Archive for the ‘New Orleans’ Category

Exploring New Orleans – The Rest of The Trip

Posted: January 8, 2008 by Nathan Kam in New Orleans, Travel

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My sister Erin, Lorne, Regan, and me on the Riverwalk overlooking the Mississippi River. 

To be honest, parts of days two through four in New Orleans are a bit of a blur thanks to lots of alcohol, Harrah’s Casino, and late nights. Fortunately, I managed to take some pictures to memorialize the trip. The Big Easy was a lot of fun, but I’m not quite sure I’d ever go back. New Years Eve on Decatur Street was interesting, as was Bourbon Street which was just too much for me. Go ahead…call me old…I don’t care…Bourbon Street was disgusting! The food was great, sights were pretty neat, and sporting events were fun. I’m glad I got to see what New Orleans was all about (a square mile of it anyway). It was a good experience overall.  Check out the rest of the trip (excluding the Sugar Bowl):

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Beignets at Cafe du Monde are a “must do.” The line outside the “real” Cafe was too long, so we went to the Riverwalk mall and ate at the one there. From the look on Regan’s face, it’s almost like a drug addiction…well we did eat them everyday we were there. Three beignets come in one order, but half the bag is filled with powdered sugar which can make eating them quite messy…just look at the floor.

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We also took in a New Orleans Hornets game on New Years Eve. Hornets lost to the Toronto Raptors, but it was cool to see a NBA game in real life. My mom and sister are posed outside New Orleans Arena, while the Three Stooges (me, Lorne and Regan) try to look handsome inside. After the game was done, we needed to figure out what to do…so we headed to Bourbon Street which was a mess. Our better judgment took us back to Decatur Street to ring in the New Year with fireworks on the Mississippi River. That’s Lorne in the last photo with his Aunty Lynn…wow, can that lady drink! 🙂
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More New Year’s Eve photos on Decatur Street. After that was all said and done, we headed to Harrah’s Casino to spend the rest of the “morning.” There we bumped into a bunch of friends including Erika, Sarah and her cousin, and partied the night away with Lorne’s family. I bet Regan and Lorne don’t even remember these photos.

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Before we headed out of New Orleans for Houston to come back home, we made the pilgrimage to historic Central Grocery in the French Market to feast on a muffuletta sandwich. It was probably one of the best things we ate all trip and I’m glad we stopped for a bite. How can you go wrong with a sandwich made with cheese, salami, olive salad, olive oil, and delicious muffaletta bread? You can’t!

Happy New Year!

-NGK 

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Exploring New Orleans – Day 1 Postmortem

Posted: January 6, 2008 by Nathan Kam in New Orleans, Travel

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Roadtrip! After landing in Houston at 2:30 a.m., we hit the road for New Orleans. Of all the vans they could have given us, they gave us a RED one. After five and a half hours and one stop for breakfast in Lafayette, LA, we arrived safely in New Orleans.

Having had the opportunity to travel to many great U.S. cities on work and leisure, I was really looking forward to finding out what New Orleans had to offer. Having done a little bit of research before departing Hawaii, I was looking forward to exploring one of America’s oldest cities post-Katrina, tasting delicious Cajun/Creole cuisine, partying it up on Bourbon Street, and enjoying the electric atmosphere surrounding the Sugar Bowl.

Having only four full days in NOLA, we did as much as we could from sun up to sun down. Here’s some of the highlights from our first day in the city.

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After driving in the rain for most of the trip, we finally arrive in New Orleans. Our rooms at the Sheraton New Orleans were fabulous, with beautiful views of the Mississippi River and lower part of the French Quarter. We did quite a bit of walking in the city as everything is conveniently located near each other. After everyone took a quick nap, we were ready to hit the streets.

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On our way out to explore the French Quarter. It didn’t take us long to stop for some traditional Cajun food…po-boys, jambalaya, gumbo. All delicious!

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Walking Bourbon Street with a couple of Big Ass Beers for just $3…what a deal! I was surprised by how dirty and “sleezy” Bourbon Street is. Kinda reminds me of a glorified Hotel Street here on Oahu. After a little exploration, we headed to the UH Pep Rally by Jax Brewery. Thousands of Warrior fans showed up for this great event.

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After the Pep Rally, Lorne, Regan, and I hit Bourbon Street at night. We saw a bunch of friends from Hawaii and there was a good number of locals roaming the streets with us. Throughout the night we ate and drank until our heart was content. The fried catfish po-boy was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

We had a lot of fun the first day. The temperature got pretty cold at night (probably into the low 40) which made staying warm a priority. Day two brought even more drinking, eating, and new experiences which I’ll tell you all about soon. Just to give you a hint of what’s to come…let’s just say Regan and Lorne don’t remember much of New Year’s Eve.

-NGK

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Let me start off by saying that nearly 40 hours of travel time spent in the air and on the road is a long time. Would I change anything about our trip to New Orleans to experience the Sugar Bowl? NO! Would I do it again? I would seriously have to think about it. More about getting to The Big Easy in another blog post.

There’s so much about the trip to talk about, but let me begin with the most important part of the expedition – the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

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Our seats in section 616, rows 14 and 15 were fabulous with a sideline view.

Sitting alongside thousands UH Warriors fans in white t-shirts to cheer on the Warriors was a “chicken skin” experience I’ll never forget. It felt like one-third of the 70,000-seat Louisiana Superdome was filled with Warrior fans and while we were clearly outnumbered by Georgia Bulldogs faithful, we gave it everything we had from start to finish. I couldn’t believe how loud it got in the dome.

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From left: Lorne and Regan outside the Superdome. Me, my mom (Rhonda) and sister (Erin). The UH Band performs before kick-0ff.

While the outcome of the game was not the one we were hoping for, I take my hat off to the Warriors for playing with a lot of heart and giving it their all. Georgia was clearly the better team that night – bigger, faster, stronger – and it showed. From the start, it was obvious we had our hands full. The Warriors never gave up and the fans never gave up on them. This game helped me understand the meaning of “big time” football – SEC style!

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From left: Thousands of fans outside the Superdome. The atmosphere inside the Superdome was electric. The very first play from scrimmage after a good return by UH.

The Warriors have a lot to be proud of and this season will no doubt go down as one of the best ever! Let’s hope June Jones hangs around for a few more years to keep the good times rolling.

More about our trip to New Orleans coming up.

-NGK

nostradamus.jpgAs of this posting at 6:00 p.m., we’re departing for the Sugar Bowl in less than 15 hours. To say we’re all getting excited is an understatement. The fabulous five traveling are me, my mom (Rhonda), my sister (Erin), and by buddies Regan and Lorne.

I’m getting ready to pack my bags and my sister Erin is spending the night at our place since we need to be at the airport by 7 a.m. to check-in. I spent today taking care of Ensen and mapping out our little roadtrip from Houston to New Orleans during his naps. I think we’re set, but if not, Lorne is borrowing his cousin’s Garmin GPS System to help get us to The Big Easy safe and sound.

This will most likely be my last Sugar Bowl post on this blog for a day or two (I’ll see if I can get Kelly to post daily updates of our travels), so I thought I’d go out with a bang. The photo of the guy in the upper right is Nostradamus, who according to Wikipedia is “a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous world-wide.” In reading a couple of chapters from his famous book Les Propheties, I came across some of his predictions for the Hawaii Warriors vs. Georgia Bulldog game on New Year’s Day:

FINAL SCORE: UH defeats Georgia, 51-48 in overtime
COLT BRENNAN: 42-60, 537 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, no interceptions
JASON RIVERS: 13 catches, 178 yards receiving, 3 touchdowns
DEVON BESS: 10 catches, 137 yards receiving, 1 touchdown
RYAN GRICE-MULLIN: 8 catches, 151 yards receiving, 1 touchdown
ADAM LEONARD: 12 solo tackles, 1 interception
DAN KELLY: Will hit the game winning field goal in OT…PRICELESS!

Okay, so maybe those are my personal crazy predictions and not those of Nostradamus. It will be interesting to see how good I am at foreseeing the future. Enjoy the game!

GO WARRIORS!

-NGK

Countdown to the Sugar Bowl…5 days ’till kickoff!

Posted: December 27, 2007 by Nathan Kam in New Orleans, Travel

allstate_sugarbowl.png I really don’t have much to say tonight except, “New Orleans…here we come!” I still can’t believe we leave for The Big Easy in less than 48 hours. I’ve still got to pack but that shouldn’t really be a problem. Our group has agreed to travel light and to only check bags if really necessary. With two connections on different airlines heading to Houston, it’s probably a good idea.

But as more and more people learned that I was heading to the Sugar Bowl, the requests started coming in. Can you bring me back a t-shirt? A program? Something from the game you can’t get here in Hawaii? My answer: ABSOLUTELY!

So I’ve got my shopping list of all the things my family and friends want from the big game. It also means I’ll need to “go against the grain” and send at least one suitcase through baggage to bring everything back. It’s all worth it for the love of the Warriors and the fans who supported them throughout the year.

If anyone else wants something from the game, give me a call. I’ll try to squeeze it in the suitcase.

-NGK

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Regan and me at Aloha Stadium cheering on the Warriors as they defeat the Washington Huskies in the final game of the season.

Okay, I’ve got a confession to make. Even though I booked the travel for me, my family, and my friends for the Sugar Bowl, I really never stopped to add up all the time it would take to get there. I’m not quite sure why I never did, but it probably has something to with the fact that I knew deep down inside that it was going to take “a while” to get from Hawaii to New Orleans. A little case of denial.

So when I saw my buddy Regan quoted today in a Sugar Bowl story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune titled “Cultural Shift” by Stewart Yerton, reality settled in. It’s going to take almost 20 hours to get from here to there and another 20 hours to get from there back to here. HOLY COW! Quoting from the story (sweet…second story in the paper we’ve been included in):

Regan Onikama is typical. A Honolulu mortgage broker, Onikama plans to leave Honolulu on Saturday at 9 a.m. on a four-hour flight to Los Angeles. In L.A. he will switch planes for a two-hour flight to Phoenix, where he has another connection to Houston. After arriving in Houston at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Onikama plans to rent a car and drive to New Orleans, where he hopes to arrive by 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Factoring in the five-hour time difference between Honolulu and New Orleans, that’s more than 19 hours of travel time. Onikama’s return flight leaves Houston at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3 so he will have to leave New Orleans on Wednesday night to drive back.

Altogether, that’s about 40 hours of travel time for the chance to spend about 80 hours in New Orleans, where Onikama says he plans to hit Harrah’s New Orleans Casino and Bourbon Street and enjoy some good food.

But his final quote in the story sums up our attitude about this trip:

As for the travel hardships, Onikama shrugged it off.

“I figure this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “Win or lose, everybody’s just excited to go.”

Well said my man! Three days until departure…

GO WARRIORS!

-NGK

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Reading a story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today titled Ten esoteric Hawaii facts UGA fans should know reinforced just how special and exciting this University of Hawaii Warriors football team has been this year. Sports Writer Chip Towers does an excellent job highlighting some of the things that really sets this team apart and paints a great picture of what this football team has achieved this season.

From other Sugar Bowl reports throughout the week, it’s obvious that the University of Georgia Bulldogs are not going to that the Warriors lightly. What it means to me is that college football fans across the county, especially those from Hawaii, are in for one hell of an exciting game.

GO WARRIORS!

-NGK