Friday, 7 August 2009

Lost in Louisiana, part 3

I am in the process of transferring travel stuff from my old travel site to this blog. This is the trip where I got culture shock in the USA. Hope it doesn't make too many Americans laugh at me too much!

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As part of our plan to enjoy all of New Orleans' tourist attractions we spent the day taking one of the old trams through the modern-American looking part of the town. These trams are amusing but also incredibly noisy. Our first stop was the Garden City, an area of New Orleans in which many old homes belonging to the wealthy have been preserved. After a quick lunch of gumbo in a roadside cafe we went and looked around, following the suggested route on our tourist map. The houses were certainly very pretty and larger and more luxurious than the plantations we saw later. It was fun to stroll around the shady streets in the warm weather.

After this we continued with the tram until we got to Audubon zoo. From here a shuttle bus waits to take you through the park, but we decided that being young and healthy we were capable of walking. Unfortunately the park turned out to be not so much a park as a golf course and we had to make a huge detour to eventually reach the zoo gate. I did not learn my lesson from this as you will find on the next page.

The zoo was rather unlike any zoo I have ever been to, in that animals did not seem to take up any large amount of the space. Most of the space was taken up with shops, restaurants, gardens, fountains, theme sculptures and other general stuff. I wondered if they were planning to expand at some stage or if this is just the way American zoos are. The zoo's most famous exhibit is Jazz, a wild cat kitten whose surrogate mother is a domestic cat. However I was most interested in the Mississippi section, although here, as elsewhere, the artificial 'theme' of wooden cabins and walkways was more in evidence than the animals themselves.

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