Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week 6 - Headed to NOLA

What’s not to like about a week that starts with a snow day and ends in the Caribbean? Nothing!

Since I’d known UNL was off before I went to bed Sunday night, I thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in on Monday and then having a lazy day of knitting in the sun while the winds blew the snow around. Not enough to need to reshovel, which was nice. The day ended with knitting at the library while we ate caramel corn and I got some fun birthday gifts from Andrea. What a perfect start to the week!

Tuesday was a busy but fun day. It started with birthday gifts from friends, soup food day for lunch, my super yummy Funny Bones birthday treats and monthly reports to make the day go quickly. I would be going home to a clean house too. It was time to start thinking about packing but I spent the night knitting and watching TV instead. Go figure. Since there was another storm that would make the morning drive on Wednesday a nightmare, I did something I rarely do and worked from home. I did all my monthly emails and was done by 1:00, by which time the snow had stopped and the sun was out. After a brief stint of shoveling, I headed to work. The reason I went in at all was the water aerobics gang was going out for dinner at Dempsey’s after swimming and I didn’t want to miss it. We had a great time with yummy food – Guinness with burgers and truffle fries. Only when I went to leave, my car was stuck. It took 2 passersby and 3 men from the bar to push my Honda out from the curb. Winter in Nebraska.

Thursday was go time for packing, which I done nothing about, not even made a real  list and I had laundry yet to do. I was actually more concerned than usual about packing because my usual mantra of “I’m not going to Zimbabwe so I’ll buy anything I forget!” wouldn’t work on the boat so I felt pressured to remember absolutely everything. I spent the evening gathering things from around the house and making stacks on my bed. When I was done for the night, I threw it all in the suitcase and went to bed, hoping I’d be able to sleep OK. I’d left a few things to do in the morning since I wouldn’t leave the house until 11:30 so wasn’t stressed about time and did manage to sleep just fine.

The morning wasn’t rushed and I had my bags packed and was headed to the airport right on schedule. There was no point in being nervous any longer. I was on my way. The flights were completely uneventful and I arrived in New Orleans on time, stopping to eat some greens and macaroni while I waited for Connie. Once she arrived, we grabbed a cab and got to the hotel with no problem. I could only hope the rest of the trip would go as smoothly.

Saturday was our day to see New Orleans. Connie’s daughter had recommended a restaurant for shrimp and grits for breakfast so after getting directions and a map from the concierge, we headed towards the trolley stop. Well, the concierge had put too many stars on the map he’d given us so we got off at the wrong stop and had to backtrack a bit to find Surrey’s. We met a local who walked with us and told us some of the local color so it was fun. We also passed a yarn shop (one of those stars on the map) and so after an amazing breakfast, I got to buy yarn. All good, right? Then we walked to the Lafayette Cemetery and around the Garden District until we’d gotten a flavor for the area, at which point we caught the bus to the French Quarter. I wanted to get to St. Louis’ Cathedral so we shopped our way towards there. When Connie decided she needed a psychic reading, I told her I’d wait for her in the The Quarter Stitch – the yarn shop just down the street. Nice. She had her fun and I had mine. Nothing like vacation yarn purchases to make me happy. We were starting to fade after walking all day so we stopped for coffee and beignets. Yum. Next stop was a parade, which just happened to be between us and the hotel. We screamed for beads with everyone else and when we had enough, we waited to cross the route and get back to the hotel. Well, we crossed once only to find we needed to recross closer to the hotel. By the time we got back, it was nearly dinner time and we were both exhausted. I had a blister too so we ate a delicious dinner at a restaurant right by the hotel and fell into bed exhausted. The next day was the cruise.

Our plan for Sunday was to have a quick breakfast at the Starbuck’s in the hotel, check out at 11:00 and take a cab to the docks in hopes we could get on the ship early. It’s a good thing we left when we did because the parade route was in between the hotel and the docks so our cabbie was able to sneak through a barricade only because the parade hadn’t started. There were many people boarding and so we joined the throngs and made our way through the lines. We were onboard and eating at the stern in less than an hour. We wouldn’t have access to our room for awhile so we explored the ship after we ate. It was crammed with people but we scoped out some quiet areas to check out later. The best thing was discovering the Serenity Spa area at the bow of the ship. It had none of the over the top tackiness of the rest of the ship and was adults only. We’d be spending lots of time there for sure. After finding out room (an interior (cheap) room on deck 7), we changed and headed up to our first dinner at our table – 8 people who all knew each other plus Connie and me. The food was decent and the people were pleasant enough, which was a good thing because we’d be seeing a lot of each other. We went to bed hopeful that we’d be enjoying the next 7 days on the boat. Time would tell.

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