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New Orleans, day 2

First, I have to really think about switching to AT&T. T-Mobile's plan is nice, but their signal is very unreliable. I was without for an hour in this hotel room, a new record. Also, 3G tethering apparently uses power faster than USB charging can replace it.

As for today, let me get the negatives out first. I looked up the transit here, NORTA. Canal Street and St. Charles aren't too bad, but odd, swinging between every 7 (St. Charles) or 10 (Canal) to every 30 minutes in frequency, and not in a clear pattern either; there may be every 30 minutes in the evening, then every 20 later. Or, no, I just realized Canal has PM times of 9:46, 10:36, 10:56(!), 00:16... St. Charles is better. Riverside is 20, going to every 40 minutes after 7pm, and stopping after 10 (the other two run past 1 AM, even if not very often.) The driver who took me up around 5pm claimed he ran every 13 minutes, or every 26 after 7 pm; the online schedule calls that a lie. Plus, the final Riverside streetcar stopped at Canal, when I'd wanted to ride it down to Julia St. to get to my hotel.

And this is the good part of the system. The buses run like every 30-70 minutes. And both St. Charles and Canal are under construction work, such that you actually take a shuttle bus along a fair chunk of their route at the moment, before switching to the real streetcar.

If I want to stay for the music on Frenchman street, which doesn't even get started until 9pm, I can count on walking home, or maybe figuring out the schedule of some other bus.

Transit rage!

***

As for my actual day, it started pretty late; I slept 10 hours straight, which I needed, and then found the phone had no charge (see above). Since I really like the backup of having GPS maps when needed, not to mention a camera and note taking device (and my real camera refused to take my rechargeables; not sure if they're read or it is, it's been increasingly prone to claim low charge on even fresh batteries.) So I got out later than ideal. But productive anyway.

Headed for the river, as my INTP brain went "Mississippi! You're near the Mississippi! Go look!" Had brunch breakfast at Grand Isle, which I think the hotel woman may have mentioned last night -- I don't remember the name, but there's an X on my map -- and had gator sausage po' boy (sandwich) and chicken andouille gumbo. Both were really good. Then I reached the actual river -- which isn't all that impressive looking around here, but is fairly big -- and caught the ferry over to Algiers. This is free for pedestrians, maybe a dollar for car? I'm impressed. Runs every half hour, trip itself is 5-10 minutes.

In Algiers I first found myself surrounded by green rises on three sides, and thought "levees". Never been on one before, even in the Netherlands! (Never got to dike country.) Grassy embankment, gravel path on top (paved path elsewhere, I later found.) The excitement wore off quickly, so I went back down among the houses.

THEY ARE SO PRETTY. I don't have the bandwidth to upload photos now, and googling for Algiers Point Houses gives a bit of an idea but is kind of disappointing compared to the physical experience. But they're carved and colored and decorated and it's all really really nice. A guy said the best streets were Olivier and Delaronde, and they are good, but the whole area around there is pretty, really.

A Catholic Church was closed -- surprised it wasn't a voting location -- and surrounded by signs saying "THOU SHALT NOT KILL -- God" I have no idea if the point is against war, crime, or abortion.

Oh, I forgot. There's a courthouse near the landing point, heading off to the left. It looks rather nice too, outside and in. Small, but high ceilinged with chandeliers and leather couches and such. That *was* a voting location. Voter ID laws are in effect, though there's a special ID you can get for free if you don't have a driver's license.

The place is pretty but there's not much neighborhood, so I headed back across on the ferry, walked down a bit to Riverwalk Mall, which is like a block long but has only one entrance (RAGE), then took the streetcar up to Esplanadade, as lyceum had recommended musing on Frechman Street. I went down Decatur first, then up Frenchman, and ended up eating at the Praline Connection. (Pralines in general seem to e a thing around here.) Service staff were all darkly black men in brimmed hats. I went for a seafood combo: catfish, shrimp, oysters, and crab, everything breaded, plus fries and salad. I really liked the catfish. The rest... I guess I'm not a big shellfish person. (Sorry, Mama.) (My mother loved all shellfish.) I give the restaurant props for not having a hideous Flash website -- that's a direct menu link, so you can see they don't say what kind of crab is involved...

As lyceum said, by 9 music was starting up, including a small street band I listened to for a while. I felt like exploring more, so stalked around the French Quarter some more. Bourbon is still the #1 street in activity by far, but others are Decatur and St. Peter, and maybe Toulouse (don't recall) which I came back on to catch the abortive streetcar.

Was tempted to ride the Canal St. shuttle up and back for the sights, but I waited for a while watching the bus not move, so gave up and went home.

***

Princess Bride novel: still good. _Tooth and Claw_ re-read: slow to catch me again, but good experience in the end. Railgun and Sora no Woto final episodes, and the Wedding of River Song: still fun. I did wonder if Railgun could be seen as a shounen format anime with girls.

***

I have managed to avoid any election news so far. I shall continue this and go to bed in blissful ignorance of any possible horrible losses or agonizing re-counts. This has served me well in 2 out of the past 3 elections, after all.

***

At one level I feel cheated that we're having high temps of 20 C, rather than 25 or 28. OTOH, with all the walking I'm doing, it's just as well. That reminds me: you can really see the signs of this in the buildings and plants (duh). It reminds me of parts of LA/Madrid/Santiago, but that's mostly because those are the "warm all year" places I've been in, and LA gets too much irrigation water; this is the first hot/humid place I've been in, apart from Hawaii and Atlanta, which are rather different. I've seen really big "swamp cabbage", what look like banana plants growing randomly but are probably some other plant, still with big leaves, and of course all those porches and balconies. I guess what's distinctive is cast-iron balconies hanging off of multiple stories.

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Damien Sullivan
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