I know, January is almost over and I can safely say that it’s been over a YEAR since I’ve even looked at my blog. OOPS. There’s tons of excuses I can say as to why, but I won’t. I’m just lazy! But I’m going to try again !@@$!! and see if I can get this thing going. And if nothing else entertain others with my travels err I mean myself . Continue reading
As has been the norm over the last five years, I tend to travel a lot. Frankly sometimes too much! But hey it is what it is. Well to that point over a 28 day span this was my schedule.
Day 1 Fly to Phoenix for spring training
Day 1-2 Hang out in Phoenix catch some rays and see a few ballgames
Day 2 Head to Vancouver
Day 2-7 Work in Vancouver
Day 7 Fly home
Day 8 Little league game family time Continue reading
Ah the year is over and it’s time to start the rat race all over again. Here’s how the year shaped out reflecting on all of my work and personal travel.
Airports visited this year: 38
New Airports visited:
- Koh Samui
Countries visited (including transit): 7 compared to 12 last year
Revenue miles flown by airline:
- American Airlines (and partners): 125,000
- United (and partners): 500
- Alaska Airlines (and partners): 37,500
This doesn’t include a few trips on Jet Blue, Southwest and Virgin America plus the mega around the world trip we took in December plus a couple other award trips. All totaled I flew another 30,000 miles.
- Hilton: 40
- Starwood: 50
- Holiday Inn: 8
Anyhow it’s time to start again, and the first quarter of 2015 looks to be a doozey. Wish me luck.
I love to travel, but I also love to spend time with my family too whether it’s at home or out of town. Frankly it doesn’t matter where we are it just matters that we are together. So to have a stretch of eight weeks where I’m only out of town three times for work is just great. In fact in my world it’s almost unheard of especially in the summer. Most of the time I’m gone part of the week for six of eight weeks of even under extreme circumstances 10 straight weeks.
Getting time at home lets me settle into a routine I don’t get this often. I get to see my daughter in the morning when she wakes up, say goodbye when she goes to daycare, and then walk or drive to daycare to pick her up at the end of the day. Plus I get to make or source dinner (in other words get take-out) water the vegetables with the kiddo and even pick them together too. Not bad for a day’s work. It’s the little things like this that you miss when you’re not at home every day or night. Plus I get to participate in the bedtime routine which at times is stressful, but still as a parent I relish getting to participate.
The other great part of being home is spending time with my better half. Again getting to spend anytime let alone quality time together is just precious. Sometimes unfortunately I’ve taken for granted that we’ve been together for almost 15 years. And getting extended time at home reminds me how important it is to be here, whether that mean physically here or mentally here when gone.
All I can say is I’m loving life and loving being with the family. We’ve had a good summer so far. A week Disney World, a weekend at the lake, a cup of coffee in Hawaii and a camping trip this weekend.
So it’s been two years this month writing whereisrahul, and it’s been a blast so far. My intention initially was to talk about travel and travel only, since that’s what I do a lot and enjoy a lot too. But travel 24/7 can be dull (not really) and writing about life, family, travel and fun stuff I’m lucky enough to do has been really rewarding and even better than just talking about travel. I stared this blog, because I wanted a platform that I could use to talk, vent and share my experiences in hopes of helping others, and that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do.
It’s rewarding to see that my “insight”, can be helpful to other geeks out there and that people actually read my diatribes, reviews and drivel. Who knew what I had to say could be interesting? So as the journey continues on, I hope that my faithful readers, and new ones keep an eye out for my families travels. And as always if you have a question about why, how or how come I did something crazy please ask, that’s how I know someone is reading.
In any event thank you to everyone that takes the time out of their day to read about my craziness, it’s been fun doing this and hope to continue for a long time.
I’m been very lucky and have had a chance to visit some really cool places in my life. But there are times that I ‘m surprised when I go someplace like Newport Oregon and am expecting nothing much and am surprised by the place, the surroundings and environment. Newport is a sleepy fishing town 100 mile Northwest of Eugene Oregon directly on the coast. It’s home to the Coast Guard and also West Coast operations of NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I just found the town of about 7,000 to be really quaint and offer some amazing views of the Pacific Northwest and some really great food, pictures to come.
All I can say is that this week was pretty darn good, and I enjoyed getting a chance to be a tourist in the evenings after working all day.
So after publishing my original bucket list about seven months ago I thought it would be a good time to add, subtract and modify the list. Why, because I want to, that’s why. Hey it’s my blog, I can do whatever I want to. Also with a new year comes new aspirations, new goals and maybe new ideas. So without further adieu here’s the “old” list with a few new modifications.
- The Great Wall of China
- See Terra Cotta warriors
- Visit all 7 continents (Antarctica and Africa) are all that’s left
- See the DMZ in Korea
- Visit Vietnam
- Visit Thailand
- See the Oscars live
- Hold an Oscar
- Go to the Super Bowl
- Go to a Rose Bowl game
- Go on safari in Africa
- Go whale watching in Alaska
- Play an event at the World Series of Poker
- Transit the Panama Canal
- Fly around the world in one trip
- Go to The Vatican
- Visit St. Petersburg
- Ride a gondola in Venice
- Visit the Sistine Chapel
- Go to the Sundance Film Festival
- Go to the Cannes Film Festival
- Drive a Ferrari
- See the Amalfi coast
- See the Pyramids and Giza
- Visit the Forbidden City
- Watch a taping of a TV show live
- Go to the Opening or closing Olympics ceremony
- Go to a World Series game
- Go to the Baseball all-star game
- Visit Fenway Park and Wrigley Field
- Go to Cowboys stadium as a bonus see the Niners trounce them
- Go to Mardi Gras
See a no hitter liveaccomplished July 2, 2013 SF vs. Cincinnati
- See Mount Rushmore
- Meet a former or current President of the United States – any will do
- Be at Times Square for New Year’s
- Go to Patagonia
- The Galapagos
Go to Oktoberfest in Munich– completed 2013
- See Tibet
- See the Berlin Wall
- Visit Dubai this is happening in February, I’m very excited
- Visit all 50 states (four to go)
- Cruise around the world
- Visit the Guggenheim Museum(s) in LA and Spain
- Visit la Sagrada Familia, Spain
- Eat at the French Laundry
- Eat at La Bernadin
- Eat a Philly Cheesesteak at Genos
Go to Unos in Chicago– still not accomplished but I think I did ok I had Lou Malnatis this week and it was outstanding
- Take my family to India
- Visit Quebec City
- Visit Pisa
- Go to Disney China (opens 2015), we’ve been lucky to have visited all five other parks
- Take the family to Yellowstone
- Visit Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont
- Visit every MLB ballpark at last count 15 but this includes three parks that are now closed
- Cruise Alaska
- Visit Ankor Wat
- See wild penguins
- Go to Alice Rock
- See wild kangaroos
- Go to a movie premiere in LA
Whew, we had a 14 night trip two continents (sort of), 10 nights at sea crossing the Atlantic on a very BIG boat. So we needed a ton of luggage. As I mentioned in a previous post we had four of us travelling, so with such a long trip a 2 1/2 year old, we knew this would not be a chance to pack light. We had 12 pieces, yes that’s right 12, eight were suitcases, three backpacks and one stroller. Thank you American Airlines Executive Platinum status for free checked bags. Otherwise, who knows how much we would have paid for luggage.
Sure it’s nice to pack light, but when you need to pack for two different climates with the big unknown, of when the weather would change in the Atlantic from cold to warm. There was also that one small issue, of what do we need for our little princess. To run out of pull ups or diaper cream somewhere in the Atlantic would be awful. Imagine going to a deserted island w/out sunblock, that was our worry.
Our trip started out in San Jose, California with a connection in Dallas on American Airlines. We were lucky to fly on their brand spanking new 777-300 ER, these are really wonderful planes and it really was a happy moment to spend nine hours on a new plane that has helped start the revitalization of the American premium cabin. They offer a business class cabin with four across in a reverse herringbone configuration, which allows direct isle access to everyone. Hurrah for all. In all seriousness, not having to climb over someone to use the bathroom or just move around is just wonderful. These seats are super private which is great for the single traveler, but when you’re traveling with anyone isle, it makes it hard to communicate. Let alone deal with your little 2 1/2 year old who is more than arm’s length away during takeoff and landing. First world problems huh. On this trip since we didn’t need a car seat on the cruise we just took her CARES harness, which is a super safe way to strap monkey into the seat. It’s super easy to install, it just loops around the seat and then threads to the belt buckle. It’s a four point harness, so they’re really strapped in. Sure a car seat is even better, but I just could not justify bringing it. In any event thankfully little “S” was an angel during takeoff, and landing so being that far away was not as much of an issue as we thought. Besides having her favorite animal with her didn’t hurt either.
As I mentioned before traveling with a kid can be challenging, but hey if you love to travel you’ve just got pull off the band aide sometime, in our case it was at seven weeks old when we took the kid to Texas and Alabama. Two and a half years later we’ve taken the kid to four continents and upwards of 70k miles flown. Wow just crazy, that being said we’re by no means are we kid travel experts, but there are a few important things to remember, for the trip and the plane. Bring lots of diapers/pull ups, you don’t want to run out, Ziploc bags in case of wet messy situations, snacks, forget airplane food (if they serve it) you need to bring something you know they will eat. Additionally, entertainment, in our case we let her pick a few out she loves, plus books and of course coloring books and lastly a few new ones she had not played with before. That’s the ace up your sleeve sometimes.
Stay tuned for a few more posts on our trip across the Atlantic on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas and the adventures we had.
Well the final leg of our journey was Dublin, Ireland. I thought since we were ruining our livers anyhow, we might as well do properly and visit the home of Guinness, Jamison’s Irish whiskey and many other fine spirits.
We only had three days in this fine city, and basically our plan was to see the aforementioned breweries and distilleries and then spend the balance of the time find which pub served the best Guinness and offered the most potato side dishes on one plate. I think this was our winner. It was our first meal at a pub called O’Neil’s close to Grafton Street and Temple Bar. This awesome beef stew came with potatoes, carrots, onions and beef plus sides which consisted of roasted, mashed, sweet mashed, and French fried potatoes. I guess these guys really like their potatoes.
In any event we visited Jamison’s first, the tour was not that bad. Unfortunately unlike the States where most beer and wine tours are mostly free or offered at a very minimal charge, this one was 15 euros per person. The distillery has actually been closed for many years, and they now manufacture in County Cork, in Southern Ireland, but hey this is where it all started. The 30-45 minute visit, consulted of walk through the entire process, as well as a guided tour. My favorite part besides seen “G” get to do a taste test sample between Jamison’s, JAW black and Jack Daniels, was seeing actual barrels that were aged to various years. I believe 1, 3,5, 15 the color difference was truly amazing. Sadly we only got to sample the three year standard variety.
Eventually we stumbled over to Guinness, and ended up signing up for two different tours. The first was the standard self-guided. They’ve done an amazing job to create a tour you can do at your own pace and see how the product started back in 1779 right at St. James Gate, and how they get to producing in for today’s market. Sadly back in 1981 this facility was closed to brewing, but besides tens of thousands of tourists that descend upon this place to drink, I think they use for distribution.
The seven story tour facility, had several bars serving what else but the lovely black elixir, we are all familiar with but also a few other versions, I had no idea existed. Of course there is Guinness original, Stout, Draught and Foreign Extra Stout. And for all of you that are curious as to whether the draft tastes different in Ireland or is served at room temperature, both of these are myths. Now frankly I don’t have the best palate, but I think the beer tasted exactly the same as it would at my local bar except for two huge exceptions, the first of which is I was drinking it in Ireland and second, it was poured correctly here. Which by the way is exactly 119.5 seconds, sans cloverleaf too.
Our second visit was for the connoisseurs tour, which has to be booked in advance and is a with no more than 25 guest at a time, ours only had six. Plus it’s with a Guinness beer connoisseur, of which they have only six of. Needless to say this is really where I learned about the four main versions of Guinness, some really great history, and of course got to taste them all. Since it was such a private tour, it really helped me understand how important the Guinness family was and is to the city of Dublin let alone Ireland. The family still donates money and land to help better the community, and they really helped shape the city. To top off the visit was a final drink at the Gravity Bar high atop this building, with 360 degree views of the entire city very fitting end to a very very iconic place.
The factory has several restaurants and bars so you won’t go hungry or thirsty, although you need a ticket to get in and they are 15 euros and come with one beer. Oh yeah they have the biggest souvenir store devoted to Guinness I’ve ever seen. If you wanted something emblazoned with the logo, the toucan, or any other iconic figure you’ll find it here. Check out these crazy underwear, and no I didn’t buy them.
Man cannot live on beer alone, although we really really tired, we also took the opportunity to visit a few sites in central Munich. We visited my favorite beer garden at Viktualien Markt and also Ratzkeller (Der Glockenspiel). Marienplatz is always fun, there’s always something going on whether it be tourists hanging out, people shopping or just enjoying a beer at 10 AM in the beer garden. I still can’t get over that aspect of German life, beer before water and at such an early hour. Viktualien Markt is a really great open air market with tons of food stands (think farmers market) and lots of handy crafts, it’s just a fun place to visit.
After that we went back to Wiessen, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, “G” and I went back for seconds and even thirds on our quest to drink our way through Oktoberfest. With 34 tents after day two we realized there was no way we would get to see them all so we just focused on the ones we wanted to see and enjoyed the most. That meant we kept ending up at ***it was the best combination of music and revelry that we found. The crown was a mix of young and old, but it was the band that just kept the place rocking and by about 3 PM you found yourself standing on the table with the rest of your new friends singing and drinking along with the other locals and tourists. What a blast.