New Orleans – 2018
Monday, April 9th. – Day One
I had a bit of a panic yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. I realised that I had not had an email from ESTA regarding my online USA Vis application. I logged on to their website to check the processing and had to pay another $38 for confirmation which (unfortunately) make take 24-48 hours. Hmm, not good as I fly out tomorrow. Then I had an even worse realisation. I am pretty sure I did not complete Wendy’s application at all. As many of you may know, Wendy and Cara are currently in China. No Facebook there and emails are sporadic. I can see her going to the Chinese airport for her flight to New Orleans next week and being turned away. I quickly got a message to Kate who as some apps thing with Cara to ask her to send Wendy’s passport details to me. Turns out I had no need to worry as Cara had arranged her own and Wendy’s USA Visa in early February. Whew! Then another Whew. I got an email a few hours later confirming that my Visa had already been authorised.
Got the suitcase packed (last minute job as always) whilst the Doggies were beating up on Essendon.
Up at 6:15 AM Monday morning for my trip to the airport. My flight leaves at Noon and Kate is going to give me a lift. The Ring Road is shit as always. Will there ever be a day when there are no roadworks on this monstrosity? As bad as the traffic is on the way to the airport it is three times worse inward bound. Kate may be late getting to work for a 9 AM start time.
I had no hassles checking in and getting through Border Security. My flight is with Delta, however, I am flying with their affiliate Virgin. Thirteen and a half hours to L.A. not a pleasant thought.
Bummer, my iPod only allowed three albums to be played before the battery died. Before you go, ‘why didn’t I fully charge it’? I did, I did. My iPod is an old model but the advantage is it has over 300 gig of storage which is great but not when the battery is cooked.
I have decided to not watch movies on the flight as my eyes just get to red and sore. Instead, I listened to an Audio Book via the airline’s entertainment selection. I nearly purchased this book last week as the title was very interesting. ‘The French Art of Not Giving A F**k’ by Fabrice Midal. Three hours and Forty-Five minutes of fascinating insight into the way we think and how we should maybe make some changes. I will buy a copy when I get a chance.
I must be getting used to the long haul as I was relaxed throughout the mostly smooth flight.
We landed in L.A. right on time (9AM) and the ordeal of getting through Border Security is now so much easier. Everything is automated for us Australians as we are part of the Visa Waiver program. You scan your own passport and take your own fingerprints. Print out a receipt and present it to a live person. Border Security (as they always do) asked where I was heading and for what reason. “New Orleans, Sir, and the reason is the French Quarter Music Festival and Jazz Fest. Must be my new ‘long hairstyle’ as I was asked if I was a musician. Oh, how chuffed that made me feel. “No, sir’ I replied to which he added, “an aficionado then”? Yep, that will do.
L.A. airport as with the Western Ring road is always undergoing some sort of construction. After I had dumped my bags I then had to find out what terminal my connecting Delta flight was leaving from. Signage at L.A. is at a minimum and it is one big damn mother fuckin’ airport. It was an ordeal, but I finally got through the internal security check and caught a shuttle bus to the right terminal. Then had another 15-minute walk to terminal 133. Kate warned me to take my walking cane! Should have taken her advice.
The local flight takes off at Noon for the 3plus hour trip down to New Orleans with arrival at 5:45 PM. I know, you say, that is a five-hour trip. Yes, but New Orleans is 2 hours ahead of L.A. time. One thing I do notice about the passengers waiting to board is that several of them are carrying musical instruments and are left of centre looking. I feel right at home with my fellow travellers.
Out very good friend (Pat) has kindly taken time off work to pick me up. She told me via email that her boss is away on a business trip. So, her leaving work early will be fine. We landed right on time and Pat was waiting with a big smile on her face. “Guess what just happened”, she said laughing. My boss called me (she was in Houston) and said she got an early flight home. Imagine Pat’s horror when she looked up whilst waiting for me and saw her boss walking toward her. Pat had to duck her head and luckily her boss did not see her playing truant from work.
Mickey was waiting for me on the porch as we pulled up to the Apartment with a key. William (my friend and landlord) is currently vacationing in Costa Rica.
It is now 7 PM and I am showered and wide awake. I headed down to Frenchman Street for a bite to eat (Gulf Coast Fish Tacos) at the ‘Three Muses’ plus a fruity IPA. I have plans to have an early night. Yeah’ right an early night in New Orleans’. A quick visit to the Casino and (with no luck) I headed home about 9PM. I had to stop for a pee at a bar on St. Peters called St. Lawrence. Never been in here before so I did the right thing and ordered a beer and a snack of ‘Glazed Crystal Hot Sauce chicken wings’). The bar lady was cool and up for a chat. A friend of hers came in from knocking off at a shift at some other bar. She introduced me to her (Tiffany) and we chatted for a while. It is always good to meet locals. I got four recommendations for restaurants that I have not been to before, mostly out of the Quarter. Tiffany does some shift work at the high-end Muriel’s restaurant, so she should know what she is talking about. She also wants to catch up with Wendy and Cara when they make it into town. Next thing you know it is after midnight. As is the custom in New Orleans you very often finish with a shot of something to end the night. Seeing as Tiffany is a local and knows the barmaid she orders two shots of (some sort) of whiskey. Well, the shot turned out to be four shots in one as that is how they are poured in these here parts if you are known. I got home after 1 PM a little the worse for wear!