Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Then the Finns Went Home...

Most of our colleagues packed up and went home Thursday afternoon, but since we had booked an extra night in New Orleans, we had some time to spend.  We headed east toward the Mississippi.  (Forgive the lack of photo clarity; all photos taken with a cell phone.)

Mississippi River
Hot Beignets and Coffee at Cafe du Monde

By the time we went through an outlet mall near the river and headed back, it was dark out.  Just so happened that a huge Halloween parade meandered down Canal Street.  If you are not a fan of Halloween, New Orleans on October 30 and 31 is not the place to be!  So that night we stayed in and ordered pizza.

This one was resplendent with roasted beets, red onions, chickpeas, feta, brussel sprouts and more.  J loved it, but I preferred the other one (not pictured) with sausage and wild mushrooms.  

20 Years Together!
It was a great trip, and I'm so glad we went.  I learned quite a few things.  My children managed without us for five days, even though they would rather have had us with them.  

Another thing:  we ate like kings and unbelievably didn't put on weight.  My hypothesis is that everything we were served was fresh and unprocessed, Real Food.  The delicious food and the attitude of hospitality was my favorite thing about New Orleans.  

The Maitre'd in our hotel seemed to be very concerned about our being deprived.  The last day, this 6 foot 5 man in his sixties engulfed my hand in his massive, warm, brown hands.  "Leave me your address - we'll FedEx you food!" He knew J's and my weakness for the fresh peach tarts they served for dessert at lunchtime. And the thin wedges of pecan pie - syrupy, nutty goodness under a thin layer of glassy glaze.  You would take a tiny bite and savor it as it the flavor  melted over your tongue.

I discovered that my comfort zone for meeting new people is larger than I realized.  I enjoyed conversations with street people and CEOs and all kinds of people in between. And liked most of them. (Well, there was one woman I met who told me that the slave trade wasn't really all that bad and that the early Americans did those slaves a favor by giving them food and a home.  She and I didn't have a lot in common.)

The biggest reminder was something I already knew: travelling is fun and useful, but there's no place better than home with the ones you love!