Greetings from Lafayette, Louisiana! Have I ever mentioned that I love to travel? Anywhere? I. Love. It. And my kids do, too. They start a trip and become these amazing people who are calm, entertain themselves for hours and (hardly) ever quarrel. They are road (and sky) warriors.
For the last two years, all of our travel has been of the road variety. It’s hard to believe, but Ben was only 4 years old the last time we flew. We’re going to make up for it now, though – this week it’s Lafayette Louisiana and next week we’re off to London (England, that is..).
We landed in New Orleans at about 5 in the afternoon. I haven’t been to New Orleans since 1993, and then we drove in. I think we went straight to the French Quarter, drank lots of chicory coffee and never saw anything else. (I really hope they have chicory coffee here in Lafayette!) The area around the airport looks like every other American airport area; car rental places, fast food and hotels. We hopped on I-10 and headed North, and then Joshua said, “Is that the ocean?” No, it couldn’t be. We were headed inland. “Oh my gosh. It must be Lake Pontchartrain!” And of course it was. It is HUGE, and when you drive out from the airport, it is easy to see how a levee breaking around Pontchartrain would be devastating. The whole place is already at sea level. Shortly after we passed the lake, it got dark. Not normal Interstate dark, which is lit by huge street/security lights, but out in the country dark, where if you turned off the lights to your car, the whole world would disappear. Which I love, but which makes sightseeing a little difficult. Luckily it will be daylight when we drive back on Friday.
The drive to Lafayette is about two hours. After a while I was annoying everyone in the car (except for Maya who was reading and heard nothing) because I would read the names of almost every town we passed, then say it several times for good measure. They were just too good not to. Everything from “Butte La Rose” to “Atchalafaya” (my personal favorite) to “Opelousa”. The names are fantastic. Some French, some Native American and some a combination. Once it got really dark, Maya abandoned her book and the kids started exclaiming at all the stars they could see. Living in the city, stars are one thing we don’t get enough of, and tomorrow night we’re hoping for cloudless skies so that we might see the Milky Way.
Anyway, we are here in Lafayette to check out a possible expansion of our locksmith business (my husband’s business, really. I married into it) through the purchase of a Pop-A-Lock locksmith franchise that would cover New York City. Pop-A-Lock doesn’t have a NY franchise, and since Joshua already knows the business, it’s win/win. The funny part was that when we scheduled the trip, we told the people at their headquarters that the kids would be with us. They must have assumed we were also bringing childcare, because they offered to set up a one day membership at a local health club that has children’s facilities for them and ‘their caregiver’. I politely said no thanks, the hotel pool will suffice for us, and the kids will be armed with computers and books while we are in meetings. Long Pause on the other end of the line. After a few seconds, I said that the kids are used to being privy to the workings of our business. Nervous Laughter. I think, had they not been so anxious to woo us for a NY franchise, they might have said we couldn’t bring the kids. But they are, so they didn’t. I’m sort of looking forward to marching in to their offices tomorrow, meeting the CEO and introducing him to Maya and Ben. Hey man, we’re kind of a package deal, and anyway Maya might run the business some day (Ben, at this point, is more likely to make sculptures from the hardware we sell).
It’ll be a learning experience, but I’m not sure who will learn more, us or them.
Bed now. I’d forgotten how fun and exhausting it can be to fly.