Time shift

Trip Start Jun 06, 2011
Trip End May 22, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Thursday, June 9, 2011

Some other time dimension

LK: The delay meant that the promised scenic highlights would now be hidden under cover of darkness. Cityscapes of the North East – dark before we reached Philadelphia; foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains – slept through Virginia; Louisiana bayou country – wouldn't know. Our new travelling companion, Madeleine, agitated successfully for free food so off we went to the dining car, pleased with our small victory.

KK: A victory not as small as the little plastic bowl the food arrived in was. Some rice, some reconstituted chicken and some unidentifiable brown gloop. It was hilariously awful. However we could not complain about the seats on Amtrack, lots of leg room and wide enough to seat the most expanded of American rumps. They recline and have little foot rests, Lynn went out like a light. We awoke to the sun coming up over North Carolina.

LK: We waited a long time in North Carolina, a pattern which was to repeat itself as the day went on. Apparently once you’re off schedule you have to give priority to existing trains/freight which compounds your situation. Six hours delay had meant we would arrive in New Orleans at 1:30am Friday but this was clearly was unattainable. Beginning to feel like I am in prison, and not feeling sufficiently Zen-like to allay this unbelievable frustration.

KK:  Becca helped. She was sitting diagonally behind us and was travelling to see her sick grandfather leaving her two kids with her husband. She was hilarious and turned the purgatory into a movie script on her phone, which she read out to us through fits of giggles. A highlight being shortly after an American family had a complete breakdown, with mother who just lost it and her two kids; one of whom had a massive hissy fit and the other who passed the time by trying to block the toilets or empty out the bins. 

LK: Beer also helped. Promising not to touch a drop until 6pm, we passed from Eastern Time into Central Time around 5pm, so toying with us for an extra hour. I am so going to complain to Amtrak as I’m sure this kind of torture is contrary to the Geneva Convention. Becca left us at Meridian, Mississippi around 11pm. The train was still standing in that station an hour later. Is there anyone here I can punch?

KK: Two hours outside New Orleans we worked out how to make the seats really comfortable (you need two each) but one hour out they came round and collected all the pillows (we had grabbed about five as people got off).We got off the train and picked up our luggage at 4.30 in the morning. Ten and a half hours late and forty hours after arriving at the station in New York. We thought about staying up but the Kingsize bed in our hotel convinced us otherwise. A horrible thing to consider is that this might be the nicest place we stay in (The Sheraton, with spa, pool, gym and view over the Mississippi – thank you Michelle at Dawson and Sanderson) and it was standing empty while we were stuck on that damn train.

LK: I think it was Friday when we stepped out into the 90F heat of New Orleans. But how exciting to be here – fuelled by a bacon, eggs, grits and biscuits breakfast we wandered the grid of the French Quarter before taking our lives into our hands (according to the guide books) and dipping our toes outside the tourist area. The reason for this was to visit St Louis Cemetery No 1 which contains the grave of "Voodoo Queen" Marie Laveau. Someone had thoughtfully draped a shed snakeskin over her tomb (see pic).

KK: We wandered back to our hotel via the bottom end of Bourbon Street, which is the tackiest part, with strip bars and cheesy adverts. We also came up with a new rule at this point which to ask how much something costs if it unmarked in a store after paying $2.50 for a small bottle of water. Our daytime scout of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter paid dividends when we went out for the evening. I will leave the food spellings to Lynn...

LK: Red beans and rice? We also had the more lexically challenging jambalaya and gumbo which were delicious, good job as I was very tempted by the alligator on the menu instead. Then we took advantage of one of New Orleans greatest selling points, where you can take out your bought beer into the street, so long as it’s in a plastic cup and you finish it before you enter your next bar. What a civilised way to do your sightseeing. Or not, in some places.

KK:  Johnny White’s Sports Bar (as recommended by Barry in nyc) is a fine place some way along Bourbon. After that it descends into a whoopin’ and hollerin’ alley of titty-bars and clubs that Bigg Market punters in Newcastle would consider heaven. So we didn’t bother.
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Michelle - Dawson & Sanderson on

Oh Dear !
I'v heard the beds are really not that comfy in the Sheraton anyways if its any consolation :-)
Sounds like you are having a fab time despite the small mishap on the train, look forwards to the next episode !
Michelle x

ADD on

just finished rolling on the floor, you know I think I'll just print all your blogs out and release them bound together in a sort of book format!!

Great stuff Kriss and Lynn, and your adventure wouldn't be the same if it all went by without the odd fractious issue now would it?

Keep the blogs up, and enjoy :)

great love ADD and the clan

Paul on

Would buying a gun help? I've played lots of video games set in the US and it seems that "having a gun" is generally a good thing.

If you are going to punch anyone make sure you windmill your arm up-to-speed before striking to release your triple-hit combo.

Tip of the Day: Double-Tap

And I don't know how America can call itself a proper Fascist state when they can't get the trains to run on time?

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