And I’d Thought The Trip There Was Stressful…

Knowing we’d have several hours to fill before catching the shuttle to the airport, I decided to save the French Market for our last morning in New Orleans.  We’d passed it by every single day and I looked forward to finally exploring it.

794 French Market

Stretching for several blocks along Decatur Street, the historic French Market has both a farmer’s market and a flea market.  There were all sorts of interesting wares and produce available and I imagine a person could spend a lot of time (and money) wandering from vendor to vendor.  (A person who wasn’t shopping with my hubby, that is)

787 French Market

792 French Market

Thanks to Hubby’s distinct lack of enthusiasm, our tour ended quite quickly and we returned to the hotel with time to spare, which gave me the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the place.

796 Hotel de la Monnaie, Esplanade Avenue

The Hotel de la Monnaie is located on Esplanade Avenue, directly across from the Old US Mint.  It’s an elegant older building, well maintained, and in an excellent location on the edge of the French Quarters, with trolley service and the Mississippi River close by.

799 Hotel de la Monnaie lobby

803 Hotel de la Monnaie lobby

It has twin circular courtyards, one with palms and subtropical vegetation and the other with a wading fountain.  Each floor has a walkway around the circumference with views of the courtyards below.

806 Hotel de la Monnaie courtyard

807 Hotel de la Monnaie courtyard

812 Hotel de la Monnaie courtyard

808 Hotel de la Monnaie courtyard pool

814 Hotel de la Monnaie courtyard pool

This is the walkway from the elevators to our door.

816 Hotel de la Monnaie walkway to our room

I don’t have any more pretty pictures to share today, only a tale or two about our trip home that weren’t terribly funny at the time, but I can find some humour in now that time has given me the needed distance.

Sis and BIL were also flying back at the same time as us, but their flight was routed through Houston while ours took us back through Denver.  When we got to the New Orleans airport, Hubby and I approached the Air Canada wickets, because we’d booked our flights through them, although the US leg was flown with United.  The Air Canada clerk quickly and in my opinion, rudely, let us know we had to check in with United Airlines.

So over to United we went, only to be told by the young man there that we had to check in with Air Canada.  This is when I had my first (of many) oh-oh moments.  At least he was pleasant about it and when I explained that we’d been directed to him, he made an attempt to help us.  But almost immediately he announced he couldn’t access our flight information.  He went over to Air Canada and had a long conversation with the clerk there.  They huddled over her computer for several long minutes.  Cue my second oh-oh moment.

Sis and BIL had long since disappeared into the massive security line and Hubby suggested he get into the line as well, and I could join him once I got the boarding passes.  Gee, thanks, hon.

Young United guy returns, fiddles around on his computer some more, then explains that the two computers were having difficulty talking to each other and he couldn’t get our flight information to print the boarding passes.  Feeling very alone and a little desperate, I ask him what do we do now.  He says the lady at Air Canada was going to try.

So back over to the Air Canada wicket.  This is a different woman than the first one I spoke with, but she’s not a whole lot more helpful.  She asks for my luggage slips and gets to work on the computer.  Eventually she prints up a boarding pass for Hubby for as far as Denver, but nothing for me.  Acting as though it’s all my fault, she tells me, “This is really starting to aggravate me.  Go to the boarding gate and ask if they can do it.”  Oh-oh, once again.  Actually, more like OMG!!  So what happens if they can’t print it at the boarding gate, then what?

Feeling very apprehensive, I worm my way through the long security line-up and meet up with Hubby, where’s he’s waiting at the front of the line.  We approach the security agent and I proceed to tell him what’s happened.  At that moment, I realize the Air Canada woman hadn’t given me our luggage slips back.  Oh-oh, yet again.  Security agent agrees I better go back and get them.

So I skirt around the huge crowd still waiting in the security line, run like a crazy person over to the Air Canada wicket and ask the lady for my slips.  She says, “Oh yeah, they’re here” and hands them to me.  No apology, no smile, nothing.  Mad scurry back around the security area, meet up with Hubby and off we go to the boarding area, having no idea what’s going to happen next.

When we find our gate, there’s not a United personnel in sight, so we take seats near the desk and wait.  And wait.  As we sit there, I spot my sister walking by, so call her over and explain our predicament.  She’d been keeping an eye on us while in the security line and had wondered what was taking us so long.  Even she couldn’t believe the way we’d been treated.

I asked her if I could download her photos from her phone while we’re waiting.  Immediate confusion crossed her face and she asked why it hadn’t worked when I did it the night before.  My turn to look confused and here’s where I tell a cautionary tale that leaves me shaken to this day.

First I have to back up a little bit…

When we travel, Hubby often has a difficult time sleeping, and when Hubby doesn’t sleep, I don’t sleep.  So I’d asked my doctor to prescribe us some mild sleeping pills.  I’ve taken them before on rare occasions, half a tablet is usually sufficient.  On this trip, being so overtired most days, I was the one having difficulty sleeping even with half a sleeping pill, and on that last night, for the first time ever, I decided to take a whole tablet.  Mistake number one.  Usually I go to bed soon after I take a sleep aid; that night I got distracted with everything that needed to be done and apparently stayed up for hours.  Mistake number two.

Back at the airport…

My sister reassured me that I had loaded all the pictures from her IPhone onto my computer the night before.  Then she says, “Don’t you remember?  You were stoned on that sleeping pill.  Do you remember going out and taking pictures of the hotel in your pyjamas?”

Oh my gosh!!  That did twig a sort of vague memory that felt more like a dream.  I checked my camera, and sure enough, there were several badly out of focus pictures of the hotel courtyards, taken from the landing on our floor.  Thank goodness, I didn’t venture anywhere else, and at eleven o’clock at night, there weren’t any people around to witness the crazy lady in her pjs running around snapping pictures.

It might sound funny, but this is really scary stuff.  You hear stories about people taking sleeping pills and then having no recognition of driving their car or even going shopping.  Didn’t Tiger Woods blame the start to all his troubles with crashing his SUV in his driveway after taking a sleeping pill?  I honestly and completely did not remember a single thing from that evening after the pill kicked in.  If my sister hadn’t told me what happened, I don’t know if I would’ve ever remembered.  Maybe when I saw all those horribly taken pictures on my camera.  It was actually my IPhone camera, and I’m lucky I didn’t drop it into the pool while bending over the railing to take the pictures.  I’m lucky I didn’t drop myself into the pool while bending over that fourth floor railing.  That’s simply too terrifying to contemplate, and I will never take an entire sleeping pill again for as long as I live.

Enough about that…

Eventually a female United employee showed up at the departures desk and I joined the queue to talk to her.  When I explained our situation, she started pecking away at her computer, didn’t make eye contact and definitely didn’t apologize for my problems.  Eventually she handed over the correct boarding passes and dismissed me by asking the person behind what she could do for them.  Immensely relieved to have the boarding passes in hand, I was more than ready to put the entire incident behind us.

But we weren’t done yet.

As I’ve mentioned on other posts about this trip, Hubby injured his knee a short time before we left and he had no option but to walk slowly.  So we’d been using the pre-board option with every flight.  I always explained why and there was never an issue.  On this unforgettable day, we went to board at the pre-board call and when the woman looked at our boarding passes, she says in this loud, very southern voice, “Y’all can claim handicap or y’all can sit in the emergency aisle, but you can’t do both.”  We had no idea we’d been seated in the emergency aisle.  We certainly never requested it.  As I tried to apologize and explain the confusion, she just kept loudly repeating to us, as though we were trying to pull a fast one, that if we were “claiming a handicap” we couldn’t sit in the emergency aisle.  If we wanted to “claim a handicap”, we’d have to go back and rebook our seats.  This, from the same woman who had just printed our boarding passes after I’d explained there was a problem getting them.

To say I felt completely mortified and humiliated would be the understatement of the year.  I told her my husband had a sore knee, but was perfectly capable of sitting in the emergency aisle, and I grabbed Hubby’s arm, did an about-face and got the hell out of there.  I still can’t believe that woman’s lack of professionalism.  And I’d thought the Air Canada women I’d dealt with had been rude.  Wow.

The icing on the cake was the video United Airlines shows while passengers are waiting for take-off.  It’s all about how they pride themselves on customer service.  Hubby and I had a good chuckle over that.

Thank goodness, the other flights were uneventful.  From Denver we flew to Vancouver where we met back up with Sis and BIL for the last short flight home.

Despite the incidences at the NOLA airport, it was a great trip.  Everyone should experience New Orleans at least once, and Hubby and I are very thankful to Sis and BIL for letting us tag along.

Go to post about New Orleans statues HERE. You can start from the beginning of the trip HERE

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2 thoughts on “And I’d Thought The Trip There Was Stressful…

  1. Pingback: The Year in Pictures | joyceholmes

  2. Pingback: Rebirth of a City | joyceholmes

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