Travel Journal

From gaitor hunting, to night clubbing in the reaching the magic kingdom…

(Thursday 26 April 2012) by Karen O'Shea
Hey folks the time is flying by here state side and I am having the most amazing time ever. Just when I think things couldn’t get better…………….guess what……………they do!!!!!!!!!!


Just a quick overnight stop here in lake Charles. There wasn’t much to see as we arrived late in the afternoon and hit the road early in the morning. But the campsite was cool. We stayed right next to a lake…….with alligators. I must admit I was quite excited to camp here but had I encountered a gaitor………well that’s another story. I did a practice emergency evacuation of my tent just to see how long it would take me to escape should the need arise (no idea where I would be escaping too mind you)………….but I am certain now the gaiters would have ate through the tent if they wanted too…….but my ignorance at the time was so blissful…;-);-)

Devon our tour guide promised us we could go ‘coon baitin’….. so not politically correct so he had our attention straight away. Apparently what you do is place some food around your tent, so the raccoons will come to eat it………….than you surprise them with a water ;-)

A couple we camped next to had an air rifle or bb gun as it is called here. Must admit I was quite good at shooting beer cans, 100% record………….think I am sniper material…who knew!!!

Actually the following morning there were raccoon footprints on the chairs ….kind of bigger than I had visualized. Sleeping there that night I kept thinking I could hear the alligators around the tent………..amazing what the mind can do. I was delighted to wake up the following morning fully intact………bonus I thought.;-);-)

On our way to New Orleans we stopped off to go on a swamp tour. But firstly we stopped off at a drive through cocktail bar…… one does!! In Australia I have come across drive through bottle shops and dry cleaners. Here in the states I have discovered drive through cocktail bars, pharmacies and banks…..pretty awesome. Back to the swamp tour it was pretty cool. Got to cruise up and down the river for about three hours, saw turtles, spiders, birds and yes some alligators. Also saw some of the debris still left over from hurricane Catherina, it’s pretty hard to imagine what it was really like. Some houses are just thrown on their sides, its sad someone’s pride and joy can end up like this in the space of a few minutes. Overall It was a really enjoyable experience..

New Orleans…(Louisiana)

First thing I did here was drop my camera and put my lens out of action, so there are not many photos with this entry into my blog. But I am back in action I bought a cheap one to tie me over while I am in the states. Bummer yeah but I refuse to let anything bother me.

Stayed in New Orleans for three nights. Oh the place was rocking and so alive. The French quarter festival was on all over town. It’s a free music festival, in bars, on the streets and on the waterfront. It was epic. The music was amazing, you name it, jazz, blues, rock, ska..Whatever there was something for everyone. One of things I enjoyed about it was the age group that was here, from 18 to 88 everyone was embracing it. Also saw one New Orleans band who play, jazz, the lead guy was 101 years old and he sang in a real husky voice, he was great. Bourbon Street is the place to go in New Orleans….its full of life once the sun goes down.;-)

One of the mornings we went down to the water front to see some bands. It was awesome, sun shining, great music, fantastic company, watching steamships docking on the great Mississippi river……….felt a little like huckleberry Finn….lol ;-)

One of the bands I discovered was called bonarama……….they were really great entertainment. The whole festival had a wonderful atmosphere it was kind of like getting a high just on the music and the whole surroundings…

Off the beaten track a little we visited a grave yard where the deceased are not buried in the ground but kind of in tombs above the ground, due to Louisiana getting floods. Apparently when Catharina hit some bodies got washed up from their graves and floated down with the floods. It must have been terrible.

Panama City beach (Florida)

Today we drove through Alabama and Mississippi to get to Florida. Florida is the 12th, state I have been in. I didn’t know what to expect in this city it was all beach and water parks and I’m not into either. But I had the best time ever, my sides and jaws were so sore from the laughter.

It all started on the night we arrived after setting up camp myself, Devon our tour guide and Hannah my tent buddy decided to play horse shoes. We were going grand for a while until one of the shoes got stuck up in the tree…I mean who would plant a tree there…lol. So the fun began trying to knock it down with the other shoes. This became the game, we even took it in turns and at one stage we had four up there. Even some kids came over and wanted to play….ah lads it was hilarious. Eventually they all returned to ground along with some branches….i even missed the sunset on the beach as this task too priority…lol

The beach was pretty nice here even at night it was like a hot day in lahinch. The water was amazing. The night wasn’t over yet. Myself Hannah and Nikki a Scottish girl decided when we got back to camp that we would go to a night club across the way …….as we are on holidays after all.

All over the states you need your passport as proof of id. I must admit I am quite happy when I am asked….loll. (infact i have nearly got to a stage where i wave it at them before they get a chance NOT to ask for it...) Anyway we attempted to get into the nightclub but Hannah couldn’t find her passport so we returned to the campsite and decided to get a few drinks and bring them across the road and sit in the empty car park of the night club…………..ah this was hilarious!!! What even made it funnier was all of us were well over age…….but I felt like I was underage drinking at kildysart disco’s. It was a really funny day overall….so stupidly funny but you gotta laugh…………’s healthy folks.;-);-)

The following day the laughter continued……….
9 of us from the salty crew…(our gang name), played crazy golf, such fun and not a cocktail in sight. I kind of felt like a giddy child in a playground. The craic was good between us all…….
And then there was even more fun. I decided to go to the pool for a makeshift swimming lesson with Hannah and Nikki. (Remember I can’t swim and I don’t like my head under water). So I set a task for myself I wanted to put my head under the water for a few seconds………that was it…know some of you think it’s not a big deal……but it was in my world!!! Ah guys I thought I would crack a rib from the laughter here (reading back on this rib reference makes me laugh but I will save this for the next blog)…………….you know when you’re in a giddy humour and so are the other folk around you, you buzz off each other and laugh at the silliest things. Well that’s what it was like. Just when I would get serious and try and concentrate on floating, I would just crack up with the laughter and back to square one. It would take me about 10 mins to calm down and focus again. The girls were just as giddy which was no good for me….lol;-);-);-)

Anyway to cut a long story short…I ducked my head under water twice. And floated with the help of a floatation aid. And I learned a bit in the pool on how to float and what way to put you head arch your back and legs etc..yeah really enjoyed it. I was kind of proud of myself too if I am honest………..confront your fears and all that….

Orlando (Florida) and hello 32 degrees………………

We stayed in cabins here instead of camping. I quite like camping now that I am well in the swing of it. It was cot early as tomorrow was when all your dreams come true…….

Hello Disneyworld

Again I am going to say I didn’t know what to expect here. Yeah I know its Disneyworld, I knew I would enjoy it but I didn’t know by how much. Some of the girls were so excited, I was excited too but not to their level. I soon discovered all ages are kids at Disneyworld. It was amazing. I was totally blown away by the whole thing. The amount of older folk there was really great to see. I totally loved it. I spend 13 hours here, it was such a fairytale, the only bit of reality I witnessed was when I had to stop for food, the rest of the time was magical………….

It’s amazing how you can go back in time and turn into a child………I’d recommend it to anyone.

Talk about grabbing the bull by the horns. The first thing I went on was Space Mountain. An indoor rollercoaster……….(I don’t do heights very well), but the ride was in the dark so I thought I would give it a shot…………………awesome. Great buzz although I missed half the ride as I was holding on to my specs to stop them falling off. It was brilliant though. The next thing to tackle was buzz light year space range, took my glasses off for this and I was crap at shooting the enemy cause I couldn’t see properly…

Mickeys philhar magic 3d movie. This was my favourite of the day. A 20 min movie with all the Disney characters popping out of the screen in 3 d. it was amazing I must admit I got a little teary eyed myself here as I wished Lucy and lily could enjoy it with me…

Next ride was Splash Mountain. Another roller coaster ride with a 50 foot drop into water. And I did it. Conquer your fears Karen….

It’s a small world; this was a ride through water of the world. Ireland had leprechauns, rainbow and a pot of gold and some diddle I music playing. Pirates of the Caribbean was another boat ride, this was cool, the affects were pretty great, fire bombs in the water and bullets. You could feel a gust of breeze by pass you when the bullets were being fired. It was amazing. With some of the rides I felt I was in Willie wonka’s chocolate factory. There were so many things to see here and I still didn’t get it all done. I managed my time well but it’s just so big.

Mickey and Mini……………….loving you long time
This was another one of my highlights. Meeting Mickey and mini. It was cool. Now I felt like a child and I loved it all. In the afternoon I saw two parades it was great, seeing all the characters and singing along. Went back for another roller coaster ride………..this was 3 in one day…..god I was on a roll. (Show no fear Karen…;-)

The closing show was out of this world, it was a fire work display in front of the magic kingdom. You know you see the ads on the tv………..come to Disney….bla bla bla………..and it was exactly like the ad. Again I got teary eyed……….fireworks and music just get me every time. I Loved it loved it loved the whole day. I Will return to the magic kingdom one day, “Where all your dreams come true”. Went to bed that night like an over exhausted, over tired, over giddy, 8 year old …………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz:-):-):-):-)

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