Diary Gallery Kit
Thursday 17th July - New Orleans Louisiana Previous Top End Next

Having surfaced at some truly ungodly hour, we took a pre-dawn taxi to the airport for the flight to New Orleans. The plane took off on time and suddenly, we were really on the homebound trip, which was a bit depressing but there were a couple more days so it wasn't quite over yet (no rotund females squeaking here). While we were in the air, I had the pleasure of the window seat, which meant I could see how truly barren some of the landscape really is as we passed over Nevada and into Arizona. Equally, some of the places that I'm sure would appear totally empty if you were on the ground were peppered with ranches, much closer together than you might think.

I am sure that every resident of Phoenix must be given a pool by the local authorities or something because they all seem to have one. "Phoenix welcomes you, its newest resident, and here's your complimentary pool token, you're gonna need it!". Anyway the flight onwards from Phoenix was delayed as the airline played musical passengers with us, changing the departure gate twice before we finally got going. The flight across to New Orleans was less entertaining as the weather had been wet for a few days and heavy cloud cover still lingered over much of the South Eastern States making the view a bit tedious. Nearing New Orleans the pilot comes over the intercom to tell us that there's a storm near the airport and he's going to try and avoid it but things might get 'a bit choppy'. "Fantastic", thinks I, "start writing the will, brace for impact", but it came to naught in the end, a huge anti climax...

Once in New Orleans' Louis Armstrong airport, we had a quick discussion about where to stay, then rang one of the numbers published on a board in the baggage collection area and found that they had rooms available. Next was decisions about taxi's or buses. We plumped for a taxi and hailed the first one that came along, which was quite handy as the guy turned out to be quite a find. During the journey into town, which is no small distance, we learned that he had been some sort of consultant in the oil industry who had earned enough money to retire comfortably and now drove a taxi for entertainment and pocket money. He took us to our chosen domicile for the night and instantly informed us that we really didn't want to stay there unless we enjoyed being relieved of our cash by a guy called Bubba and being kept awake all night by 'ladies of easy virtue' in the surrounding rooms. Thus it was that he went on a crusade to find us an alternative place to stay. He sounded like he'd done a lot of this barking at hotel staff before as he made phone call after phone call to various booking agencies and hotel chains. Sadly, he failed to actually secure a room for us, but the effort earned him a healthy tip nonetheless. As it transpired, we had returned to New Orleans as Microsoft descended on the place 'en masse' for some kind of conference and hotel rooms were in generally short supply. We wondered around asking at various hotels for twenty minutes or so before finding the Royal St. Charles who had a suitable room. The price was double the average we had been paying for most of the trip, but apart from being on the seventh floor and having marginally better decor, the room was much the same as all the rest so you don't always get what you pay for!

After a short while watching some TV and dosing, we decided that food was on the cards, so set off to find Mulate's restaurant, which is apparently world famous though I didn't know at the time. Here you get Cajun food and live Cajun music in a large open plan room. I tried fried Alligator and can't say that I'd recommend it to anyone as it tasted of nothing. Perhaps the blackened version would have been better, I'll give it a go if I'm ever there again. Predictably, Dave ordered something else and it was 'great', gitt... Later, we roved back over to Bourbon Street to join the throng and stumbled across Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, the oldest in New Orleans dating back to 1772. It's a quiet place by Bourbon standards and quite pleasant as a result. After a couple of beers there, we felt up to something a little more upbeat and ended up in a place sporting a band banging out AC-DC covers. Sadly, on this occasion, tiredness got the better of us and we didn't stay out too long, choosing instead a good nights sleep. After all, there was always the next night...

Thursday 17th July - New Orleans Louisiana Previous Top End Next