Felt much better than expected as I drove out to the DMV yesterday morning. Or rather, I should say I “drove the gauntlet” to the DMV. Road, highway, and home construction created obstacles every few miles. From heavy equipment on and off the roadway, to lane closures on an otherwise major artery from DC and Maryland. Unfortunately, I had to drive the road in both directions, since my alternate route of choice was closed completely for 3 miles in either direction. There was also electronic signage flashing warnings of more disruptions to come next week in other areas down the same road.
It was good I chose to make the journey when I did. It will be a complete nightmare by next week. Why this work is left to just weeks before Memorial Day and the summer season, I cannot guess and will probably never know. But, they do it all the time, every year.
Needless to say, the trip took much longer than it ought, but I had nothing else to do and no where to be before noon, so I took my time and watched other frantic drivers (who weren’t as fortunate) pound their fists and scream at the road crews, who couldn’t hear them over the noise of their machines anyway.
As usual for a Monday, the inspection lines at the DMV were already long when I arrived - a half hour before the bays were opened. Oh, well. I was lucky to get behind three landscaping trucks who went through quickly and passed with flying colors. My own inspection went smoothly as well and within a half hour I had paid for the new sticker and was on the road heading back to the beach.
Of course by this time it was what passes for “rush hour” around these parts so traffic was heavier, drivers more animated (and angry) as it was slow going up to the last 2 miles before reaching the Ocean highway, better known as Route 1. It took over 3 hours for the round trip, but I am set for another 2 years - if I live that long- before having to do it all over again.
I printed out a few pages of New Orleans websites and drove over to Dos Locos. Being almost a summer day (temps hit the upper 80s)and people getting their first really good day at the beach, it was a chore to find a parking spot nearby. I drove around a while and finally one spot opened up a few doors down from the restaurant. I was in!
After hugs from everyone in the place and sharing some news regarding the upcoming season, Joe and I spent 2 hours in the office going over their itinerary. Ostensibly, this trip is to celebrate Darryl’s birthday (which always falls too close to Mother’s Day for a real getaway), but I think they both want (and need) one more short retreat before the hordes descend for the next 4 months.
They chose really good restaurants - only one I didn’t know or personally approve of, but hey, if they didn’t know me, they’d not know any good dining spots in town and would rely on either Open Table or Trip Advisor. Neither of which I would trust, especially reviewing a city like NOLA.
For instance, many reviewers complained about slow service, not understanding that is a trademark of the “City That Time Forgot” and not a lack of care for diners. Diners aren’t rushed in and out of restaurants in that town. Defeats the purpose of all the effort to prepare such good food.
So, as we sat there, Joe chose the days, times, and restaurants for just about every meal for the 5 days they’ll be there. He even made reservations as we made various choices.
We left a couple of breakfast or lunch spots free for those times they want to take a tour or street car ride around town. They can have a few more adventures that way on their own.
After all that work was done and reservations made, it was time for a cocktail. Well, of course it was, silly.
We sat at the bar as Joe sipped a Bulldog and I thoroughly enjoyed a long-awaited Bombay Martini, we talked more about the trip, the city, and his luck with getting an incredible deal on a suite at a new hotel in the Quarter. They are within walking distance to everything of importance to the new visitor and he seemed quite proud of his accomplishment. As he should be.
Suddenly most of the staff was behind us and Joe decided we needed a couple of pictures of the memorable occasion. So, here they are. These were taken with his phone. Joe and me at the top of the post (can you tell I am totally enjoying the moment?) and with the wait and kitchen staff in this one. The usual suspects, and it was a joy to see them all, at least for a short time.
I really miss my work and these great folks. I hope I get to go back to work again some time. All in all, a good day and the buzz I came home with wasn’t a bad way to cap it off. I actually had another half martini, poured without my knowledge by the bartender, my bud, Piolin. But, I won’t tell if you don’t…
And so it goes.