Smooth trip home

(Yesterday’s sunset.  All photos © 2009 by Robin)

M and I are back in the Bogs where all seems well.  The kitties survived and are currently giving me the evil eye for leaving them with the petsitter for 8 days.  I imagine they’ll find ways to repay me over the next 24 hours.  That’s the way of it with cats.  I feel lucky if they get it out of their systems within 24 hours.

The trees are getting ready to burst out in leaves.  Some of the flowering trees are doing just that — flowering.  The daffodils are almost finished for the season and the tulips seem to be at their peak.  Dandelions have sprung up all over, leaving a carpet of yellow across the fields.  The temperature when we landed in Cleveland was 88°F.  That’s hotter than it got in New Orleans the entire time we were down there.  It’s a drier heat here, for now.

Interesting coincidence:  The weather here on Sunday when we arrived home was the same in terms of temperature and winds as it was in New Orleans the Saturday we arrived there.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I finally got my first look at Madison Grace yesterday via photos emailed to me.  She is, as expected, gorgeous!  I can’t wait to meet her.  M and I are going down there this weekend to do just that.  We’ll also get a chance to watch Miss Emma as she plays soccer and takes swim lessons.  I’m really looking forward to it.

I’ve been sorting through all the photos I took in New Orleans (the grand total, for inquiring minds that want to know, was 692) in between unpacking and doing laundry.  It’s so nice outside that I hope to get out to the garden soon.  I’m waiting for the UPS guy to show up with a package and then I’m outta here for a while.

In the meantime, and while I’m waiting, I might as well get started writing about our New Orleans adventures.

(Bourbon Street during the day.)

We arrived in New Orleans on Saturday, April 18, around 10:30 in the morning.  M had called the day before to see if we could check in at our hotel early.  He was told that if a room was ready, we could.  Unfortunately, a room wasn’t ready.  However, Mr. Stanley (who I think might be the manager) did suggest we leave our luggage with him so we could go out and explore a little.  He also offered to phone us when the room was ready.  So we dumped our bags and set out for the French Quarter which was only a few blocks from where we were staying.

(Still on Bourbon Street.)

It was a hot and humid day.  As you can see from the photos, it was also overcast.  Even so, I managed to get sunburnt.  It didn’t occur to me when I was getting ready to leave home to put on sunscreen.  It was cold and cloudy here in the Bogs.  Sunscreen just doesn’t come to mind under those conditions.   It was also dark.  I was up at 3:30am to get ready to go to the airport in Cleveland.  My mind isn’t at its sharpest at 3:30am.

(More of Bourbon Street and the strip clubs.)

Bourbon Street and the French Quarter were a bit of a shock to my system.   The French Quarter Festival was just getting revved up for the day, and people were beginning to pour into the French Quarter.  I was on sensory overload by the end of the day, most of that due to being tired from the very early morning wake-up and the traveling.  There were so many sights, sounds, smells, and people.  It was hard to take it all in at first.

The streets look relatively empty in the photos I’ve posted so far.  They seemed more crowded to me at the time.  Later in the day I was to learn that the traffic was very light during the beginning of our walk through the French Quarter.

Our first order of business was to find lunch.  We decided on The Old Coffee Pot.  The food listed on the menu sounded good and the place was packed with people.  I wish I’d taken some photos while we were there as it’s an interesting place.  I especially liked the courtyard area.  We were seated inside, looking out at the street.  I had a peek at the courtyard while searching for the loo.

The food was good.  M had a crawfish po’boy and I had red beans and rice with some of the best andouille I’ve ever tasted.  The red beans and rice needed some spicing up, but that’s what the big bottle of hot sauce on the table is for.  The wait staff aren’t assigned tables at the Old Coffee Pot which makes it seem chaotic at first, but somehow it all works out.  We learned that the wait staff are also known for their attitude.  It was a fun place and if I hadn’t been feeling so tired and crabby at the time, I probably would have enjoyed it more.  There was a big party of already fairly drunk people sitting behind us, being pretty rowdy.  The waitress seemed to be enjoying herself when she gave them a hard time about not tipping enough.  I suspect it’s a game they play often as after some bantering back and forth, they gave her another $10 and one of the guys in the group commented, “This is why I love coming to this place.”

(St. Peter Street)

By the time we finished lunch, the streets were really beginning to fill up with people and the sounds of music were drifting through the air.  The French Quarter Fest was getting into full swing.  M had a schedule with him so we set out to see and hear some of the bands playing at the various stages.

(Rouses Market at St. Peter and Royal.)

If you look closely at the bottom left of the above photo, you’ll see a woman standing outside selling muffulettas and a small variety of fruit and veggies.  I almost bought a muffuletta from her the next day, but decided to wait and have one later in the week.

(Rouses Stage on Royal Street.)

The French Quarter Festival is a free musical event.  They have about a dozen or so stages set up throughout the French Quarter on Bourbon Street, Royal Street, Jackson Square, Preservation Hall, and along the riverfront.  There are over 90 food and drink booths set up in Jackson Square and along the riverfront where you can sample some of New Orleans diverse and delicious cuisine.

The kids pictured above were pretty good.  We stopped to listen to them on our way to another stage.

(Back on Bourbon Street.)

Well, the UPS guy finally arrived bearing the expected package.  I’m going to head outside for a while, have a look around at all that’s been going on while we were away.  There may even be some asparagus spears ready for picking.

I’ll be back with more sometime soon.