New Orleans by Bus with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

We rode our Hop On Hop Off bus for parts of two days.

Hop On Hop Off Bus

Come with us and we will show you some of New Orleans.   New Orleans has one of the best, if not the best, World War II museum.

National World War II Museum

There are several buildings and plans to add more.   Then the Ogden Museum.

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

This is a museum of Southern Art.   New Orleans is famous for its Mardi Gras celebration the week before Ash Wednesday.   But it really begins much earlier.   There are several old homes with balconies.

Many building with balconies

During the many parades of Mardi Gras, beads are thrown from the floats.

Mardi Gras beads

Many of these beads are still draped over the wrought iron on the balconies.   Unexpectedly we found this restaurant which is part of the original restaurant on top of the Eiffel Tower from Paris, France.

Eiffel Tower restaurant

Until 1981 this restaurant catered to the elite on top of Paris’s Eiffel Tower.   Restoration in 1981 required this restaurant to be taken down and replaced with a smaller and lighter restaurant.   This one was taken apart and stored in freighters.  John Onorio and Daniel Bonnot paid to ship the restaurant to New Orleans, where it was rebuilt on St. Charles Avenue.   The restaurant has since had a few owners and is now used as an event space.  This statue of Joan of Arc also has a history.

Joan of Arc statue at French Market

This statue spend many years in storage, final being unveiled in 1972.  Joan stood outside the International Trade Mart until 1999.  When a casino purchased the property Joan was kicked out.   But she found a new home at the French Market, got a fresh coat of gold and a new guided pennant.  And we all love her now.    During the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis was president of the Confederate States of America.

House where Jefferson Davis died

This is the house where he died on December 6, 1889.   Shopping in New Orleans is fun.

Fleurty Girl. Popular store.

This popular store, Fleurty Girl, had many interesting and unusual items.    Be sure to check it out when you are in New Orleans.   And here is Manning’s.

Manning’s

A few blocks from the Mississippi River and close to the French Quarter, Manning’s is of interest to football fans.  Manning’s opened in 2012.  The restaurant and sports bar were created by Harrah’s Casino and Archie Manning.  Archie Manning, a 12 year quarterback with the New Orleans Saints football team, was voted New Orleans most popular athlete.   On display are items from Archie’s career and also the careers of his sons, Peyton and Eli, both NFL quarterbacks.   Peyton Manning ended his career here in Denver as quarterback of the Denver Broncos football team.   It was a hot day in New Orleans, so we hopped off the bus and entered the aquarium, located along the Mississippi River.   We watched an IMAX movie about South Sea Coral Reefs.   It was great, but we want to show you the lobby.

Jelly fish in aquarium

These hanging sculptures are fun.   The jelly fish are made from trash removed from the ocean.

Jelly fish in Aquarium

Even closer, this jelly fish looks great.

In aquarium

And not just jelly fish were featured.   Isn’t it great that organizations are pulling plastic and other items from the ocean and doing something wonderful?   We think so.   Today we wanted to show you that whatever you like, you will probably find it in New Orleans and a lot of new, unexpected things also.   This is a fabulous city.

Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai with Zeb and Chanel

Scrambled eggs, variety of melon, sweet rolls and hot tea started our day.   Southern Sun Hotel in Abu Dhabi treated us to wonderful breakfast buffets each morning.   And we appreciated it.   Our suitcases have been collected and loaded on our bus.   Driving along the coast toward Dubai, we are reminded that Abu Dhabi planted thousand of palm trees, using hoses and pipes for irrigation.   Crossing into Dubai, we notice that Dubai did not plant trees.   This is a cool, overcast, windy day in mid February.   The wind is fairly strong, creating a small sandstorm.

Entering Dubai. Small sand storm and overcast day.  Reflections through bus window.

Visibility is very low; the Persian Gulf is barely visible from our bus.   Conditions do not change, unfortunately.   Our first glimpse of Dubai, even through haze, sand and light drizzle, still impresses.

Dubai. Impresses even through haze

We head to Palm Jumierah, or Palm Island.   This island, made of sand and rock, no concrete or steel, is the largest man made island.  This island was completed in 5 years and was a major engineering project.   Dubai became rich through oil, but that oil is expected to be gone by 2020.   The Sheikh, also the Emir of Dubai, wanted Dubai to be a world tourist mecca and trade center.   A major problem for tourism was a limited amount of coastline.   Building islands gives Dubai more coastline.   Jumierah Island added 75 kilometers of coastline.   This island features retail areas, business office space, luxury waterfront residential homes and hotels, including the Atlantis Hotel.   Driving to the island, the bridge is the base of the palm trunk. Sadly, the drizzle is becoming heavier now and the visibility even less.

Imagine this on a clear day. Can only imagine.

We head to the Atlantis Mall.

Inside mall

This luxury mall features exclusive shopping and our some of our favorite rest stops, such as Cold Stone Creamery.   We enjoy their ice cream creations frequently.

In the mall

Reminding us that we are in the United Arab Emirates, we spot this sign.

Sign in mall

We were given tickets to the aquarium.

Ticket

Seems everyone is enjoying indoor activities on this drizzly day.  This is some of what we see inside.

So many fish

 

Zeb and Chanel admire fish

 

Not our favorite swimming companion

 

Cute, but deadly

 

Interesting

 

Beautiful colors

To build this island, a large breaker was needed to reduce the damage by the sea.   The environment of this area of the Persian Gulf is changing.   Divers regularly evaluate these changes.   New species of fish are now living in these waters and new reefs are forming. Leaving Palm Island, we imagine the inside of these fabulous buildings.

Palm Island

We hope you visit Palm Jumierah on a sunny day, but even on a drizzly day it is impressive.

Denver’s Downtown Aquarium

We went to the aquarium.

Going to the Aquarium

Going to the Aquarium

My humans told me the aquarium has many species of fish, otters, turtles, and many creatures that live in the sea.  I am so excited to go.  Through the glass, I will be able to see what the fish see under water.

Humans are always hungry, so first we go to the restaurant.  This is no ordinary restaurant.  From all tables and booths we see an aquarium, built just for the restaurant.  Hundreds of fish swim constantly.  Homer, my favorite grouper, swims and then stops and stares at me.

My friend, Homer the grouper

My friend, Homer the grouper

Fascinating, but a little creepy.  My family laughs and thinks he is so cute.  Guess he is.

Waldo is a bright green eel.

Waldo the eel swimming with water bubbles

Waldo the eel swimming with water bubbles

He seems to stay in a certain area of the aquarium.  He is by the kid’s party area and sometimes swims closer to our booth.  He is long with no fins and glides through the water.  Waldo is my favorite because green is one of my favorite colors.

This restaurant specializes in seafood.  I think that is strange.  We come to see fish and they want us to eat fish.  The food was very good.  My humans stayed in the restaurant a long time eating, laughing and watching the fish.  After they ate, we walked around the dining area to see other fish in the dining room aquarium. IMG_3720 You can go to the restaurant without paying to go to the aquarium.  Maybe we will stop there for lunch some day.  This was a happy place for me.

Leaving the restaurant, we went through the gift shop and then bought tickets for the aquarium.  There are so many exhibits, each with an aquarium and lots of sea creatures.  My mom and Soapy’s mom loved the small otters.  We saw the desert exhibit.  Complete with rattlesnakes.  The snake’s head was actually kind of cute, especially since he was behind the glass and could not touch us.

This rattlesnake is watching me watch him

This rattlesnake is watching me watch him

I do not want a snake to bite me.

In the rainforest exhibit we saw piranhas.  Lots of them.  They can eat a cow really fast.  Again, thankful for the glass separating us.  We saw starfish, more eels, gray and silver fish, fish with yellow tails, big fish, small fish and other sea creatures.

One exhibit showed how flash floods happen.  They occur very fast during periods of heavy rains.  The water rushes out of the mountains so fast and so strong, the water carries everything and everybody away.  Flash floods can carry cars, animals and people.  People die in these floods, so be careful during heavy rains in the mountains.  Climb high, you cannot run or drive fast enough.  And, take your duck to safety also.  We cannot swim fast enough to escape.

Just when I, Zeb the duck, thought I had seen about every fish, we came to an exhibit, under renovation, but with a tiger in the cage.  Tigers in the aquarium???  My mom loved it.  She thinks tigers are fascinating animals.  Soon we came to a huge aquarium with the sharks.

Sharks!!

Sharks!!

Wow!  These guys are big.  We stayed there awhile listening to the shark information and just watching these huge animals.  Sharks were swimming in the ocean when dinosaurs walked on the earth.

At the end of our aquarium explorations, several stingray were in a shallow pool

Stingray

Stingray

and we could touch them.  What a fun finale.

Resting after exploring the aquarium

Resting after exploring the aquarium

To learn more visit www.aquariumrestaurants.com   I will look for you next time I visit Denver’s Downtown Aquarium.