Thursday, May 31, 2007

Off We, Maybe

So much to blog, so little time...and it’s just morning on Day Two!! Forgive the tendency toward short-hand. I’m typing away, sitting on the bed, which happens to be conveniently located near the phone jack I’m gonna need to transmit this.

Anyway, where to begin? How about the beginning? Let’s just get one thing out of the way: Marty and Ann picked me up at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning and...well...long-term blog readers can predict the stop at McDonald’s on the way to the airport, right? Right. (Oh, come on, M & A—you KNEW I was gonna tattle.)

The good news is, we arrived at the Burbank Airport having achieved a nearly impossible--almost UNHEARD of—feat. Namely, we got there at just the right time. Not too early, not too late. You Los Angeles natives will understand what that means. However, the bad news was, our flight was delayed an hour.

Okay, back up for a side note. Originally, we were scheduled to fly Southwest. For reasons that only Ann and I seemed to share, a couple weeks ago, we switched to American...without, er, informing Marty. As it turns out, (hey, I’m not married—what do I know?) changing travel arrangements do NOT go over well with some husbands. So, as the clerk announced that some freakin’ monster storm was attacking Dallas, Marty FUMED. See, apparently, if we were still on Southwest, we’d be flying through HOUSTON which, apparently, doesn’t HAVE freakin’ monster storms.

Eventually, we suck it up.

Our plane is now scheduled to leave at ten. Well, not exactly, they inform us. We need to PUSH BACK at ten. Then we’re gonna sit on the runway an hour. Oh, this thrills me to no end. Marty fumes some more. At least we’re traveling First Class; maybe they’ll ply us with cocktails.

And they do. Which is a good thing, since my seatmate imparts the sad info that SHE spent the morning sitting on an EARLIER flight (7 a.m.!) for an hour before they CANCELLED the flight and DEPLANED. At this point, I start praying because if it gets any worse, Marty will kill Ann and me for sure. Hell, I might kill MYSELF. Oh, and it doesn’t get any better when the pilot announces he’s now hoping to get us off the ground by eleven fricking thirty. Connections to New Orleans are starting to look iffy. A night in Dallas is starting to look possible.

Ann and I are in such deep shit.

And then...a miracle...the pilot suddenly comes over the P.A. to say, “we’re outta here.” And it’s only about 10:30! Yippee!!

Seatmate No. 1: Shauna. Consultant for the Department of Defense and the Homeland Security Guys. Trying to get to a meeting in Pensacola. We spent the flight discussing men, relationships, and the Israeli/Palestinian sitch.

Okay, moving on. Landed in Dallas, two hour layover, took off for New Orleans. Seatmate No. 2: Dina. Energy Management Specialist for La Quinta Hotel chain. At first I thought it was a bogus title, but then she told me interesting stuff about thermostats in their hotels, and how they can manage them from off-site to conserve energy. Also on the discussion table: friends who’ve circled the drain due to drugs and alcohol.

Landed in New Orleans. Man, the airport was like a ghost town. And, maybe it’s me and I was kinda projecting my feelings into the ambience, but the whole place felt...well, beaten down. Like if Katrina hadn’t come along, this place was due for a makeover and probably would’ve gotten it, but now those funds are going elsewhere. Just a hunch.

Picked up our car, and headed toward Biloxi. At this point, it’s now dark—which Marty points out quite frequently, we all know by NOW, if we’d flown on SOUTHWEST, we would have flown through Houston, and blah, blah, blah...


But it’s about ten minutes into the 90-minute drive, when our OWN freaking monster storm its. I advise Marty to locate the windshield wipers before it gets really bad.

Uh. He can’t find them.

I advise Marty to pull over onto the shoulder.

Uh. He can’t seem to see well enough to follow that advice.

Eventually he does. We sit on the shoulder for five minutes before finding the wipers. Meanwhile, trucks are speeding by so fast, they nearly wipe us off the road.

Proceed toward our destination through lightning and pouring rain...which, as y’all recall...we Californians haven’t seen in quite some time, and aren’t altogether comfortable or familiar driving in. Especially when, NOW THE WINDSHIELD’S fogging up and we can’t figure out how to defrost it.

Another trip to the shoulder.

Suffice to say...journey FROM HELL but we made it, after all.

By eleven o’clock we were down at the casino, having no luck...took a break to have dinner at the Waffle House at midnight. Mmmmm. Patti-melts to die for accompanied by hash browns, not fries. (Good idea!) Then we meandered over to the Beau Rivage—a gorgeous hotel, originally built by Steve Wynn.

So far, I haven’t quite gotten a grasp on things down here. For instance, we’re at Harrah’s Grand Hotel. Ann and Marty remember it being on the other side of the street. Well, it was. THAT Harrah’s Grand Hotel is gone; what they’re calling the Grand Hotel now was a convention center/hotel turned into a casino and purchased by Harrah’s. Many of the hotels don’t appear to be open yet (like, the Hard Rock Café), but some are. Not a whole lot of traffic along the “strip” last night, and mostly locals at the hotel.

One thing I got a kick out of: our valet, when asked about Katrina, kept referring to it as “the storm.”

Some storm.

Well...I can only further report that a late night hand of double aces in Texas Hold ‘em brought me back to about even.

Today we’re gonna take it easy—do some lolling around by the pool, and maybe get down to the beach. More thunderstorms are perdicted, so wish us luck.

Oh, and when it got windy last night—and, I mean WINDY—don’t think we all didn’t get a bit nervous. After all, tomorrow’s the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Off to see if I can figure out how to load this to my blog.

Adios for now!

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