Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Orleans: Part 1: Drinking, Boys and The Mississippi

From March 6 through March 8, 2010 I had a fabulous trip to New Orleans.

Here is Part 1 of a 3 Part Diary Series of the Weekend:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Trolley Tracks
This was my first time driving myself to the airport (which added a whole new stress to traveling) but I was happy that I was in control of my arrival (versus asking a friend to drive).

I arrived at BWI with plenty of time to spare, so after going through security I began my trip with what the Hobbits call “Second Breakfast.” I read a couple magazines and some of Harry Potter Book 3 and soon my flight was boarding (see side bar for info on Southwest boarding).


If you’ve never flown Southwest, let me tell you, they have an interesting seating arrangement. You are not assigned a seat when you buy the ticket (or when you check in on-line 24 hours in advance of your flight), but are assigned a boarding Group and Number (for instance A24 or C8). Each letter group is called to line up in numerical order and then its general seating on the plane, so A1 lines up first and has his/her choice of seats/

A1 – 15 is set aside for business travelers and A List members (those who are frequent fliers). Then when you check in on-line you are assigned a boarding number based on when you check in. So if timed perfectly you could be A16, although for $10 on top of the ticket price, you can have Southwest check in for you, and they begin the check in process 36 hours before. (Your place in this virtual cue is based on when you purchase the upgrade).

I purchased the upgrade and had a spot of A23, A22 and A21 (three separate boardings for the round trip flight). My boarding position allowed me to take front row seats (with all the leg room I could ask for).

Southwest serves complimentary soft drinks and a bag of peanuts/pretzels. They also serve hard drinks for an about average fee. Signature cocktails (that change monthly) are about $4.00
E2 Jefferson County Transit Bus – Airport Express (A new experience)

The bus from the airport was about 20 minutes late (something that hasn’t happened to me since moving back to DC, where all busses have GPS tracking devices and can be located using a mobile browser).

I’ve ridden a lot of mass-transit busses in my time in many different states (NJ, NY, MA, MD, DC, FL, and in New South Whales, Australia) but this was the first time I ever saw the following:
• A cracked window (The windshield had several cracks running through the “passenger” pane).
• The driver eating (the bus driver was eating his fast food chicken nuggets and drinking his giant soda while driving the bus). (I actually didn’t even see a “No Eating” sign so I guess this was allowed).
• The label “Express” was a misnomer - as this was a local bus, making stops on every other corner.

While I’m talking about the E2 here’s some more notices from the return trip:
• 20 minutes late again.
• The driver had to get out and manually start the windshield wipers.
• We took a detour so the cash receptacle could be replaced (I’ve ridden many DC and MD busses where they just finish the route, and more, before pulling over to fix this non-critical problem).
I boarded the flight, and as soon as possible, I started my drinking. I ordered the Signature drink (a vodka, cranberry, apple cocktail), and settled in for a long flight with Harry Potter and Rules of Attraction. We stopped in Alabama, and once we were back in the air, I had a second drink. (I bet you’ll start seeing a pattern of activities this weekend).

After landing at Louis Armstrong International, I skipped the luggage carousel – having packed in a single book bag and purse – and looked for the bus to take me to the French Quarter. Well the bus did not go all the way there, so with my trusty I-phone, I found how to get to the trolley car.

Bourbon Street
Trolley ride over and I check into my hotel: The Wyndham Chateau Bourbon, and I begin exploring the area. I walk up and down Bourdon street, noticing all the drunks at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I stop at a restaurant: Boudreaux's Backyard, for a drink and a yummy mushroom plate, then back to my hotel for a quick power nap before my dinner cruise on the Creole Queen.

Creole Queen
I walk down to the water front (ahh the mighty Mississippi River). On the paddleboat river cruise, I made friends with the two couples that shared my table. Found common ground with each of the women, but really connected with Joan. I order a Hurricane (apparently a local drink), and Joan gave me her two drink coupons! (Score). The food on the boat wasn’t my cup of tea (I had a mess of veggies and something that looked like chicken but tasted like fish – I later found out it was tilapia. I also tried some gumbo – eh). I had a couple more drinks (thanks Joan) and enjoyed the cool air out on the deck as we returned to port.

Hotel Lobby
I went back to my hotel room for a shower and a quick change for my nighttime entertainment (yes, I brought my glitter make-up with me).

I had used an online site to help me create the walking “tour” for my bar crawl. But once I tried to use it, I realized that the tour did not print out direction or addresses. It only included a map with a pin and a corresponding note that I had assigned (such as “lounge” or “dancers”), so my trusty I-phone saved the day yet again.

700 Club
Reminded me a lot of Efen in DC, a small bar with a lounge type feel, where there were a few groups of people. I had a few drinks here, but left after a while, because no one would talk with me.

Good Friends Bar
Next stop was to be Rawhide, but they had a cover charge so I continued to The Good Friends Bar. Despite the crappy sounding name, this bar, was much more welcoming to the single traveler. I had a few shots and a drink or two, and made a friend: Nigel. Nigel was a cute boy from Mississippi, in New Orleans on holiday with his friend Jeff. Nigel and Jeff had just come from Rawhide and told me I hadn’t missed much. Nigel and I flirt as we chat about traveling and things we’ve in NO. Then I decide it’s time to move to the next bar on my list. Nigel and Jeff join me.

I had heard some great things about Oz on And was very excited to be going (only to be slightly disappointed with a cover charge). But we go in, and Nigel and I start dancing. We loose Jeff (who returned to Rawhide). Nigel and I decide to make our way back to my hotel room (thus abandoning my bar crawl itinerary). On our way back, I get my first and only set of beads thrown at me, by a girl on a balcony, for the hot make out session Nigel and I had out on Bourbon Street.

I’ll stop there for today, and leave it up to your imagination what Nigel and I did back in the hotel room (though not much imagination could be needed).

Since the rest of this night technically falls under “Sunday” I’ll leave you with this: After getting Nigel a cab back to his hotel (which he couldn’t remember where it was), I decided to go out again, and do something really bad!

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of my New Orleans trip to find out about: Disney, Mexican Food, more boys and that very naughty thing I did twice on this trip!


janice said...

I think that is very interesting to do in a day..

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Davenz said...

NIce blog..

thanks for sharing

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chum said...

When you are new in a place, it is best to ride transportation that can bring you to different locations without the worry of getting lost. In San Diego, the trolley does just that. If you want to travel most places in the city, you can ride the San Diego trolley.

Kind Regards,
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chum said...

This is really cool wow nice place...will set a plan to go there someday..thanks keep sharing.

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