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University of Arkansas 2022 NOLA

May 27, 2022

May 27th is the day on which we traveled to New Orleans. This trip started so early in the morning, and we did many interesting things on this day. After sleeping for a couple of hours, all of us were driven to the airport at 4:00 am. We arrived in New Orleans at approximately 10:00 am, and from the beginning, we noticed that the airport is huge and unique because of the different restaurants and shops. I think the airport of any city indicates how great the city is. Then, we went to a restaurant to have lunch. The restaurant had Arabian dishes such as kebab. We enjoyed eating in that restaurant because we miss this kind of food. After that, all of us went to an enormous ancient tree. We introduced ourselves and talked for a bit about the plan for this trip. Also, we took some wonderful pictures with the tree, and one of us even tried to climb it and he almost succeeded. Then, we went to see the famous Mississippi River, and it was very great and enjoyable to look at.

African-American culture was the next thing that we looked at. We went to an old neighborhood that has a historical significance for New Orleans, and it is called Treme. We have learned a lot of interesting things about this neighborhood and the people that lived in it. One of the fascinating things about this place is what is called shotgun houses. They are houses that have rooms placed in front of each other، and they use a special mechanism to cool these rooms. They are called shotgun houses because if you shot a house with a shotgun, the shells will go through all the rooms. Also, we looked at some paintings and art presenting the culture and the history of the city. After that, we went to have dinner in a seafood restaurant. We liked the food there and found it delicious, and I noticed some nice posters on the walls about the food in New Orleans. Last, we went to the cabin where we will stay. When we arrived there, it was almost time for sunset, and the view was spectacular. I think how wonderful the view was showed what I felt about this lovely day.

By Osama S.

May 28, 2022

Today, we left the cabins at 8 AM. First we went to Starbucks, and we had a great coffee. The DJ for today was Layan, and to be honest she is better than the previous DJ “Alharbi“. I’m sorry, Alharbi. Then, we were planning to go to Whitney Plantation. On the way, we passed the house in the Django movie, and it was really nice, but I wished we could go inside and take a tour of the area. We learned that it is closed to the public for historical research. After 40 minutes driving, we got to the Whitney Plantation. It was a very emotional experience and I am so glad I did. I’ve heard a lot of information about what has happened to black people in the US, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad! Their treatment of blacks people was bad in all ways that even education was not available to them or their children. I also saw something like small rooms with a lock and it was written as a prison. They said they sell black people here. It’s hard to imagine something like that. They also punished parents by killing their children or vice versa, and this is the worst thing I have heard. I could not comprehend that. It was a good experience full of information. We all liked it.

After that we went to have lunch. The restaurant was very crowded but it was good. After lunch we went to the French market. Actually we have a market similar to it in Saudi Arabia, but we enjoyed buying some watermelon and cold juices because the weather was really hot. Today, Saturday, that means the guys are going to cook us dinner. We went back to the cabins at 6 PM to get ready for dinner. They cooked Mac and Cheese and Shawarma, and I was the supervisor of cooking and making sure of cleanliness, believe me, I did not disturb them. And really it was a very delicious dinner, thank you to myself first, then thank you to the guys. Finally after dinner, we had a small glow party. We listened  and danced to music with glow sticks and balloons.  But the night ended with a minor accident for Osama. He injured his nose by mistake. We all helped him by sterilizing the injury and putting a plaster on. We were relieved to know he is okay, but I showed us coming together to help someone in need. This beautiful day is over and I am excited for tomorrow’s activities.

By Dana A.

May 29, 2022

We woke up early and excited at 8 a.m. to start our day because of the schedule Nia provided us with. We left our cabins at 8:30 in the morning to head out to our first destination which was Cafe Du Monde. The cafe was crowded, and a jazz music band was rocking the streets. Previously, we heard a lot about Beignets, which are donuts with sugar. Today, we had the chance to experience its taste in the coffee, and it was delicious! After that, we left the coffee shop to go to our next destination which was going to the other side of the Mississippi River through the ferry boat. However, before going to the ferry boat, our van was towed. We were surprised because Nia paid for the parking, but that did not change our plans. Nia dealt with the situation, and we went to the ferry boat. Once we reached the other side, we went to a coffee shop, and we had an ice tea to solve our issue with today’s weather. Unfortunately, the ice melted, but it gave us some time to go back to our boat.

After that, we went back to have lunch in a Mexican restaurant, Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria. The food was tasty to the extent that we finished our plates even though we were full. Next to Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria, there was a gift shop that has souvenirs, and we spent some time shopping trying to find items that make us remember New Orleans. Later on, we went to an art museum to get deep into the world of art. Fortunately, we couldn’t tell how beautiful art is after we saw the drawings. Our tour guide, Malik, gave us a fascinating and brief tour of each of the pictures’ history that represented the important events that happened in New Orleans such as the Katrina hurricane, and important people such as Mohammed Ali, and Malcolm X among many other influencers. The weather was getting hotter, and we needed ice cream. So, we went to a popular Italian ice cream shop which has a variety of delicious flavors, and we tried some of them to refill our energy. After that, we headed toward French Quarter, a famous square in New Orleans, to enjoy shopping and jazz music in those streets. We explored these streets including a famous street called Bourbon. It was very crowded, and jazz music was being played on every corner of that street. Also, there were many events and shows that we enjoyed watching and playing.

Going to a Mediterranean restaurant was the place we decided to have dinner in before going back to the cabins. The restaurant served great Arabian dishes that we didn’t eat long time ago, and we ordered some of the famous dishes, a case in point being shawarma. Also, we drank tea and Turkish coffee along with Baklava, which is a sweet popular pastry. After that, we went back to the cabins to rest and to get prepared for the next day. We enjoyed our day, and the activities we had raised our expectations for the following days.

Azzam A. & Abdullah A.

May 30, 2022

Today we did not wake up early, so we left our cabins late. We went to a famous restaurant to have breakfast, and when we arrived at the restaurant, we found out that it was very busy, and we needed 45 minutes in order to get a table. Thus, we decided to go to IHOP instead to have our breakfast. Even IHOP was busy, but we figured as it was a Memorial Day.

Later on, we went to the New Orleans Museum of Art. The museum has many exciting statues from different cultures, a case in point being Egyptian and Japanese cultures. We stayed in the museum for almost one hour and 30 minutes after that we went to the Sculpture park next to the museum. The weather was very hot, so we went to a cafe near the park, and we got cold drinks to get a refresh.

After we got refreshed, we moved to the Kayaking activity, which is moving through water in a small water vessel with the aid of a double-bladed paddle. It was the first time to do kayaking for most of us. Therefore, it was hard for us to balance in the beginning. We were about to fall more than one time, and we hit the edge many times. Then our best coordinator, an expert in kayaking, taught us how to kayak and balance. Then we went kayaking around the park together. In the middle of the park, we started a funny and enjoyable race. After that, we were starving, so we went to a popular Mediterranean restaurant called Mona’s Café. It was the best restaurant we have tried in New Orleans, especially its lamb shish kebab. Next, we returned to our cabins at 5:40 pm. When we arrived, a magnificent rainbow was waiting for us, and we took many pictures with it. Finally, the girls cooked different kinds of delicious meals and we all enjoyed dinner together.

by Mohammed A. and Mohammed A.
May 31, 2022

Today was a great day. We woke up at 6:30 a.m, and we rode the van at 7:00 a.m. we were happy and wanted to head to Starbucks, and most of us drank coffee, and we enjoyed them. After that, we head to the river in which we worked, and it is called the Pointe Aux river(Marsh), and it was great; we planted the grasses. Most of us got wet, while only two did not Because they were working inside the boat. We were divided into a group of two, and each group worked in a different place. Therefore, we can plant as much as possible. After that we stopped working for 1 hour and a half to eat lunch then we went back to continue our work. Although tired, we enjoyed doing the work due to the fact that those planets which we planted helped slow the waves and hurricanes.

The weather was sunny and cloudy, and it wasn’t that hot, which is good. We worked until about 4 p.m, and we rode the van again to go to the cabins, so we can take shower and change our clothes, in addition, to taking some rest after working all that time. After that Nia brought us some pizza for dinner at the cabins, and it was very delicious. Moreover, we had a discussion about the work we did, and what was the most enjoyable part of doing that, and after, we started packing our lunch for the next day. In the end, it was a very amazing day, and we had a new experience.

by Layan Almutairi and Faisal Alijohani