New Orleans, Day One

New Orleans

Busy day!  We got up early-ish (it’s an hour earlier here) and decided to check out the sky deck.  Quite a view of New Orleans, including the SuperDome

From the Skydeck

From the Skydeck

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SuperDome

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Panorama of New Orleans

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Looking down on the Ashley House from the Skydeck

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Then down to the second floor to check out the laundry room, to see if we needed detergent or anything,  We couldn’t find the laundry room at all so we went to the front desk for directions, then back up to the 2nd floor.

Down to the courtyard,  I didn’t get many pictures because it was raining but here’s what I have…

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From here we went off to Walgreens for stuff we needed, forgot or just wanted.  We took that stuff home, then decided to go the other direction on the St. Charles streetcar.

Lots of interesting old homes.

From http://www.neworleansonline.com/tools/streets/saintcharles.html

St. Charles Avenue has been described most aptly as “The Jewel of America’s Grand Avenues.” It is, indisputably, the most superb collection of great mansions of the South. The Avenue offers to all an open opportunity to enjoy the lofty magnificence of true, gracious living from 19th century New Orleans.

Visitors to our City are able to tour the Avenue by foot, car or streetcar. A ride on the infamous Saint Charles streetcar provides a unique way to enjoy the splendor of the Avenue, from the statuesque monument at Lee Circle to its end point in the old town of Carrollton upriver.

The Avenue is also in glorious state as the place of residence for historic Audubon Park, for the City’s renowned centers of higher education – Loyola and Tulane – and a score of churches and Synagogues that are our City’s major centers of worship.

But above all, it is the place of residential grandeur where the wealthiest, the more powerful of those who built this great City once lived.

audubon-parkTom was looking at a map and saw that the Audubon Park and Zoo was right across from Loyola and Tulane – and it had a free shuttle – so we decided to go there.

Unfortunately, there was construction on the streetcar tracks so we got off at Napoleon and took a bus to Loyola.  We walked about a block and found the shuttle waiting, just as promised.

The Zoo was fantastic. Even though we saw only about a quarter of the exhibits,  we took lots of pictures, so many that Tom ran out of power.

Here are mine:

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Flamingos outside the Flamingo Cafe

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Flamingos. I tried to get this one with his neck extended.
I was fascinated by how they could wrap those necks around to rest their heads on their backs.

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Whooping Cranes

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About the Whooping Cranes

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Sun Bear.

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Tom’s hand inside a sun bear clar

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Sheep

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Goats

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White tiger sleeping

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White tiger.
White tigers are distinct for the normal coloration in that they lack the pheomelanin pigment that in normal tigers produces the orange color. They still produce the other color pigment, eumelanin, and hence are not considered albino. Compared to normal colored tigers without the white gene, white tigers tend to be somewhat bigger, both at birth and as fully grown adults.

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The he Asian small-clawed otter, is the smallest otter species in the world,[3] weighing less than 5 kg. It lives in mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Its paws are a distinctive feature, its claws not extending beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes. This gives it a high degree of manual dexterity so that it can use its paws to feed on mollusks, crabs and other small aquatic animals.

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Feeding the goats and sheep

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More feeding time

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Still more food

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Adding oranges to the food

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Special treatment

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Getting greedy

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Should I or shouldn’t I?

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Where’s Mary?

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Leopard pacing

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Another leopard keeping a lookout

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This was in the Discovery area where we could interact with the birds, snakes and a variety of animals. I chose not to.

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Endangered Species Carousel
This beautiful carousel is decorated with oil paintings of Zoo animals and features a 60-figure menagerie including traditional horses, elephants, rhinos, giraffes and other vanishing species.

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This guy looked like he was meditating – or maybe plotting how to get out of the place!

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Hard to see with the shadows, but this is naptime.

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A peacock just wandering around

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Old trees line St. Charles Avenue

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More about the zoo from http://www.neworleansonline.com/directory/location.php?locationID=1249

Audubon Zoo is a New Orleans landmark and a living museum filled with some of the rarest and most beautiful creatures of nature.

There have been animals at this site since the 1884 World Exposition in Audubon Park. Today, Audubon Zoo is 58 acres of animals in their natural habitats. The Zoo consistently ranks among this country’s best.

Visitors are enchanted to find a unique wildlife haven full of New Orleans flavor, impressive 100-year old oak trees and a cast of animal characters.

Animal favorites include elephants Jean and Panya, the Komodo dragon and the white tiger brothers from California, named King Rex and King Zulu. But also look for bears, monkeys, snakes, orangutans, elks and more exotic animals than you can imagine!

Much of the zoo dates from early in the 20th century. The sea lion pool was constructed in 1928. Its graceful columns mark one of Audubon Zoo’s most romantic spots. Monkey Hill was built by Works Progress Administration workers to show the children of New Orleans what a hill looks like! At 28 feet, it’s the legendary “highest topographical point in New Orleans.” Today it boasts wading pools, a rope bridge and a safari trail.

At the Audubon Zoo, visitors can stroll through a real swamp right in the middle of uptown New Orleans. A Cajun houseboat on a lagoon full of 14-foot alligators faces a pair of playful black bears. A raccoon defies the laws of physics by snoozing on a narrow twig at the top of a tree. At the baby animal nursery, naturalists show visitors baby nutria, explaining why that innocent-looking fuzzy creature is jeopardizing the very existence of the swamps. Further on, the world-famous white alligators float in an exhibit constructed especially for them.

Rocking chairs throughout the swamp exhibit invite visitors to slow down and take in the ambiance of the swamp. An air-conditioned restaurant provides a welcome venue for a sit-down snack and drink.

Finally, after a bit of shopping in the souvenir shop, we found the shuttle bus driver and retraced our journey back “home”  It was naptime!  I was so tired I never heard Tom go out to buy groceries – or come back in.

My back has been bothering me since we got here, possibly from the plane, the luggage, the bed here, just because…  Whatever the cause(s) I took 6 Backaid pills to help but they didn’t really.  Maybe this will lighten up tomorrow.

We had frozen stuff we nuked for dinner then watched an old B&W episode of Perry Mason, the beginning of Drumline (I have it on my iPad so it didn’t matter that I missed the end!) then bedtime!

San Francisco, Day Three

This morning was a “working day”.  I had things to catch up with for my various web sites, Tom was finishing up  some testimony.  So we worked on our computers, then went for breakfast at Pläj.

Since we’d bought those fleece jackets on Day One, we needed more luggage for the trip home.  Kelly had told us that there were 2 luggage stores near the Absinthe restaurant, so we went out to find them, stopping first at Walgreens for sunblock.

We found the stores fairly easily…and found that they didn’t open until 11:00AM.  So we walked a bit until they did open.  The first store sold Timbuk2 bags which I love, but I’ve bought them way cheaper on Amazon so we walked on.

sf-timbuk2

The next store had a small selection of packable bags so we bought another one of those.  I must have 10 from different trips.  I always think that we won’t be buying anything but…

Back to the Inn at the Opera for a bit more work and a nap.

As we’d arranged, Kate, the Patient Advocate from Korlym, was going to take us out for the afternoon.  She arrived about 2:30.  Tom was enough done with his work that he went along, too.

We had a wonderful time seeing things on a more personal level than the bus.  We went through Golden Gate Park, got out and saw the ducks, a waterfall, redwood trees, a pagoda, bison and more.

Then, we went to the Legion of Honor museum to see an exhibit called Impressionists on the Water.  We had the headphones so we got even more out of the fantastic exhibit.

Naturally, Tom bought the book :)

impressionists

 

The museum was closing, so we drove by the coastline and walked a bit.  I wasn’t thrilled by the sign about the coyotes and I had no intention of approaching OR feeding any of them!

Our last stop was to see the Painted Ladies they kept mentioning on the Big Bus tour, then both Kate and Tom had work to do – and I had a nap to take – so she dropped us off back at “home”

What a fun day!  Here are all the pictures.  Can you tell I’m getting lazy with labels and identifying where they are?

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After the work/nap, we headed out to Stelline for an Italian dinner, then the end of another long, but wonderful, day.

stelline

It Seems Like So Long Ago…

…that we left Barbados, but not really.

Yesterday morning I got up really early and took a few last minute sunrise pictures:

This one is my new favorite, though:

Sunrise at The Crane, Barbados

Sunrise at The Crane, Barbados

Then we got packed up and ready to leave by 10, then started reading, texting, just hanging around.  Brenda stopped by and we talked quite a bit while Tom was finalizing his packing shutting down the computer and all.  Brenda’s youngest daughter teaches English in Spain so they only see each other about every 3 years – except on Skype.

I reminded Tom that we didn’t have all the time in the world, that our plane was at 2:30 so we needed to be at the airport by 12:30 so we needed to leave…NOW.

We stopped to check out and ran into Bernice.  She’s the first person I ever really met in Barbados and it’s always special to see her again.  She’s often on holiday at least part of the time we’re there, though.  She’s thinking about her next summer plans – either a 3-week conference or a cruise.  What to do!

Then, Paul stopped by.  He said that Culpepper Island will be partly finished by March and ready for tours when we get back next summer.  I can’t wait to see that.  It seems that we can trade our place for that as an even trade whenever we want.

We got a taxi for the quick trip to Grantley Adams Airport and were there by 11:30.  We found out that our 2:30 plane had been changed to 3:15.  <sigh>

Tom texting at the airport

Tom texting at the airport

I think I have picture or Tom texting, calling, using his phone everywhere!

We were to leave from Gate 12.  Then they said Gate 13 so we went there and went to board.  Unfortunately, the shuttle was outside Gate 12 so we walked outside to the shuttle, got on and rode back past Gate 13.

Luckily there weren’t too many people on the flight to Miami so we were able to stretch out a bit.

We got to Miami about 15 minutes early so had to wait for a gate.  Finally off the plane and going for the l-o-n-g walk to Immigrations and Customs.

The line for Immigrations was really long and moved slowly.  We got near the front and were informed that we were not US residents, we were US citizens and needed to be in a different line, further away.  The woman who told us that said we could get near the beginning of the other line.  Of course, the official at that line said we couldn’t and Tom had some words with her.  Luckily, we weren’t denied admission!

Finally through that and on to get luggage and on to Customs.  That went pretty quickly and dropped off luggage so they could put that back on the plane.

We next had to wait in line for security – again – then a Sky Train to our real gate.  This process took about 2 and a half hours.  Last year doing the same process, we had time to get dinner at TGI Friday’s.  We were the last ones on the plane, just made it before they closed the doors.

Whew!

We got to Dulles just before midnight.  I called my mom and she said that the power was out in most of our neighborhood due to a tornado that had touched down in the afternoon.

Our luggage was the last off the plane.  It even had a tag on it that said “Last Bag”.  Who knew?

Another taxi and finally, home!  We were lucky and had power.

My plan for Sunday was that Tom would go to a meeting and pick Mimi up on the way back.  I would call Mom and we would go to Kick Off Sunday at church.

What really happened was Tom woke up for his meeting and accidentally got shaving cream in his eye.  He told me he was going to the emergency room.  I asked if he wanted me to take him but he thought it would be better if I picked up Mimi. OK

Off he went…then came back and said he had a flat tire.  By now, I was definitely awake.

I emailed Thia to let her know I could pick up Mimi any time and said I’d call after 9.  She emailed back to ask if I was home.  I was going to respond since obviously she was awake but Tom called first.  He was at the ER and they were going to hold him for a few hours to get the acid (who knew shaving cream had acid in it?) all out.

Just as I hung up from him, Thia and Mimi appeared at the door.  Thia was on her way to church and they were going to her Mother-in Law’s afterwards and figured we’d want Mimi back before that.

Mimi comes home

Mimi comes home

I’m not sure Mimi was happy to be here with just me.  At Thia’s there are a couple kids to play with as well as a cat and Mimi’s sister, Penny.  I’m pretty boring, especially because I was more interested in napping than playing. I gave her a Frosty Paws and that helped for about 2 minutes.

Eventually Tom got home with antibiotics, eye washes and other stuff.  Mimi was delighted to see him!

I’m glad I cancelled students tomorrow.  The Piano Room needs a LOT of work before I can teach again.  And laundry needs to be done…

 

It Seems Like So Long Ago…

…that we left Barbados, but not really.

Yesterday morning I got up really early and took a few last minute sunrise pictures:

This one is my new favorite, though:

Sunrise at The Crane, Barbados

Sunrise at The Crane, Barbados

Then we got packed up and ready to leave by 10, then started reading, texting, just hanging around.  Brenda stopped by and we talked quite a bit while Tom was finalizing his packing shutting down the computer and all.  Brenda’s youngest daughter teaches English in Spain so they only see each other about every 3 years – except on Skype.

I reminded Tom that we didn’t have all the time in the world, that our plane was at 2:30 so we needed to be at the airport by 12:30 so we needed to leave…NOW.

We stopped to check out and ran into Bernice.  She’s the first person I ever really met in Barbados and it’s always special to see her again.  She’s often on holiday at least part of the time we’re there, though.  She’s thinking about her next summer plans – either a 3-week conference or a cruise.  What to do!

Then, Paul stopped by.  He said that Culpepper Island will be partly finished by March and ready for tours when we get back next summer.  I can’t wait to see that.  It seems that we can trade our place for that as an even trade whenever we want.

We got a taxi for the quick trip to Grantley Adams Airport and were there by 11:30.  We found out that our 2:30 plane had been changed to 3:15.  <sigh>

Tom texting at the airport

Tom texting at the airport

I think I have picture or Tom texting, calling, using his phone everywhere!

We were to leave from Gate 12.  Then they said Gate 13 so we went there and went to board.  Unfortunately, the shuttle was outside Gate 12 so we walked outside to the shuttle, got on and rode back past Gate 13.

Luckily there weren’t too many people on the flight to Miami so we were able to stretch out a bit.

We got to Miami about 15 minutes early so had to wait for a gate.  Finally off the plane and going for the l-o-n-g walk to Immigrations and Customs.

The line for Immigrations was really long and moved slowly.  We got near the front and were informed that we were not US residents, we were US citizens and needed to be in a different line, further away.  The woman who told us that said we could get near the beginning of the other line.  Of course, the official at that line said we couldn’t and Tom had some words with her.  Luckily, we weren’t denied admission!

Finally through that and on to get luggage and on to Customs.  That went pretty quickly and dropped off luggage so they could put that back on the plane.

We next had to wait in line for security – again – then a Sky Train to our real gate.  This process took about 2 and a half hours.  Last year doing the same process, we had time to get dinner at TGI Friday’s.  We were the last ones on the plane, just made it before they closed the doors.

Whew!

We got to Dulles just before midnight.  I called my mom and she said that the power was out in most of our neighborhood due to a tornado that had touched down in the afternoon.

Our luggage was the last off the plane.  It even had a tag on it that said “Last Bag”.  Who knew?

Another taxi and finally, home!  We were lucky and had power.

My plan for Sunday was that Tom would go to a meeting and pick Mimi up on the way back.  I would call Mom and we would go to Kick Off Sunday at church.

What really happened was Tom woke up for his meeting and accidentally got shaving cream in his eye.  He told me he was going to the emergency room.  I asked if he wanted me to take him but he thought it would be better if I picked up Mimi. OK

Off he went…then came back and said he had a flat tire.  By now, I was definitely awake.

I emailed Thia to let her know I could pick up Mimi any time and said I’d call after 9.  She emailed back to ask if I was home.  I was going to respond since obviously she was awake but Tom called first.  He was at the ER and they were going to hold him for a few hours to get the acid (who knew shaving cream had acid in it?) all out.

Just as I hung up from him, Thia and Mimi appeared at the door.  Thia was on her way to church and they were going to her Mother-in Law’s afterwards and figured we’d want Mimi back before that.

Mimi comes home

Mimi comes home

I’m not sure Mimi was happy to be here with just me.  At Thia’s there are a couple kids to play with as well as a cat and Mimi’s sister, Penny.  I’m pretty boring, especially because I was more interested in napping than playing. I gave her a Frosty Paws and that helped for about 2 minutes.

Eventually Tom got home with antibiotics, eye washes and other stuff.  Mimi was delighted to see him!

I’m glad I cancelled students tomorrow.  The Piano Room needs a LOT of work before I can teach again.  And laundry needs to be done…