Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Out of the Storm Safe & Sound

For those of you not in the loop I am in Louisiana this week. I stayed in Yazoo City, MS (not a fun place) on Friday night. Then on over to McGehee, AR for Sat & Sunday. (Not a fun place but I have friends there.) No sign of the hurricane in McGehee on Sunday or Monday morning before I left. Monday morning I headed south down to Pioneer, LA. I left McGehee at 8:00 am to train a client and got to their office at 9:30. Every small town hotel along the way was filled with people from LA. The weather was ok there in the morning. Heavy rains and wind started about 1:00 pm. We lost power at 3:30 during the high winds and rain. I stayed until 5:00 pm when my laptop battery gave out. But that was good because most of the bad weather was gone by then. Tuesday and Wednesday find me in Winnsboro, LA. Electricity is on and off here tonight (Tuesday). Don't know what I'll find in Vidalia, LA., for Wednesday night as far as living conditions go. Thankfully I already have a room booked. A co-worker from Memphis drove down here today. When we went to get dinner tonight we left Winnsboro as the electricity went off here about 5:30 pm. We went north to Interstate 20. As we headed north there was still no electricity, until Rayville, LA. In Rayville on the south side of the freeway no electricity, but on the north side nowhere decent to eat. (Rayville is a small town at the junction of LA 17 and Interstate 20). We ended up driving west to Monroe for dinner. Near any of the interstate exits lines are long for gas, and there are lots and lots of people everywhere. When we got back to our hotel in Winnsboro the power was on. About an hour later it was off. It came back about midnight (CST). So far still on. (Me too - as you can tell I'm writing this at 2:00 am.) Originally I was to be in New Orleans on Friday night Sept, 2nd and for the 3 day weekend! Today I called and was able to cancel my hotel room through Tues, Sept. 6th with no problems. Then I had to call the airline. I ended up speaking with a "help" desk person. English was their second language. Maybe even her third language. She told me I couldn't change my ticket. I told her New Orleans airport was closed because of the hurricane. She put me on hold. She came back on line and asked where I wanted to switch the flight to. I asked about Little Rock, AR. as I know Montgomery, AL where I flew into was also closed down. (I didn't want to fly out of Memphis, as rooms there too are booked solid - combination of Hurricane Refugees and college football fans.) She said they had a flight for me. I asked how much. She said $100.00 for changing your ticket! I said, "Look, I'm not changing my ticket because I want to, New Orleans IS CLOSED because of the HURRICANE! You CANNOT get to New Orleans, BECAUSE OF THE HURRICANE!" So finally after much "holding" she said, "It ok no charge this time for change". Well, thank you God. Hertz also was good about taking the car to Little Rock instead of New Orleans. So I am now flying out of Little Rock on Tues. Sept. 6th. I don't know where I'll be staying this Friday night after I finish up with a client in Alexandria, LA. I think I'll be coming back to Monterey, LA or Gilbert, LA and staying with some friends. Then back to McGehee, AR Saturday. Back in Raleigh, NC on Tuesday afternoon. My cell phone is still screwed. So getting voice mail/calls is also sketchy. In some places e-mail is also slow/hard. Tonight I'm connected at 19.2 KBps .. but I will try better to keep posting.

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