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Where have you been? Trip reports and questions about places you travel when not visiting Aruba.

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Old Tuesday, March 31st, 2009, 10:30 AM
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Default Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

Originally Posted by TomR
Sherry, I don't post much on this on any other bulletin board, but I enjoy reading this one every day. The posters are polite, knowledgeable, and friendly, and I think you do a great job of keeping it that way. While this is an Aruba oriented board, perhaps some of the members might be interested in hearing about other's vacations away from Aruba and how these vacations contrasts to their Aruba trips. It seems like wherever else I go on vacation, I am always comparing it to my Aruba vacations either in terms of activities, weather, price or just the fun factor. Keep up the good work.
Tom

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I posted the above on another thread and Sherry thought it might be a good idea if I started a separate thread on the topic. At the risk of putting you all to sleep, I will give it a shot and try to compare a vacation my friend and I just had in New Orleans to our last vacation in Aruba which was in December 2008.

I have been going to Aruba since 1993, usually in June. At first, my late wife and I did all the touristy things, but after a few years, we sort of got comfortable just hanging around LaCabana during the day and hitting the restaurants and casinos at night. I was happy sitting at the pool or beach all day, and my wife was happiest sitting in front of a Video Poker machine at night. We could have done that in Atlantic City which is not far from where I live, but we just felt at home in Aruba. The near perfect weather, the openness and friendliness of the people, the ability to do it all or nothing at all, well, you know what I mean. When friends and family asked us what we did on our Aruba vacations, we just smiled and said "not much". Not sure they understood that, but we did.

After my wife died, I continued going to Aruba either alone or with my son and his family as I still had 2 weeks of timeshare at LaCabana. My routine was basically the same, beach all day, dinner with the family, and casino most of the night. Not as much fun as before, but I was still in Aruba. My last vacation in Aruba was in December 2008. Obviously, it was much different since I brought my friend with me. How that happened is a story unto itself, but it happened, and I was a tour guide once again as she had never been to Aruba before. We drove around the island going places and seeing things I hadn't seen in years. She loved it and so did I. But towards the end of the week, we were spending our days on the beach and our nights in restaurants and casinos. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Now how can New Orleans top that? Well, it can't. New Orleans doesn't have any beaches. The Mississippi River, yes, but no beaches. It does, however, have one casino, so all was not lost. Actually, we had a great but totally different vacation. Instead of driving around an island or enjoying a sunny day on a beach, we walked and walked, and walked throughout the French Quarter. There was a lot to see and experience. We walked into the beautiful St Louis Cathedral overlooking Jackson Square, we stood in the very room where the Louisiana Purchase was signed and, of course, we had a hurricane at Pat O'Brien's on St. Paddy's Day.

One thing we learned very quickly about the friendly folks who inhabit New Orleans. They love parades and they are very, very good at them. Our first night, we watched an Irish parade develop outside of a bar in the Quarter. Actually, being an Irish parade, it developed inside the bar and then to the outside where mule drawn carriages awaited the revelers dressed in their finest kilts and tuxedoes. It was a fun thing to watch. The following night, the Italians took over with their parade in honor of St. Joseph. It rained that night but it didn't stop the couple hundred marchers handing out beads, flowers and kisses to the ladies. All this work must have made the marchers thirsty as they were never too far away from a drink. In fact, there was a bar set up on a City fire truck that was part of the parade. Somehow I can't imagine that happening in our New Jersey Township, but as I said, New Orleanians are good at parades. We saw one other parade, the Irish parade on St. Paddy's Day. Now the Irish marchers didn't have use of a fire truck, but they made about five scheduled pit stops at local bars before arriving at Bourbon Street where the crowds awaited. There were also about a half dozen rolling bars in the parade for the convenience of the marchers, some of whom were having trouble marching at that point. But it was great fun for all. I have never been to Carnival in Aruba, but this experience in New Orleans makes me want to go.

We also learned that besides being good at parades, New Orleanians are good at food. No, that is wrong. They are great at food. It didn't matter whether we hit an upscale restaurant or some local joint, the food was outstanding. We had Breakfast at Brennan's (touristy but, hey we were tourists) and sampled their famous Banana Foster dessert. We had dinner at Emeril's NOLA restaurant, but the BAM BAM man was not there. We had lunch at the historic Napoleon House but he wasn't there either. We had a couple of hurricanes at one of the oldest bars in the country, Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. As far as I could tell, Jean was absent also, but after two hurricanes I couldn't swear to it. And how could we say we went to New Orleans if we didn't have coffee and beignets at the Cafe Du Monde?

All in all, New Orleans is a great place to visit. We had a ball. But here is the thing. It was a "been there, done that" sort of a vacation for us. We saw it, we liked it, we had fun, but we have no desire to return. We'll be back in Aruba in August. I guess that says it all.
Tom
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Old Tuesday, March 31st, 2009, 11:12 AM
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I Love Aruba Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

Tom ~ thanks so much for this. Very interesting.

So many people ask me "why" I keep going back to Aruba, and don't I get bored, and "why" don't I want to travel to new places. Unless you've been there, and spend time, you just can't explain the "why."

I was pretty much in the same boat you were in losing a spouse... truly, I found my peace in Aruba.

Thanks again.
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Old Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

Hi Elaine: Thanks for the response. It is never easy losing a spouse, but then we never really do lose him/or her, because they are always in our hearts and memories. Once I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself, I started on the road to finding the peace you mentioned. And traveling helped. Speaking of traveling, I just traded two of my St. Maarten weeks for 2 weeks at the Marriott Surf Club in December. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to get back to Aruba again, especially since I traded 1 bedrooms for 2 bedrooms. Lazy River, here I come.
Tom
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Old Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

December in Aruba sounds wonderful... especially since by then it'll be almost time for my trip.

And, as an aside, Tom ~ pity parties once in a while are okay. I have many...

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Originally Posted by TomR View Post
Hi Elaine: Thanks for the response. It is never easy losing a spouse, but then we never really do lose him/or her, because they are always in our hearts and memories. Once I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself, I started on the road to finding the peace you mentioned. And traveling helped. Speaking of traveling, I just traded two of my St. Maarten weeks for 2 weeks at the Marriott Surf Club in December. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to get back to Aruba again, especially since I traded 1 bedrooms for 2 bedrooms. Lazy River, here I come.
Tom
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Old Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

tom, great report. my only trip to new orleans was when i was a teen. it was a disaster of a trip. somehow, i have tended to avoid the area and that is probably a shame. you do make it sound like i place i would like to see again as an adult.

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Originally Posted by TomR View Post
Originally Posted by TomR
Sherry, I don't post much on this on any other bulletin board, but I enjoy reading this one every day. The posters are polite, knowledgeable, and friendly, and I think you do a great job of keeping it that way. While this is an Aruba oriented board, perhaps some of the members might be interested in hearing about other's vacations away from Aruba and how these vacations contrasts to their Aruba trips. It seems like wherever else I go on vacation, I am always comparing it to my Aruba vacations either in terms of activities, weather, price or just the fun factor. Keep up the good work.
Tom

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I posted the above on another thread and Sherry thought it might be a good idea if I started a separate thread on the topic. At the risk of putting you all to sleep, I will give it a shot and try to compare a vacation my friend and I just had in New Orleans to our last vacation in Aruba which was in December 2008.

I have been going to Aruba since 1993, usually in June. At first, my late wife and I did all the touristy things, but after a few years, we sort of got comfortable just hanging around LaCabana during the day and hitting the restaurants and casinos at night. I was happy sitting at the pool or beach all day, and my wife was happiest sitting in front of a Video Poker machine at night. We could have done that in Atlantic City which is not far from where I live, but we just felt at home in Aruba. The near perfect weather, the openness and friendliness of the people, the ability to do it all or nothing at all, well, you know what I mean. When friends and family asked us what we did on our Aruba vacations, we just smiled and said "not much". Not sure they understood that, but we did.

After my wife died, I continued going to Aruba either alone or with my son and his family as I still had 2 weeks of timeshare at LaCabana. My routine was basically the same, beach all day, dinner with the family, and casino most of the night. Not as much fun as before, but I was still in Aruba. My last vacation in Aruba was in December 2008. Obviously, it was much different since I brought my friend with me. How that happened is a story unto itself, but it happened, and I was a tour guide once again as she had never been to Aruba before. We drove around the island going places and seeing things I hadn't seen in years. She loved it and so did I. But towards the end of the week, we were spending our days on the beach and our nights in restaurants and casinos. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Now how can New Orleans top that? Well, it can't. New Orleans doesn't have any beaches. The Mississippi River, yes, but no beaches. It does, however, have one casino, so all was not lost. Actually, we had a great but totally different vacation. Instead of driving around an island or enjoying a sunny day on a beach, we walked and walked, and walked throughout the French Quarter. There was a lot to see and experience. We walked into the beautiful St Louis Cathedral overlooking Jackson Square, we stood in the very room where the Louisiana Purchase was signed and, of course, we had a hurricane at Pat O'Brien's on St. Paddy's Day.

One thing we learned very quickly about the friendly folks who inhabit New Orleans. They love parades and they are very, very good at them. Our first night, we watched an Irish parade develop outside of a bar in the Quarter. Actually, being an Irish parade, it developed inside the bar and then to the outside where mule drawn carriages awaited the revelers dressed in their finest kilts and tuxedoes. It was a fun thing to watch. The following night, the Italians took over with their parade in honor of St. Joseph. It rained that night but it didn't stop the couple hundred marchers handing out beads, flowers and kisses to the ladies. All this work must have made the marchers thirsty as they were never too far away from a drink. In fact, there was a bar set up on a City fire truck that was part of the parade. Somehow I can't imagine that happening in our New Jersey Township, but as I said, New Orleanians are good at parades. We saw one other parade, the Irish parade on St. Paddy's Day. Now the Irish marchers didn't have use of a fire truck, but they made about five scheduled pit stops at local bars before arriving at Bourbon Street where the crowds awaited. There were also about a half dozen rolling bars in the parade for the convenience of the marchers, some of whom were having trouble marching at that point. But it was great fun for all. I have never been to Carnival in Aruba, but this experience in New Orleans makes me want to go.

We also learned that besides being good at parades, New Orleanians are good at food. No, that is wrong. They are great at food. It didn't matter whether we hit an upscale restaurant or some local joint, the food was outstanding. We had Breakfast at Brennan's (touristy but, hey we were tourists) and sampled their famous Banana Foster dessert. We had dinner at Emeril's NOLA restaurant, but the BAM BAM man was not there. We had lunch at the historic Napoleon House but he wasn't there either. We had a couple of hurricanes at one of the oldest bars in the country, Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. As far as I could tell, Jean was absent also, but after two hurricanes I couldn't swear to it. And how could we say we went to New Orleans if we didn't have coffee and beignets at the Cafe Du Monde?

All in all, New Orleans is a great place to visit. We had a ball. But here is the thing. It was a "been there, done that" sort of a vacation for us. We saw it, we liked it, we had fun, but we have no desire to return. We'll be back in Aruba in August. I guess that says it all.
Tom
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Old Friday, April 3rd, 2009, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

I loved reading for story Tom...Thanks for sharing that. I hope you enjoy your peace for many years to come.
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Old Saturday, April 4th, 2009, 09:49 AM
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Default Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

Elaine: After reading your posts on here for some time now, I doubt you have many of those pity parties now. Sounds like you had a wonderful month or so in Aruba just a few short weeks ago. Here's to many more for you!

Sherry: New Orleans is a wonderful place to visit. We went for a week because we exchanged into a timeshare but three or four nights would be just about right to get a good feel for the French Quarter and maybe the Garden District. I know you go to Atlantic City once in a while (we tried to hook up with you guys at the Tropicana a year or two ago but somehow missed you) so you would probably enjoy Harrah's casino in New Orleans. It is really a nice place with great service too.

Dan: Thank you. The same thoughts to you and your wife and all the posters on the BB.

Tom
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Old Thursday, June 25th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

There is not much activity in New Orleans. I have visited that place with my parents when i was 17. Don't know if its the same or changed.
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Old Friday, June 26th, 2009, 07:15 AM
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Default Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

Good morning Tom,
I enjoyed your New Orleans trip report. It brought back memories of my trip to New Orleans fifteen years ago. I was fortunate to travel within the United States yearly with the American Federation of Teachers (national conventions). As with all trips such as this I made sure that following convention meetings I made use of the opportunities to see the cities, etc. I took a bus tour of New Orleans, then went to many restaurants---and enjoyed most of them. Yes, I went to the casino once and made my donation to the upkeep of the casino, etc. I found the people very warm and friendly. The food was delicious, the drinks superb. I enjoyed the cruise of the muddy Mississippi, fireworks, etc. One day, however, was lost to me because I developed food poisoning. I spent much of that day lying on the bathroom floor. I pulled myself together at night, drank a ton of water, and went out with friends. I never liked wasting time at convention times. Thanks for your report.
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Old Saturday, June 27th, 2009, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

Hi ArubaMary: Glad you enjoyed the trip report. Since you have been to New Orleans, you know it is a great place to visit. You were lucky, as a teacher, to have the opportunity to travel there as well as to other cities and see what they all had to offer. Sorry to hear about the food poisoning. I felt like that several times years ago, but unfortunately I can't blame it on the food.

Since posting that trip report, I spent a week at a timeshare in Las Vegas and am leaving tomorrow for a week at the Marriott's Ocean Pointe in West Palm Beach, Florida. When I return, I will post another trip report combining both trips. Don't have much to say about Vegas except that I didn't win, (notice that I didn't say I lost as no one likes a whiner) but hopefully I will have more to say about the Florida trip assuming the weather cooperates.


I am looking forward to my Aruba trip in August. I will be traveling there alone, but my son and his family will be arriving a day later and staying in a different timeshare. In December I will be returning to Aruba for 2 weeks staying at the Marriott Surf Club with my friend. Got a good timeshare exchange there that I couldn't pass up. Hope you have a great summer.
Tom
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Old Saturday, June 27th, 2009, 09:02 PM
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Hi Tom,
I have never been to West Palm, but I have been to Naples, Florida for April school vacation for the past three years. I love it there, but nothing compares to Aruba in my mind. Lucky you going to Aruba in August. My daughter and I at one time owned timeshare in December, February and August (school vacations). I now own three weeks in February.
Oh, an aside-----today I went to the local Elks where I am a member----it was the end of the year drawing for a weekly pool I belong to. For the final drawing there are several money prizes-----the largest being $1000. Well, lo and behold---my number was called for the $1000. I am thrilled. It will come in handy as I'm having alot of work done around the house, retaining wall, replacement windows, etc.
Mary
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Old Monday, July 6th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: Comparing Vacations in Aruba and New Orleans

Hi Mary. Congratulations on the big win. Nice way to celebrate the start of the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't fare as well. My friend and I drove from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale on Friday to take a ride on the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi. It was a fun trip, but instead of heading back to the timeshare my friend suggested we drive a little further south to Hollywood and visit the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. So I did as her suggestion sounded more like an order to me.

I was at that casino on opening day a few years ago and stayed only minutes because I was told there were no Video Poker machines. Since then, there have been lots of changes and the casino, and adjacent shopping/entertainment area, are really very nice. Well, to sum it up, we stayed about 3 hours. I lost and she won. Sometimes, life just isn't fair considering it was I who taught her how to play Video Poker. She now believes that she is a VP expert and, on the drive back to the timeshare, suggested that we go to Lake Tahoe next summer to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery and, of course, the casinos. Once again, her suggestion sounded more than just a suggestion to me, but, considering the funk I was in at the time (losing does that to me), I could be wrong. Time will tell.
Tom
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