After two flights and a weather delay in Atlanta, Shawn and I arrived just before midnight at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Experiencing an earache (Shawn) and craving free-wifi and a blanket cave (both of us) we made our way to the rental car counters with something of a mantra floating in our heads: “need car, must sleep.” It was almost the only thought of which I felt capable. When we got to the desks and found not one single human being manning (or womanning) any of the rental car kiosks, we then had to go out and wait as patiently as two sleep- and comfort-deprived out-of-towners could for a rental car shuttle, bags in tow. Once our preferred carrier’s bus presented itself to us at the curb, we found out there were no cars for us. Who knew that you actually had to reserve a rental car? I mean, aren’t the rental car dealerships just teeming with Hyundais and Toyotas screaming to be driven off into touristy-heaven-on-earth? Apparently not – my dealership of choice (i.e. the cheapest after my AAA discount) was fresh out of vehicles, so we had to spin the wheel and wait for yet another diesel-belching bus to appear. Again and again – no dice. My gut was telling me “just go back in and get a cab” when we asked yet another carrier if they could help two country mice in the city procure a car without a reservation. Bingo – we finally hit it and got a shuttle ride to the desk on Airport Drive, where we were flanked by other travel-weary couples and business types. Long story short, after an aggravating encounter with the poor schmuck who works this counter at such odd hours (he must deal with sleep-deprived indecisive folks like us all the time, and wouldn’t that suck?) we ended up driving away in a car that will cost us much more than in one with my original carrier of choice. Whatever. We decided we’d “sort it out in the morning” and “let’s just get the hell to our hotel and build our cocoon and deal with this in the daylight” or thoughts and words to that effect. Comforts of home-away-from-home would soothe us back to some state of normalcy.
We got on I-10, windows down, breathing in the air of the deep South – warm, humid, clinging to everything. It felt great. We were on our way. We got to our hotel, were greeted by the sweet-faced friendly young woman at the front desk. Our room, we were told, has “2 queen beds” and not one 1 king size. She could switch us tomorrow to the king. Great, sure. I wrapped up the paperwork while Shawn unloaded and parked the car. We got into our room, eager to put on some amusing Netflix offering and drift off into dead sleep. What’s going on with the “free wi-fi” that was advertised on their website? A call to the front desk reveals that there is only wi-fi “in the lobby and in the restaurant. If you want internet access for your room, there is a ten dollar deposit for an ethernet cable”. Oh boy. Back downstairs I tromped from our third floor room to sign yet another form to procure an ethernet cable that is barely as long as my arm. I did manage to reserve a cheap car online from our choice carrier which we will hopefully pick up later today and then return the little death cart to the competition.
Now, just a few short hours later, I am somehow incapable any longer of sleep (queen size bed my ass – we definitely need more room) as I sit at the desk that we pulled away from the wall to get it as close to the bed as we could so we could watch something from the comfort of our blanket cave without destroying our eyesight. I did sleep for about four hours, but hunger is gnawing at me. The free breakfast is being served as I type this. I may have to get myself down there and get some fresh fruit before it all disappears and I’m left with lots of things I don’t eat like eggs and donuts.
Wow, who knew I could type 700+ words about something as ordinary as getting into town and all that that entails? I hope I have something as interesting to write about once we start exploring this amazing city. My new mantra at the moment, however, is: “need food, must sleep a little more.”