Archive for January, 2019

WFW – The Day Trips

Posted: January 30, 2019 in Travel

One of the best ways to see more of USA each time is a day trip from the main city you have decamped in. This has worked well in past with trips to Salem, Fort Worth, Philly etc. Not all the same day natch 🙂 In some cases , like with Baltimore, a day trip one visit has led to a full week stay on subsequent visit. Of course as each trip passes the main cities have been seen and day trips become more limited from less populated areas. As is case this year

First up is San Diego. A day trip into Tijuana appealed initially but knowing my luck I would get an ugly donkey. The most popular google search for Tijuana also includes “safety” as well so when you throw in have to cross the border, either legally or through randomly placed slats, the appeal dims. Will just grab a bottle of Tequila and watch the AT&T Pro Am from Pebble on TV instead that weekend. Plenty to do in SD really anyway. Of course I do have a kinda day trip to LA, or LAX surrounds to be fair . Have done LA before and dont really want to go anywhere near Hollywood again after last visit. People kept throwing Nespresso Pods at me which was confusing until I realised they thought I was Clooney, G. So after speaking to Sheryl Crow ( I am an Instagram influenza A) I came around to her kinda thinking.

The Yanks do seem to love their Ubers these days but there is the Rapid 3 bus from near hotel which takes me down to Santa Monica in about 40 mins, traffic not withstanding. Mind you, better not still be there when the sun does come up over Santa Monica Blvd or could be in a bit of bother for NYC flight. For $1.25 each way, officially interested. I think that is about $7.50 AUD 😦 On a side note, and a little tease for devoted followers, CLP and I are in initial stages of planning our Africa Soujourn for 2020 – Call Me Bwana The deposit for this trip requires sending plenty $US to a Hong Kong Bank. Not only are you bent over bonnett with chili on stick but then they spray mace in your eyes at the HK end! Not as if all Hope is lost I guess

Next stop is NYC of course and previously done day trips to the main cities nearby. This time thinking of Atlantic City but could be a gamble in winter……. It is a rather long and boring bus ride actually but the boardwalk does appeal especially when not crowded. Put chances at 50:50 for now and will just depend on how week pans out. By then the Govt probably closed down again and all the TSA workers will be in the casinos trying to get money for food. May just opt to spend more time exploring New Jersey as have been rewatching Sopranos lately but already done “The Tour” last trip.

Finally we get to Baltimore and appears options limited. Looking at Annapolis so I can finally be Up Where I Belong ? Once again its a bus ride but shorter than the AC one and less to do in Baltimore than NYC after all. I would say 80:20 chance at present. Apart from men in uniform can get my fill of crab cakes and look at boats. Once again on Instagram asked Gere, R what was the best take away u can get there but think he misunderstood….

Getting close now and just a matter of days until Qantas contact me to say I have been upgraded to BC for free. Or not. As Gloria Gaynor said though I Will Survive. Maybe more appropriately when it comes to USA simply

Wired for Winter (WFW) – The Preamble

Posted: January 26, 2019 in Travel

With one week to go until lift off its time to start thinking of a weather report that includes a temp of < 20 degrees celsius in any 24 hr period! Darool Darool. Of course weather is a mixed bag and one needs to be careful what one wishes for. #beastfromeast When it comes to Winter in America am always trying to recapture the magic of February 2015 when the skies were blue, the ground was white, and the President was black. After all

So the acronym, which I thought was clever at the time and now stuck with, refers to not only the weather but also final destination of Baltimore, home of much acclaimed The Wire TV series. Ok not my best but then also included one warm and two cold destinations so not too smart in the clothes needed department either. I blame the Qld heat.

First up is San Diego. Have always wanted to go but basically California is Qld with the fan set on low so not great appeal but SD itself has a lot to offer and is not La La Land. Sadly still have to land at LAX of course and in what can only be described as late onset common sense cancelled my flight out with 3 hr window to a later flight with 6 hr window. This was before the Govt Shutdown and the prospect of dealing with pissed off, and deservedly so, TSA agents. Even when everyone is happy and clapping their hands 3 hrs is a bit toight. Of course now Qantas will arrive early, will fly through customs with my natural charm and wide eyed innocence and only have a mere 5 hrs to fill in. Frequent US travelers like moi would know that US airport lounges, and entry requirements, are very different to Aussie ones and think you have to be the pilot or at least first class to access the Admirals Lounge at American. My Ruby One World status wont cut it. First World problems, at least Govt is back open for a few weeks. SD has many attractions like USS Midway, Balboa Park and Zoo etc For me top of list is Hotel Del Coronado (Some Like it Hot) and Torrey Pines Golf Course. SD is not known for its public transport so will take some research to get to golf course in particular. Farmers Insurance Open is sadly on this weekend which is both good news and bad. Access would have been difficult but then may have seen The Striped One lurking on various hotel floors late at night. Will do a segway as is my go on Day 2 to get lay of land. Weather should not be an issue as rain is as rare as a republican majority in California

After a week of shorts and TShirts ( yeah duh) its up to LAX once more to waste time and money with an overnight stay at LAX hotel as Qantass only flies one service daily to NYC and it leaves at 8 am! If I can dump my bags early (with all my winter gear!) at airport may grab the thongs ( both foot and bot bot variety) and head to Santa Monica for afternoon. It a Piers there is plenty to see there. Here all week, try the veal, but then I fly out ok…..

Given the continual warnings about short term rentals in NYC have gone the Hotel option as really only choice. Its bent over the bonnet and chili on stick time but what can you do. Apartment rental problems are becoming an issue in many US cities now. Staying at The Beacon at Upper West Side or UWS as the cool dudes call it. Good location and of course NYC has excellent subway system although invariably walk most places anyway, weather dependent. As my 4th visit have done most of the tourist stuff but this time around have lined up for a Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden on Valentines Day and then straight up the Empire State building to wait for Meg. With my luck, King Kong will turn up instead. Chances with either are about the same to be fair. Also have tickets to Daily Show and on wait list for Colbert Late Show. Throw in a full foodie tour through Brooklyn with the famous Ziggy and the days just fill themselves in. And still on prowl for Tina Fey sightings

After 8 nights time to train it down to Baltimore. Many ask why Baltimore? Why not I say. Did a day trip a few years ago and was tres impressed. Sadly it was a Monday so a lot was closed but this is the birthplace of Babe Ruth, the home of John Waters and resting place of Edgar Allan Poe. Thats an interesting golf foursome straight up. Plenty of great museums and now they have the only Guinness Brewery on mainland USA, admittedly a bit out of town. Throw in the Dentistry Museum with George Washingtons teeth and you soon realise a week really isnt long enough! Of course not planning on wandering the streets alone late at night as not the safest city in the world but then the last time I was up past 8 pm at night was with Meg on top of the Empire State building last week. Then it is the old train to NYC and two flights home deal to land in Brisvegas 4 days later or something

Am on the Qantass Dreamliner for all 4 flights and as is norm Premium Economy is the base plan these days. As have a few FF points accumulating have requested a few business class upgrades but doubt will have any success on the two long flights as they tend to be busy. Would be nice to try BC at least once on the Dreamliner as by all accounts is a very good product. As opposed to the PE which is not very good in the leg room caper apparently. All will be revealed. Please dont fret for me fans. Try and get some rest now because February will be an exciting month for y’all following my adventures

2019 has Arrived

Posted: January 5, 2019 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

Settled back in Maryhole now after rehabilitation at Flashman Inc for 6 weeks followed by the week of festivities (ie drink, eat,drink) that is Xmas and New Year. Luckily the weather has not been too bad although 31 in Maryhole always feels warmer, and muggier, than 31 at Sunny Coast. Shoulder has a good range of motion now although actually having more issues with bicep at present along the lines of am sure there was some muscle there 2 months ago 😦 Slowly adjusting to driving again and back into mowing on golf course etc. More importantly back home for my 0530 coffee runs!

As always Xmas period was a joy spending time with grandkids and the Della clan. Started with visit to Hervey Bay just before Xmas day to see Ranny and family. Its a lovely beach for young families. Ryan is such a lovely young lad always with a smile on his face

Then it was onto Sunny Coast for Xmas Eve before driving to Brisvagas on Xmas Day for Della gathering at RJE of Coorparoo fame. Quick detour via Carseldine to catch up with Mum first. Due to other family commitments the Della Lunch was actually two lunches and dinners over two days. Glorious weather also meant some serious pool time but didnt let it interfere with the true meaning of Xmas – drinking alcohol

Boxing Day saw a quick trip up to Toowoomba to see the kidlets. They are all growing up so quickly. I also discovered my left handed table tennis skills need some work.

Time to head home on the Thursday then but first we dropped in at Beachmere to complete the six pack. Always a treat to spend time with the two ratbags even if in disguise

So a busy but very enjoyable 48 hrs saw us decamped at Maplehead before saying our goodbyes and getting back into the routine of normal life. CLP works and I dont 🙂 Mind you this will be her last year so interesting times ahead. She cried when I told her I would be going home on Friday morning. Apparently she thought I would have driven home that afternoon…..

Anyhoo not all doom and gloom folks as now WFW is only a month away and surely the US government will be open again by then! Amongst all the moronic things Buffoon Bob says he can still amaze – ” we may keep Govt shut down for months even years” His ignorance and arrogance is mindblowing and clearly still doesnt grasp the concept of 4 yr terms! Not sure any shutdown would impact my visit too much apart from some slowdowns at airports I imagine. Mind you, I think the atmosphere amongst the unpaid workers could be a tad frosty by now let alone in a month. Not much prebooked apart from lodgings and flights and my usual visit to Daily Show.

In TV land the Aussie show Bloom wasnt too bad at all.January sees most of the big shows return so plenty to watch. Its been a very sad Screener season though for some reason. After a slow start second season of Mrs Maisel was good and happy to have Luther back. Watched our standard list of movies over Xmas – Die Hard, Love Actually and When Harry Met Sally – which never really age

In world of sport Cricket is about as bad as it gets and one has to ask – Is Mitchell Starc the Sam Stosur of Australian cricket? Anyone who says well we dont have Warner and Smith have to tell me just how wickets do you think Smith would have got with his part time spin ?? About time we stopped calling them ” the worlds greatest pace attack” Mind you these drop in pitches are a disgrace. What is the point of home series if you dont have wickets that suit your bowlers! Just glad that golf is back on the big stage.

So no great insights to share at this stage and after the joy of the festive season just in a bit of a holding pattern for next month. Enjoy the photos, the witty prose will follow at a later time…..