Date: 30 May
Location: the Hilton, Houston.
Notable sightings: the Lone Star State, cowboys, line dancing.
After the a Hurricanes we felt much like Dorothy’s house looked after the tornado. However, we pulled ourselves together and managed a shadow of the NOLA tourist tour, seeing the French Market, Cajun food tasting along Decatur, happy snapping in Jackson Square – all via H&M as my emergency stripper shoes from the night before looked less stripperesque and more actual stripper by (glaring) daylight.
That was followed that night by the obligatory New Orleans haunted history tour. (Scariest thing? Toss up between the early drunks in Bourbon Street and the over-eager ghost hunters. That’s possibly not fair to the city itself, which put on an excellent showing: dark, moody streets, slick with rain and eerily illuminated by gaslight. The Lalaurie mansion was also a highlight. It was the home of French socialite and serious serial killer Delphine Lalaurie who hosted fabulous parties downstairs whilst performing very unfabulous experiments on her slaves upstairs. As featured in American a Horror Story season 3 and, unfortunately, also in real life.)
Then, we drove to Texas.
The scenery was super pretty: swamps, rivers, so much viney greenery.wver. The girls were most thrilled by the fact that they could buy a giant soft drink cup from one McDonalds then stop at each subsequent McDonalds both to pee and refill their cups. A great system.
With some minor dawdling (American supermarkets are very distracting, then there was all that giant-cup Pepsi that had to go in then come out) we made it to Houston just before dark. In a twist of online deal fate that we rather loved it turned out to be cheaper to stay at the Hilton in downtown Houston than in a hostel or guest house. So that’d be where we are. I slept very well between the 1000 thread count sheets thanks.
After we’d arrived last night Bunky had tried to crawl into bed (understandable – those sheets!) but I’d researched online and found the Neon Boots Bar and Saloon, a gay bar playing country music all night long. And I wanted to dance. Tassels and I coaxed a sleepy Bunky into the car and we trekked across expansive, soulless Houston to a forsaken looking road where we parked under a flickering neon sign between utes. We looked incredibly out of place as we, three sheepish and shy straight Australian girls, ventured into this gay cowboy bar, a place in which diet coke was more expensive than vodka and draft beer was a measly $1. At least Bunks and Tassels had on cowboy boots — I couldn’t even boast that (a situation I intend to rectify today). The dance floor, railed off and slightly raised, was intimidating. I’m proud to say that we joined the fray — less proud to say that (a) we were tragic and (b) we were shown less interest than a stray cat at a dog show. But then something wonderful happened. This RnB song started up. It sounded kind of familiar. Then, all of a sudden I was rushing back from the bar, colliding with the girls who were rushing to get me, and we joined the lines on the dance floor. Wobble was playing.
I should explain. Back in New Orleans when we adopted the boys’ trip we taught them a few things: how ‘chips’ is a really useful word and can be used for both ‘crisps’ and ‘French fries’; how to differentiate between the Australian and an English accents. And they taught us a few things, such as the lyrics to a few Garth Brooks songs and the line dance to Wobble, possibly the silliest line dance of all time and unheard of back home. When this song came on at the Neon Boots, this technicolor gay bar by the side of the highway in downtown Houston Texas, the dance floor flooded and we were right in the thick of it, Wobbling away like pros. Best moment in the US to date.