Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2004

"Nawlins" - The Big Easy

A slightly odd thing happened this morning. My intention had been to set the alarm for 0500 and indeed I adjusted the time accordingly. However I failed to enable the alarm. Yet I woke up unassisted at 0456 and spotted the mistake! I made some coffee in my room and made use of the hotel's excellent complimentary snacks in the room to have a light 'first breakfast'. I checked out of the hotel at 0615 and caught the shuttle to the airport, accompanied by another AA crew. I had a trouble-free check-in, apart from the fact that the computer randomly selected me for a special security check, but that also passed without incident. Locating the Admiral's Club, I was delighted to find that this was a far superior lounge to the one at SFO. It was comfortable and tastefully decorated - and I quite liked its rather maze-like construction. I made my way to the gate in good time for the start of boarding and indeed was first on board.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

On arrival at MSY, I was pleased to note the excellent weather conditions. Despite previous thoughts, I found myself yet again booking onto one of the hotel shuttle vans, along with a full load of other people. It turns out the city was extremely busy this weekend due to a big basketball game in town. (This also explains why the somewhat exorbitant hotel rates for the Saturday dropped off dramatically on Sunday.) I arrived at my hotel at about noon and was very pleased that my room was ready and waiting. And a very nice, quiet and secluded room it was too, with a slightly odd layout. It was at the end of a corridor, with all the other rooms on the two side walls, as normal. When you opened the door, the corridor continued, took a 90 degree turn and continued again. Only then did you get to the main part of the room.

I had a light tuna sandwich lunch and set off to explore the local area on foot. My ambitions for the day were quite limited : just get orientated and soak up the atmosphere of this great party city. I wandered some of the streets of the French Quarter, leading down to St Louis Cathedral, where a wedding was about to take place. I then moved up to the riverfront walkway and listened to the very unusual steam organ of the stern-wheel steamer Natchez belting out some popular tunes before the 1430 sailing. I walked as far as the shopping mall before turning and retracing my steps. On my way back to the hotel, more out of a feeling that I had to at least once, I chose a route that would involve the incredibly tacky and occasionally sleazy Bourbon Street.

I had a rest back at the hotel before heading out again later for a brief stroll and a steak & shrimp dinner. Although I felt a bit of a party-pooper, I had been up since the equivalent of 0400 local time and was determined to have an early night. Further confusion would be added to my own perception of time by the forthcoming overnight switch to summer time, losing another hour of sleep. I am not much of a party animal at the best of times and was in no mood to change my ways today, given all the circumstances. There's always tomorrow.

Oh, that title! In case you didn't realise, the first word is a somewhat extreme rendition of the name of this place - a bit like Embra for the Scottish capital   It was interesting to note that the airport announcements in Boston made the same mistake as most UK people, pronouncing the name as New OrLEANS. As anyone who's been here knows, it's New ORleans.