O.K. The plan sounded reasonable at first blush, get to Tales early ( by noon from the East Coast ) the day before it all starts (Tuesday ), Yes it did involve getting up at 5 AM , but the thought was , well I'll just have a little lie down before my 6 PM dinner plans with some friends.
That would have worked well if I had gotten more than 3 hours of sleep that night and also if I had not been told upon arrival that my room would not be ready till 4 PM.
Great I thought - all ready sleep deprived and no place to go - back part of the Carousel is shut off and too hot and sunny to sleep in a park.
So I belly up to the Carousel Bar and order an Abita, checking to see if I recognize anyone else.
A few people are already filtering and we have some desultory conversation and look over our paperwork (registration is not open yet either) and try to come up with some plans in lieu of sleep.
The desk staff at the hotel swear they will call me when the room is ready- It's around 4:30 when I get the call.
I retrieve my gear, settle in a bit, have a quick shower, then peruse my maps and contact lists,
I make a few calls and make sure the arrangements for a Fernet Branca 2 pack hung on my doorknob each morning till Sunday is set - there are priorities here.
I met up with the Bartenders Apprentice group - these are the bartenders that do all the heavy lifting , behind the scenes work prepping, and preparing the hundreds of gallons of cocktails for various functions and presentations.They are in a sense similar to the "Black Gang - the workers who shoveled coal into the boilers of steamships - never noticed by anyone but absolutely vital to the operation.
Remy Cointreau has set up an appreciation night for them in advance and I was invited to tag along. First there was some team building games and some competitions - including one that involved guessing the contents of a bag of very disparate items- which later became props for a number of people to wear later in the evening.....
First stop was Arnauds a short distance away for drinks and in some cases cigars. Followed after a bit by the Old Absinthe House then was Tujaques which was a lot further away than many people realized.
A number of us eventually ended up at our usual haunt the Alibi - a place that never closes (Actually they do close for one hour a year for cleaning whether it needs it or not) and is the service industry bar near Bourbon St.
Party breaks up around 4 AM or so with some of us still hanging around till 6 or so.
So much for an early night at the beginning of Tales.