Posts Tagged With: musings

Rant On

Just another week in paradise I suppose. After my amazing stay at the Sheraton Red Deer, well not really. It must have been a precursor to the week ahead.

Now to be fair the hotel is perfectly fine. I’ve stayed here two times and the rooms are fine at least in the tower section that is. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting three rooms. Well not sure if call that a pleasure when you’ve only stayed there twice.

To recap the hotel had a planned power outage that was to last only four hours from 2-6 pm. I got there just a shade after 2 and they explained the deal sure no problem, except they didn’t inform anyone who had a reservation.  Oops. Anyhow I hoofed it nine floors dumped my stuff and left the hotel to find something to do. They texted me at 5 letting me know lights would be back on at 6. Cool deal.

Fast forward I’m still sitting in the lobby and at 7:15 pm finally, the power goes on but not the elevators. Again I do the stair master mind you there are no lights in the stairwell so they have glow sticks and have a staff member walk me up. Anyhow, at 8 the power goes out again. Holy crap. Seriously. So they move me to a different wing that has power. If I had only known I would have moved there initially. Anyhow read my rant here if you’re interested.

But as I said earlier this crappy day was the tone setter for the week. My trip to the client’s office is an hour about 60 miles on two lane snow covered roads. At the 30 mile mark a sign states the bridge was out. WTF. This is the only way I know how to get to their office in rural Alberta. GPS was no help, so I found my way to a gas station 20 miles away, and got some okay directions. 11/2 hours later I made it to the office. A total of 2 1/2 hours, damn I was pissed. GPS was no help and I had no data due to being international so I limped along. Mental note when in Canada, have maps and alternate directions.

The kicker, I had the same commute back that night and also snow to contend with about 6-8 inches that fell all through the day. Oh the joy. Ultimately, this was my commute for two days, it sucked. I don’t mind the one hour commute, it’s a beautiful drive in the valley, but 2 1/2 each way, that’s ridiculous.

Uugh what a week.

Categories: Hotels, Rant, Starwood Hotels, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

It’s A Miracle Of Epic Proportions- Good On You United

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The welcome package has arrived

It’s a miracle of epic proportions. Did hell freeze over? Or did United Airlines actually do something right for a change?

For the first time in many years United actually sent out their new frequent flier credentials before the old ones expire. In UA’s case, as of a couple years ago, your previous year’s status carries over to January 31st of the following year.

There have been many years where I’ve gone w/out new credentials for many months. Frankly getting credentials is really not that big of a deal, especially when for me I only flew them three times after March or last year. But the crux really comes down to their partner airlines and access to their lounges. There are airlines that will not let you access their lounges w/out the hard plastic card. Over the years I’ve had to sweat it out on occasion and beg to get access because my ticket had my 1k or Star gold Status.

What’s the big deal here? Well, when on an international trip regardless of class of service, if you’re flying any Star Alliance carrier and have Gold Status or better you can visit them for free. Some lounges are great and others are not worth writing home about, but hey when you get access and can take a shower or get a drink in a quiet place on a delay why wouldn’t you want too?

Really for me at this point the surprise was that I got the card with weeks to spare. I can count on less than one foot the amount of times in the past 12 years the card has come on time. Let’s just say it’s only happened 3 times.

Good on you United.

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My new Gold card, with 1 Million Mile Status (nice touch)

and a luggage tag

Categories: Airlines, Humor, Travel, United Airlines | Tags: , | Leave a comment

United Airlines Nine Months Later

Well it’s been almost nine months since I’ve flown United Airlines. Wow it’s hard to believe it’s been that long. The last time I flew them in March was for my third mileage run to Dubai in a six week period. Yes I know I’m nuts.

No I’ve not stopped traveling, are you crazy, and In fact another banner year with over 160k paid miles flown. Plus my wife and I are about to embark on an epic trip around the world.

Why no love for the former world’s largest airline? Well they just aren’t what they used to be. Tomorrow I’m taking a short haul up to Seattle in connection with a much larger trip from the Bay Area and it just feels weird to fly on UA. I’m hoping that the crew and flight experience are back to the good old days before the merger with Continental, but I don’t have high hopes. But you never know things can change, right? The crazy part, is I don’t miss them. I do miss my 1k status and better shot at free upgrades, and the friendly staff from years gone by, but all of that disappeared years ago. Plus I get way better treatment on American, Alaska and even Delta. What’s there to really miss?

I guess I’ll find out. Maybe.

Categories: Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog, United Airlines, United Airlines | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A week of delays

A few weeks ago I had the week of delays, I had four segments on American Airlines from San Jose to Baltimore connecting in Dallas and return. Every segment was delayed from as short as one hour and up to two hours. In fact on the two hour delay I missed my connection in Dallas and had to get rebooked on the next available flight. This made my return home a 10 ½ hour trip instead of eight. Ouch. Being late is just the nature of business travel, you can’t fly 100 segments a year and expect to be on time on all of them, but to have four in a row just stinks. It makes travel just crappy sometimes, but hey that just the breaks I guess. Continue reading

Categories: Airlines, Airport, American Airlines, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Anniversary- Thanks for reading my blog


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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.

 

Categories: Family, Life, Random, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Obsession, isn’t that a Cologne?

Obsession, isn’t that a cologne? Do they even make that anymore? My wife is a really really good sport. I spend a few minutes every day scheming, scheming for where to go next. And no I don’t mean where to go tomorrow or next week, but where to go on vacation or take a quick weekend trip too. Why? Well, when you have miles to spend and there are deals to be had I just have to see what and where I/we should go. Continue reading

Categories: Family, Random, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Deals | 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

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

It’s hard to say goodbye

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It can be hard to say goodbye to an old friend. This guys has been around the block with me for many years and it’s sad to see it go. I’ve had this Kirkland roll aboard 22” suitcase for say 5-6 years, I’m not exactly sure how long I’ve had it, but in 10 ½ years of travelling for my job I’ve only gone through 2 of these suitcases. In that time I’ve flown over 500,00 miles with this guy and been on many many road trips. In that time its’ been to 4 continents numerous times (Asia, Australia, Europe and North America) if you’re keeping score. Although we’ve had many good times, with two very squeaky wheels, a strap that’s so broken and sharp it scratches me every time I pick it up and main zippers that are broken it’s time to put him out to pasture. Sorry to see you go my friend, but you’ll always have a warm space in my heart

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Planes, (Not) Trains and Automobiles

What started out as a simple flight from San Francisco to Wyoming via Denver, ended up being three flights one aborted landing, on plane swap, a second mechanical while in the air and a 6 hour road trip with three strangers. Wow what a day yesterday. I had a trip scheduled that was 7 hours long and 2 flights, but as the travel gods giveth they taketh away too, and the trip took 17 hours instead. I was scheduled to fly from San Francisco to Jackson Hole Wyoming. SFO was a zoo Monday morning, the sequester was part of the issue, being a Monday was the other. My 5:35 AM flight was on time, but was oversold as were all flights to Denver till the late afternoon. United was looking for volunteers to travel later in the day if my travel plans were flexible. In my case they really weren’t but I was willing to change flights if I could get closer to my final destination Worland Wyoming. Central Wyoming is a little tough to fly into, even though there are several small airports there are only a few airlines that come here, so you’re not only limited on options but you can also pay an arm and a leg too. In this case Worland has an airport, but tickets were just over the moon expensive so I had booked to Jackson, 4 hours away because it was 40% cheaper, and I had a budget to keep.

So with that being said I jumped at the opportunity to change flights if I could get flown directly into Worland, which is serviced only by Great Lakes Airways two times a day, and is a partner airline of United, who was my carrier today. I knew that United may help me get there if I would give up my seat on this first flight. The agent found me an option that would get me to Worland at 8:30 PM, but it meant not leaving SFO till 1:30 PM, remember I was there for a 5:35 AM flight. They told me to hang out during bearding and would let me know if I was needed, secretly I was hoping I they would. Well I asked about 10 minutes later and they said they were good, I got on the plane sat in my seat and waited to take off. Sure enough a few minutes before departure they come on and ask me if I’ll still give up my seat, and I said yes.

At this point the agent starts to work their magic, and the whole time two other customers are yelling at the other agent because they MUST be on this flight, and don’t understand how their seat could be given to someone else. On and on they go, and my agent and I just smile at each other. If you only take one piece of advice form me never ever show up late for a flight, always check in online and be at the gate no later than 30 minutes before departure. Period. If you aren’t there you may lose your seat or just miss your flight, and some lucky SOB (read me) gets your seat. When I show up early walk up ask for standby and take your seat. It’s never malicious, but I can tell you countless times, I show up for an earlier flight ask for standby and viola I have a seat and get home hours early. While you beg and beg to get on a flight home.

So as the agent processes my new flight, she says I’ll standby you for the 7 AM, and I gladly accept. I’m now booked on a 1:30 PM to Denver and a 6:30 PM connection to Worland via Cheyenne. Whoo Hooo. I head over to the new gate an wait my turn hoping I get set up. Sure enough this flight is oversold and they need volunteers. SO it doesn’t look good, but I’m #1 on the standby list. I cross my fingers. 11 minutes before departure they have 3 seats that are still no shows and I’m still #1. They tell me to come up and line up, at 10 minutes they give me a seat number and I board. I go to my seat and it’s occupied. Crap. I go back up front and they say take any open seat, what is this Southwest I walk all the way to the back and there are none. I go back and say now what. They then move a non-rev to the jump seat and now all is set. We get to Denver on time, but…On landing about 2000 feet off the ground the plane starts to rev engines and ascent. Wait aren’t we landing. Apparently no, we circle around, and the pilot says a plane took too long to leave the runway so we had to abort landing. Just great. Ten minutes later we land and off I wait for 6 hours. At that point I go to the board to stare at other flights and what do I see the earlier Worland flight is delayed, and I may have a chance. I change terminals and hoof it to the gate, I have 20 minutes to the newly delayed departure. They tell me sure we can set you up. I’m stocked back on track. Well the 10:30 departure creeps from 11:40..12:00…12:15…12:25…12:50…1:15 plane swap due to mechanical 1:30…2 finally boarding. By now it’s snowing bad, and I just hope we get to leave. We get on do two deicing procedures, and off we go. At 3 we land in Cheyenne drop off 10 of 16 passengers deice and take off again for 1 more hour, at this time it’s 3:30. Half an hour later, the pilot comes on and says were going back, we have a mechanical issue that must be fixed in Cheyenne and can’t be fixed in Worland, no mechanics. CRAP, now what. I’m worried I may never make it to Worland, I have to work tomorrow. They have all six of us to deplane and hit the portable also known as the gate, what a Podunk airport for the capitol. 20 minutes later they give us two options, they’ll pay for a hotel and we wait till 11 AM Tuesday to continue to Worland 300 miles or 6 hours driving away, or fly back to Denver (which oh by the way was underground stop due to snow) and hope to get to Worland on the last flight or Tuesday afternoon. Three strangers and I are like can we drive, they say sure but it’s on you cost wise.

We all decide we’ll drive, two of the others were married and had travelled for 24 plus hours and just wanted to get home from vacation, the other was also from Worland and was going home to perform a few medical procedures the next day, so he had to be there. All three I had talked to during the several hour delay in Denver but they were all strangers. Sure this was not the smartest thing to do but I HAD to get here, and the other two options we’re not going to work in any way shape or form. So off we went, we got a car, our bags and off we drove. What can be a 4-5 hour drive took six because of bad weather ½ the time, that slowed us down on two lane slightly windy roads. It ended up being a fun drive, I got to see some really beautiful landscapes and parts of the US I had never seen before. Plus I got really great narrative of the scenery from locals who knew the area, it was a great tour of the South Eastern and Central parts of Wyoming. I called my wife to let her know my crazy plan, needless to say she thought I was straight up crazy. But sort of understood, what I had to do. She was worried but I texted and called her a few times to let her know I was alive.

Finally at 10:30 PM after one gas fill up, and dinner at South of the Border in Casper I got to my hotel unwound and went to sleep. What was one heck of a travel day was finally over. Sure this is not how I expected to get here, nor had I expected to meet 3 new friends, but hey it was fun and showed me again how amazing people can be in an odd situation. I made it via plane, not train and automobile. Take that John Candy.

So if you’re taking score at home. I was going to fly SFO to Jackson arriving at 11:30 AM, got rerouted to Worland via Riverton arriving at 8:30 PM, showed up in Denver and was put on the earlier Worland via Cheyenne at scheduled for arrival at 11:30, but due to the initial delay was 1:00 PM. I finally flew to Cheyenne and got off at 4:30 PM and arrived in Worland at 10:30 PM. BTW the original Worland flight landed at 11:45 PM so I was the winner right.

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

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