO NOT FEED THE ALLIGATORS". As we stepped onto our pontoon boat, I was delighted to spot an alligator swimming right on by our boat. Dr. Jenkins was definitely not as delighted, having not realized that the swamp tour might contain some actual alligators. And, boy, did we see a lot of alligators. Big ones, little ones, a couple of fighting ones, even a little one that we got to hold if we so desired (I so desired, if only to freak out my wife and proudly show my brother and father who had traumatized me many years ago at a park in Florida...)! Ms. Bulter was a bit weirded out, sitting amongst a small pile of severed alligator and snapping turtle heads, while the zydeco version of "Summer of '69" blared over the boat's PA system. Our tour guide was hilarious: "If you're leaning against the railing, be careful; one of them is broken, but I forget which one." We also had the opportunity to try some alligator jerky, which, admittedly got a bit awkward when the little alligator was being lovingly held by the girls. Oh well. Circle of life and all...

Upon returning to our dock, the girls took a bathroom and gift shop break, and some of us even made friends with a pig (really!). We made the quick drive back to the hotel, had a while to rest some more, and then walked BACK to the French Quarter (we definitely have our bearings now!) for dinner at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Along the way, Ms. Bulter laid the smack down on a Double Tree valet employee due to their consistent blocking of the public sidewalk with oversized vehicles (literally EVERY time) being an obtrusive obstacle to our wheelchair-bound friend. It was pretty awesome--ALMOST as awesome as Stefano going HAM on the Italian restaurant owner last year (a long story that I'm sure someone who was there would be willing to share at some point).

The experience at the School of Cooking was a fun one--our chef for the night, Gumbo Marie, shared with us how to properly prepare each of the dishes we sampled for dinner. And, if we make anything from the menu (we all got recipes of everything we ate), we can send a photo to her and get a diploma. Ms. Bulter and I have already begun to plan our party and taken action to secure our NOSOC degrees. After much food, singing, call-and-response fun, and hilarious mis-hearings ("omelette pralines?!"), it was time to head back to the hotel for bed. I once again took the long way home via Bourbon Street, where I had the misfortune of stepping in a puddle of questionable origin. In any case, that's what soap is for, right?

So that's all for now. I've gotta run--we've got a trolley to catch!

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Tour Blog