Day 26: October 24, 2015--Flight to LA

Goodbye, Hello. Farewell to the McClains; Howdy-Do, a splendid lunch, and a trip to the airport with Paul and Trang, old friends from my days of teaching in Japan. Then we flew back to L.A.

We woke in the most kingly suite I've ever stayed in, courtesy of the McClains--yes, that's a dishwasher in the kitchen (no "-ette"). We met them downstairs at the excellent buffet breakfast, and saw them off as they headed back up the road to Texas. (Lila's observation later that day: "We can start misbehaving again, popos are gone. Last few hours in NOLA."

Homewood Suites by Hilton--just like home!


In February of 1997, I had trained at an ESL school in Japan with "Crazy Paul" Campo, a native of the NOLA area; his then-girlfriend, now-wife Trang (or Jane) arrived in Tokyo and joined the company a few weeks later, though the first time I met her was at my July birthday party.

Paul left the company after a year, but stayed on in Japan with Trang in a suburb on the other side of Tokyo from mine. We met up as much as possible, and Paul and I even went to a shrine on New Years one year when Trang was back in the states (beware the amazake; that's all I learned THAT night).

The waitstaff at Sucré was great, but they could use some
photography lessons. (Maybe Paul's nostril's confused them?)

So, 18+ years after we met, there we were, in his hometown and my grandpa's. The Campos drove in from Mississippi--where they live now--a little under a hundred miles distant. They drove us to lunch at a swanky veg-friendly place called Carmo (excellent), and we caught up on old times and new.

Next stop was a famous dessert place, Sucré; though there are multiple locations, we went to the one on Magazine Street uptown. Decadent.

Paul and Trang were then kind enough to drive us the 15 miles or so out to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for our 5:46 PM departure, arriving Dallas/Fort Worth (hi, McClains!) at 7:30; then an 8:25 to 9:55 to LAX. We took a shuttle and were back at Mom's before midnight.

Here's the deal: When we arrived in New Orleans, we didn't really have an exit strategy. We were thinking about training across the southern half of the states to L.A., maybe laying over in San Antonio to meet the McClains there (before we settled on the New Orleans plan). We also thought about flying to Seattle, and taking the train to San Francisco, then to L:.A., so Lila could see those two West Coast cities.

All of this was predicated on the idea that we had two more "legs" left on our passes--which turned out to be WRONG, because I had forgotten about the side trip to Hartford (see Day 13).

With the discovery that we were "out of load"--and factoring in some fatigue--we decided to just fly back to Mom's in L.A.

So that's what we did.

It's instructive to note that the receipt for our tickets was sent on October 20--AFTER we reached New Orleans. (Really! No exit plan!) Amazing, then, that the tickets were only $162 each, all in.

And so our trip came to an end, but as Bilbo sang,
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Thanks for sticking with us.

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