Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
I was happy to have been able to attend my sister’s wedding, but I realize how lucky I was that everything worked out. We gave ourselves a recovery day after flying out and before wedding activities started, and one for after the wedding and before flying back. Turns out I needed both rest days. I tired myself out at the rehearsal, and needed to go back to the hotel. The day after the wedding I got sick to my stomach. But the day of, I was alright, and lasted until the end of the night. I feel less guilty now about missing my college roommate’s wedding. It’s clear that this trip was right on the cusp of what I was capable of. Had my college roommate lived closer, and we could have made a day trip out of it, I think I could have managed.
The return trip was not as pleasant as the flight out. This time we were switching planes during our layover. The trip started out very positive. Tuesday is a light travel day, so both legs we got a row to ourselves. I could have the window seat, Domingo could have his aisle seat and I didn’t have to worry about disturbing anyone (other than him, of course).
I managed to fall asleep on the first flight during one of the only times the fasten seatbelt sign wasn’t illuminated. Poor timing on my part. When we started landing, we hit a bit of turbulence. Seven months pregnant + turbulence was pretty miserable. The layover ended up almost two hours, and, to be honest, I was glad to have a break. It was our only opportunity to eat real food, but I didn’t recover my appetite in time, so I stuck with fruit juice and a bagel. I just couldn’t stomach the thought of anything else. When we were standing in line to board for the second plane, all of a sudden zippy gave me a good kick and I needed to go RIGHT. NOW. I didn’t want to give up my spot in line, so I had to wait again.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to be home.
We survived our flight to the east coast, at thirty weeks (plus!) pregnant no less. I admit I was nervous about it. Despite my assurances to Domingo to the contrary, I knew there was potential for problems. I still get pregnancy related migraines and nausea on occasion. A three lbs baby dancing on my bladder combined with turbulence cannot be a good combination. My goal was to never let my bladder get too full, which meant using the restroom early and often.
I wanted to sit close to the bathroom in the front of the plane, since turbulence is usually worse at the rear. In order to ensure this, we sprung for priority boarding. Southwest has open seating, so if you want to sit somewhere specific, you need to board early. The priority boarding was a complete waste of money. We checked in with boarding numbers A58 & A59. Once at the airport, the gate agent told us that pregnant woman can board with the family boarding (after A60) so the $20 we spent only moved us up 3 spots in line! We still ended up in the middle of the plane.
I’m not sure we could have depended on the family boarding, though. I tried to find the policy online, but the only mention of pregnant fliers was that southwest recommends flying prior to the 38th week. I think letting pregnant fliers board in family boarding might be the prerogative of the gate agent. I may have had a distressed look on my face (I’m not very good at hiding nerves) and she may have assumed I was more uncomfortable than I was, and taken pity on me.
Normally I would opt for a window seat, but this trip we went with the aisle so I wouldn’t have to disturb anyone with my frequent trips to the rest room. Well, actually Domingo was in the aisle seat, so I disturbed him, but he’s my husband so that’s allowed. We also packed a bit of extra food (especially protein bars) and bought a couple bottles of water at the airport.
The first leg of our trip had little turbulence and Zippy was pretty easy on me. She was bouncing around a lot, but stayed off my bladder for the most part. Much to my delight, most people recognized that I was pregnant too, and made some sort of comment about it. The stewardess referred to me as “momma”, and the person sitting next to me asked when I was due.
I did have one time when the woman in line in front of me, not only noticed, but asked if I “had to go, like, every five minutes?”. I made a joke out of it, and said that baby was being good to me, so it was more like every ten. I admit, I thought she’d let me go first, since she not only noticed I was pregnant, but also acknowledged I had to go badly. Had she offered to let me go first, I would have declined, since I didn’t have to go that badly. But she never offered.
Having the iphone also proved useful. The first leg of the flight I noticed some playing a word search game. That looked like fun! The plane had a layover, but we were continuing on the same plane so there was no time debark. I was able to use the time between flights to download a similar app, and kept myself busy for the second leg.
So the flight out was as good as we could hope for. I’m so glad. Had it been miserable I would would spend the whole trip dreading the return. Here’s hoping the return is equally good to me!
This evening I got out our suitcases to pack for our trip tomorrow and discovered this:
Looks like we have a stowaway hiding in our suitcase!
Tomorrow we’re flying to the east coast to see my sister get married. This will be my third trip flying with zippy. I was 4-5 weeks pregnant on our trip to Hawaii, and 12-13 weeks pregnant flying to Pennsylvania for Christmas. This trip, at 30 weeks, will be the first time I’ll be noticeably pregnant. (At least I think I’m noticeably pregnant.)
We were originally going to have a fourth trip in May. It was going to be a dual trip with two different east coast stops. One stop at my parents for my baby shower, and then another stop further south to see my college roommate get married. We decided pretty early on that the baby shower wasn’t going to happen. It was too much to cram into one weekend, especially given how late we will be in the pregnancy. But we were holding out to see if it would be possible to attend my former roommate’s wedding.
In the ended we decided I would just be too pregnant to make it practical. I’m already getting tired easily, and since I don’t bend too well in the middle anymore, I sometimes need a hand for doing even simple things. This trip for my sister’s wedding I have not only had Domingo to help me, but my parents as well. Having my parents around took a lot of stress off Domingo and I. If the fourth trip had happened, the return flight would have also be right at the cusp of when my doctor will give me the ok to fly.
I still feel guilty about not going to my college roommate’s wedding. We planned (or at least tried to plan) zippy around these events. Since airlines let you fly up to 36-38 weeks, I thought it would be no problem. Now naïve I was about how much pregnancy takes out of you.
I also feel guilty about leaving Lily in the kennel for a week. Now that the suitcases are out, she knows something’s up and isn’t happy about it. I can’t imagine how confusing this time is for her.
I mentioned last time that Domingo had a business trip coming up. Two weeks to Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii. I can’t complain, I tagged along for 9 days. It was a working trip for both of us. While Domingo was out, I spent my days working on research in the hotel. In the evenings we enjoyed the awesome scenery, and playing in the waves. I also got to test out my macro lens.
It’s funny, because we just vacationed in Oahu in March (in time for the Tsunami). When we came home I was sure that would be the last we’d be seeing of the Hawaiian waters for quite some time. In fact, we weren’t sure we were going to have any vacation at all for quite some time.
I’m still hoping to graduate in 2012, which means buckling down to finish. Once I start a new job, it will take a while to accrue vacation time. It will be much harder for me to tag along with Domingo on these trips.
This year has been the year of fun business trips – China, Vegas, Hawaii. I have no illusions, next year will probably be much less exciting. Domingo has a couple trips lined up for next year already, but they’re to much less exotic locations, and I don’t think I will be able to tag along. Lily will be happy about that – less kennel time!
We’re finally home! Actually we were home for two days between China and Las Vegas – but that’s splitting hairs. Our overnight flight from China landed at around 10am, after 14 hours of flying and a four hour layover in Japan. I made the rookie travel mistake of thinking “I’ll just take a cat nap”. I woke up five hours later. It took me until Tuesday to really adjust back to California time, just in time for our trip to Vegas.
(Photos from the trip in our family album)
China was fun. We were there for the SIGIR conference, but managed to take an extra day to sight see. (We had to see the great wall, I mean how often to get to go to China?!). It was my conference, so Domingo relaxed and spent most of the day working in the hotel room. Next, we were in Vegas for Domingo’s conference, and it was my turn to hang out in the hotel all day working on my paper. I had a paper deadline which I needed to focus on. To add insult to injury, this was the view from the hotel.
Yes, the Vegas gods were mocking me.
We did manage to see a few shows in the evening. I love Cirque du Soleil! I love Vegas, but jeepers is it expensive. Our trip to the great wall, which included 4 hour round trip transportation, guided tour of the Ming tombs and lunch cost less than any of the shows we say in Vegas!
The iPad ended up being very worth it, even the $100 case came in handy. We only took it to China (editing a 9 thousand word paper on an ipad would have driven me insane!). I got a few important emails while we were out that I needed to respond to, and the keyboard made it much easier. The iPad also made for a great entertainment device on the plane. I had plenty of games and video lectures to keep me entertained. With fourteen hours in the air, that’s a huge deal. It was small enough that it fit easily on the tray table, even when I had the case folded to look like a laptop. I almost snapped my laptop in two a few years ago when the person in front of me decided to recline and the tray table lip caught the top of my computer. Not cool.
We made the plunge and bought an iPad this weekend. We also bought a nifty keyboard case for an additional $100, which basically turns our iPad into a $600 (+ tax) computer. That’s more expensive than the laptop I’m currently typing on, with less functionality, that we’ll only use occasionally. I think I’ve lost my marbles.
We decided to get the tablet for travel. Between the two of us, we travel a fair amount for work and visiting family. In a few weeks we’re off to China and Las Vegas, and the following month it’s off to the east coast for my family reunion. Confession time, I really don’t like the iPhone or android phones. I find the menus cluttered and it annoys me that I can’t find what I’m looking for. I guess in this respect I’m a bit of a phone luddite. I also don’t like the price. But with travel coming up, we couldn’t wait around for a good deal, and we wanted to go with the brand that already had an extensive collection of apps and games to keep us entertained on 10 hours plane flights.
I hate having to take the laptop out of the my carry-on. I’m always worried someone will walk off with it by mistake, or (more likely) I’ll leave it somewhere by mistake. It’s not like the laptop is expensive, but the data is irreplaceable. Photos from our honeymoon, the source files for flash videos, my research code – they are all irreplaceable. While I try to remember to back it up before ever trip, I’m inevitably running ten minutes late to catch my flight, pleading with the computer to finish the data transfer. I’m always pulling the plug and hoping I got all the important stuff. One of these days I’ll discover the hard way that the back up wasn’t complete.
The other reason we decided to go with the iPad as a travel device is for added internet security. A rouge wireless access point is an excellent place for a man-in-the middle attack. When traveling, we tend to plug into a many different wifi points, and it only takes one compromised point to put a virus on a computer. It’s not a bad idea to wipe a computer and give it a fresh install when returning home from travel. However, that’s much less practical if you haven’t backed up your hard drive. The iPad will never be a primary device, and so it will never have important data. We can wipe it before and after each trip without a second thought.
At least that’s how we justified the purchase. I still look at that price tag. Here’s hoping I still think it’s worth it in a month…
You know how I was waiting for ticket fares to increase with Southwest so I could get a free flight? Well I waited a little too long. Instead of underpaying by $30, I overpaid by twice that. Yikes! When I checked on Thursday the price of tickets had actually gone down, not up. I was thinking I was going to be $50 shy of my free flight. This, of course, that means I roughly paid $100 more than I would have had I bought the tickets two weeks ago when I first looked. Yes, I am kicking myself over that one (and probably will for some time). I hate it when I miss out on a deal.
I continue the Southwest love. I was not thinking this afternoon and made a mistake booking Domingo’s flight, booking it for the wrong time. I was worried about what it would cost me to change it. Yes, I have seen the “no change fee” commercials, but after paying more for the tickets than I wanted to, I was a tad price sensitive. I had visions of dollar signs floating away in my head. I tried calling customer service, but the wait was north of 40 minutes because of the recent Plane Issues. Luckily, their web interface was really nice. I just gave the confirmation number, selected which flight I wanted to change and picked a new time. Easy Peasy, problem solved.
I’m all settled in to my Seattle apartment, new employee orientation is tomorrow for my internship. I’m not exactly loving the apartment. The heater died sometime last night. It was definitely on Saturday afternoon, but hasn’t kicked on since despite the place getting cold. Than about an hour ago, the TV decided it too would die. Oh well, it’s not like I came to Seattle to watch TV! I’m looking forward to the heat being fixed, though. I’m wearing three sweaters! Sarah does not do well in the cold.
I’ve been doing something very un like myself… waiting for airline ticket prices to go up before booking. Usually I am the queen of the discount. I love a good sale, and the hunt for the good sale! Sometimes you gotta spend more in the short-term to save in the long-term.
Domingo and I generally fly Southwest domestically. We racked up a fair number of credits during my last summer internship at Microsoft. It’s just 2 hours away by plane, and if you book early, not too terribly expensive, making it easy.
Southwest recently changed over the point system. Before you received 1 credit per hop, regardless of how short it was. We are just 3 credits (1.5 trips) away from a free round trip ticket. This march, they changed their system. Now you are awarded points based on the cost of the ticket. You can convert points to credits, but even with the 5 hops we have planed (2.5 trips) before the credits expire, we still won’t qualify for a free ticket! We would be about $30 worth of points shy! We can’t have that. Especially because it would be another 3 or 4 additional hops to make up for those expired credits, which would put us right back to square one.
So for now I’m waiting, and watching like a hawk for a slight uptick, so we can nab the free flight.
BTW, the new point system? Love it! It’s basically a 10% discount (well, technically 9%). You earn 6 points for every dollar spent, and redeem at a rate of 60 points per dollar. (1 free trip out of 11 ~ 9%). The points don’t expire as long as you fly at least once within 2 years and with my family on the other side of the country, we have a built in excuse to fly. Last but not least, you get more points for spending more. If I don’t time my ticket purchases well, and the price jumps up a little, at least I get something for it.
We’re back from our vacation to Hawaii. It was great! Warm weather, warm water beaches. Seriously why can’t California’s beaches ever get that warm? We returned to the same location as last time, even the same hotel since it was just a stone’s throw from the beach.
(Photos in our family album)
We were there for a week, flying back on Saturday. We got to the hotel early Thursday night (around 8ish). We wanted to get up early the next day to drive to the valley of the temples. Domingo had his Droid and was checking the news when I was putting together our final plans for our final day. Earthquake! A 9.0 had rocked Japan. We immediately turned on the news, which was already talking about a possible Tsunami for Hawaii. The watch turned into a warning, and we were instructed to stay put in the high rise hotel.
We had five hours to prepare. We knew we were safe in the hotel, the tsunami that hit Hawaii would be no where near the size of the one in Japan. The news had emphasized that the hotels in the popular tourist areas were we were were well equipped and preformed drills to prepare for Tsunami. Still, I think it would be foolish to stay Domingo and I weren’t at least a little nervous about the Tsunami. The video from Japan was heartbreaking, and the same geological event that caused their tsunami was sending another one towards on. The civilian defense sirens were going off every hour, and the police bull hard telling people to seek shelter were not exactly settling.
The Tsunami ended up bouncing between the islands, so even though the main wave was gone we weren’t aloud out of our hotel until about 7:40am, and not in the water until 11:56. Once the adrenaline had passed, we enjoyed a peaceful final day, even if it meant we didn’t get to visit the valley of the temples.