Monthly Archives: July 2011

“Just a peaceful, easy feeling”

Spent the day at the beach on Saturday.

The ocean air smells better, and feels good too. We spent the day people watching and feeling the sea breeze.

We were not proper beach-bound (I can’t ask an 81 year old to walk on the sand when she can’t manage that well on regular land) but I did get my feet in the water and walked in the sand.

The ocean had four shades of blue. There were few clouds in the sky.

It was nice and sunny and hot but once we got close to the sea, the heat lifted and the cool breezes surrounded us.

I wish sand castles were real because I would choose to live in one. Except during Florida’s hurricane season.

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A is not for aisle (seat)

All the people jockeying for seat changes at the gate cracked me up.

I had noticed an old man asking for an upgrade, a family with kids, and a couple all asking at the gate.

I had originally booked a middle seat which was the only thing available. I love window seats as close to the front of the plane as possible. When I checked in 24 hours before my flight, I was able to score 10A. Upon arriving at the airport, I checked at the kiosk one last time, and 6A was open for the taking. Perfect! I only had a carry-on and I was so close to the front of the plane so I knew I would be waiting at the curb for my ride very soon after I landed.

I arrived at my row and this guy who was part of the couple asking at the gate was in my seat. Lets take a step back for a second. I had seen the woman in first class on my trek back to 6A. When I told him he was in my seat, this guy, a well dressed professional, said “you have 6A?” I said “yes, A is the window.” He looked at his ticket and I just looked at him. He said “are you sure?” I said “yes, I’m certain.” Now I was getting annoyed. Clearly he wasn’t happy with his seat in the first place since he was at the gate prior to boarding but seriously? My ticket is right, you know it, and you are going to act like I am in the wrong? No sir.

The next part happened in what seemed like slow motion. He had already made himself at home in my seat, so resentfully closed up his half eaten sandwich and moved it to the middle tray, put his (read: my) tray table up and closed his laptop. After what seemed like an eternity he stood up and sighed. As if it were any consolation I said “the woman at the gate said the middle is going to be empty.” (which he already knew because his wife was living large in first class. He then mosied into the aisle so I could get to MY window seat. And the kicker, when this guy stood up, he had to be nearly six feet tall. In what world is the window seat comfortable for him? I just hate getting hit by the stupid drink carts, and I like controlling the window shades and I also like having a place to rest my head should I want to nap.

Then, throughout the flight, his actions let me know he was a frequent traveler with his Bose noise cancelling headphones, and the research for paving stones and backyard lighting (yes, I am that nosy) he was doing on his laptop. He was also looking at patient medical records and typing up notes (this was not me being nosy so much as all of the paperwork was sprawled out on the middle seat and tray table). Not sure what he was doing but I have to assume that he wasn’t an idiot, or a new traveler.

So yes, sir, on our plane, 6C was in fact an aisle. 6A was the window. On a flight with three seats on each side of the aisle, A and F are those coveted seats.

Where do you like to sit on a plane? Have you ever sat in another seat waiting to see if anyone would call you on it? Do tell in the comments below.


Surprise!

I absolutely love surprises. But I’m never usually the surprisee. More often than not, I am the surpriser.

Surprise success yet again! I made it to Florida and was able to surprise my grandma for the weekend. I never tell her when I am coming and I’ve done these surprise trips for what seems like a billion times. I am pretty sure she has caught on by now – especially when I show up near her birthday or a few times for Mother’s Day – but the surprise is just so.much.fun.

I do realize that surprising an 80-year-old woman is probably not the best idea but she is usually sitting down when I surprise her. She is going to be 81 on Sunday and aren’t birthdays about celebrating with the ones you love?


The one with the bar stools and the wine flights

Is this a sign we travel a lot?

Memorial Day weekend…At JFK for our flight…the boyfriend wants to go to wine bar we love. After walking around the entire JetBlue terminal…with me confused, because the food places are pretty much all in one spot, the boyfriend describes the wine bar…and I realize it’s in Newark at the Continental terminal. And I tell him that.

He busts out laughing, as do I. Then, with my eye on the restaurants, I steer us that way to let him decide his back up choice pre-flight, at JFK.

Oops. At least we were at the right airport for our flight.


WHY

Diplomatic immunity.

I’m no expert but why should they be extended privileges we common folk aren’t? As in parking a car with diplomat license plates on the sidewalk in Manhattan. It was on a block lined with shops and restaurants, so there seemed to be no good reason. Unless there was.

WHY Wednesday.


You Want What?

I stopped at the bank the other day asking for checkbook registers.

The guy looked at me and was like don’t you do online banking? Yes, as a matter of fact I do (and I know quite a few who have not yet embraced it). But I am really anal and I don’t trust the bank so I like to keep a record as well. It took him a few minutes, but he was able to scour up two checkbook registers.

Are these obsolete? Am I the only one who keeps track with these still…aside from the non-online banking people?


Go with your gut, and with some good advice

I feel like all travel advice is good advice. It’s up to you if you want to take it.

While living in London I had found out I would be off for the week between Christmas and New Years. I had a few days to play with so I went to one of the local travel agencies and told them the dates I could be away and that I was up for going anywhere, being that I had only been to Paris and London since I was about eight weeks into my living abroad stint.

The woman at the travel agency suggested Belgium as it was a quick train ride, and I easily agreed. I left London for Brussels the next day. I knew I was going to spend two nights in Brussels and then the next two nights I was debating going to the country of Luxembourg (I didn’t really have much of a plan where I would go once I was there but I had my Let’s Go Europe in my backpack!) or the Belgian city of Bruges. I was traveling solo so the plan was mine to make.

On the train, I wound up sitting next to an American ex-pat. She was on her way to visit her boyfriend’s family in the countryside of Belgium and we got to talking. I told her my “dilemma” and she told me in no uncertain terms, go to Bruges. She had been to both – Luxembourg She had told me it was a lovely city and would be beautiful this time of year…December.

I went. And it turned out it was one of my favorite cities ever. Brussels was beautiful, and Bruges was even more so.

I was there for the first snowfall of the season. All the locals were out on bikes from morning to sunset. Parents climbed up windmill hills with their kids and their sleds and it was quite the sledding spot! Fries and mayo. Amazing beer.

I don’t know if it was the best advice ever. But it was great advice for that trip. I fell in love with Bruges. They call it the Venice of the North, and it was stunning.

But now I still need to get myself to Luxembourg so I can decide for myself!

This happened again years later. I was in London for work and I had a few extra days to myself. I didn’t have a plan but I knew I wanted to go somewhere on the Continent for a long weekend. I was at a Christmas party with the London office and my British colleagues suggested Switzerland. I went to the travel agent (yes, this was years ago, and I still had a valid student ID) the next morning, and again, left the following day. Was heading to Zurich…but missed my flight, so basically spent the day at Heathrow, a night in Zurich, Lucerne in the countryside for two nights, and another day/night in Zurich at the end of the short trip…made shorter by oversleeping for a very early morning flight. Again, I was traveling alone so the plan to make was mine. With some guidance by people who had been there, I took their word. And again, had a wonderful trip.

With all the advice on the internet, and trust me, I use it, sometimes it’s nice to reflect on how we picked places before it was made so easy. Or maybe that’s just before I compiled my master, monster wanderlust wish list.