I've been quite the jet-setting moron lately. I was in New Orleans last weekend for a "training conference" for my job. It turned out to just be an excuse to get drunk and lose money at Casinos.
Last weekend was my first visit to New Orleans. I'd say that it was my first visit to "the Big Easy", but I just don't think I've been there enough to refer to it in so much of a colloquial manner. I also refuse to call it "Nah'Lins", because that's like having been to Paris and always calling it "Parie". Just because you've visited, doesn't mean you need to start imitating the way people talk. Frankly, they'll just find it insulting. However, this little rule does not work for our friend of the Northwest and home to my dear brother, Oregon. Knowing how to pronounce states is not dialectally-biased, it's just plain sensible. So let's all say "Oregon" like "Or-uh-Gin" and pronounce "gin" as in "he dun deed it aGIN!"
Where was I? Nah'Lins, that's right. Good time. The whole training conference was inside the Marriott, where I and 240 of my fellow consultants from all over the US happened to be sleeping as well. This meant that we didn't leave the hotel from when we went to bed until after dinner at 9, except for the 30 seconds spent crossing from one tower to the other where the pool was. 30 glorious seconds amid seminars on "the Effect of State Budget Crisis on Medicaid" and a 2 hour panel discussion on the new Medicare bill. As an old friend of mine used to say "Fun was evicted and boredom paid the rent." While there, I learned lots of fun new buzzwords and that anything can be "leveraged," especially people.
I'd love to say that I learned other things about the healthcare consulting industry, but I'm drawing a complete blank. What I did learn was that Bourbon Street smells like bar funk. Having previously worked in the bar industry and knowing the scent of bar funk quite well (some would call me a "bar-funk expert") I will hereby attest that Bourbon Street, in its most commonly crowded location, exhibits a definite bar funk odor. If you've ever fallen asleep in front of a bar and woken up in the hot afternoon sun while lying in the spillage trail of a bar garbage can on its way to a dumpster, you know what I'm talking about.
After a terrible Sunday morning hotel room experience somewhat akin to the melting carpets and smoking lizards of Fear and Loathing, I met up with R's cousin, who took me around to see some sights. I was in bad shape when I woke up, but lots of water and walking around in the sun got me right back on normal hangover footing. I was able to appreciate the filthiness of New Orleans in all it's glory. Luckily the weather wasn't it's usual hot-shower humidity and we were able to wander all over the dirty burg. I also attempted to take in the D-Day museum in a record 45 minutes, but having skipped the landings at Utah and Omaha beach I feel I may have missed something vital.
On Monday morning I caught a direct flight back to BWI and managed to get into work by 1pm. And that, I suppose, is the end of the story. I mean really. It was a weekend trip, so it would have to end on Monday when I got back to work. I kind of wish that there was a surprise ending, but no. I'll tell you this though: R explained to me this evening that she has now seen four different varieties of seafood on the streets of two different cities. She saw a whole lobster on a street in Barcelona, and an Eel, several crab legs and some minnows here in DC. That's crazy!