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USA

USA-Back At Home

Yesterday, I came home. Tuesday evening, I flew 3 hours from Ho Chi Minh to Tapei, which was late-so I ran to the next flight-12 hours from Tapei to San Francisco, which in turn was late, so I went through customs as quick as I could to fly from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale. The final flight was 5 hours long. I broke the overhead bin trying to put my bag in. It wasn't a great flight-Jetblue's little tv's weren't working, so I slept and read, I arrived at 7:45 am.

All wasn't lost, though. Somehow, getting from the airport to home, I decided I would rent a car-that way if there we're any big issues at home and my car wouldn't start-at least I had a car that would run. Picking up the rental car, however, after over 20 hours of flying, I had to wait a few minutes at the rental car counter-and had to go through three different cars.

(1) The first car I was given was a Hyundai Accent. This was fine, but when I left the counter and went to the garage-I noticed there was no key in the car. I spoke to the woman working in a booth, and she told me the car wasn't available (as if it was my fault)-she gave me another car,

(2) This car, a Hyundai Elantra, seemed fine. I put my bags in the trunk, and started to drive-but noticed the low tire pressure light was on. I drove to the booth and told the lady. She wasn't friendly, but took the keys, and directed me to another car-towards the end of the lot. I told her I would drive the car up, and to open the trunk on the Elantra so I can take my bags out.

(3) I drove the new car, a Toyota Corolla, to the booth, except noticed the Elantra was gone-with my bags in it. I told her I needed my bags, and she panicked and called the garage who eventually drove the car back.

After nearly 20 hours of flying, and the car fiasco I finally made it home, I made it home to see the new cell phone (to replace my lost one)-had never been shipped. Additionally, my car-which the condo guy was supposed to start every week so the battery wouldn't die-battery had died. So I had no phone (except my home phone which doesn't work anymore) and I couldn't go anywhere in my car.

Eventually I was able to use my home phone to call AAA, and I got the phone company to hopefully deliver a phone the next day.

Then it was to face unpacking, picking up the cats, cleaning up the house, laundry, food shopping (still not done), and all sorts of stuff now that I'm home. It is just a dream-the people I met, the trails I walked, the citiies visited, the dorms and busses slept on. It was all a dream. Now I am home and it is real.

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Posted by DavidPearlman 21:42 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day #1-Getting there

semi-overcast

I have made my initial destination Dubai, as I have wanted to go there. (I don't know exactly why)-Maybe it's because it has the tallest building in the world-but as I learned-sometimes trusting instinct is good enough. I don't necessarily need to know why I want to go somewhere. Now Emirates has direct flights from Fort Lauderdale, and the service on Emirates is supposed to be legendary, but those flights we're upwards of $800. Now for a little over $50, I was able to use my American frequent flier miles from Miami with a connection in London-so that is what I did.

So for a 7:20 pm flight, I left the house at 12:30 pm, for two reasons, (A) I take the cheap way to the airport, which is a Broward County bus to the Tri Rail. This involves schlepping down the road to the bus stop, schlepping down the road again from the bus stop to the Tri Rail station, and a long walk up the stairs from the station to the people mover at Miami Airport. I finally arrived at the airport around 3:00 pm-but the entire trip set me back $7.00.
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(B) Reason #2 is that I had one more coupon to the Admirals Club at Miami Airport-so an opportunity to enjoy free food and drinks for a few hours before the flight.

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So that is where I am now.

Posted by DavidPearlman 13:56 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Heading Out Again

semi-overcast 29 °C

For the second time, i quit my job to travel, and the idea came from Hurricane Irma.

As many know, the first time I took 9 months off after working for the same company for 11 years. During those nine months, I went to Europe and some of Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore).

After returning home for the past two years, I have been working for a travel agency, helping others with cruises, air and land packages. Now most travelers seem to skew towards either the young, who stay in hostels, or the older, whose needs are, well more complex. The agency I worked with (probably like most agencies) tended to serve mostly older travelers. So I have had to deal with air packages where business class, or at least premium economy, is necessary because of arthritis, artificial knees, etc. Similarly, the flights had to be a certain way because it is hard to sit for so long.

And these we're the folks who we're able to go. I have had many incidences of cancelling fully paid-for vacations-because of broken legs, heart attacks, deaths in the family, and just general incidences where "the doctor recommends that I don't travel"

Now, I am not making fun of these people, and I certainly aren't saying older people shouldn't travel. It's more like-if I wait too long, I will be one of those people, Although I will be turning 48, as I learned a few years ago, I still can sit in economy for long period, I can take long walks, I can sleep in the top bunk of cheap hostels and enjoy pub crawls, and that is where Hurricane Irma came in.

Remember Hurricane Irma? For South Florida today, there are a handful of tarps on roofs, and stumps where trees used to be-but that's not what was predicted. This was one of the strongest hurricanes on record-and South Florida was right in it's path. All sane folks we're finding their way out of town. The evacuations/preparations started on Labor day, (although the hurricane wasn't predicted to hit until the following weekend).

By Friday of that week-a lot of folks had evacuated (or tried to). Some friends drove to Alabama because that is where they could find a hotel room. There we're many stories of sitting in traffic for hours and hours on end. There we're other stories of people trying to fly away-only to find their flights we're cancelled.

Anyway, I was able to evacuate at the last minute-miraculously, on just some random -shits-and-giggles checking I found a flight to Dallas, and I was on my way out of the path of the hurricane.

That evening, in my rented Hyundai Elantra, driving across some suburban-sprawled highway between Dallas and Fort Worth, I found a country station, and it played a song I haven't heard before, called "A Last Time for Everything"-by Brad Paisley. It was a sad song-it talked about making out in the backseat of a car, using a fake ID at a college bar, etc-and other stuff that are maybe just rites of passage.

Well I can still travel like i'm young-so that is what did it.

Posted by DavidPearlman 12:59 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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