Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Orleans, The Green Lantern and Festus

We have been on the road for 3 years and this is the first time we have been able to see New Orleans. We got in early Sunday afternoon and couldn't deliver until Monday morning,so it was perfect timing for a little sight seeing. OK, scratch perfect, winter would have been a lot better, since walking around city streets in 189 degree heat is not perfect.

We left the trailer at the Big Easy Truck stop, just before the heart of downtown. So the plan was to bobtail into town, catch a movie (for the a/c) and then go find the French Quarter and do a little walking around after the sun went down. The gal at the fuel desk gave us directions to a movie theater; naturally they were all jacked up and we wasted a lot of time driving around but we did manage to find a theater. The a/c in the truck is having problems and it's not up to task in the middle of the day in the south, so we were really looking forward to a cold movie theater. We get to the box office and buy ticket for the movie that starts next,  a/c beggars can't be choosers. We notice it's not that cool, but there is a big sky light in the lobby and it is 189 degrees outside, so no big deal. We buy our popcorn and Coke, the cost of which is the equivalent to the Minorcan national debt and have to go stand in a line with 800 hundred people for reasons unknown. Something to do with them cleaning between shows. So there we are standing, sweating and eating our popcorn. Time drags on, moss grows under our feet and the time for the movie has come and gone. Then the power goes out. For the second time that day, we find out, which is why it's so hot in there and the movies in front of ours are behind, explaining the delay. We wait it out, we walk around, still no electricity. We give up and then haggle with the manager over refunding our money, they are only giving vouchers to come back to that theater. We have only been in this are twice in 3 years, so they decide to give us vouchers for free popcorn and drinks at any AMC theater in the country. They can do vouchers for food, not tickets so we agree and go on our way.

Next stop the French Quarter. We are too full of Minorcan popcorn and Coke to eat dinner so we decide to walk around now, even though it isn't dark yet and it's still 189 degrees. How bad could it be? It would be silly to stay inside and hide, we're tough. This is what we told each other.

Driving around without the trailer (bobtailing) is definitely easier, but the truck is still about 22 feet long and  13'6 tall so still a little tricky in an urban area. Low overpasses, trolley wires, one way streets and tight corners with lots of parked cars, it can be really fun. We follow signs for the French Quarter, circle around the periphery trying to find parking not too far from it. Thank goodness it was Sunday, we would have had to park in Mississippi on a weekday. We park and beat feet toward the Quarter several blocks away. It's only slightly hotter on the sun. We passed an area with lots of funny trucks and equipment, and ask a cop that's standing next to a barricade what's going on and find out they are filming parts of "The Green Lantern" there. He was real friendly and I'm pretty sure he was an alien because he was not sweating. Not even a little bit. All that cop equipment and polyester uniform and he was not even shiny.  Himself and I looked like we went swimming fully clothed and just got out of the pool. We walk by the set looking at some kind of lighting/crane thing and I take a picture, then one of the workers yells "no pictures please, no pictures". Geez, I'm not stalking Festus for Pete's sake, I mumble, putting the camera away, as I contemplate getting the alien to vaporize him.

After about 30 minutes we finally reach a crowded, touristy bunch of streets and realize we made it. Wow, nice let's go back to the truck, I say. But no, we've come this far, we stroll through some shops, buy some postcards and try to avoid bodily contact with the crowd. We find a restaurant that looks cool (temperature wise) have an appetizer and 2 beers for $40 but would have easily paid double that just to sit down in the a/c. Feeling refreshed we walk out into the night to watch a very lively street brass band, they were loud and good, totally into it, people dancing all around. They were fun to watch and the contact high from the Jamaican National Bobsled team was nice but the heat began it's torment again, so we winded our way back to the truck.

We drove back to the truck stop looking forward to cold showers and a/c. What we got was a shower room with no a/c that smelled like vomit. There was no vomit to be found, the room was fairly clean but it reeked. The smell went up your nose and attached itself to your nose hairs. There was nothing to do but take the quickest shower possible and get the hell out of there. Adding insult to injury, the water in the south is warm even at the coolest setting.

A good time was had by all for the most part. Now I know why Mardi Gras is in February.

The Green Lantern movie set; no Festus to be found.


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