Flew out of Orlando Sunday morning via Southwest. It was my first time flying SW, I usually go with whoever has the direct flight and don’t any loyalty to any particular airline, not flying enough to pay attention to the miles. The SW boarding process is mildly interesting, not sure it’s faster than the way all the others do it – except that they do a better job of queuing people off to the side and not blocking the gate. Chatted with Christian Loris (@chrisloris) at the airport, on the same flight to New Orleans.
Uneventful flight, and mercifully short compared to the annual trip to Seattle for PASS. Chris and I shared a cab in ($33 standard fare) and then split up to head to our respective hotels. I’m at the Wyndham Whitney this time, a ‘historical’ hotel that used to be a bank. Wanted to get away from the big hotels, took a chance and this time has been fine. Room is small, no wireless, and $9.95 for internet, but otherwise is fine. Of course I arrived at 10 am so no room was available, checked my bag and started the tourist time, heading for the French Quarter with laptop bag shouldered, not trusting the hotel with it!
Hot in New Orleans, but not much different than Orlando, so walking was fine. Seems like a good city for walking. Found way down to Jackson Square and around to Cafe du Monde, but it was packed with a big line, Sunday morning must be prime time for beignets. Wandered some, Bourbon St seems to have about 100 bars all selling frozen daiquris and pizza by the slice, reminds of Spring Break/average beach waterfront type area. Lots of nice galleries a block away, along with a zillion t-shirt shops too.
Finally stopped for breakfast, they had an omelette with grits (not my favorite even though I’m from the South), asked for hash browns, what I got was cubed breakfast potatoes. That’s fine and good, but it ain’t hash browns! I knew it was going to be a little strange from the start, sat at the bar to have iced tea because I saw a power outlet I could use, but you couldn’t get food at the bar, had to move to the table 10 feet away! Good food though.
Next was the Old US Mint Museum, which is, as you may guess, and old US Mint. Free, but not too exciting. They had a 200 ton coin press made in the 1800’s that was used up until 1974, some fair interesting balance type scales, and one minor marvel, a machine that mechanically assessed coins as too heavy, too light, or just right.
More walking, saw the French market, then back to Cafe du Monde for iced cafe au lait and beignets. Good, not sure it’s better than Top Pot though! Relaxed there for a while while it rained a little, then journeyed back across town to the World War II Museum. $18 entry fee, and no large bags, had to check the laptop bag (that’s like handing your child to a stranger!). Museum was…not bad. Not fantastic, but lots of good stuff to see. A copy of the speech by Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor marked up by hand. A great wall sized electronic display of the Pacific war, in 6 minutes you get a really good feel for the global dimensions and the big naval battles. Worth the trip if you’re here. Didn’t hit the movie next door (another $10 I think).
And that’s just half the day!