A couple of weeks ago I gave the first installment of my itinerary when I visited the USA in 2004. Today I’m continuing on from there. If you’ll remember (why not read it HERE!) I visited Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston in my east coast adventures. I think of this itinerary as a decent one for someone to get a good taste of the country with around 7 to 8 weeks to do it. Perhaps suiting the first timer to the States.
My next stop in the USA was New Orleans. Now by land from New York the internet tells me around 27 hours. Nearly 24 hours from Washington DC. I went by air, and if you have a limited time in the States you may need to take a flight or two. The good news is that nowhere in the world is connected by air as well as the States are.
New Orleans began the next leg of my time in the States. And it’s an amazing city. I met people on the plane who were going with the plan of staying for the weekend and not sleeping, but being basically drunk the whole time and partying. It helps if you’re young and American.
I did have a late night of partying involving me walking back to the hostel in the dead of the night – about 4am. And most places I passed were packed and still rocking. I kept being told I shouldn’t be walking by a number of taxi drivers who passed me. Meh! They just wanted a fare, right? But I walked about 3km and was nearly home when I got pulled into a taxi that took me to my hostel. Probably for the best.
But New Orleans is not all about partying. It’s an historic town with buildings to prove it, not to mention interesting museums and the Mississippi River running next to it. And then I took a day to do a swamp tour and get friendly with the gators, a highly recommended thing to do.
And then I left New Orleans and moved on to the place where nothing is bigger – Texas. I activated my Greyhound bus pass, which I think was thirty days and I could take any Greyhound service I liked in that time frame. Excluding the fact that you’re on a bus rather than a train, it’s a great way to get around the States. And pretty comprehensive too.
It lasted me through to the day I went to Los Angeles a few days before leaving the States, and that would have been dead on 30 days I would say. Actually it might have been a six-week pass. Whatever it was, it was excellent value.
I went to Austin. I had free accommodation through a friend of a friend which was great, and I had a great time staying a week. I didn’t see a lot of tourist sites, but I did get out on a boat, visit San Antonio for a day, go to a gun show (seemed like the thing to do in Texas) and even catch an Improvisational Show. I visited the University there as well which has a little fame, but not for good reasons (there was a shooting there). As I said last time, it pays to have people to show you around. Oh, I also went to ‘Hooters’ for my first and only time. That’s really a ‘Only in America’ kind of place.
From there I went to Houston to stay with another friend of a friend. I should add, it was late October and it was hot and humid as! I chilled for a few days – wasn’t staying in the centre of the city, which was, you know, BIG. Highlight was definitely visiting NASA.
I moved on again after about 5 days I think. Obviously you mightn’t take the time I did with unless you knew people, but Texas and New Orleans were both very rewarding in different ways. I’m not sure Houston has a big pull for tourists. I found in both cars and buses those freeways in the States are mind-boggling, I hadn’t really seen anything like it before. Interesting nowadays around Bangkok in Thailand the roads are quite similar, and so are the roads around Tokyo in Japan, but with more tolls.
Having friends with cars is going to help you big time in this region of the States. Again, I didn’t pay for a single night of accommodation in Texas. Thus concludes part two. I was dropped off at the bus station in Houston to continue northwards to Colorado. New state, very different weather….
May the Journey Never End.