Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Portland, Oregon: Day 1 - The long road to see Bill

Got up in the morning and Robin begins cooking mozarella and pepperoni sticks. Me likey! Very much soo!!

Not the healthiest breakfast but definitely delicious.

I decide to stay indoors until my 5:55 PM flight. I attempt to catch up on some blogging and get some writeups done. We leave a little early to catch my plane. Plus Deric and Robin are going to the open Saints practice session - I'm jealous.

They drop me off at the airport and I say my goodbyes to them. Cannot thank them enough for being amazing hosts. I wish I could stay there longer. Robin's cooking is amazing.

No sooner I walk into the airport and get checked in do I see some of my friends from the wedding: Lenin and Gavin. Co-incidence, maybe?

After saying goodbye to them I head over to my gate and wait for the invisible plane.

Once the plane arrives I get to my seat. Once the doors are closed me and my neighbor realize that we have an empty middle seat. Whoopie. #winning.

The plane takes off from New Orleans, heading to Seattle. Goodbye Big Easy - until late October.

Goodbye Mississippi River.

Hello beautiful horizon

The sun begins to set right between a cloud. The top of the cloud is completely blue. The bottom of the cloud shows the beautiful colors of yellow, orange, red and black. It was amazing to see out of my airplane window.

And then disaster strikes. I realize that my jeans have been torn near the back inner thigh area. Not sure for how long it has been this way but it is sort of embarrassing and funny at the same time. Glad I have a second pair of jeans around.

More sunsets. And then I notice a small mountain peak on the horizon.

After a while of getting close it appears to be Mt. Rainer - that is the consensus of the flight attendants.

I finally arrive at the Seattle airport. I get my bags with no problems, and grab a coffee. Go to my island and get picked up by the Park n Jet shuttle to pick my car. And in 15 minutes I'm driving to Portland, Oregon to see my friend Bill.

3 hours later I arrive in Portland and am reunited with Bill. Bill is a Sigma Nu who used to intern for Staff. I met him briefly while he was there and we stayed in touch via fb. He also helped me out on my travels with references of things to do and people I could stay with.

I grab out the wedding favor from Savio's wedding in New Orleans.

And we celebrate our reunion together.

It is about 2 AM, and we really need to go to bed. Tomorrow we plan to hike on Saddle Mountain near the Oregon coast.

Expenses: $33.30
Baggage Fees: $25.00
Dinner: $6.00
Coffee: $2.30

New Orleans, Louisiana: Day 3 - Swamp Tours and the Big Easy

Got up early in New Orleans, and texted Deric. He picked me up from the hotel and we headed back to Slidell. I am so grateful for his willingness to drop me off at the wedding and pick me up early in the morning.

We leave the house around 8:30 AM and head out to the Honey Island Swamp Tour.

One last picture before we BRAVE out the swamp and the critters that live there. Its me Allison (Robin's sister), Robin and Deric.

The boats and the swamp.

Walking to the boat.

Found my spot. We were warned not to stick out any body parts outside of the boat - unless we wanted to lose it. Notice my shoes and toes are safely within the boat... probably until the alligators come by.

One group picture before the tour begins.

Our tour guide.

And we are off.

Can you see the alligator.

Getting closer

And closer.

Stand up, rise and snatch that hot dog.

Different angle ... same alligator.

Notice the length of the stick.

More running around the swamp

This guy was the largest once we saw.

More swamp and swamp trees.

Open space and the rest my side of the boat.

My crew and our tour guide in the vast open swamp water space.

More swamp areas

Cabins for fishing

Plants of the swamp

Our tour guide caught two grasshoppers in the 'act' of love making.

Notice the baby gator resting under the plant.

And this one getting some sun under the tree.

Shrimping boat.

If you zoom in and read the sign: "I love tourist. They taste great."

After the swamp tour we head to New Orleans. Time to walk around the city during the day.

In the car Allison challenges me that I cannot take a picture of her using her phone with her knowing. Yeah right!! This is too easy.

We walk around the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Finally stop at Royal House Oyster Bar.

We decide that this is the place to be.

Got some oysters and garlic bread.

Those oysters were delicious.

Now for the alligator poboy. Inspired by the critters in the swamp.

Great food and great company.

After that heavy lunch, I definitely need a walk around New Orleans.

We walk towards the famous St. Louis Cathedral which is the oldest 'Catholic' Cathedral in the United States.

Truly beautiful inside.

I love this picture, but wish those people were standing infront of the horse. #almostperfect.

Walking around some more and checking out the local artisan artwork.

After a while of window shopping, walking, shopping and walking, we head back to the car and drive back to Slidell. I'm beat and take a long long nap to make up for lost sleep time. Later in the evening Robin gives  Allison a cooking lesson.

Allison is a good student. Quickly picking up on techniques and seasoning.

That was delicious. Pasta, beef, and sausage with garlic bread. I had two servings. What? Man's gotta eat!

Time to sit back and watch some TV with my favorite Slidell lap dog: Nola

And then it is time for bed.

Robin and Deric, Thank you for taking me to the Swamp Tour. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it to others. It was a little long, but still absolutely worth it. Thank you Deric for dropping me off to New Orleans and picking me up. You didn't have to do it, but I genuinely appreciate it. It definitely saved me time and money. And Robin ... the food: soooooo good. You guys are spoiling me. And I don't mind. :-)

Expenses: $64.95
Swamp Tour Tickets: $23.00
Lunch: $40.00
Gatorade: $1.95