It's often at around this time of a trip to the northern hemisphere that my sleep wake cycle loses its way. I sleep like a log for the first two or three nights away as I catch up on what I lost on the plane as well as my usual chronic deficit from back home and then here I am. Wide awake at 4am on a Saturday morning in New Orleans. Even the city that parties like no other is deathly quiet and dark outside at this hour.
So my thoughts turn to the in room coffee machine sitting on top of the fridge. I read its clear instructions carefully and try to fill the water chamber with anything but the paper cup that will soon house my drink. Drinking from reused paper cups. I can't get my head around it even if the first use was just to carry water to the coffee maker. I never learn, though, and there's soon water all over the counter.
But we got there in the end and here I am nursing a cup of hot tea made with creamer. It almost feels like a Saturday morning at home when everyone else is sleeping and I find myself with a little quiet time to write and think. New Orleans also loves its airconditioning set at just before freezing so I've got a jumper and socks on too. Just like home, then. Minus the uggs I should've packed for the hotel room.
Speaking of home...
I had a So Sydney Moment yesterday. Observe how I was dressed for work stuff as I left my hotel room.
Observe the pair of Havs I tucked into a plastic bag to change into for the twenty mimute walk (indoors, carpeted and fully esclator-ed) to the convention centre. Genius, yes? And also so very Sydney.
I got my grande double shot, non fat latte (no foam) froom Starbucks and yes, after a good shake of chocolate powder, it tasted almost like a Sydney skinny cap. Thank you for the tip, collective knowledge of Facebook.
It's been a relatively healthy and responsible trip - so far. The gym at the hotel is the most well equipped I've ever seen. Aside from the usual banks of treadmills (this is the US, so it's a given you have to wait in line for one at 6.30am), a room for yoga, one for badminton and a larger one for cross fit and general malarkey (ie jumping rope if you're me, battle ropes if you're more hard core).
I have looked hard everywhere I've been and managed to have eaten fresh broccoli twice on this trip already.
Those onion rings and skillet mash were something else at Chilli's I might add.
I tried an Ice Burger at Mooyah (ice burger - iceberg, geddit?) and I'm a convert to the lettuce bun. It's not as messy to eat as a bread one and gives the burger a lovely crunch. My lettuce bun held up pretty well as I ate, it's actually several leaves cut out of a half head of lettuce.
Here it was getting made.
And here are two of Mooyah's secrets to an awesome burger - fried and battered onion rings and bacon fried crisp. No wonder I only needed lettuce to complete my burger.
The accompanying fries were a little dry and my friend and I couldn't even make a dent on this small serve.
My traditional Raisin Bran and non fat milk combo has been a constant centrepiece of breakfasts here again.
I'm coming around to biscuits, the scone like bread that often accompanies hot savoury meals here. These are round and have a plain but sweet flavour in contrast to scones that are triangular, often frosted and made with fruit.
Flavoured coffee creamers. They're one of those constants of my trips here. They remind me of the coffee breaks taken during busy days spent exploring a new city when you're so eager to get going and keep discovering that waiting in line for a barista made coffee is time that you don't want to spare. So you duck into a convenience store or eatery and find those large vacuum urns of percolated coffee, pump your take out cup full of coffee and deliberate over which creamer to add.
Fried chicken is one of those foods I never eat at home but how can you resist in the south? I've only tried Popeye's so far but I think I need at least one more fried chicken dinner before I leave next week.
Popeye's also do battered shrimp and onion rings, served with a biscuit. I think I'd eat more fast food in Sydney if Popeye's decided to come over.
These are the green beans / token vegetable on their menu though....
But they redeemed themselves with this bewildering array of dipping sauces that accompany your meal and they don't charge for the ketchup they so generously dole out! Looking at you, Australia and your fifty cents or so for a tiny packet of tomato sauce....
I'm a bit in love with po boys, the Louisiana take on submarine sandwiches. Why does Subway exist when you can buy a roast beef po boy of this standard at the convention centre food court for $8? Why?????
We were very fortunate to have had perfect weather for our sight seeing and walking day and I'm hoping for a few more fine breaks in the time we have left here. We have a walk planned for later this morning and ... a conference related 5K fun run for tomorrow morning. We even get race bibs!
These are photos of a paddle steamer that happened to be docked just outside the Riverwalk shops the other day.
There's something about seeing the stars and stripes billowing in the breeze that always makes me smile when I'm over here.
Take care and I do hope you're enjoying your long weekend, Eastern States readers.