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Nemo, Dory, Nemo, Dory, Nemo

My kid loves the aquarium, anytime we tell her we’re going it really makes her day and I just love that. “S” loves the ocean, loves looking at fish and just can’t get enough of it, just like I did when I was young. Last weekend we spend a very nice afternoon at the Academy of Sciences and the Steinhardt Aquarium in Golden Gate Park. We have an annual pass and do our best to get there as often as we can, that being said it’s probably been three months since I’ve been there. This place is just amazing, and every visit I marvel at how great a place it is, coupled with the fact that I get to see it with a new set of eyes, just make it that much cooler.

The funny part about coming here or going any place that has an aquarium, is that “S’s” first words are always where’s Nemo and Dory. It’s pretty amazing she’s only two years old and knows who they are and knows what they look like. I guess we’ve trained her well, ha ha. But seriously, that’s the only movie she’s ever seen, granted about five times maybe more, but she’s incredibly observant. Damn smart kids. The funny part is that she saw the movie on our trip to the Maldives last December on the inflight TV, and ever since when she sees a TV on a plane she expects they will play it. Oh how little she knows about air travel.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves about the Academy, but I will say that if you’re ever in the city this is definitely a place to check out for sure.
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Categories: Americana, Family, Ordinary Life, Photography, Random, Review, Travel Blog, Traveling with kids, Uncategorized, Wandering the city | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling Like A Baller- Tropicana Hotel,Las Vegas

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I had a pretty impressive stay at Tropicana Hotel A Doubletree Resort. Earlier this week I had to work in Las Vegas and for the second time thought I’d give my body a rest at the Trop. This hotel has been around for a long long time, and in all my years of visiting Sin City I’ve only been there once prior to this year and never stayed. But once Hilton took it over I thought I’d give it a try. And with one stay under my belt back in April I thought I’d try it again because I had such a positive experience. We’ll let me just say that again I was impressed. It’s had a really fresh remodel something to the tune of 55 million dollars and in October of 2012 it was rebranded as a Doubletree. What was once a hotel I would not have any reason to visit, is now a hotel I would stay at when I need to be in Vegas. Ok so there are many luxurious hotels here but on a busy weekend and on a work budget this place is well priced, earns points and can help me qualify for Diamond Status with Hilton.

The hotel has a white washed old school beach theme. It seems open and comfortable and not smoky like many of the older hotels. The casino is fin not too big, but enough games to enjoy. There are several restaurants as well, and it just has a nice welcome feeling. Again not over the top like the newer hotels, but just right I guess.

As a Hilton Honors member they have a dedicated check in line, but for Diamonds they have a separate lounge for check in. On a busy day that can save tens of minutes waiting. In my case the lounge was perfect, the gentlemen working check in was free, and when I asked for an upgrade I was kindly obliged with a 1 bedroom suite on the 17th floor. Giddy Yup. Little did I know that I was on the corner facing the strip and had spectacular views of New York New York, MGM Grand and The Excalibur. It was just a really nice room, plus it was HUGE. Also being a Doubletree I got coupons for 2 free chocolate chip cookies, that were served in the main floor food court, and yes they tasted just like they always do. Also as Gold or Diamond you get the usual free breakfast, which I didn’t check out, so I have no idea how good it is. Anyhow here’s a few of the pictures from the room and hotel.

The Hotel Exterior
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Entrance to Diamond Lounge
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Hallway to my room
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The Family Room, Desk Area, Coffee Bar and Lounge Area
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The Bedroom
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Bathroom
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The Amazing view from the family Room- A View of The Excalibur, New York New York and MGM Grand
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Categories: Americana, Hilton Hotels, Hotels, Ordinary Life, Photography, Review, Travel, Trip Report, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes it’s OK to be Addicted

My 2 year old daughter is addicted to Disney. Well that’s not really true, Mom and Dad are addicted to Disney, so “S” really has no choice but to be too. In her short time on this planet this is her fourth visit to the Mouse Kingdom in Anaheim, and she has an upcoming visit to Walt Disney World at the end of September too. To think she’s been to the park more times in two years then I had high school is crazy. I guess that’s what happens when your parents are addicts. Now to be fair, I wasn’t addicted till I was in high school. I worked at a movie theatre, like every other teenager in the 90’s we had our fair share of Disney films, and in between shows I was “lucky” enough to clean the theatres. This meant you got to hear and thusly memorize all of the songs, and during your breaks pop in for a quick listen. There was a point in my life where I could probably recite any line or song lyric from The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin. Just writing this post has me thinning of the songs from Aladdin and singing them in my head. Please make it stop! So by the time college rolled around I was really into movies and took a class on The Short Film at DVC, this was circa 1993. We spent a lot of time discussing Pixar and it’s genius, watching all of the Pixar Short Films to date and a bunch of other crazy stuff too. So when Toy Story came out in 95, I was in hook line and sinker.

Fast forward several more years my girlfriend (soon to be wife) gets a great job opportunity that ends up including annual season passes to all Disney Parks Worldwide. Jackpot!!! Because of this we’ve taken full advantage and have since been to all five parks around the world. And make a few treks to Southern California to visit when we can. Last year I even had a long layover in Hong Kong, so I went to HKDL for the day. Just Crazy. Also for those of you who have enjoyed the amazing corndog they sell on Main Street an Disneyland, will understand when I say this. On many occasions when I’m in Anaheim for work, I’ll drop in just for a corndog for diner and head back out of the park. I know sounds silly huh. As I said we’re just addicts, and enjoy spending time down here.

So what’s the point of this post? Well manly to say we’re here again for the weekend, but this time it’s for a very very cool reason. My amazing wife has really gotten into running and has dedicated a lot of her early mornings training, with the culmination being her second 10k run this month, and her first Disney run, with many more to come I imagine. I’m lazy I don’t have a bone in me that makes me want to run, whatsoever, but seeing how hard my much better half has worked for this special day is pretty cool. She goes for a run three times most weeks and in the month of August has already run over 40 miles. Who does that. She does that’s who.

Well we’re here in Anaheim and we’re “S” and I are getting up early early early tomorrow to root on mommy. I can’t wait to congratulate her at the finish line, and tell her how proud I am of her, this is a huge accomplishment and deserves some quality time at Disneyland to celebrate.

Stay tuned for lots of pictures of our Disney trip, and tips on how to travel with kids here.

Categories: Americana, Disney, movie, Run Disney, Sports, Travel, Traveling with kids, Trip Report, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bucket, Bucket Bucket

So the Year of Rahul has got me thinking I should finally put my bucket list down on paper. I’ve been very very lucky to have had the opportunity to do so many things during my almost 40 years on this rock, and with hopefully at least another 40 more to go I look forward to the challenge of crossing some of these off the list. By no means is this list complete, but it’s a good start in the process.

• 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
• 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
• Go to Mardi Gras
• See a no hitter live item accomplished 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
• See Tibet
• See the Berlin Wall
• Visit Dubai
• 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
• Take my family to India
• Visit Quebec City
• Visit Pisa
• Visit Giza

Categories: Airlines, Art, movie, Ordinary Life, Random, Review, The wish list, Travel, Trip Report, Uncategorized, Wandering the city | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A BIG thank you to United Airlines

So I have to give United Airlines some props. I know that on occasion I bash these guys for dreadful service or just a bad experience, but yesterday they done good.

I’m OCD about looking at my account and looking to use my miles for some elaborate trip to somewhere, but it had been about a week since I had looked at my account. So when I got a call yesterday from someone at United Airlines security saying they had seen a discrepancy with my account I was leery. The number on my cell was Chicago, their corporate HQ, but I didn’t know the person. So when I went on the website and tried to log into my account, the number didn’t work. At this point it was way past 6 PM CST, I tried the number and got a voicemail for said person at UA, but I still was leery. At this point I hung up called UA at the number I know and asked for help. The great agent on the phone told me after verifying who I was that they had an issue with my account and it was temporarily suspended, but she didn’t know why. She said the notes on my account said that I needed to call the number I was given via voicemail, to get this resolved. If nothing else, I knew that the person who called was legit. I was now a bit worried, but at least they were trying to help me.

Fast forward to today, I called the number back and on two rings got the person on the phone. Wow, when was the last time you got a human on the phone that called you and when you called back they actually answered. Kind of amazing. She proceeded to thank me for my loyalty as 100k flier and also 1 million mile flier. I’m not sure the last time one of the UA agents had said that. She then told me they saw very odd activity and had intercepted someone using my miles to buy stuff to the tune of 200k air miles. She didn’t elaborate how they caught this person (I use that term lightly), nor did she tell me why they thought it was fraudulent activity, but nonetheless they caught it and wanted to make it right. After about a 10 minute call, she was able to reverse the miles and get me access to my account. All I had to do was change my security code, and a few more pieces of information. The weird part was the jerk who used my miles changed my profile email address to a different one, so when I went in to make changes I saw it. Now in my haste I didn’t write it down, but in the process I realized that my personal info was on my account so I can buy stuff. I don’t really know what to do about that, but at least I was able to change what needed to be changed and hopefully move on from this lovely experience.

All I can say is that this whole experience was very very creepy, but UA did their part and fixed it. I have no idea how they got my pin number and account number, but it just means I need to be more careful. Oh well at least United was super proactive and took care of me, thanks for doing that. It’s stuff like this that makes me want to continue to be a loyal UA flier.

Categories: Airlines, Random, Travel, Uncategorized, United Airlines | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanks readers

Thank you readers for reading my Blog. It has almost been a year since I started this little endeavor and I’m now just making my 50th post. I didn’t know if this would be something I’d embrace or enjoy, let alone have others want to read. It’s also been fun to hear from friends and get feedback from other bloggers and strangers, I can’t believe that others actually read it. When I started this I had no idea if anyone would even care about what I was doing or had to say. It’s just nice to know that what I have to say can be of interest and help to others out there.
Again thanks for reading, please continue to leave feedback and ask questions of anything I’ve posted about or that you may have questions about.

Categories: Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Finding Nemo

Well it’s Thursday and I only have 2 work days till my trip to the Great Barrier Reef, I’m so flipping excited. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to go  there. For some unexplainable reason from grade school and through most of high school I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I read tons of books on the ocean, watched and read anything by Jacques Cousteau and even got my dive certification.

So the fact that in 48 hours I’m flying to Cairns and then driving up to Port Douglas has got me so excited. Then Saturday morning hopping on a 35 person catamaran driving out for two hours to the reef will be so so exciting. Let’s hope when I’m out there I find Nemo and his pals.

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Mmm mmm mmm

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Waygu beef burger and chips. Loved this meal so much I had to come back for more. Rock Pool Bar and Grill

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The Beez Neez

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Hello world!

Well G’Day from Down Under. I’ve always wanted to share with others the “joys” of my travels. I’m hoping to share with you what fun it can be and the challenges associated with it. I have no idea if anyone even cares about my musings, but I’m going to charge on and share them nonetheless. I hope that my thoughts, comments and observances will bring you some enjoyment and laughter,  even if it’s at my own expense.

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