I'm back and ready to tell a story

I'm back from my 11-day vacation for 3 days now and I'm ready to tell a story. So grab a seat and get comfy. This could get long, very long.

Thanksgiving was a blur this year. I'm thankful for so many things, both the good and the bad that happened this year. The good brought joys to the heart and the bad always come with lessons in life.

Anyway, my plans for Thanksgiving initially were to have a simple Thanksgiving dinner at home. As a family, we don't normally gather for Thanksgiving, only Christmas. Hence I always invite people who have nowhere to go to for Thanksgiving. In the past I have a motley crew of guests.

This year though I was a bit hesitant to extend invitation to friends because I know that I would need to be rested on Thanksgiving because our vacation starts the day after Thanksgiving.

With that in mind I didn't send out any invites, but we had bought all the fixings for the meal including a 20-lb turkey. No way are we able to finish that just us, so I called brother #4 and invited him and his family over a few days before the holiday. I knew his family doesn't do anything on Thanksgiving. That is exactly the reason why I didn't extend an invite to my other family members especially brother #2 who always have a spread on Thanksgiving.

At the last minute however, brother #4 called to say that his daughter and her family are coming over for Thanksgiving and if we would be able to join them. My niece was sick and would need surgery a few days after Thanksgiving and because of this we couldn't say no. I told my brother that I have a whole Thanksgiving feast ready to cook. So I told him I'd cook everything (well technically the husband is the cook) in the house and haul it over his the day of. Furthermore I instructed him not to get any turkey because, well I have enough for everyone.

So that's how our thanksgiving played out. 3 out of 4 brothers came to lunch, we ate with gusto. I marveled at how my nephews seem to have mastered the art of baking. Joe made us wonderful cheese biscuits, he bragged courtesy of Food Channel. Brian made a delicious sweet potato souffle. Even my niece's 7-year-old daughter made a dish. Her contribution to the table was the cranberry sauce. We told her that this year is the beginning of a tradition. She would be expected to make the sauce every single year.

We made a quick exit after a few hours because we were going to have friends over for dinner. We have some food at home and our friends joined us for dinner. They do not do thanksgiving, it's a cultural thing I suppose.

On Friday, brother #3 drove us to the train station; instead of going all the way to the airport by car, we opted to take BART. It's easier that way. Our plane took off on time at 1 PM. After an hour and a half we were landing in picturesque Salt Lake City. It's gorgeous from up there. Another hour later, we were boarding our flight to New Orleans!. We arrived in N.O. around 10 PM, immediately boarded the shuttle to the car rental, chatted with friendly locals at the car rental place who pointed us to the best eats in town we have to try and then decided to drive on local streets instead of the freeway to our hotel because we were scouting for a grocery store. We found a Winn-Dixie (don't have it in Cali) and got some essentials - sunblock, conditioner, lotion, vodka :), and frozen food for dinner.

It was past 11 PM when we drove up to our hotel and checked in. We were surprised at how lovely our hotel was, better than we expected for the price we paid. The parking however was another story, because although they have a parking lot in the back, it fills out too quickly.

We were meeting our friends in New Orleans, they flew in on Thanksgiving from New Jersey. We planned to take this trip together, but didn't talk about the hotels we'll be staying. Turned out our hotels are next to each other. Go figure.

On Saturday while our friends took a segway tour of the city, we decided to do a DIY of the city. We went to the Garden District, drove around ogling beautiful houses, stopping at the famous cemetery and was tempted to join a tour currently in progress, but I didn't want to cheat. I told my husband that we'd shoot and then google for information later.

Afterwards we drove out some more discovering churches and parks and the riverfront shopping area including the Mardi Gras museum. We parked the car a few blocks away and met our friends at the riverfront mall food court. We shared lunch and hurricane (a cocktail muy delicioso), then walked from the Riverwalk to the Mardi Gras Museum, which is a few blocks away. Browsed there, went to the riverfront, took pictures, then decided to walk from the museum to where we parked our car. Turned out there was a thousand blocks from point A to B, however, New Orleans is a walker friendly town and there's plenty to see.

Eventually we got to our parking and we loaded up the car so we could drive them to the garage where they parked their car for the day. But we hit so much traffic that the guy decided to go on foot to fetch the car. He would drive the car to the hotel and we'll meet him there. From there we would take one car and hit the nightlife of French Quarter.

French Quarter is party central. In my humble opinion as a party pooper, it is crazier than Vegas. Bourbon Street filled with people, all with drinks in hand in party mood. We walked around until we found the brewhouse that was recommended to us. There was a wait of 20 minutes so we sat in the bar and ordered 2 of the beer tasting menu, 5 different beers. Then decided to get something else, a cheese plate. By this time we lost our appetites for what the brewhouse had to offer so we cancelled our seating, and moved to next door Hard Rock Cafe. I know it's not our style to eat here. But remember we were with another couple who love to eat here.

I was almost full from the beer and the cheese plate, so hubs and I decided to split an order of fish and chips.

We walked some more after the dinner and then time to go back to the hotel.

Sunday we were embarking on a Caribbean cruise for 7 days. Check in starts at noon. We woke up early to see the sights. Being a Sunday the streets of New Orleans were empty. We returned to French Quarter, went to the cathedral and Jackson Square, drove out to the riverfront and French Market, then plugged in the city park in our GPS and drove around the beautiful and spacious park with old oak trees that have long graceful limbs. We saw a wedding under a picturesque oak tree, very romantic.

Then the hubs dropped us off at the port while they returned the cars. This gave us girls a time to chat. Here's the deal. I've known this couple for a very short time. One day to be exact. I knew them for one day 3 years ago in another cruise. We went on a day excursion with them in Cairo visiting the pyramids. We were in the same Mediterranean cruise. That excursion consisted of 11 people including us, 9 of which are our facebook friends. So via facebook we kept in touch; hence we were able to plan this cruise with them.

Technically I don't know them, because I probably have exchanged a dozen words with them prior to this trip. But from the very beginning it seemed like we were old friends. There was no awkwardness, only catching up, can you believe that?

So the time we were waiting for the hubs to return, we chatted furiously and shared future travel plans.

The hubs returned and we got checked in without any hassle. Now off to the cruise.

Will tell you all about it soon. Needless to say, I need a vacation after the vacation because I'm very tired :)


PEACHY said…
wow! another long vacation for you guys :-) inggit ako! sana si alvin din may long vacation leave like that
Josiet said…
Haha, I can so relate about needing a vacation right after the vacation!

Looking forward to the cruise story :)

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