Friday, June 17, 2011

- That Time New Orleans Tried To Kill Me

One time (this past week) I went to New Orleans for a conference.  Lots and lots of things happened because I feel like I was there forever.  I will tell you about them.

I had the best shrimp/alligator sausage "cheesecake" EVER.  I had a Jester - the strongest drink you can buy on Bourbon St. made with Everclear and Bicardi 151.  It cost $12.  It was my first and last Jester because some things only need to be experienced once.  I got sweaty dancing in the gay bar and lost my camera's lens cap and an earring.  I broke a bottle of hot sauce in a gift shop and bought another one.  That one broke all in my purse and left my phone, compact, cash and cards smelling like hot sauce to this day despite numerous washings.  I might have seen a "peep show", but I plead the 5th.  I had a tarot card reading where the guy knew I was seriously educated, my career was very important to me and is my main focus right now, and that I would find love within 1-2 years, and have at least a girl and a boy - the girl first - in the next 4 years.  True or not, I'm pretty happy with that.  Also, this night rocked my face off and I had the best time ever.

Woke up hungover which was a surprise to no one.  Slept in late and then walked around the French Quarter for about 2 hours during the day to learn that yes, it's still a party.  Even though I brought sunscreen I neglected to wear it and shade was scarce.  The Louis Armstrong park was closed.  I wore my new IFT shoes to the networking mixer and had no time to change after so ended up walking like 3 miles in them for the rest of the night.  Had an anticlimactic dinner where pizza was referred to as brushetta with lots of NC State peeps.  Went out on Bourbon St. for the second night.  Had more hurricanes and went to the karaoke bar.

Woke up hungover, obviously.  Too hungover to get to the conference before it was necessary for me to be there.  Saw some posters.  Drank some water.  Talked to lots of peeps on the Expo floor.  Drank some water.  Got an invitation to a balcony party on Bourbon St and my very first Bell Flavor party invite legitimately earned.  This puts me on "a list" so I should never have trouble accomplishing this feat again.  Sometimes being a grown up with a real job has perks.  Wore my hat out for the first time along with a tee shirt that says "Let's go back to Myspace and you can twitter all over my facebook".  At the Balcony party I threw beads at peeps and had raspberry cocktails.  We found a toilet chair on the side of the road and I took a picture with it.  No, I will not post that picture here.  Went to the oldest bar on Bourbon Street which was one of my favorite places I visited on this trip.  It was dark and smokey and had a piano player and I made a new BFF.  Got kicked off of Bourbon at 2 AM because it was Sunday and even the gay bars don't stay open any later.  Went back to my new BFF's and drank a gigantic drink while we sat outside and talked until the sun was nearly up.  Made it home after my morning paper was delivered.

Woke up hungover - do you see a pattern?  Barely dragged myself to my own poster presentation.  Ended up sitting in a beanbag chair for most of the time I should have been standing in front of it.  Whatevs.  My poster may not have had the best content, but I will say it was definitely one of the best looking ones there.  Afterwards went to a symposium about sodium reduction because that's my job.  Spent more time on the Expo floor.  Went to an Ajinimoto party where I gave someone my business card.  Changed clothes for College Bowl.  Was still cold so I changed clothes again.  Drank jack and coke and nearly cried when NC State lost in the first round because College Bowl is my jam and my single regret from grad school is never competing...so I get into kind of really into it.  Went to dinner at Mother's and had "debris" on a gigantic sandwich I managed to eat about three bites of.  Met up will all of NC State and had a tequila shot with my department which was the beginning of the end.  Went to the Bell Flavor party.  Had an interesante time.  Biggest regret from the night: Not pinning my bangs back because by the end of it they had totally fallen apart in a hideous way.  Made it home by 2:30 - my earliest night yet.

Woke up hungover.  Had an 8:30 symposium to make it to but it didn't have any new information in it so I ended up sleeping through it.  Saw a much better one at 10:30.  Did some relaxing before spending some time on the Expo floor for the last time.  Thoroughly tired of schmoozing I was going to head back and nap when I learned that I won an iPad 2 from the Ajinimoto party.  Obviously Karma loves me and now I'm too excited to sleep so instead I just stare at it for an hour because I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  Wear my hat again to the student party and drink Rum punch because I mean, it's not like I've been making great drinking decisions, so why stop now?  Dance, have a heart to heart, have someone tell me I changed her life by telling her about the importance of a well fitting and structured cup bra, and then end up on Bourbon St. at the karaoke bar again, which is surprising because usually I go for the piano bar.  After, we eat more pizza and head home for the last time.

Woke up hungover, but it's okay because it's the last time.  Drag myself through the motions of getting dressed and packing.  At the bell desk run into some new friends and have brunch at Brennen's where we see the grand bananas foster presentation that has alluded me during my previous days in NOLA.  Mosey back afterwards and have a crazy old lady read our tarot cards where mainly I learn I'm too pretty to be single and that I should change my criteria to open myself up to some new people.  I look doubtful as I'm not taking "a beard" and "six feet tall" off my list.  Try on masks and look in gift shops before making it back to the hotel to lay in the sun for a hot minute before cabbing it to the airport.  Fly out with this feeling: This trip has blown my mind, but I can't wait to sleep in my bed and see my dog.

So New Orleans: I came, I saw (mostly the French Quarter, and in massive quantities), I partied harder and enjoyed myself more than I thought my 28 year old butt could handle, I met some new awesome people and got to spend time with some of the best friends a girl could ask for, I was professional and made some great contacts on the Expo floor, I wore heels and was hungover for 5 days straight, and I left with two massive blisters, some shameful dark circles under my eyes, and without a voice that has yet to return.

Until the next IFT NOLA, because I simply don't think I could handle you again a moment sooner.

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