Despite spending the last day and a half desperately trying to hold down the slightest thing, say water; I am feeling well. I’m still sore from the dry-heaves and my head aches a bit but, all in all, I think the flu has passed.
Unfortunately, I will probably associate New Orleans with the view of my toilet bowl for the rest of my life but, you know, I can think of worse things.
Anyhoodle, the trip itself was interesting. Hugh and I were scheduled to fly out of town at 7:00 Thursday morning but, due to the mini-blizzard that blew into the area, actually made it out closer to 9:00. By then, our connecting flight had left without us and we were rerouted to New Orleans through Philadelphia. Unfortunately, that flight left Denver late, thus placing us in Philadelphia late enough to miss our connecting flight which is when the airline, in its infinite wisdom, booked us on a flight from Philadelphia to Chicago, Chicago to Pittsburg and Pittsburg to New Orleans except, oh yeah, we didn’t actually have seats on that plane so, um, shall we “see what we can do?” said the nice (if very frazzled) woman at the customer service desk.
Yes, yes, please.
Here is where I tell you how beneficial simply being polite to a customer service representative can be; after a long and exhaustive search for a more direct flight to New Orleans, during which time Hugh and I smiled and nodded and generally behaved ourselves, the lovely agent found us seats on a direct flight leaving at 7:30 the following morning. Unfortunately, rumor had it that most of the hotels near the airport were over-sold so; we would probably have to bunk in the airport but! since we had been so cooperative, the agent upgraded our seats to first class.
Being nice counts when it matters, people.
So, we spent the night in the airport. Hugh can sleep anywhere so, he had no trouble dozing off. I, on the other hand, require a certain level of comfort in order to sleep; none of which includes a naugahyde couch, floor-buffers operating at two a.m. or the constant buzzing of overhead lights. Needless to say, I did not sleep at all. I did, however, manage to read through the latest Jodi Picoult novel and one by Maeve Binchy.
When we finally flew out on the 7:30 for New Orleans, I knew the Philadelphia airport by the back of my hand, including the Gap, where I purchased Hugh and myself each a new outfit, so positive was I that our luggage would never make it to New Orleans with us (it did). Fourteen hours in the airport was also enough time for me to reach the following conclusion: The center of global warming is the Philadelphia airport. Seriously folks, you might want to turn the thermostat down juuust a titch.
Once we landed in New Orleans, we headed to the hotel where we showered and dressed prior to meeting Oscar and Emily at the convention. Hugh and Oscar took off to do hardware type buying while Emily and I hit the gift buying area and, despite the fact that I was starting to majorly drag ass; finished our buying in record time.
Although the thought of falling into bed was looking more and more appealing, we instead joined Oscar and Emily at the opening night cocktail party. The party was held in the warehouse area that the floats for the Mardi Gras parade are stored and Hugh and I had a ball taking pictures of them. I can now say that I stood next to the floats and will never have to journey to New Orleans to see them glide down the street while crazy women flash their breasts and drunken people pee on the sidewalk. I’m a better woman for it.
After the cocktail party, Hugh wanted to join some friends from another store on a pilgrimage to the French Quarter. At that point, I had been awake for going on 40 hours but, I am nothing if not a good sport so, I went along. By the time we finally got back to the hotel, I resembled the walking dead and, two seconds later, I was comatose.
The following morning, I joined Emily for some shopping. My cold, which had been getting steadily worse throughout the trip, reared its ugly head and, I excused myself for an hour-long nap that ended up lasting five but; I felt much improved upon awakening. Dinner that night was in celebration of Oscar’s birthday and then, since he and Emily had made the trip by car and were planning on leaving early the next morning; we said goodbye.
Sunday Hugh and I spent the entire day exploring the French Quarter. We did all of the typical touristy things including a carriage ride, tour of St. Louis cathedral and the requisite stop at Marie Leveau's house of Voodoo. That night, we took a walking tour of New Orleans most haunted places and some of the images that Hugh captured on the camera would cause a non-believer to scratch his head. It was cool.
Monday, we played the same cat-and-mouse games with the airline industry that we had on the trip out but, with slightly less stress and no overnight stay in Philadelphia.
It was good to get home to the children and, considering the fact that the flu hit me at 5:00 on Tuesday morning; it was a darn good thing we weren’t sleeping in an airport.
As I said, today I feel much improved. So much so that I might actually unpack my suitcase and do some laundry. The excitement, I know!