Before I transferred to my new job, hubby and I took a well-earned short vacation. We went to New Orleans for all of 3 glorious days on airline miles and a Groupon deal. We made a point of walking around for a minimum of 4-6 hours a day to see/eat/drink/do as much as possible. We walked so much, in fact, that I could have eaten pretty much anything I wanted, calorie-wise. Not to mention we pretty much got the hookup on free and discounted food from various coincidences, aka errors made in our favor.
The Hand of Fate or Luck or The Art of “Oops!” all seemingly conspired to help lighten the load on our wallets. To explain, alls we had to do to get 2 free vouchers for the Hotel Modern’s “General’s Breakfast” was: check our luggage at the front desk upon arrival (4 hours before check-in time), walk around the French Quarter and Business District for 5 hours, eating fantastic shrimp-and-grits and a chicken sandwich at the Hard Rock Cafe in the French Quarter and strolling through the converted US Mint/museum until even I was too tired & cranky to do anything but whine like a sleep-starved toddler at the otherwise magical French Market. By the time we had all but collapsed in our adorably appointed micro hotel-room, the magic of the aforementioned unseen forces had teamed up to cause 2 hotel-guests to be simultaneously checked in with 2 different agents in different areas of the hotel. So hubby & I along with some poor, unsuspecting, single gentleman all got assigned the same room with matching room-key cards.
Unsuspecting Single Gentleman was sort of shocked and dismayed to have his hotel-room door opened for him by a perplexed Hubby in Boxers. It took all of two-shakes for the front desk to call us in our room, admit their horrific error and make amends. Our reward was free breakfast and an extra 20% off voucher for drinks & lunch or dinner. I had wanted to buy poor, apologetic Unsuspecting Single Gentleman a drink but we never ran into him again. Hilarious…
Our second and ultimately last “disaster” happened during a 6-hour stroll we took around New Orleans’ French Quarter. We wound up for like the third time on Decatur (or was it Magazine?) Street and got shafted for some 10¢ Mardis Gras beads. If you ever find yourself face-to-face with a skinny dude wearing an endless grin and who is way too hyper-happy to not be high telling you that “Your purchase helps the homeless”, just walk away. No, RUN! I wound up less $7 for 3 strands of those colorful, metallic-painted plastic beads that you can probably buy (a 5 lb bag of) for the same damn price.
Home-slice literally poured out of the camera store in front of us and gently graced our necks with the souvenir beads. When he dropped his spiel I handed him $2, which he protested. I should have known he was a scam-artist when he did the same thing to a gentleman behind us, who quickly walked away without handing over any cash. I was sure hyper-homie would alert his boss or the police but no dice… Suspicious… Then he bargained with me for more cash and I stupidly went back in my wallet for a 5-spot intending to trade him up to my new offer. As soon as my husband relayed my intentions homie snatched up my 5 dollar bill and proceeded skip away on the quick-step. Buh-bye $7. Hubby says we should consider ourselves lucky that we didn’t get robbed of more than that, but these days every penny counts so it was kind of infuriating.
Karma came to the rescue on the night before we left. No, Homie the Crackhead did not get pinched in retribution for his basically robbing us with our permission. Unfortunately. We went downstairs to the ritzy bar-restaurant in our hotel and only intended to have a couple of drinks and maybe split an appetizer for our 20%-off coupon. We ordered some fancy, old-timey drinks from the menu with 2 orders of duck cracklings off the butcher board platter. You could get one southern treat for $7 or all 5 of them for $24. The server brought out 2 fully appointed butcher boards and when I was on the verge of sending them back our waitress told us that the chef goofed and gave us each a full board. We were welcome to partake of the duck cracklings, pickled watermelon, boudin balls, hogs head-cheese and some fancy mustard for just $7.
Friends at work were disappointed that we didn’t eat at Emeril’s or any of the other more upscale recommendations they made for our culinary enjoyment. But we did so well on reparations during that trip so methinks someone up there must have been watching out for us.
We got to enjoy a beautiful city for a few days and sampled some unique foods (boudin balls, alligator, andouille, Prah-leens!) and I wound up 2 pounds lighter from slamming the pavement for several hours a day in NOLA. I guess poverty does have some benefits!
Now if I only got to enjoy my new job without stress and live in my home without the Grim Reaper hovering all over my bank account, everything would be perfect!