November 17, Leaving NoLa Behind

New Orleans

Not too much exciting in the morning.  Mostly posting yesterday’s blog post and pictures and packing up.

Tom went to Walgreens for some last minute stuff – again – and he got me the pink fleur-de-lis studded T-shirt I wore to board the ship (official boarding picture coming later).

We got our stuff together and headed to the lobby to check out.  Lots of folks coming in, off our ship!  Many had been on a B2B (Back to Back):  the same cruise we’re doing plus a week like we did on this ship in 2009 to Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya.

There was some snafu at the port and the taxi couldn’t get us all the way to the luggage drop off so he sort of stopped in the street and took our luggage across the street for us.  Then a porter took it the rest of the way.

We got into the building and into Group B.  We were at check-in within about 10 minutes and on the ship within about 30 or so.

Embarkation pictures were taken in front of a green screen which I thought was weird since I knew that we’d eventually have the ship behind us.  Whatever!

We were early enough that we got a nice round table by a window in the Garden Cafe on 12 and had some lunch.

Another couple from Anaheim, CA joined us.  They’d stayed the night at Harrah’s and this cruise (except for port charges) was comped to them.  Depending on how well they do in the casino on this cruise, the port charges may be waived.  She explained to us about how Indian-run casinos pay out compared to non-Indian and said that Harrah’s paid like an Indian casino and didn’t know why.  She was using a “buffalo machine(?)” as an example as my eyes started to glaze over.

The announcement came that our cabins were ready so there was a mass exodus.

We opted for the stairs.  On our last Jewel cruise, Michael had us walking up and down the stairs most all the time and it looks like we’ll continue the tradition.

Checked out the balcony, took some pictures, Tom took a little nap.

2013-11-17 14.15.57

Tom napping

2013-11-17 13.25.57

Watching the busy port

I was reading on the balcony, and this machinery rolled by on a little track.  I got a couple pictures and the guys on it said hello.  I guess it will be to wash windows later, or the ship?  We’ll see!

2013-11-17 14.03.29

2013-11-17 14.03.35

Another couple dropped by – part of their luggage had been delivered to our closet.  We opened ours and – Voila! – their stuff was in there.  They tried to tell us that maybe we were in their cabin, too, but that didn’t go over too well.

At 3:15 we went to the Tsar’s Palace for the mandatory life boat drill.  We didn’t have to take our life jackets or stand on deck waiting for stragglers.  Hooray!

After the muster, we went out on deck just to watch the last-minute luggage coming on board and ships and barges on the river.

2013-11-17 15.44.36

Tom under a lifeboat

About 4:00 we set out to find the Chapel since Tom was going to meet some folks there.  It turned out to be tucked away next to the Spinnaker Lounge on deck 13, forward.  I went out on deck to get some sunset pictures and listen to the band during the “Party Like a Norwegian!” SailAway.

About 5:00 the ship finally began to turn around for it’s journey down the Mississippi amid lots of cheers from the folks at the SailAway.  I must have napped just a bit…

Got some good pictures, and some sunset pictures.  I overheard one confused young woman who thought we were heading the wrong way on the river.  Hmmm… Do they teach geography anymore in school or did she plan to go to Ohio?

2013-11-17 15.44.30

Sail Away

2013-11-17 16.33.14

Sail Away sunset

2013-11-17 17.00.46 2013-11-17 17.04.11 2013-11-17 17.08.33

It started to get a bit chilly on 13 so I headed down to the cabin for my hoodie.  Tom was already there and so was our luggage.  Yea!

Major unpacking and figuring where to put stuff.  Everything away, suitcases under bed. Made good use of the hanging shoe bag I usually carry around. Done.

We’re doing “Freestyle Dining” so we can eat wherever/whenever we want.

On the way to Azura (6, Midship) we ran into the Photo Gallery (7, Aft).  We saw our Embarkation pictures and decided to get those.  When they added the ship in (remember we were in front of a green screen) it made it appear that portions of the ship were “bunny ears”  behind my head.  Luckily – thanks to the green screen – that’s being adjusted.  Isn’t technology grand?

We went to Azura about 6:30, when lots of folks apparently wanted to eat, too.  Because we had to wait for 30 minutes, we got coupons for free soda or champaign in the bar.  We learned that “only Pepsi products” are available on Norwegian.  Luckily, we don’t have a very strong brand loyalty to anyone.

The wait was less than 30 minutes and we had a nice table for 2.  We both had French onion soup.  He had salmon, mashed potatoes and green beans and I had BBQ chicken breast, Caribbean vegetables and sweet potato fries  Yummy!

During dinner they announced that the Saints had won.  Lots of fans on this ship!

We chatted with the folks next to us – they’re from Canada.  She was from Canada originally, he was from England.  They’d been married 36 years and this was their first cruise.  She wanted to cruise the Mediterranean and this is a “trial cruise” to see it they like it.

Their daughter, son-in-law and grandchild live in London so they only see them a couple times a year.

Dessert time.  We had coffee, of course.  I had key lime pie, Tom had lemon sorbet.  Mmmmm.

8:20 – we hustled off to the Stardust Theater to see the show.  Since we were already on 6, Midship we’d just head to 6, Forward.

Unfortunately, we had to head through the Casino to do that.  We saw the Anaheim folks from lunch and said hi but they didn’t see us.  Maybe they weren’t doing too well and wouldn’t be comped.

I always hate going through the casino.  It’s always too smoky!  I understand that our next cruise to Panama on Princess won’t even allow smoking in the casinos.  Yea!

I held my breath and we got through ok.  The Stardust Theater was pretty full so we sat in about the 3rd row.

This preview show was called “A Taste of Things to Come” and was pretty good.  The cruise director (Alex) is from Uruguay.  He gave away some champaign to newlyweds (1 and 2 days each) and some jewelry to a couple married for 62 years.  The man thought it was 66 until his wife corrected him.

The house singers/dancers were quite good.  I always prefer live singing/dancing/music to recorded so I’m pretty easy to please.  They did a song and dance about vacations that showed a lot of good energy.

A comedian came out and he was pretty funny, although I don’t like when they comment on latecomers and possibly embarrass folks.  Other than that, he was funny – and wore a silly suit.

The band was from the Philippines but they managed to channel the Beatles and did I Want To Hold Your Hand.  Apparently, they do a Beatles tribute show at some point during the cruise.  They also appeared around the ship singing I Want To Wash Your Hands at meal time.

A selection of characters from Nickelodeon shows sang and danced.  Most, except for Spongebob Squarepants and Dora, the Explorer I didn’t recognize but the kids in the audience did.  Maybe this is the Norwegian answer to the Disney ships?

The singers/dancers came back for a selection of Mamma Mia! songs like Waterloo, Dancing Girl, Mamma Mia and more.  Love it!  There was a *bit* of singing along.

Back to the cabin by way of Guest Services (7, mid) and Decks 12 (walking around we ran into the Canadian couple) and 13.

The first day, at least, we got a lot of exercise walking and climbing.

Sat on the balcony a bit.  I tried to get picture of the pilot boat leaving us but it was just too foggy.

We saw a bit of the movie Chicago on TV.  I have the movie on my iPad so it didn’t matter that I shut it down early.

Tom went to bed and I got online to do my “Pender work”.  I like to keep that site updated daily, no matter where I am.

I read for about 1 minute maybe, then fast asleep.

Today’s Stats:

Sunday November 17th, 2013

New Orleans, Louisiana

Today’s Forecast:  Chance of Rain, 81F/27C

Sunrise: 6:29 am

Sunset: 5:02 pm

All Aboard: 3:20 pm

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

2013-11-15 10.16.57

SuperDome

2013-11-15 10.16.05

Panorama of New Orleans

2013-11-15 10.18.28

Looking down on the Ashley House from the Skydeck

2013-11-15 10.17.19 2013-11-15 10.18.08

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…

2013-11-15 10.36.47 2013-11-15 10.36.57

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:

2013-11-15 13.38.37

Flamingos outside the Flamingo Cafe

2013-11-15 13.39.06

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.

2013-11-15 13.42.01

Whooping Cranes

2013-11-15 13.42.13

About the Whooping Cranes

2013-11-15 13.45.22

Sun Bear.

2013-11-15 13.47.14

Tom’s hand inside a sun bear clar

2013-11-15 13.49.00

Sheep

2013-11-15 13.49.11

Goats

2013-11-15 13.51.35

White tiger sleeping

2013-11-15 13.52.42

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.

2013-11-15 13.59.44

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.

2013-11-15 14.01.43

Feeding the goats and sheep

2013-11-15 14.01.46

More feeding time

2013-11-15 14.01.50

Still more food

2013-11-15 14.02.32

Adding oranges to the food

2013-11-15 14.03.38

Special treatment

2013-11-15 14.03.42

Getting greedy

2013-11-15 14.04.30

Should I or shouldn’t I?

2013-11-15 14.11.29

Where’s Mary?

2013-11-15 14.13.17

Leopard pacing

2013-11-15 14.13.35

Another leopard keeping a lookout

2013-11-15 14.20.28

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

2013-11-15 14.38.22

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.

2013-11-15 14.58.40

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

2013-11-15 14.59.32

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

2013-11-15 15.07.08

A peacock just wandering around

2013-11-15 15.55.03

Old trees line St. Charles Avenue

2013-11-15 14.48.39 2013-11-15 14.50.00 2013-11-15 14.51.31 2013-11-15 14.52.36 2013-11-15 14.53.44 2013-11-15 14.53.50 2013-11-15 14.55.10 2013-11-15 14.56.16 2013-11-15 14.56.27 2013-11-15 14.57.01 2013-11-15 14.57.04 2013-11-15 15.01.39 2013-11-15 15.02.19 2013-11-15 15.03.50 2013-11-15 15.07.26

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?

2013-06-18 15.24.31 2013-06-18 15.24.40 2013-06-18 15.45.04 2013-06-18 15.45.38 2013-06-18 15.45.52 2013-06-18 17.02.37 2013-06-18 17.06.58 2013-06-18 17.36.55 2013-06-18 17.37.22 2013-06-18 17.37.28 2013-06-18 17.39.10 2013-06-18 17.41.29 2013-06-18 18.15.02 2013-06-18 18.15.16 2013-06-18 18.16.06kate1 kate2

 

 

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

stelline

San Francisco, Day One

First thing we did was go look at the fire escape we didn’t go down in the fire alarm last night.  I’m glad we took the stairs by the front office instead, even though they would have been dicy in a real fire – all wood.

This one looks scary, though!

Inn at the Opera, 5th Floor Fire Escape

Inn at the Opera, 5th Floor Fire Escape

After this, we went to the very nice – and free – continental breakfast at Pläj, the Scandinavian restaurant here.

Pläj

After breakfast, we gathered up our stuff and headed out for the Big Bus tour

While waiting, we got some pictures of City Hall and the Opera House.

2013-06-15 22.12.08 2013-06-16 10.14.02 2013-06-16 10.15.25 2013-06-16 10.16.52 2013-06-16 10.20.45

We got on at Stop 7 and took a bunch of pictures, even though it was foggy. On the double decker bus we were pretty close to the trolly car lines!

2013-06-16 10.38.47 2013-06-16 10.48.05 2013-06-16 10.49.11 2013-06-16 10.50.08 2013-06-16 10.50.12 2013-06-16 10.50.16 2013-06-16 10.50.23 2013-06-16 10.50.57 2013-06-16 10.57.42 2013-06-16 10.57.53

Of course, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and took pictures both directions!

2013-06-16 10.59.10 2013-06-16 10.59.29 2013-06-16 11.00.24 2013-06-16 11.00.33 2013-06-16 11.00.37 2013-06-16 11.01.57 2013-06-16 11.02.34 2013-06-16 11.03.59 2013-06-16 11.04.22 2013-06-16 11.04.30 2013-06-16 11.07.28 2013-06-16 11.08.35 2013-06-16 11.10.30

It was so cold and windy, we decided to get off somewhere to get a jacket, sweater, anything.

As it turned out, our bus didn’t take the normal route.  It changes slightly on Sunday’s and the San Francisco Marathon had us rerouted somewhat.

On the way to the last stop, Fisherman’s Wharf, I also took these pictures:

2013-06-16 11.10.47 2013-06-16 11.28.41 2013-06-16 11.29.50 2013-06-16 11.29.56 2013-06-16 11.31.09 2013-06-16 11.32.07 2013-06-16 11.33.36 2013-06-16 11.36.06 2013-06-16 11.37.00 2013-06-16 11.38.48

 

On Fisherman’s Wharf.  We had to get off here and the 7-11 had fleece jackets.  I put mine on immediately!

2013-06-16 12.04.04 2013-06-16 12.07.41 2013-06-16 12.07.56 2013-06-16 12.08.15

 

From Fisherman’s Wharf, we decided to take a cable car.  I was amazed that 3 men turned them around manually with a little turntable

2013-06-16 15.00.43 2013-06-16 15.02.42 2013-06-16 15.02.57 2013-06-16 15.03.14 2013-06-16 15.03.24 2013-06-16 15.03.41 2013-06-16 15.06.24 2013-06-16 15.07.26 2013-06-16 15.09.37 2013-06-16 15.19.40 2013-06-16 15.21.03 2013-06-16 15.29.49 2013-06-16 16.10.18

After our ride, we had to get off that and board again.  The line was very long and we could see that it would be at least 3 carloads before we could get back on so we decided to go find out bus again.

We walked up to Union Square…and ran into my endocrinologist from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore!  Dr. Salvatori was there for the Endocrine Society Convention but there had been a gas leak and the convention had been evacuated.

Small world!

After chatting with him a little, we took the bus back home and got off at the other side of the City Hall and walked around to “our place”.

I took a little nap and Tom went out to Walgreens to get some aloe vera for his sunburn.

At about 4:30, I got up and got ready to meet Kelly, a Cushing’s patient and member of my message boards.

She had chosen a restaurant called Absinthe, which was within walking distance.  We got our first table and decided to move because the sun was coming through the windows, then moved again to a corner table.  Then a staff member told us that that table was reserved so we moved again.  That party came very late and we probably could have finished before they got there.  Oh well!

We had a very nice dinner, then, finally bedtime.