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slidergirl

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Everything posted by slidergirl

  1. It's an "interesting" 10 mile commute to work. It's the last 2 miles that are bad - a road with a 6% grade, and then a little connector road on the side of the hill that's barely 2 lanes that has a 180 degree turn at the top (where I hit the guardrail). Outside of November-March (with some bad April days), it is a nice drive. Think of driving the road among the Dolomites - beautiful in the Summer, but "interesting" in Winter. I'm called slidergirl for some sports I used to be involved with.
  2. Yeah. After hitting a guardrail (keeping me from going over the edge) one year and doing a "270" on the road the next year, my tires are ahead of a vacation. 4 snow tires for my car is about $700 (with install). Sigh. I'll try for the next sale. I've been spoiled by being able to fly Business the last couple of trips - I'm not sure I could deal with Economy, let alone the Basic Economy middle seat! I haven't been to Rome in January, but I have been to Venice in February...
  3. If you book via a 3rd party like Expedia, booking.com, hotels tonight, etc., you may be paying the 3rd party according to their rules and then they pay the hotel. If you want a refund or cancellation, you have to go through your 3rd party. On Expedia, they have 2 ways of booking - pay the whole thing to Expedia right then or pay the deposit and you pay the rest when you check out of the hotel. (BTW - booking and hotels are all under the Expedia umbrella - when I have to find a missing reservation for either of those, I logon to the Expedia vendor extranet) My hotel always takes at least a 1 night deposit, regardless of how you book. There are a couple of "advance purchase prepay and you lose it" rates, but anyone who reads can see it and not choose it if they want. If you are outside of the cancellation date, if you book with the hotel, you get the deposit back, no problem. If you book 3rd party, you have to deal with them. I don't like those calls - the 3rd party agent is very aggressive when they try to cancel and get deposits back when they've already passed the cancellation deadline. When the agent calls different times on behalf of the same client and uses different reasons to try to cancel without penalty - well, it's fraud and sometimes just funny because they are hoping someone else will answer the phone and fall for their scam...
  4. I wish I could fly into MLB - it's a quick drive up Hwy A1A to my friend's place in Cocoa Beach. But, it is more expensive than MCO, so it is actually more cost-effective to fly to MCO, rent a car and drive. MLB is a small airport, so you won't find any NONSTOP (there is a difference between nonstop and direct) from any distant airports. All the flights I looked at would connect at ATL (I'm a Delta person). Another airport to check is Orlando Sanford. Some of the low-cost carriers fly there.
  5. I was always told to ditch the sunscreen you have at the end of summer and buy a new one next year... I just checked some of the sunscreens I have here in the bathroom. Two (Australian Gold and a Neutrogena Ultra) have no date on them, but two (Kiehl's and Neutrogena Sun Defense) do have expiration dates. So, no guarantees here. I'll keep ditching them.
  6. A quick update on the Woolx T-shirt: After sweating all night with the tank top under the jacket, I went back last night to the Woolx shirt and jacket. Again, I didn't feel like I was sweating, I was rather comfortable. And, again, it didn't stink. The care instructions for the shirt says to not wash it frequently, as that will affect Merino wool. Just hang and let it air out. I'll let it hang today and wear it again tomorrow for a full test. I've got to say, I'm impressed so far. I would tell everyone to go to the website and take a look. They have much more than just the shirts and have things in different weights (my T-shirt is one of the lightweight ones). I'm going to get one of the long sleeved ones, too - the Coral color looks nice.
  7. I chickened out. It wasn't the flight, but my common sense. I can use that money towards a new pair of snow tires for winter. Where I live and work, 4x4 and snow tires (NOT all-seasons) are required. I'll probably end up putting my tent, sleeping bag, kitchen box and stove in the car and take a few days to Grand Staircase/Escalante and Bear Ears National Monuments before it is decimated by mining and fracking,
  8. Unfortunate. But, when a hotel can be guaranteed guests with a massive contract from a cruise line, well, the hotel may not worry too much about renovations. They know they have a "captive" audience. For the 'non-smoking' room issue - that happens everywhere. At my current hotel, we are non-smoking in rooms, out on the patios and balconies, and in our indoor and outdoor public areas. We tell everyone that when they check in and we point it out on the registration card they sign. Yet, when I walk the courtyard at night, I find a couple of cigarette butts and the occasional cigar butt on the ground. It's not difficult to smell smoke in a room once a guest has left, regardless of if it is tobacco or weed. We have to take that room off market for a full day - do a deep clean, bring in the ozinators and air purifiers for a day. We will charge the last guest a $250 cleaning fee. But, some hotels don't care. If you have your rooms filled by a cruise line, their ROI may be enough to not worry about the rest of the time. Westmark hotels as a chain aren't the best thought of, kind of like maybe a step up from your Motel 6 (although I've stayed in some nice renovated 6s before). Honestly, if I were you, I'd not buy the hotel package from HAL the next time and find your own hotels. You'll probably save some money in the process.
  9. And, from Aquahound: There was recently a thread like this on another board, and there are some posters who actually called people names who request tables for 2. They called them anti-social, accused them of being of the smart-phone generation therefore unable to talk to others, etc. It was bizarre. All because some people had a different dining preference than them. To answer the OP, heck no it's not rude. Personally, after a whole day of being social whether its in ports, by the pool, in the lounges, etc, I prefer to spend dinner time with just my wife. If others think that's rude or weird, to heck with them. Thank you! My story of why I dine solo is not an exaggeration. I got those "brave" comments each night the first time I tried a larger table for a cruise, my first step out after a horrible divorce. I decided I'd just rather dine solo after that. I don't feel that I've missed out on anything by doing so. I spend all evening at the hotel exchanging banter with my guests. To do the same on my vacations would be like a "busman's holiday" to me. Not having to chatter for even a few hours a day is a welcome respite for me. I'm not anti-social, I'm an old woman that is the only one who isn't wedded to their smart-phone at work, not mentally defective... I just enjoy my peace and quiet on vacation. I don't begrudge anyone who enjoys large tables and engaging in conversation on vacation, so please don't begrudge those of use who enjoy the quiet alone or an intimate time with SOs. If everyone wanted to do the same thing, the World would be a most boring place.
  10. I also bought EF bath towels and linens from Garnet Hill. I get the catalogs, too, but I'm always checking the website. I never know what I'm going to find on sale. Since I've lost about 25 lbs since October (due to my meds for what's ailing me, and add in the lack of appetite I've gotten from the meds), I have had to go buying again to find things that will fit me. Since I've got to buy new stuff, it has to definitely be multi-purpose because I just can't afford to buy "work" clothes "everyday" clothes and "vacation" clothes. I have a wonderful EF pleated knit dress - I have to find an excellent tailor to see if it can be altered at all, if not, I might put it up here for someone.
  11. I had mentioned I bought a Woolx V-neck T-shirt and was waiting to try it out. Well, it was GREAT. I wore it to work the other day. Our Front Desk is always warm (under those nasty can lights and no air circulation due to the setup of the Front Desk), and by 9pm we are sweating bullets. Worse in the Summer. I wore the Woolx under my linen jacket - I didn't feel like I was sweating and at the end of the night, it didn't stink. Last night, I wore the same jacket with a J Jill cotton tank top - I was fanning myself and I WAS sweating. So, first try with the Woolx was a good one. If this one turns to work out with longer use, I will probably go back to that website an buy a long sleeve version. 100% wool. Can be used as the primary shirt or, as it gets cooler, a layering piece or even a base layer. Always looking for new options that I can multipurpose. Clo - I bet the "itty bitty bag" is a standard 22" carry on.
  12. Yes, Bear Ears is one of the monuments the current regime decided to decimate, despite the joint agreement of the Native American tribes in the area and the government to preserve as much sacred area as they originally did. Now, the current regime has split it into two much, much smaller pieces and has started to process to allow extractive mining and fracking in the area, destroying beautiful landscape and lands considered sacred to the local tribes. All because someone didn't like that the previous administration created the monument with massive input from the Native Americans and outdoor enthusiasts. Kind of like deciding to open up new ports to massive cruise ships to dump it's guests for a few hours and make money. Damn to saving and preserving pristine areas for future generations...
  13. Also look at the US Grant. A classic old hotel. Near Gaslamp. Another more "hip" hotel is the Andaz, up the street a little more from the US Grant. I'm trying to think a little outside the box for you, rather than the same old cruise favorites and big chains.
  14. Also, look at the Garnet Hill website - they sell EF and have it on sale from time to time.
  15. Hmm. SkinnyDip, done Free Dive. Freestyle done Free Dive. Could be a possibility. Anyone done their brown rice "burger"? I'm not a red meat person, so anything else done Free Dive would satisfy. I just get a little tired of the portobello option.
  16. Good way of describing it. I lost my husband of 30 years through divorce (he left Christmas weekend to go with his mistress). I had also traveled for business, but traveling solo for vacations was a new experience. I looked at it as my "Eat, Pray, Love" transition (definitely did the Eat and the Pray, no Love yet). I found that I loved traveling solo. Going solo on a cruise is a good first step - you are in a kind of cocoon where you can dictate when and where you want to do things as much as you want. I branched out after that first cruise to where I have now traveled to Hawaii, France, Italy (multiple times), Mexico on my own. I've stepped out with a small group of women and have done Kenya, Egypt, Jordan. I've done things that the now-ex would have never wanted to do. The freedom and independence is liberating. Go for it!
  17. I'll go a different direction than the hotels next to the cruise terminal. Look at the Kimpton Solamar (NOT the Palomar). It's in the Gaslamp district. 3 miles from the airport, 3 miles from the Zoo. 1.5 miles from the cruise terminal. Tons of good restaurants within walking distance. It's a hip, upscale hotel, definitely not a cookie-cutter chain. Kimpton hotels try to find buildings with good "bones" and turn them into hotels. I've stayed at a bunch of them and have loved them all. I've stayed at one that was an old bank building and one that is on the upper floors of an office complex. You said you like nice hotels and aren't concerned with price. A sample shows around $300/night. If you sign up for IHG, you'll get free wifi.
  18. The checkpoint positions have nothing to do with the airlines - it is the domain of the French version of TSA and CBP. Don't dump on them "because they're French" - I've been at several US airports where I've had to wait a long time in the lines upon re-entry. JFK and ATL are also notorious for not having enough lines open for the crowd. Also, remember that the US doesn't have exit control - you just show your passport to either the counter agent or gate agent. Other countries do have exit control along with security check.
  19. My current work pants are from Betabrand. Check the website. I have the Dress Yoga Pants straight style in black, charcoal and tan. I have the Travel pant too in black. These are a nice slim fit for me, not skinny. If I were to take something other than my jeans, I'd be taking the Travel Pant and maybe one of the others. My current jean is the Athleta Sculptek jean: light and easy for traveling.
  20. As many or as few as you want. And, it depends on what cubes you use for what purpose. To see a video of how to pack a 22" carryon bag with cubes, google is your friend - you'll find good videos on how to pack with cubes. With my slightly larger than 22" roller, when I take it, I usually have 1 large cube, 1 folder, 2 medium cubes, and 2 slim cubes. I have a mix of types, from Eagle Creek Specter bags to some from eBags that I got when I bought a MotherLode for my niece.
  21. You just did "normal" security at BCN, you also had to do exit passport control at CDG to start your "outside of Schengen" flight, different things, Yes, I've been there when trying to get through the lines at the Skyteam terminal to catch a flight home from the M pier. Yes, even with "priority" due to flying in the front, it took a while. To me, it's not that CDG is ridiculously slow, it is a HUGE hub for Skyteam and that takes time. Whatever the connecting airport is, I always leave 3 hours for connections when I'm doing international. If I happen to blow through Immigration & Customs quickly, I will just find the nearest lounge that I have access to and relax.
  22. I had 2 nights in Wadi Musa. Spent about 8 hours inside Petra and I didn't see all I wanted to see. The second day, I got to explore Wadi Rum. Drive among the sand dunes, see some petroglyphs, found a Bedouin with his camel taking a break and talking on his cell phone (!), lunch in a Bedouin camp. Wadi Rum is closer to Aqaba - if you want to play "Lawrence of Arabia", this is a good place to play. Petra is a hard excursion to do with just part of a day from a ship - it would be just a "checklist" trip.
  23. Oh my. As I read your third sentence, visions of "Dirty Dancing" and "Viva Las Vegas" took over my brain...I also thought "Showgirls", but that is a little too sleazy for HAL... But, Postmodern Jukebox regularly plays in Las Vegas, so I guess they would qualify in my mind as "Las Vegas Lite." HAL really isn't the cruise line you want if you need entertainment like "the old days." I don't need all that much - I never liked the production shows, don't care for magicians or comedians anywhere (land or sea), I don't dance. Give me a little music of almost any type, performed well, and I'm good.
  24. I have to really think about it - my brain is saying "no, use the money for what you need" but my heart is saying "do it, you will probably not get back." $640 round trip, sitting in the middle, blowing my frequent guest miles to stay a night here and there, only pay for food and local transportation....
  25. St. Pietro Station is on the opposite of St. Peter's Square from where the Hoho busses make their stop. I only did a HoHo once, when I wasn't feeling well but wanted to be outside. If I remember, the one I took (the red one) had their stop a couple of blocks down (East) Via della Concilliazione. The train station is to the South , about a 15 minute walk to St. Peter's Square.
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