Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Saving the Best for Last

Our last day in New Orleans just couldn't have been better.  Not only was the temperature bearable, the sky was absolutely clear.  We were suitably jovial filled with gumbo, jambalya, catfish, and mint juleps.

We drove down town and parked the car close to the French Quarter and the Old Mint building.

We spent a leisurely day strolling up and down the narrow streets of the French quarter on a gorgeous sunny Saturday.

We enjoyed the French Market,

aroma of coffee, cinnamon rolls, pralines, and cajun cooking mixed with the smell of stale beer, cigarette and stogies wafting from the jazz clubs.

The architecture of the FQ dressed for Mardis Gras,

horse carriages lining the street,

artists displaying their media were just waiting to be photographed.  Musicians and buskers

lined the streets as crowds grew thicker throughout the day and the sun dropped.

During the day we took advantage of two free concerts presented by the National Jazz Park.  Our first concert was a piano and vocalist/poet duet,

and the second was the New Orleans Marine Big Band.

 After the last concert, we made our way to the parking lot and warmed up in our car.  Russ read , and I took a little nap, before we made our way to Royal Street where we ate dinner at Mona Lisa's then enjoyed the first parade of the Mardis Gras season from the Krewe Du Vieux

and Krewe Du Lusion.  KDV is the oldest of parades where the floats are small and pulled through the streets with everyone walking.  These parades are satirical, irreverent, and considered pretty raunchy.  Everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time.

Let the good times roll.  Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler

And then in a blink, we turned into pumpkins, and it was time to return home to California.  Now home safe and sound.

All is well with the Worrall Travel R's

Friday, February 14, 2014

Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

Happy Valentines from New Orleans - 2014

Today we headed out of the city early to visit a plantation north up the Mississippi River. The House was built in 1837  by the Creole (French-American) Family Roman.  The fourteen pairs of 335 year old Live Oaks leading to the house are stunning.  Among others this plantation was in the films
Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte in 1965 and Primary Colors in 1997.  The exterior of the plantation house contrasts against the slave quarters. It is hard to imagine slaves and owners in this day and age.  

 The inhumanity of holding, working, and punishing other humans is unfathomable.  We do not credit enough the Africans who built the early American economy of the South.  Do you recognize this scene?  

This was a neighboring plantation, Felicity.  The plantation house and gazebo were a part of the setting for Twelve Years a Slave.

While the plantation owners wined and dined on the inside of their lovely home, the people who made it possible lived in tight quarters and had to grow and tend their own vegetables at night after a long days work in the field.  We were greeted at the door by a vivacious "hooped skirt" belle who guided us through the plantation house.

Parlor Table, Apples soaked in rum fro the women, glasses of rum for the men.
Note the Courting Candle.  Father after meeting the suitor twist-measured the length of  appropriate courtship time.

Master Bedroom and Nursery

Note low dining table.  Average height of men in 1800's was 5'4", women less than 5'.

When all was said and done, I had to sit on the veranda and sip a mint julep!

Is it noon yet? Oops I don't have on my hoop skirt
Did you know that a mint julep is made with bourbon, mint, and powdered sugar on crushed ice? They brought iced down to the south from glaciers up north...far north, then buried it underground to keep it through the long hot and humid summers.   The julep was very good. Unfortunately, I don't remember much on the way back to New Orleans.  Ha!  What a great nap.  This must have been what the southern belles did too.  Good thing Russ didn't have one.

Tomorrow is the first Mardi Gras Parade, yeah!  Then we return to Sacramento on Sunday evening.

All is well with the Worrall Travel R's

Mardi Gras and Jazz in the French Quarter

Laissez les bons temps rouler....Let the good times roll
Finally, the sun decided to show itself today, but it was still cold and windy.  We started our day off by visiting Mardi Gras World, down by the cruise ship pier on the Mississippi snaking around New Orleans. Mardi Gras World is a huge warehouse, 1 of 15 that this particular family owns, to prepare and store props and floats for the Krewe Orpheus.  There are over 50 such warehouses, known as dens, by other families and krewes througout the city.

Hey!  Pick your own nose!

Queen Kong

Artists at work

As we entered the warehouse, we were given our official beads and badges.  Fifteen to twenty artists work in this warehouse, designing, sculpting, paper macheting, painting, gluing the props and floats that will be used in this year's Mardi Gras Parade.

 They were busily working as we toured the den. We had an opportunity to walk around without the guide and thoroughly enjoyed what we saw.  It is a huge production that gears up right after the first of the year.  Many of the warehouses become venues for conferences, weddings, meetings, etc.  And some of the krewes hold their Masquerade Balls in their own warehouses.

 This coming Saturday is the first of the parades leading up to the week before actual Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) before Ash Wednesday.  The parade we will see is the grandfather of the parades and it is on foot through the French Quarter.  We understand it is quite raunchy and definitely for no one under 18 years of age.  I'm not even sure we are old enough. but we are looking forward to it, and then glad to be out of New Orleans before the crush of tourists move in for the big stuff.
Under 18 at Heart

The original parades were walking parades.  Now the big parades with their large floats cannot make their way through the French Quarter because of their width and  length. One float was over 300 feet, the length of a football field!  By city ordinance, the krewes all where masks so spectators cannot recognize the people on the floats.   The krewes stand on their floats tossing swag to the the spectator/participants.

In the afternoon, we strolled through the French Quarter to the French Market and the Old Mint Building where the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park of Louisiana was presenting a free concert of a quartet of New Orleans renown jazz musicians.  We enjoyed an hour an half of wonderful music, from pianist Steve Pistorius, clairinet by Orange Kellin, trombone by Charlie Halloran, and base by Tyler Thompson.

This group calls themselves Halfway House.  Each plays in several different groups.  This quartet specializes in the old, traditional jazz.  It's the kind we like the best so this was great.  We bought one of their CDs and will play it for you when you visit.   Here are some links to their other works:

Steve Pistorius:On the piano
Charlie Halloran: On the trombone
Orange Kellin:  On the clarinet
Tyler Thomson: On the bass

We had a great day and looking forward to tomorrow when we head out of the city into plantation land to visit the Oak Alley Plantation.

All is well with the Worrall Travel R's

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WWII Museum, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

The weather has turned rainy and cold.  Consequently, we are trying to stay inside as much as possible.  Yesterday, we visited the the World War II Museum in New Orleans.

It was very interesting.  The 2 4D visual, audio, tactile, olfactory experiences, one a movie called Beyond all Boundaries, and the other the Last Mission of the Tang submarine were excellent.  We enjoyed our visit.  It was very sobering and provocative.  Could we as a nation ever come together again to fight an enemy with such determination and sacrifice.  We are not so sure given the current polarization of our political parties and devisiveness amongst individuals and groups that we could win again.

After our afternoon at the WWII museum we took a drive through an area basically destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and rebuilt by donations for houses from Brad Pitt.  These homes are built high above the ground so that if another Katrina or flood should come they would be high and dry.

Last night, we experienced thunder, lightening and lots of rain.  This morning, it was even colder and windier than the day before.  We decided to head toward Mississippi and the Stennis Space Center, about 40 minutes from where we are staying.

Mississippi Dresses Up for Mardi Gras

We made a brief stop at the Mississippi Visitor Center and found a geocache, then headed to the Infinity Science and Technology Center.

We lucked out.  It was Wednesday, and seniors only pay $5.00 per person.  Whoot!!  Guess there is some compensation for getting old.  Infinity center had some great earth videos (climate change, fresh water, ocean currents, tsunamis, etc. shown on a mysteriously suspended revolving globe.  Fascianting to watch.

The space center is 140,000+ acres (2nd in size only to Kennedy Space Center) and is the site where every engine that has been built for rockets to the moon, mars, and space station has been tested.  But first we had to get in our space suits:

Today the center houses 14 different government agencies from Navy Seals and EPA to NOAA and Marine Geographic. Private organizations such as Amazon and Rolls Royce, also contract to test their engines.  Did you know Amazon is positioning itself for commercial space travelers?

We returned to Louisiana after our afternoon in Mississippi and captured some photographs of swollen river communities,

swamp boats,

Fork Pike,

and houses built on stilts.

These are bit more sophisticated than the fishing villages of Cambodia, where we visited last February.
Cambodian Fishing Village - Here about 1 year ago this month

Tomorrow looks like another cold day.  The change in the weather in from tropical to Caribbean to just plain cold and damp has contributed to my scratchy throat and stuffy nose.  Guess the climate change has been too dramatic for my system.  So it's a glass of wine and early bedtime for me.  If all goes well, we will visit Mardi Gras Word tomorrow.

Goodnight from the Worrall Travel R's