Wrestling Time In The Big Easy

My yearly excursion to hang out with friends and watch some wrestling landed all of us New Orleans. The place where I spent nearly three weeks working around Mardi Gras. The excitement for the city had rubbed off for me but not the joy of hanging out with a group of people I see on limited basis throughout the year.

The trip started out as the worst flying experience of my life. The benefits of a small, regional airport are quick check in and security. You can arrive about 45 minutes before you plan boards and be golden. The downfall of a small, regional airport with limited flights is when things start getting bad and canceled, then you are stuck.

I arrived about an hour before my flight to Dallas was suppose to take off and it was immediately delayed. As we waited, there was an emergency landing for a plane going from Columbus, OH to Chicago that landed and got canceled due to mechanical trouble. A flight to Atlanta was canceled due to mechanical failure. My plane finally arrived and was delayed longer due to mechanical issues. Another flight to Chicago was canceled because of the storms. Finally my plane was canceled. The fourth flight in under an hour. I go to stand in line. And I know that I am not leaving Fort Wayne this night. And I am correct. I get rebooked on the next flight to Dallas, 24 hours from now. I lose tickets to a wrestling show and my share of a hotel room for the night. Not to mention a wasted vacation day. I get home and email American Airlines Customer Service department.

The next day, I head out to the airport once again. Upon arrival my flight is already delayed and will cause me to miss my connecting flight in Dallas. The earliest flight I can get on to New Orleans will arrive at 11pm. I will miss another wrestling show. I think about canceling the trip all together. I make some calls and it's simple not feasible. Mainly because I am flying to the Philippines directly after New Orleans. So I wait and get to Dallas and wait more. In all about 8 hours sitting around the airport. However I am able to get on a flight which arrives at 9:30pm. However, my luggage will not arrive until my original flight. When I finally land in NOLA, I make arrangements for my luggage to be delivered. The airline says it will arrive by 6am. Great, I have no change of clothes in my backpack or essentials until then. I head out to the hotel. Maybe a hot shower and a cold beer will help.

I am miserable. I am tired. I am angry. And all my friends are at the wrestling show. I get to the hotel and get my room key, a room which I am sharing with four other people. I open the door and an immediate funk hits my nostrils. Then the light reveals a whole different disaster. This room has been trashed and smells like cat. I am confused. I open the bathroom door to urinate and see the serving tray with kitty litter spread all over it (complete with cat turds) and cat hair surrounding the shower drain. Baffled, I walk out and see open cans of cat food surrounding the TV and dry cat food sprinkled in a trail along the edge of the floor. And there are clothes thrown all over.

I am raging. I throw my backpack in the closet and head out of the hotel to go find drink and food in an attempt to calm down. I text my friend Jeff and ask what hell is going on. The room is a wreck and I cannot sleep in there because of allergies. He says one of the other guys, Paul, let an independent wrestler stay in the room since I could not make it. I really want to reveal his name as he is a veteran and from a fairly famous wrestling family. But I wont... (unless you ask me then I will say it's Teddy). Apparently the guys knew nothing of this wreckage as they left at noon and the wrestler was going to leave shortly after. However Paul, who let the wrestler and his girlfriend stay, should have turned him away once a cat showed up in the mix. The wrestler took advantage of the situation and Paul should have said sorry other guys paid for this room. But none of that happened.

They get back from the show and started cleaning up the room while I sat at bar across the street with some other friends who showed. Paul came in and said things are cleaned up the best we can and house keeping can tidy up in the morning. It's as good as it's gonna get tonight. So we all drink. Around 1:30am, Paul gets a call and goes to meet the wrestler so he can pick up his things. He asks if I want to go and to which I laugh. Currently I am feeling better, but I might punch the guy if he crossed my path. They get back and we drink more. People start fading out. About 3:30am, it's time to try for some sleep. Jeff and myself head back to room and we find Paul asleep. The fourth guy who is sharing the room is nowhere to be found. My luggage still hasn't arrived so I decide to wait for it. I open the closet to get my backpack and it's gone. My calming mood goes into instant anger. I yell at Paul and say did the wrestler take my backpack. He's drunk and doesn't know and says I will get it tomorrow. I say no, we will get it now. My money, my electronics, my camera, and my passport is in the bag. He grumbles and makes a call to get the hotel address. Jeff says we are taking your rental car Paul. And we head out to retrieve my items at a hotel on the north side of NOLA. We get my backpack and all its belongings and get back to our hotel about 4:45am. My luggage has arrived. Only I find out a wheel has been snapped and I cant wheel it around and the handle is bent and wont extend. This is the second time the suitcase has been used.

I'm tired and just want this day to end. I get to the stinking room, take a hot shower, and crawl into bed about 5:30am.

I wake up around 9:30am and cant take the smell any longer. I change and go the lobby and wait around. I met up with friends for breakfast at the NOLA institution The Ruby Slipper Cafe. There are some decadent meals here but I went basic and simple. Decided to spend the day walking around with people and checking out the area. We took a ferry across the river to see a historic part of town. Then came back and walked through the French Quarter, complete with a stop at Cafe Beignet. We went up to St. Louis Cemetery, unfortunately it was closed, and back down for a stroll down Bourbon Street for a beer before deciding it was enough.

Some people in the group decided to go the wrestling shows. I did not as none of the shows for the night, neither Ring of Honor or Dragon Gate USA, really interested me. Instead I went to Barcadia for a buger and beers. Some people joined me shortly afterwards.

After a couple hours, our friend Greg was hosting a gathering so that's where I went. There was still a few people I had not seen yet due to my late arrival and wandering around all day. Spent a couple of hours sipping drinks and hanging out with group of good people and catching up. Eventually it was time for bed.

I got back to the room and it had not been cleaned. One of the guys forgot to hit the "please make room" button. So I try to sleep for a few hours. One again I wake up early and walk out the room.

Sunday was going to be a lazy, wasted day. I had planned on watching Wrestlemania in room. I walked around and had brunch with friends. As people left for the show, I got a call from Larry. He said to get over to Greg's room ASAP. He has a ticket for you. Now I really did not want to go but I hate turning down nice gestures from friends. So I got to the room and Greg asked if I wanted to sit in the skybox with him, Larry, and Jon. It was his treat. Again, how could I say no. And we headed out to Wrestlemania XXX.

Deciding to take Greg up on his offer turned out to be a great decision. Not only was Mania one of the best of all time and had many, many great moments but how often will I ever set in a skybox with free food and booze. Plus it's always great watching shows with Greg, Larry, and Jon.

We walked back towards the hotel and I started the usual goodbyes with everyone and making the round as I was heading the to the Philippines in the morning. After a few hours of sleep, I headed out early in the morning to catch my flight.

And naturally, as every flight on this trip, it was delayed...
(to be continued)

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Observation of An Illogical mind by Sean Kimmel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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