Part 137- New Orleans Trip

 By the time you- my readers- read this, it will most likely be Sunday and I’m already at home, or maybe be finished by Saturday, or before I return home from New Orleans. It’s Thursday, as I start to write this post. I’m thinking I should write a little by little during the day so that the memories are still fresh in my mind. Enough about how I’m writing this. Let’s talk about the trip.

I’m actually not sure about what I’m feeling about this trip. No specific emotion comes to my mind. Am I enjoying it? Am I upset? Do I love it? Do I want to go home? Am I afraid? What do I think about this? Don’t get me wrong, I’m really grateful that my parents gave me this and that we’re somewhere for spring break. But… I can’t describe how I’m feeling. I could say that I’m enjoying it, but it feels wrong. I’m not hating it or upset either. I’m…neutral. To be honest it didn’t register clearly in my mind that we were going somewhere for the break. Usually, I would be excited and would be ready at least a week before but this time… I don’t know. I just kind of went with it at the moment. But then it started to sink in. On the way here, during the 8-hour-long road trip, I understood that we were going to New Orleans.  It’s been about a full 24 hours since we’ve been here and I’ll share some of my experiences. 

Yesterday, once we arrived, we rested for about 2 hours and then walked around Bourbon Street. I didn’t realize it was Bourbon street until my dad told me, and I was surprised. I did not expect for it to be crowded, filled with a strong stench of alcohol, cigars/smoke, and a faint pungent smell of what apparently is weed. Not to forget, the loud, blaring music and cheers from people on balconies and on the streets, partying. I don’t have a problem with that. Well, the smells were a problem, it otherwise it was fine. People were having fun and were leaving me – and my family- alone so I didn’t have a problem. But, there was something/somethings that were very uncomfortable and disturbing. I don’t want to really mention it, but I’ll just say it wasn’t very appropriate. This threw off my first impression of the city. I have to admit, I was starting to think negatively after that. Did that really happen? Oh my god is this what it’s like? I hope not. Oh god, I wanna be at home. Should I just fake being happy? For my parents? No. I shouldn’t. I at least shouldn’t let it get to the best of me. ( I learned later that this is how Bourbon Street is, at night. It’s not the safest or best place for kids at night.)

Walking along Bourbon Street

The best part of that night, though, was dinner at GW Fins. It had amazing food. The Lobster Dumplings for appetizers were incredible. The sauce that went with it was perfect and was really good. It was really creamy and went nicely with the lobster. I had the Parmesean Crusted Sheepshead which was pretty okay. I didn’t really like the charred taste from the beurre blanc or the taste of the sheepshead, but it was tasty. 

The Parmesan Crusted Sheepshead

We later had a Creme Brule with fresh fruits at the restaurant and took “home” a Salty Malty Ice Cream Pie. It was basically a regular pie with a pretzel crust, topped with caramel whipped cream and chocolate-covered pretzels. Even though it had partially melted when we ate it at the place we were staying, it was really good. ( It had also rained later at night but wasn’t that big of a deal.)

 I still didn’t forget about what happened that night, so the next day- Thursday- began with the same negative thoughts. In most of my pictures from Thursday, I’ll have this weird, unhappy-like expression of me trying to smile. I guess I wasn’t really in the mood in-between times. Now as I look back at them I mentally slap myself for being such a dumbhead. It was a really nice day and it was really fun but I was being a dumbhead and had a bit of a sour mood. I tried to be happy, but it didn’t really show.

Anyway, on Thursday we had breakfast at Cafe Beignet and it was…not that great. The space was pretty but the food didn’t really have any taste. I’m not sure if that makes sense. It was bland. 

Picture of Cafe Beignet taken at night
Breakfast at Cafe Beignet

After that, we just walked around and hung out at Jackson Square. We saw the St. Charles Cathedral, walked around Jackson Square, and went on a lunch cruise. The cruise included lunch with a tour along the Mississippi River. Lunch was of fried(?) fish, rice with red beans, andouille sausage, Jambalaya, and a side of Potato salad with Bread pudding for dessert. I can’t eat pork so I wasn’t able to eat the sausage- apart from a small piece I was allowed to try- but otherwise, the food was delicious. Even though rice with beans isn’t very tasty, it fits well with the menu. Best thing I ate, the fish. It was a bit hard to cut, but it made up for the taste. It was cooked well and was really tasty.   I don’t remember exactly how the Jambalaya tasted, but I do remember eating the chicken from the rice and leaving the sausage bits. I’m not sure if it was made traditionally or a more quick-recipe kind, but, it was really good. ( That’s really all  can say, seeing that  can’t recall the taste properly.) One thing, though, potato salad is cold and tastes weird. Oh and, the bread pudding was kind of okay. I was pretty surprised when eating it. I thought it would taste like bread, and never had it before, but I was pretty shocked to taste something much more interesting than bread pudding-ised. ( Is that a word? I don’t think so.)

Cruise Lunch
The cruise was also really fun. The boat gave me “Steamboat Willy” vibes. We saw an old Domino Sugar factory, different ports, and boats, along with a couple cities and houses. 
One word to describe Beignets is Powdery. You won’t believe the amount of powdered sugar they put on. There were about 3 per bag, and once you finish eating them, there’s only a whole 2-3 inches of powdered sugar left at the bottom. The Beignets itself tasted like a mix of funnel cake and a fried pastry with a topping of powdered sugar. It’s guaranteed to make eating messy and stain your clothes with powdered sugar drops. For a popular treat, it was pretty okay. Even though the taste is faint now, it was really sweet and tasted good, but I wouldn’t recommend eating one every day. 
Me and my dad attempting to eat a Beignet
without being messy
( *whisper* we failed)

We later walked around Jackson Square a bit more, missed going to the French Market, got a foot massage, and went back to the hotel. We just decided to go get some McDonalds for dinner. ( I know right, amazing.) The biggest achievement of that day, to me, was how the negative thoughts in my head reduced. By the end of the day, I was convinced that New Orleans wasn’t that bad of a place. Yes, I was uncomfortable from time to time, yes it was a new environment, but that didn’t mean it was all bad. We got a new hat for dad! We went on a steamboat cruise and saw amazing things, ate delicious food, and got our pants stained with powdered sugar! We visited Jackson Square and visited St. Charles Cathedral. We even saw a magic show just in front of the cathedral and had a good laugh! So many wonderful things happened that day, and I realized that I was wrong for thinking so negatively. 

Friday. The next day was Friday, and oh boy was it fun. We had breakfast at The Ruby Slipper Cafe, and I REALLY recommend eating there. Their food is amazing and really good. I ordered French Toast Bites- I was in the mood for something sweet- and it was delicious. The description makes it sound really sweet with the French Toast bites fried and tossed in cinnamon sugar, served with cream cheese icing and praline sauce, but in reality, it wasn’t that sweet. It was very light and you would only really taste the sweetness when you first eat it. My parents ordered Egg Benedicts, and they look SOOOOOOOOO good. ( They also tasted amazing. I loveddddd it)

Eggs Benedict

If you want a light, yet filling breakfast, I recommend The Ruby Slipper Cafe. Their menu has a lot of exciting options, and I bet they all taste as amazing as what we had on Friday. Anyway, we went on a guide around the Garden District. Garden District: Pretty and old. There’s a lot of history dating back to the 18-1900’s and just looking at the houses is amazing enough. Such simple yet amazing designs each hold a unique story about the past resident. ( No spoilers!) 

After the tour, we went to eat lunch at a restaurant which I forgot the name of. Katie’s something. Not that great customer service- it was really slow- but really good oysters. We only ate oysters there. We were in and out in less than an hour. I preferred the Spinach cheese oysters over the garlic ones, but they were both really tasty. 

Oysters for lunch

However, we had EVEN BETTER oysters at Red Fish Grill. Well, my dad did. He ordered BBQ Oysters while I and my mom shared crab. I can’t explain how amazing their food was. I love crab, I didn’t know I was craving crab, and I got crab. Even though all I actually could do was crack open the shell, extract the meat out, and dip it into butter, it was really good. I became a crab-cracking master that night! We also had cauliflower-rice and crawfish balls with the platter. I’m not that interested in crawfish or cauliflower-rice, but it was pretty tasty. I have to say, the BBQ oysters were tied with the crab. They were also pretty amazing. Even though blue cheese tastes like nausea to me, it was really good. The oysters were pre-shelled and you tasted the sauce and actual BBQ taste rather than the oyster itself. It was like the oyster was a base, and everything else was the main part. I’m not complaining. I really liked it.

Me enjoying some crab
Crab platter to the left, BBQ oysters to the right

 Everything was really savory. In the end, we had Bread Pudding, a house favorite. They brought over two plates of it- one with and one without soft serve- and poured the chocolate sauces on it IN FRONT OF US. I have a video of it but it’s not very good quality. Just imagine two brownie-like cakes in a medium-sized cup-bowl thing, one with a bunch of vanilla soft serve, topped with almond bark, with white and regular chocolate drizzling over it. Yum, right? We then left and took one final picture of Bourbon Street. Here it is. 

You can’t see my face, but this picture shows me happier than how I was last time we took a picture on this street. 

My Overall Opinion:

You’ve read all my crazy writing and made it this far. Thank you. Now, here’s my opinion. I see New Orleans as a very lively and fun place. Everywhere you walk or go, it will always be filled with noise. Mainly music, but also from chatter. People talk, interact, and have a lot of fun in this city. There won’t be a single spot without some music, whether it’s from street DJs, stores, or even cars, it’ll always be noisy. Even though there are times you could be uncomfortable or uneasy with the people around you and their actions, you can see that they’re just having fun. How they’re having fun is a different story, but that doesn’t matter. I really admire the people of New Orleans. In the Garden District, I saw people greeting each other- stranger to stranger- and helping each other out. When a person needs the nearest bathroom or wants to find an ice cream shop, a person or two will be there. New Orleans is a very exciting and thrilling place to be. I wish I had a little more time to enjoy myself, but that doesn’t mean that I regret wasting most of my day on Thursday. My mood on Thursday actually helped me see how exciting New Orleans is. The liveliness of the city changes my original opinion and showed me how amazing and exciting a place it is. So, in the end, I enjoyed myself. I was feeling happy. 

Blog Format:

I’ve never written about how I write, but I wanted to explain myself and how I wrote this blog. You see, I’ll be publishing this post without editing most of what I wrote. Yes, I’ll revise the spelling and grammatical errors, but not what I wrote. I decided that I would write this blog and leave it be. I wouldn’t go back in and re-write a sentence or a thought. I wanted to just write whatever I felt at the moment. I wanted it to contribute to the story of my experience. Even though I may not have had a lot of opinions in between, I kind of just wanted to share my thoughts and the “journey” of how I got to my opinion. I wanted to tell every thought and feeling as well as the restaurants and places we visited during my break. I hope that makes sense. 🙂


Here are some miscellaneous pictures along the way!
Guess who~
The fish bag is the perfect touch.
Some pretty houses near the Garden District.
( I put on a filter)
Me chilling while wearing my
dad’s newly purchased hat.
On the way back home to Texas.
I had carried my iPad and keyboard with me
in case I had some inspiration for my story.
This is one of my INSPIRATION moments.
Quite a big tree, isn’t it?
Me and my mom near the Garden District
Us at The Ruby Slipper Cafe

Part 136- Short Check in

 Hi. I’m not really sure what I want to write, so I’m just gonna go with the flow. To be honest, I don’t even know why I suddenly felt like posting. Maybe because I haven’t posted in a while, aside from Sunday. Otherwise, I’m not sure. What should I write about? Everyday life, recent topic? I’m not sure. Things have changed around here. ( Gosh why does this sound like a diary entry?) Just last week Governor Abbot announced that masks were not mandatory and stores can fill up with the normal size. I guess it’s a bit of a personal treat, seeing that March 2nd was Texas’ Independence Day. People have been taking advantage of that, and over the weekend, I saw a couple people not wearing masks. We can’t complain though. I had actually expected more people to not be wearing masks but apparently not. Just a few picked out from the crowd. 

Ummmm, apart from that, nothing else. I’ve been writing a lot lately. Not just on “When Can I See You Again” but also a short story series called “Missing Piece”. This one’s a more relationship-emotion-based story, focusing on the bond between 21-year-old Abyssinia-Nia- Eswaran and her 5 stepbrothers- Rune, Evander, Abraxas, Cronus, and Kadon. Obviously, I’m a stickler for rare, mythical names. I literally spent a whole 2 hours researching the perfect names for the boys after 20 minutes of finding a name for the main character. (Nia.) I dedicate myself to writing stories with odd, unique, mythical names for the characters. There will, not be a story that doesn’t have some rare name. 

The reason I brought this up is that I can’t seem to focus on ideas. You see, I had such a good idea and was so excited for “When Can I See You Again”, but started losing motivation. I soon got the idea for Missing Piece and started working on it. But now, I have another story idea. It’s an action-based one that I got inspired by from a short series I finished reading. Like, I just finished, and my mind is in SHAMBLES, absolute shambles after reading that. It was so good and such an amazing thriller that I’m just, blown by the ending. The ending was REALY simple but the story and concept and plot were just so good that it really breaks my heart to have it end. That’s where my idea comes from. And this is where my problem is.

I’m not focusing clearly on ideas. As much as I want to at least get down a few thoughts on a document for this idea, I’m trying to hold myself back. I already have two storylines I’m working on, and I don’t want to start writing a third that I’ll most likely stop paying attention to soon. Plus, I want to actually get somewhere with my plots and ideas before working on a new one. If I start working on a new idea, I’ll get caught up in that one until I lose motivation ( which happens after a few weeks) and then feel bland and with no mood to write on that story, or the other two. Sooooo….you see where my mind is right now. Shambles and mixed-feelings. 

< Minor Side Thoughts: Me fangirling warning>

And, a minor side-note. I’ve recently had BTS’s Born Singer stuck in my head and I have DEFINITELY NOT been crying every time I hear the song. ( I read English lyrics while listening.) The song is so good, even though it’s really old, and it makes me cry because it’s such a from-heart and experience song. Recently (a few months ago) they received their first-ever Grammy Nomination after a long time, and found out a few days ago they will be performing there. The song makes me cry because the song talks about their struggles as they became idols, and now those struggles were worth it. ( I’m fangirling so much right now, I’m sorry! ) But here’s the first few lyrics of the song- translated- so you know what I mean. 

I’m a born singer,  A belated confession ( I Swear)
The mirage that always seemed so far away is now before my eyes ( It’s here)
I’m a born singer, A belated confession 
But I’m so happy ( I’m good)

{Suga} The very first stage we stood under the name Bangtan
I revisit how we felt about our first stage 3 years ago
Still I’m nothing different from a rural Daegu rapper but
I wrote the word “pro” on top of “amateur”  
While rapping and dancing on the stage I wanted so badly
I feel yet alive, the tiresome trip to work and back home
I can withstand such troubles because my people are watching me
Because even if my body hurts, the cheers come rolling in…

Favorite Part-
{RM} And let the haters on me It’s a day job they’ve always been at
While you were teasing the keyboard I fulfilled my dreams 
Sunglasses, hairstyle I know why you ridicule me
In any case, it’s me who’s gone further than you at age 20

Born Singer– (It’s a stage mix- watch with captions)

Translation – English translation

Alright, alright. I just fangirled there for a couple of minutes but it was worth it. I needed something to write about and I needed to write out my emotions for this song anyway. But, I do recommend it. It’s really good and so heart-felt. But, anyway, I’m out. Bye!!!!!

Part 135- Money

 We all know what currency/money is and can easily recognize it. But what about people who can’t? What do they have to do? 

Many countries have their currency in different sizes depending on the denomination, but in the United States, only the coins are different. Otherwise, the paper bills are all the same size. Frankly, the idea of having different colors or sizes for US dollars didn’t exist. Plus, it was cheaper to print them all in the same color and paper. Nowadays, it is expected for them to be the same color and size because it’s stayed this way. 

Countries such as India, Australia, and Malaysia, have a distinct length for each denomination. Not only are they different sizes, but a simple, money identifier card can be used. 

Tactile marks along the tool can help identify which bill is which when lined up to the card. Money identifier tools are also very useful. The user has to insert the money into one of the devices, and then the device will provide information about the bill through speech, or a combination of beeps or vibrations. 

Some governments tried a more direct approach. In Canada, money is produced in such a way that there are braille dots to indicate the value of the bill. 

A very simple way to identify the denomination of bills can be through folding. Particular bills can be folded in particular ways to identify which is which. To be honest, I don’t find this very efficient. Yes, folding may help but it also may be a hassle to fold a bill every single time in a very specific/particular way each time you get one. 

Okay, okay. I know I’m not some cheesy reporter or spokesperson telling you stuff, but I’ve really got to explain one- no two more things. Laws! Yes, laws. Specifically, ADA and IDEA laws. ( Oh and maybe a mention of the U.S. Currency Program in between.)
ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act. This is a civil rights law that “…prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and public places that are open to the general public.” This law is to make sure people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone. IDEA stands for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Similar to the ADA, IDEA provides students with a disability with Free Appropriate Public Education. There are 4 parts to this law. Part A covers the general provisions of the law; Part B  covers assistance for the education of all children with disabilities; Part C covers infants and toddlers with disabilities; lastly, Part D consists of the national support programs administered at the FEDERAL level. 

Under the U.S. Currency program, U.S. citizens who are blind or visually impaired can obtain a currency reader device at no cost. The story behind this is quite interesting. You see, the BEP ( Bureau of Engraving and Printing) was directed to file a status report every six months on their project to provide meaningful access to the United States currency for blind and other visually impaired people. In May 2010 the Department of Treasury and the BEP issued a notice in the Federal Register to inform the public of the features BEP was proposing to the Secretary of Treasury. This included raised tactile features, large, high numerals, and a supplementary currency reader program. 

In April 2011 BEP developed an app called EyeNote to assist blind and visually impaired people in identifying U.S. currency. 2 years later, in June, BEP submitted its plan for Meaningful Access to U.S. Currency for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals to the Treasury and the Senate Committee Appropriations. However, in September 2014, the GAO released a report saying that BEP fell behind schedule in its plans to produce U.S. currency with raised tactile markings. BEP estimated that currency with tactile features could be delayed until 2020. Until then, the GAO encouraged the government to focus on distributing currency readers while the plan for tactile features was developed. 
Maybe we will have a new type of U.S. Currency. Or I wonder if it will be a special order once only disabled people have this type of currency. Hmmmmmmm. I wonder… Or would that be harder? I personally think that tactile marks or even a bill reader are the best options for finding the denomination of bills. Only 1 out of 10 students learn braille so tactile marks may not be very common or effective unless we do something to increase the learning of braille. ( But we can’t force people.) Maybe just get them to memorize the tactile marks. They wouldn’t necessarily have to learn braille but instead just the needed dots/marks that are associated with the currency. Even if people don’t learn braille, we can always have bill readers which are already effective and useful today. Either way, they both help disabled people with bill denominations.
Even though the U.S. has come up with a solution- as I mentioned above- I think that they should consider or even try printing currency of different sizes. Even though we’ve been used to printing them all the same size would it be more effective to just change the size or would it be costly and a problem? It really doesn’t matter, to be honest. ADA was made to prevent discrimination against visually impaired people yet it can’t help with money? What if they’re out in public and don’t know how is around them? That person would know how much money they have, right? So now, when you think about it, the United States hasn’t really come up with anything for this problem. ( And it took me nearly 7- 8 paragraphs to get it through.)