Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vacation Hits and Misses

Ahh, the French Quarter
Overall, I did quite well on my vacation-- spendingwise.  Perhaps I spent a bit more than I thought I might, but my vision of the vacation was a bit austere, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  I had a grand time, that's for certain, which makes coming back to real life a little easier.

Hits: Free food!  I didn't subsist solely on larabars while waiting for my free food opportunities, but I did pretty well.  I got a lot of free food and a lot of free beer, which certainly made this vacation a lot cheaper.  Plus, double-bonus, a lot of the free food was stuff that I might not have tried otherwise, which nets me adventuring points! (Note: there's really no such thing as adventuring points, but you too can earn these phantom points by seeking out new experiences).

Hits: Roommates!  I was in a blind panic a while ago because I had booked a luxury hotel room and had no one to share it with.  Thankfully, two lovely ladies from the library I used to work at in Fargo, ND, mentioned on facebook that they were going to the conference and agreed to bunk with me.  That saved me about $700, and we had adventures too!

Misses: Internet.  I had my groovy borrowed netbook with me, but my hotel did not offer free wi-fi.  I paid for two days of wireless access before realizing that I could have totally checked email in the business center downstairs, which also had free printing.  $20 for a lesson learned, but it was also nice to facebook away part of an afternoon while laying in bed when it was 90+ degrees outside.

Hits: Free museum access!  Three of the free food functions that I attended were in museums, that I got to tour while drinking free beer and eating free nibbles. There is no feeling quite like examining Napolean's death mask while eating gumbo and listening to an awesome zydeco band.  I felt a bit fancy, and I liked it.  We also went to a function at the New Orleans Historical Wax Museum.  The function was a bit of a let-down, but the museum was a cheesy good time.

Misses: Overpriced Tuna Salad Sandwich.  I treated myself to a 1/2 day plantation tour and brought along a larabar for breakfast.  Unfortunately, I failed to bring anything for lunch and ended up paying about $6 for a tuna salad wrap that was drenched in mayo and made me feel a bit sick.  Always bring extra snacks!

Hits: Boat Ride!  My roommates and I went on a city tour our first morning there, to get the lay of the land outside the French Quarter, and arrived back at our starting point to find that we were just in time for a two-hour lunch cruise.  Two hours included a narrated tour down the Mississippi and a ton of butter-drenched southern food.  I was stuffed and soothed.

Misses: Failure to pack my Passport to your National Parks.  This is the second time I've done this and I'm so ashamed.  A while ago, I was in Boston with my brother and foolishly thought that I had acquired all the National Park stamps that city had to offer--then we went to the USS Constitution, which I had never visited before, and hence had no stamp.  This time, I thought I certainly don't plan to visit a National Park while in New Orleans, and accidentally discovered one while I was out exploring one afternoon!   Lesson learned, National Parks crop up where you least expect them--always carry your passport!

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