Tag Archives: Chicago

On Our Way

We got up fairly early this morning so we could take our dog, Mimi, to her sister’s for their visit.  It’s so nice that neither of them has ever seen a kennel!  When we got to Penny’s, we found out that she had taken in another foster dog, a German Shepherd/Australian Shepherd mix who was very shy and quiet.  He won’t be much longer after the 2 rambunctious sisters spend some time with him!

Our taxi came and I noticed that it was a hybrid.  I innocently asked the driver how he liked it – and he spend most of the time telling us how much was wrong with it.  Then he branched off into how bad American drivers are (he’s from Russia), how he’s teaching his daughter to drive using mirrors only – all while we nearly sideswiped a car carrier truck.  He also thought it was fine to drive in the fast lane until a few seconds before taking a right exit.  Fortunately, we made it to the airport in plenty of time.

Our first flight to Chicago/Midway went smoothly enough except I couldn’t sleep due to a screaming child behind me.

I took these photos of all the other Southwest tails from the plane window.

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One of the pins had fallen out of Tom’s watch while we were still at Dulles and I was *sure* that there would be a watch kiosk in Midway where he could get another pin.  WRONG!  We walked all over and went into every store.  I also looked, unsuccessfully, for noise-canceling headphones.  I have some at home which I didn’t think to bring.  Fortunately, I didn’t need them on the next flight.

We finally gave up on our shopping and went to Manny’s Express – I had a craving for potato pancakes (latkes)

mannys-express

I hadn’t had those for at least 3 years and they were so good.  I also got a salad which I saved for the plane.

Manny’s Potato Pancake Recipe

2 c. finely grated raw baking potatoes
¼ c. grated onion
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. salt
1/8 t. ground black pepper
1 T. Flour
1 T. Butter
2 T. vegetable oil

Combine potatoes and onions.
Squeeze out excess liquid.
Add all other ingredients except butter and vegetable oil.
Let rest for 5 minutes

Heat butter and vegetable oil on a griddle over medium heat
Drop batter onto griddle by tablespoonful, flatten with back of spoon.

Fry on both sides until a dark golden brown
Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Our next plane was about 20 minutes late – no problem – there was no deadline for us!

I took these pictures of the Rocky Mountains out of the plane window – not the best!

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Wikipedia says:

“The Rocky Mountains, commonly known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 3,000 miles (4,830 km) from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States. Within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are somewhat distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges and the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada which all lie farther to the west.
The Rocky Mountains were formed from 80 million to 55 million years ago…”

 

Our pilot told us later that the area below us that we couldn’t see, and didn’t exist, was Area 51.

More from Wikipedia:

According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the correct names for the Area 51 facility are the Nevada Test and Training Range and Groom Lake, though the name Area 51 has been used in official CIA documentation. Other names used for the facility include Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Watertown Strip, and most recently Homey Airport. The area around the field is referred to as (R-4808N),

It is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large military airfield. The base’s current primary purpose is officially undetermined; however, based on historical evidence, it most likely supports development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.  The intense secrecy surrounding the base has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore. Everything that happens at Area 51 is classified Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI).

After that, the pilot said we flew over the Sierra Nevada mountains.  I couldn’t get a very good picture, though 😦

We landed and got a shuttle to our hotel, the Inn at the Opera.  We got checked in – very nice – and went out to find something to eat.  I was surprised how cold it was.  When I’d looked at the weather reports before coming, it always said 61-65.  I guess I should have known that those were the highs.  I’ll be shopping for a hoodie or jacket or something while we’re here!

We walked the couple blocks to Caffe Delle Stelle.  Very nice Italian food!

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Back to the Inn where we put down a deposit on two days of hop on/hop off bus then up for bed.  It was about 1:00am home time or 11 here.  I fell asleep almost immediately.

In a dream, I heard a loud noise, then Tom waking me up telling me that we had to get outside.  It was the fire alarm and I would have slept right through it.

Quickly dressed, down 5 flights of stairs, false alarm – thank goodness!

Back to sleep – finally!

New Orleans, LA, January 11, 2013

New Orleans

Find more about Weather in New Orleans, LA
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We had the breakfast buffet at hotel and went to the little shops.  Then, for only $3.00 we got an all-day streetcar pass.  We took the streetcar to the French Market and back.

The streetcar driver was very helpful and knowledgeable.  We first got on at the Poydras Street Stop and he said that he had only one more stop – Julia Street – to go before he had to go to his terminal to turn around.  But he would ask us to leave in the “most polite and respectful manner”.

Along the way, he pointed out the Harrah’s casino, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, iMAX theater (“The Largest IMAX screen in the Gulf South”), the Mississippi river, paddlewheel boats (including ours) and more all the way to the French Market.

The French Market is a  series of commercial buildings, stalls and tents in the French Quarter.  These days, it’s mostly food and flee market and most of the stalls sell similar goods.  The food includes stuff like alligator kabobs and other novelties.

It stretches just inland from the Mississippi River downriver from Jackson Square, with the famous Café du Monde at the upriver end, down to the flea market stalls across from the New Orleans Mint building.

The New Orleans Mint operated as a branch mint of the United States Mint from 1838 to 1861 and from 1879 to 1909.   It was closed during most of the American Civil War and Reconstruction.

After its decommissioning as a mint, the building served a variety of purposes, including as an assay office, a United States Coast Guard storage facility and a fallout shelter. Since 1981 it has served as a branch of the Louisiana State Museum. It was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and reopened in October 2007.

The New Orleans Mint has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and is currently the oldest surviving structure to have served as a U.S. Mint.

The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park office and visitor’s center is in the French Market.

The French Market market is included on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

We got on the streetcar and rode back to the Poydras stop.

Waiting for the paddlewheel trip  met 2 couples who were also going on our cruise.  One was from Devon, UK – they’d flown to Chicago then Amtrak to Memphis/Graceland. Another UK couple behind them was doing the exact opposite. The couple in front of us was Canadian and they’d just come off a cruise and after ours were going on one in Dubai.

We boarded the boat and headed downriver.  The guide pointed out several of the same sights we had seen from the streetcar.

The Creole Queen

The Creole Queen

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Paddlewheel trip

The paddle

The paddlewheel

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I just liked this message :)

I just liked this message 🙂

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A pier that was damaged in Hurricane Katrina

A pier that was damaged in Hurricane Katrina

 

We didn’t get off at Chalmette battlefield. This was the location of what is often called The Battle of New Orleans, where United States forces under Major General Andrew Jackson defeated the British, led by  Lieutenant General Sir Edward Pakenham in January 1815. The battlefield is preserved as a national monument, and the military Chalmette National Cemetery is adjacent.

For those who are too young to remember:

Or the more popular:

In 1814, we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip’.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a-coming
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more, and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river and we see’d the British come
and there musta’ been a hundred of ’em beating on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
We stood beside our cotton bales and didn’t say a thing.

We fired our guns, and the British kept a-coming
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Ole Hickory said we could take ’em by surprise
If we didn’t fire our muskets ’till we look ’em in the eyes.
We held our fire ’til we seen their faces well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave ’em… Well..

We fired our guns, and the British kept a-coming
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well they ran through the briars, and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We fired our cannon ’til the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind,
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

We fired our guns and the British kept a-coming
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

~~

We went by the Domino sugar plant which was in operation.  Susan was fascinated by the process.

We disembarked and headed for the hotel. After we crossed railroad crossing signs, the bars came down and Kansas City Southern went rolling by very close…too close for comfort!  No time to get back under them but time to whip out my phone:

Kansas City Southern.  Too close for comfort!

Kansas City Southern. Too close for comfort!

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Back to Gordon Biersch for dinner. Pineapple mojito was less pineapple-y. I got sweet and spicy cashew chicken. Wonderful. Susan had half a turkey sandwich. Last night’s BBQ pulled pork had been too spicy, even though the waitress said “no spice”.

Susan found an interesting movie on TV, Perfect Pitch, so we watched that then off to sleep.

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