Polaroid Photo

Uncle Markie out and about.

Refresh for a different picture!

UMTravels

Choose a Topic:

Sat
26
Oct '19

Trip Report: SF Quickie

Not sure why I made this reservation – I’ve already made Alaska MVP Gold 75K. But I like San Francisco, and there was room at the WorldMark San Francisco Union Square. Off I go.

Booked this flight out of Everett Paine Field because it was $115 roundtrip – and I got upgraded to First 3-days before each leg.

Figured it would take me 45 minutes or so to get to Seth’s house to leave the car. What happened was:

  • It took 30 minutes
  • And Seth doesn’t live there anymore (good thing I didn’t try and use my keys to use the bathroom)

Grabbed an Uber to the airport and was through security quickly, but only with “expedited”, not TSApre (or Clear). Had to pull the laptop out, oddly not the liquids or shoes. No lounge and I was way early, but it’s a great airport to hang out at. Just watching was is landing and taking off is worth the price of admission.

But I got upgraded into my favorite seat – 1A, the infamous bulkhead, aisle, window seat. Great view out the window for plane spotting:

Air Force 767 refueling tankers down the alley…

And one in process – you can tell by the matte grey tail…

A stored 737MAX..

And more MAXs…

And we are off!

And food and drinks!

And into San Francisco:

Landed, deplaned, got a roundtrip ticket on BART, and was on my way while cryptic message came over the PA about the TransBay tunnel being shut down for a fire – got to Montgomery Station to find BART not letting people onto the platform:

They let us out using the emergency gate (which delayed my return trip because my card hadn’t scanned out). But soon I was humping it through Union Square toward Nob Hill and the condo.

And the room was ready, even though it was before 4pm. This is a 2nd floor streetside handicapped studio:

I went out and got some supplies and settled in – and had Chinese Food sent in from City Chopsticks (chicken corn soup, green union pancakes, Human Orange Beef – as I was in for the night (as you can see from the photos above).

Late morning found me at one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Mara Sushi:

Started with a sake oyster shooter – great breakfast!

And then onto a Bento lunch…

And some local shots of the neighborhood…

Before I knew it, I was headed back home…with a stop in the Cathy Pacific Business Lounge at SFO:

With its self-pour bar…

While I had some quarter sandwiches, I was an hour or so too early for the Chinese Buffet and Custom Pho orders. Next time.

Back on the plane in my same seat (1A) for more photos:

And then food…

And lovely photos as I was landing back in Everett:

These views never get old for me – I love living in the Puget Sound! And if you want to see the landing…here is the video.

That’s it for the day.

[217.2]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: SF Quickie

Leave a Reply


Wed
23
Oct '19

Trip Report: Return To Waikiki

After the long trip to Vietnam and travelling with other people, it felt like a good idea to take off on a self-holiday. Time for a little pre-takeoff breakfast!

Got the upgrade after I’d already checked in so it was a window bulkhead seat rather than my preferred aisle, but an upgrade is an upgrade!

And it being a Hawaii flight – a POG Mimosa while we were still on the ground!

Once in the air, the food really started to flow…

Hard to tell, but that was the mushroom stuffed ravioli.

Might as well take advantage of the window seat!

Once landed, grabbed the city bus ($2.75) to Waikiki and walked the couple of blocks to the condo:

Here are daytime and nighttime videos of the condo:

If you don’t want to watch the video, here is a still photo from my balcony:

Even with the snack basket an hour out of Honolulu – I was in need of something more substantial in my stomach so walked over the Cheeseburger Prime (formerly Cheeseburger in Paradise).

Got the sliders which came with fries and a cocktail (West Side Smash) at happy hour prices.

I’ve liked their food in the past, but this time the fries obviously weren’t cooked to order.

Tuesday morning, I took a bride of 20,000 points (should have held out for 30,000) to attend an “update”. There goes an hour and a half – but it replaces most of the points I gave to Conan for the father/daughter trip to London and Paris. I covered their first two nights in London with a place in Hyde Park.

Next up was my usual Tuesday in Waikiki – lunch at Liliha Bakery, which was, as often happens, out of the fried chicken, so it was the grilled ahi sandwich:

My other Tuesday stops were strikeouts –Salvation Army for Aloha shirts, along with Ross which is across the street.

In my evening stroll, noticed that Dean and DeLuca now has an outpost – mostly a café:

And that a new Tiki Bar has opened up down the street – The Lava Tube, better email Joe from Indianapolis!

Wednesday started off with one of my Waikiki traditions – the 55+ IHOP breakfast…

But it’s time to check out some new stuff to do in Waikiki…like fabric from Fabric Mart:

And these are the goodies I picked up with the exception of the napkins, which came from the quilting store on the Beachwalk:

And in this new neighborhood (well, to me), I found both a major Korean Grocery Store (Palama):

And a big Japanese Grocery Store (Don Quijote) complete with outside food court:

Thought “Oriental” wasn’t and acceptable phrase anymore…well, it is here.

Afternoon snack time found me at the restaurant at Tommy Bahama:

In the photo above, you can see one of the two $20 off regular items cards I scored on my last trip for just making a $5 donation called Kids Don’t Go Hungry. It makes the blue crab lump salad below just $2.00 (and the drink was happy hour priced at $10.00

Score!

Afterwards, I made my final ABC store run – and had enough receipts to get another Hello Kitty shopping bag for free:

Dinner was eating up all the leftovers in the fridge – a common practice.

Following day found me poolside for a bit…but sitting in the shade reading:

Didn’t even bother to put on my suit and jump in, even with the hunky long-haired young dad in the pool. And speaking of hunky guys – look what I’m missing this weekend in Honolulu!

Afternoon found me back at Tommy Bahama to use my second $20 Off card. Today it was different cocktail (only $8 – a Classic Margarita) and the Panko Breaded Fish and Chips ($4 after my $20 off):

Forget what the local fish was, denser (and more filling) than Halibut – I would have been just as happy with two pieces.

Feeling bloated from a mid-afternoon lunch is no mood to hit the Waikiki Farmers Market which happens every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday in front of the Wells Fargo Bank. Jen, Kennan and I hit it when we were here a month ago. Thought about getting some food for later, but they didn’t open for half an hour, and I needed a nap. It will be cheese and crackers for dinner tonight!

Walking home I discovered that another of my favorite restaurants has closed. Probably didn’t help that they didn’t have a full liquor license. Last time I was here was with DancingBear and Rick Rodrigues – our mutual friend that dropped dead about a year ago (and was about five years younger than me). Farewell Rick and Agu Ramen.

Final morning in Waikiki I was greeting to this view from my bed.

How magical is that!

Took the bus back to the airport – another whopping $2.75, which beats the $30 Uber. From city bus, through security, and into the lounge in a little over an hour. Not bad.

My return flight takes me through Portland because I wanted a freebie upgrade to First Class from Premium, comes with plenty of food and drink:

Had to get to the other end of the Portland terminal for the last flight of the day…which was supposedly on time except we were on the ground for 40 minutes waiting for last minute passengers. Wish they’d served a cocktail on the ground to first, because we got nothing in the air because of turbulence. The downside of going through Portland.

Some people join gyms, I get my steps being a tourist:

For comparison, Sunday I was at work. Means I walk at least twice as much travelling. And speaking of travelling, with my return back to Seattle I hit Alaska MVP Gold 75K status. Milestone benefits are 4 more Gold Upgrade Certificates, and 50,000 bonus miles. Takes 75,000 miles of flying on Alaska, or 90,000 miles of flying on Alaska and their Partners – that’s PER YEAR.

Back in time to work the weekend. Whew.

[215.2]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: Return To Waikiki

Leave a Reply


Fri
18
Oct '19

Trip Report: Return From Vietnam

Well, it’s been a fun trip, but now it’s time to head back to the US. Fortunately, Sean lives 10 minutes from the airport – it was a ridiculously cheap Grab fare, and quick. 51,000 Dong – or $2.20 USD – which included the 10,000 Dong airport drop off fee (0.43 USD).

No one in line in front of me – I got there minutes after they opened, and I’m in Business Class. Even customs/immigration was only 10 minutes – much less than Sean warned me about. Next up, the lounge!

And my plane is here!

It’s a 787 so it should be comfy.

Sadly, the Asian airlines don’t believe in Champagne on the ground before takeoff. Fortunately, I had a couple of scotch and sodas in the lounge. And the menu was at hand.

I went for the Japanese Menu for my lunch. And it was pretty!

I even managed to get a little sleep, along with watching Hangover 3 (that’s a movie), along a couple of TV shows.

The next photo I put in for Kathy – she loves a good bidet photo, and our plane had them (at least in Business Class).

Nothing like seeing a sign like this as you are transferring flights!

Good thing I’m getting out of the day I am – lots of flights being cancelled for tomorrow.

Unlike on the way to Vietnam, I actually had a little time in the lounge in Tokyo…with my souvenir from the Saigon airport:

Actually, there are TWO JAL Lounges at Narita – and I’d forgotten the main difference. The small one has hard alcohol, the big one doesn’t. Sadly, I didn’t remember that until I’d walked all the way (and it is closer to the gate.

The next jet is a 767-300, fortunately with an updated Business Class.

I really like the side table. And the privacy. And the food. This time I went for the Western Menu:

And they actually managed to get the steak done to medium rare!

This flight’s movie is Stand By Me, which my buddy Fluffernutter was an extra (in the pie eating barf scene).

Probably got three hours or so of sleep.

Since it’s a 10-hour flight, that means a second meal before landing…back to the Asian Menu:

I must be running out of steam because I don’t have any pictures of the lounge in Vancouver. The picture I do have is of the “haul” from Duty Free. There is a weird quirk in the system when you clear US Immigration/Customs in a foreign country (Canada has a bunch of ports of entry, as does Ireland, even Dubai). You still get to purchase Duty Free – BUT, you are already on US Soil. When I asked how much I could bring in (experiencing this in Calgary as well), the clerk asked, “How much can you carry?” Apparently, six liters is my limit!

That would be two bottles of Maker’s Mark, and four bottles of Canadian Club Rye, with two complimentary mini bottles of Maple Syrup. Thank got Shua is meeting me at the airport – at the gate! He works at Sea-Tac, and gets off a little before my flight gets in.

Here’s to friends. It was a good trip all around. Friends on both ends to meet me.

If you need refreshing on the trip – here is an infographic:

Another trip under the belt. Using Alaska Frequent Flier Miles this trip in Business Class was 125,000 miles + $67.43 in fees. According to the booking rules, I could have stopped off for a week in both Seoul and Tokyo for the same fare (though they are tightening up those rules). I’m using those rules next March to do an around the world for 160,000 miles and (because of British Air excessive fees) $850 in Business and First. People ask how I can stand to fly so much – this is the reward, one set of flights that would cost me as much as I spend on a year of flying (last time I looked I’d spent $7,500 this year on paid flights).

[? ? ?]

For more blog entries, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: Return From Vietnam

Leave a Reply


Thu
17
Oct '19

Trip Report: Saigon, Part Three

Michael’s flight back isn’t until noon, so we have time for breakfast at the hotel:

And the rooftop views are WONDERFUL!

After Michael leaves, I stay on until closer to checkout – got to get my money out of the room (and Sean is teaching until 5pm). Looks like we had a party in the room!

And I realized I never put an exterior shot of the hotel on the blog:

Wondering the neighborhood, I actually found TWO wine shops, not including the fancy grocery store which also carried wine. OF course, it was from everywhere EXCEPT Vietnam:

And let me tell you, there must be some heavy import duties on wine with the prices I saw.

Grabbed a Grab back to Sean’s for the next two nights. Took a long walk around his neighborhood, and found something amazing to me – this guy is splicing fiber optic cable:

On close inspection, most of what is on the pole was fiber.

My walk got cut short with the usual afternoon rainstorm – meaning I didn’t find a place to eat, so back to the Family Mart downstairs from Sean’s it was…for this healthy meal:

We had better food once Sean got off work – and I even picked up a split of the local Vietnamese wine…

And Sean shared some Vietnamese dessert wine (which was better than the red – which was just sort of “flat”).

One of the features that we didn’t take advantage of during my visit is the 2nd floor deck/pool area.

Guess I’ll have to come back for another visit!

Final day in the city was more wandering and taking random photos…

All that was left was a final Thai dinner at Thai Blah Blah, a couple of blocks away through the park, where at night people learn to roller skate, salsa, you name it:

It was a lovely final meal!

Tomorrow I head back to the states. Stay tuned.

[? ? ?]

For more blog posts, click here.

 

Comments Off on Trip Report: Saigon, Part Three

Leave a Reply


Wed
16
Oct '19

Trip Report: Saigon, Part Two

Back in Saigon after our couple of day in Da Nang, it’s off to the hotel after leaving Sean’s place to drop the bags and find an early lunch.

Gold Fish was the answer (the restaurant, not the children’s snack:

Yummy food at 10am when most lunch places were still closed.

After lunch, we were off the The Independence Palace, also know of the Reunification Palace, which is what I should have put into the Grab app as we ended up in a definitely not touristy neighborhood. There was a temple there, though this is the worst possible shot of it – drunk tourist shot, and it’s too early to be drunk:

So, we Grabbed again to where we should have been, only to find that they have “odd” hours. Then close for an hour at lunch. So, we killed time until 1pm with iced Vietnamese coffee at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (oddly, a US chain, so the bathrooms were clean and the wi-fi quick).

It was across a nice park from the palace…

I’d been here two and a half years ago with Sean. It was the residence and official offices for the South Vietnamese government. You can tell by the number of formal rooms:

 

A closeup of the exterior reveals a design esthetic that reminds me of the Hawaii State Capital:

And the rooftop heliport…

But then there is the behind the scenes parts of the palace, like the kitchen, which filled me with envy. Four burners, a griddle, and ovens on BOTH sides.

Too bad I don’t have room for this!

And my brother Jon would love those GIANT woks!

Sadly, the “bunker” was closed when we were there – but it was where they “sheltered in place”.

And there are massive grounds to explore….

And then random vehicles…

And my favorite, the shooting range!

After the tour, Michael and I headed back to the hotel to formally check in. Formally is an odd thing in Vietnam – they take a photocopy or a cell phone picture of your passports, and hand you a key. No credit card for damages/mini-bar stuff. Just hand you the key. I should mention that I booked both our Saigon hotels on Expedia with cancellable rates.

Our hotel is the Luxury Hotel! And we are in a VIP Suite (that smells slightly of smoke). I think we have the stereo and speakers covered!

And in case we forget:

Two beds and a sitting area:

And the bathroom:

Michael went out for supplies to tide us over to dinner – which Mike is joining us:

They had a couple of beers; I had a couple of cocktails before heading out to see what was available – and we ended up in the night market (which was on Michael’s wish list).

That is going to be our restaurant on the right!

And it’s sort of like eating in a circus!

Four or five dishes – 600,000 dong, with beer for the boys, which is basically $9.00 USD each. I could get used to this!

What a great send off for Michael!

And with that, I end the post. Stay tuned for the return home.

[?? ?]

For more blog posts, click here.

 

Comments Off on Trip Report: Saigon, Part Two

Leave a Reply


Tue
15
Oct '19

Trip Report: Return To Saigon

Our return to Saigon day was a mellow one. Sean and Michael went to the beach (China Beach) and I slept in. Not that I didn’t go to the beach, just that I took four pictures and left:

Then I set off to find a convenience store to stock up for the train trip…

We all met back at the hotel to check out and head to the train station – one that looks more like a train station than the one in Saigon:

Complete with old steam engine!

But we still needed lunch, which we found across the street from the station – Choi’s Kitchen:

Taste was good but with the bones, I think they just took a cleaver to the poor bird. Of course, our original choice wasn’t available. But the Peach Tea was great.

After lunch, we were back to the station…

Noticed several “private” rail cars on the Hanoi Da Nang train. Nicer cabins, better bathrooms, double the money:

Sadly, we were back in the EXACT same compartment that we arrived on. Michael’s USB port and my coat hook still came off in my hand.

This trip I decided to walk the length of the train…all the way back to the “café” car:

Then to the soft seats (I didn’t see a hard seat car):

Then to the 6-person sleeper – where I found a party. They offered me a beer and we toasted!

Look at the cooler full of Heineken – and the box of empties!

Dinner on the way back south was a little different than the way north – they took orders (and our money) and showed up an hour later with a most interesting tray:

Just like our ride north, we had a fourth person in our compartment – this one didn’t speak English or Vietnamese. Too bad none of us knew Chinese.

Train was schedule to arrive in Saigon at 5:45 – hopefully enough time for Sean to get to school at seven. We were running a little late when we stopped at a station Sean recognized as 10 minutes from his house (rather than 30 minutes to the main train station). We had the conductor hold it for us as we rushed off….

Basically, in the middle of nowhere – with surprised locals pointing us the way to the main street.

We all went back to Sean’s, with Sean quickly changing and heading to school, Michael and I chilling it was time to head into the city.

But more on that in the next post.

[217.2]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: Return To Saigon

Leave a Reply


Sun
13
Oct '19

Trip Report: Linh Ung Pagoda and Marble Mountains

Death March Part Two – but we are in Da Nang for only one full day (plus a couple of half days). First up is the Linh Ung Pagoda…

The seven-story pagoda contains 21 Buddhist Alters – fortunately nobody wanted to walk the stairs.

Back into the car we go – one MUCH SMALLER than this morning’s car. Off to the Marble Mountains, also overlooking China Beach in Da Nang. The title refers to My Khe
beach in the city of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam, nicknamed “China Beach” in English by American and Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War

It’s an elevator ride to the top and a back down:

And it features a series of caves (where the Viet Cong hid out during the Vietnam War):

Found this outside of the final cave entrance. This is the second one I’ve seen this trip!

Got back to the hotel with enough time for a little nap before heading out to dinner at Stinky Fingers, which was started by a guy from Louisiana, and the food was amazing. They made their own tortillas from imported cornmeal from scratch for their chips. Dirty Fingers is the name.

And finally! Cocktails!

It was all good until an obviously American guy came in with a subtle version of a Trump t-shirt – America Great Again, in a slate on black t. What I found annoying was that there was a Vietnamese girl on his arm.

Went back to the hotel and fell into bed.

[221.0]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: Linh Ung Pagoda and Marble Mountains

Leave a Reply


Thu
10
Oct '19

Trip Report: Early Morning Trip To Mỹ Sơn

Having arrived in Da Nang last night, today is sightseeing day – and it starts EARLY. How early? We need to be downstairs and ready at 5:10AM (I kid you not). We arranged for the hotel to give us some tiny box breakfasts (hard boiled egg, bread, banana, coffee) since we will be missing their breakfast buffet.

We were the first people through the gates when they opened at 6AM.

We were joined by some other early risers, including three Americans doing a semester abroad in Chang Mai, Thailand.

Yes, there was an electric trolley to take us up the hill (thankfully).

And our first ruined temple:

From Wikipedia, here is the description of the ruins:

From the 4th to the 14th century AD, the valley at Mỹ Sơn was a site of religious ceremony for kings of the ruling dynasties of Champa, as well as a burial place for Cham royalty and national heroes. It was closely associated with the nearby Cham cities of Indrapura (Đồng Dương) and Simhapura (Trà Kiệu). At one time, the site encompassed over 70 temples as well as numerous stele bearing historically important inscriptions in Sanskrit and Cham.

We had our own private guide, as did it seems, most of the other groups which is handy since there are the remains of 71 temples in 14 groups.

Here is a sampling of the photos I shot:

I was awed by the column in the above photo – memories of my semester at The Evergreen State College studying the Art History of Ancient Rome and Greece, combined with my first trip overseas at the age of 20 to India and Nepal. I wandered off from the group and stumbled onto this building, which was barred from the front…

But open in the back

Yes, the temples were heavily bombed during the Vietnam war, but more on that later:

Back outside…more and more temples:

5

And, as promised, more about the bombing during the Vietnam War (again, courtesy of Wikipedia):

In 1937, French scholars began to restore the temples at Mỹ Sơn. In 1937 and 1938, the main temple known as “A1” and the smaller temples surrounding it were restored. Other major temples were restored between 1939 and 1943. However, many historical buildings were destroyed during the Vietnam War. The area was part of a People’s Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong base area and consequently United States aircraft bombed the region in August 1969. The surrounding area is still rendered dangerous through the presence of unexploded land mines.

Throughout the site, you will see hundreds of bomb craters:

Our walkabout ended up at a “shopping opportunity”, or in my case, a chance to sample some “banana wine”.

I don’t think we will be stocking it at the shop.

We had our driver stop at a mini-market on the way back to the hotel. We had yet to find one near the hotel, and someone (me) was out of booze and mixer.

Even with the stop, we made it back to the hotel before they stopped serving breakfast at 10:30am. SCORE!

Wish I’d know last night that I could have gotten a cocktail in the restaurant!

We have more tours planned for the afternoon, but someone (me) needs a nap!

[? ? ?]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: Early Morning Trip To Mỹ Sơn

Leave a Reply


Wed
9
Oct '19

Trip Report: Train To Da Nang

Sean, Michael, and I are taking the night train from Saigon to Da Nang. This was my idea – I love a good overnight train ride.

Left pretty much on time at 9:55pm from District 3 in Saigon. The round-trip in an “air-conditioned 4 person soft sleeper” was about $100 USD each.

Each of the berths has a reading light and a USB charging port. There are also three outlets for laptops, etc.

Periodically, venders would come through offering soups, beverages, etc.

I took an Ambien and crashed out until the morning, when I caught this wonderful sunrise video:

During this time, they brought us some breakfast…

And just random pictures out the window…

Around 11, they brought by some lunch for us…

And for some reason, people with cabins started sitting in the corridor…

Got into Da Nang about 2pm –

And it was off to the Haka Boutique Hotel after a cab driver intentionally took us the long way (not realizing Sean speaks Vietnamese). Should have just gotten a Grab.

The lady at reception recommended a restaurant for dinner that she goes to (meaning local, not touristy on the beach). Quán Phước Thái 

And for some reason there was a costumed bear circulating, then, by the street, where we were, a karaoke singer shows up with a blaring speaker strapped to his motorbike, singing and trying to sell packages of chips – and then there was the sad balloon clown. Wish I’d gotten a picture of that – he was not a happy clown.

But the food was amazing, especially the scallops in their shells – Sean ordered a kilo of them (2.2 pounds), but still think we only spent a million two (about $52 USD – and half that was the scallops).

There were a couple more dishes that got eaten before I could get photos…not bad for walking distance from the hotel.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day, so I’ll close this here.

[? ? ?]

For more blog posts, click here.

 

 

Comments Off on Trip Report: Train To Da Nang

Leave a Reply


Wed
9
Oct '19

Trip Report: Saigon, Part One

Sean was a saint and met me at the airport and whisked me back to his place – staying there the first two nights…comfy!

And morning brings coffee after Sean has left for work…

The plan for the day is to jut explore the neighborhood, find a cash machine, keep myself fed and amused until Sean comes home around 6.

Until I get to the cash machine, Sean let me raid his stash of Dong (the official currency of Vietnam):

I grabbed about 150,000 Dong – which is equal to $6.46.

Here is the view from his 5th floor apartment:

And a bird’s eye view of the traffic chaos and we aren’t even in the middle of the city!

Here is what the building looks like from street level:

I have company coming this evening! My former Couchsurfing now ex-boyfriend of my friend’s stepdaughter (there’s a mouthful) from Bristol, England, who is now in Saigon teaching English.

Hard to believe it’s been eight years – and he’s only 28 now! And just so you know what Sean looks like….

I’ve known Sean like 25 years at this point – my how time flies.

Here are some random neighborhood shots…

I’m not sure was a Dinky Hong is, but it sounds dirty.

More exploring the following day, followed by a quiet dinner in. Sadly (for me as he’s a great cook), has stopped cooking because the cost of having custom food cooked and delivered is so inexpensive that it gives him more time to grade papers (yes, he is a teach as well, though Science, not English).

Thursday found me downloading the Grab App for my phone – like Uber for Asia. Michael arrives in the late morning and I’m meeting him at the hotel I have reserved, the Dong Du Hotel. Yes, I chose it because it has Dong in the name.

There are definitely some “no-no”s on this list – like Bloody Steaks.

And apparently, the keep “Ken” in the refrigerator. Love the illustrations on the fire poster:

Michael and I snacked around for the early afternoon on some things I bought while at Sean’s:

Things like dried squid, cuttlefish covered peas…

And steak-flavored potato chips…

When we headed out for dinner, we stumbled across what is basically an Auto Mat – an alleyway lined with vending machines!

We settled on Café Runam, which turns out to be a chain, but the food was good:

I like that they serve their drinks with stainless steel straws!

And we both ended up getting the pork dish because they were out of the two other things we wanted. This will turn into a “theme” as we eat our way through Vietnam.

Morning finds us on the top floor the hotel where breakfast is served. They have interesting choices for breakfast:

And beverage choices…

Today’s adventures are to check out the Saigon Central Post Office. It was designed by Alfred Foulhoux, but is often erroneously credited as being the work of Gustave Eiffel  (as in that guy who did the tower):

Illiterate and need someone to write a letter for you? There is a service for that:

With the usual revolutionary monuments in the courtyard out front:

Notre Dame Cathedral (closed for renovation):

And stumbling across Book Street where we ended up chatting with kids who wanted to practice their English:

Stopped at a Circle K (I kid you not) to stock up the hotel room:

Even with the booze, that is like $7 worth of goods.

This was an unusual sighting on the street!

Apparently, they are popular for giving tours to tourists, especially ex-US Military.

It was appropriate that we saw this on the way to the War Remnants Museum, which according to Wikipedia, was originally called Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes before it was changed to Exhibition House for Crimes of War and Aggression.

And then the inside…

Oddly enough, I found the exhibit on the loss of life by reporters in the war both fascinating and heart wrenching:

Which was paid for by the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

And yes, there is a huge print of the infamous war photo of the six-year-old girl running naked down the street, her clothes burned off by a Napalm attack.

This was one of the closing pieces in that wing – from the French newspaper Le Figaro in 1965:

There was one section of the museum that I couldn’t go into. I had been there two and a half years ago. The section deals with the use of Agent Orange. I choked up at the museum, I’m choking up as I type this, the senselessness of it all.

There might be some pictures of it from my blog post back then: CLICK HERE. Apologies for scrambled special characters – a result of a WordPress update years ago.

Michael posted some pictures from some of the exhibits on his FaceBook feed. Several were almost immediately taken down as being too graphic. Sobering is how I would describe the museum, and I believe that every President, Vice-President, and Congresspeople should tour this museum before they ever send our young men and woman into harm’s way.

I’ll get off my soapbox now and onto lunch! But we have to find someplace first:

After much walking, we ended up here:

And I even had a beer! Just an FYI, Vietnam is all about coffee and beer, sadly, not so much about cocktails.

We tried to order seafood, but they were either out of it, or “take long time”. We ended up with these dishes, which were wonderful:

After lunch, got stuck in traffic on the way back to the hotel…but at least it wasn’t raining…until we headed to Sean’s when the skies opened up.

Fortunately, the rain let up by the time we went out for dinner.

As usual, a couple of dishes weren’t available, but what we ended up with were great:

It was a great dinner, but sooner than later, we were off to the train station to catch our night train to Da Nang.

The adventure will continue in the next post.

[? ? ?]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: Saigon, Part One

Leave a Reply


Wed
2
Oct '19

Trip Report: Headed to Vietnam

Headed back to Vietnam after a two-and-a-half-year gap.

And using miles to fly business class on Korean Airlines, which gets me into the Delta Sky Club…

 

Also checked out their other one on the South Concourse…

 

Since I’ll get fed on the plane, I try to not stuff myself. The food is much better than the Alaska Lounge, but then, the Alaska Lounge if half the price, and I don’t have to be flying with them to get entrance.

My home for the next 11+ hours…

Sadly, we were stuck on the ground for almost two hours because of traffic delays, and a change of runways. Without Champagne!

But eventually the booze and food started flowing….

And I found the “unicorn” bathroom – the HUGE handicapped one.

Couple of movies before a nap. Tried Zorba The Greek, then Spartacus, finally settled on The Dead Poet’s Society. I’d forgotten there are very “dark” parts to that movie.

Here is the bed all laid out – sadly, Korean doesn’t provide a topper for the seat, or pajamas.

And then more food and booze…

With our late departure, no time to visit the lounge, barely had enough time to hit duty free so I’d have some whiskey when I get to Saigon.

New plane, but more food and booze:

 

Second leg was only 5 hours, but I did manage to get about an hour or so of fitful sleep – these are the older style business class seats that don’t fully (but close) recline.

Landed half an hour late, immigration was a breeze, but it was another 30+ minutes for my “priority tagged” bag to appear. Fortunately, Sean is a patient man, who I talked into picking me up at the airport.

Tomorrow, the Saigon adventure begins in earnest.

[? ? ?]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: Headed to Vietnam

Leave a Reply


Sun
22
Sep '19

Life Report: What If We Went Back To College

While I was visiting Dan and Lisa – Dan talked about returning to school for a degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. It got me thinking – so I looked up what courses they offered, and found this link to a “what am I suited for” quiz as it related to the CSU curriculum: https://csu.mymajors.com/quiz/

I was curious as to what they would recommend for me. I found the answers amusing (rated for best match in interest and down):

  • Fermentation Science and Technology
    Your Score: 529
  • Interior Architecture and Design
    Your Score: 410
  • Apparel and Merchandising
    Your Score: 407
  • Hospitality Management
    Your Score: 383
  • Women’s and Gender Studies
    Your Score: 317
  • Journalism and Media Communication
    Your Score: 299
  • Political Science
    Your Score: 299
  • Philosophy
    Your Score: 297
  • Sociology
    Your Score: 285
  • Human Resource Management Concentration
    Your Score: 283

Interesting, really. Fermentation Science and Technology – that might be good for my moonshine fascination and my love of pickles as my late night salty/crunchy snack.

Mentioned the test to Dan, who results were:

  • Fermentation Science and Technology
    Your Score: 516
  • Hospitality Management
    Your Score: 463
  • English
    Your Score: 450
  • Human Resource Management Concentration
    Your Score: 377
  • Business Administration
    Your Score: 377
  • Social Work
    Your Score: 316
  • Animal Science
    Your Score: 313
  • Equine Science
    Your Score: 313
  • Zoology
    Your Score: 313
  • Human Development and Family Studies
    Your Score: 266

WOW – apparently both Dan AND I are supposed to be on a Fermentation Science and Technology track. Wondering what that is?

Fermentation Science and Technology is a multidisciplinary major focusing on the science of fermented foods and beverages. The curriculum focuses on the science of the processes and methods involved with using microorganisms in the commercial production of fermented products. Courses in the major also emphasize the safety, culinary, and nutritional aspects of fermented foods and beverages. This major prepares students for employment in the fermented food and beverage industries in such roles as product development, processing, quality assurance and control, sensory evaluation, packaging, distribution, and plant management. Students enrolled in this major have the opportunity to participate in industry activities and professional organizations to increase their practical understanding of fermented food and beverage production, processing methods, and specific techniques. Learning Outcomes Students will demonstrate: Ability to integrate biological and chemical processes to quality and stability of fermented foods, and to critique and effectively communicate the relationships among processing of fermented foods, nutrition, and food safety. Discipline specific knowledge of the skills and competencies needed in fermentation science and technology. Examples include knowledge of food chemistry, sensory evaluation of fermented products, brewing processes, refining and packaging technology, food production management, and fermentation microbiology. Understanding of classification, production, financial aspects, consumption, and service of controlled beverages, including effective management of facilities and people with emphasis on safe service training and management. Competent application of science, history, culture, safety, health, and nutrition dimensions of fermented foods and beverages.

Potential Careers: Potential Occupations Partnerships with industry help provide field experience and internships for majors in Fermentation Science and Technology. The food industry is the largest in the world and fermentation science is a rapidly emerging area, so the future is promising. Examples of careers include fermentation scientist, food scientist, food technologist, food health inspector, food safety specialist, brewer, biotechnologist, quality control analyst, sensory analyst, food microbiologist, or entrepreneur.

Now let’s throw Lisa into the mix with her results:

  • Human Development and Family Studies
    Your Score: 617
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
    Your Score: 617
  • Neuroscience
    Your Score: 588
  • Psychology
    Your Score: 588
  • Nutrition and Food Science
    Your Score: 580
  • Animal Science
    Your Score: 570
  • Equine Science
    Your Score: 570
  • Zoology
    Your Score: 570
  • Fermentation Science and Technology
    Your Score: 530
  • Social Work
    Your Score: 444

So, even though Lisa’s score in the Fermentation Science category was number nine on her list – the level of appropriateness was right in the same numerical range as Dan and I.

Maybe the three of us should start a business that relies on fermentation. Beer? Whiskey? Pickles?

Here is a graph of where the three of us interact in our interests:

Please feel free to take the test and see where you end up. Granted, this is for a state-run land-grant college with some unique degree choices.

Definitely one of the most geeky posts I’ve done.

[221.2]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Life Report: What If We Went Back To College

Leave a Reply


Sat
21
Sep '19

Trip Report: Denver For Towelettes

OK, when I booked Denver, I wasn’t thinking towelettes. That was just the bonus. And getting upgraded to/from. And then there was the other bonus of old Virgin America metal in an Alaska paintjob First Class seat. I’m going to miss these:

It’s like flying in a white leather BarcoLounger. Only 10 inches of recline, but that’s double than the rest of the fleet in First. Upgrades are scarce (so I’m really lucky) on these planes because they only have 8 First Class seats, compared to 12-16 on the rest of their fleet.

And someone brings you breakfast and cocktails, though it looks like I’ve already finished my first one. Those are knock off Egg Bites (Starbucks) with potatoes and grapes.

Meet my host!

Who is hard at work about to brine one big-ass pork butt:

We have a mutual friend in Saigon (oddly enough, I get to say that I will see him in a week or so) who had a request for Kirkland Khakis in a 42/30. We looked at all the pants, and they started at 32 and ended at 40. So, no pants for Sean, and if Dan (my host) wanted any, no 30-inch waist for him. We did, however, find a Christmas Carousel for sale in the middle of September.

But the first dinner was salmon (with a side of bacon):

If you cook bacon on the grill – watch for smoke!

It was a stunning meal, and after a full night’s sleep, it was time for another feast. Some pictures of the making of carnitos:

I don’t really compliment gas grills much, but if you want to heat up some tortillas….

Before I knew it, packing time. I’m sure TSA will want to do a secondary search of my laptop bags with these empties packed inside:

The 1983 and 1984 Port bottles are from the mid-nineties when I worked at MSFT and Trader Joes had them for very cheap. The 1912 and the 1900 Madeira Dan and I drank in 2000 (yes, we were drinking 100-year-old liquor) after dinner at Andres (not to be confused with the movies, “Dinner With Andre”) where the policy was: “Drink the last of the bottle, keep the bottle.” That policy did not include the Louis XIV Cognac in the Baccarat Crystal decanter.

The towelettes I’ll be checking…

 

It was a quick two-night visit – and before I knew it, I was back in the air headed home, though not in as nice a seat (but still upgraded):

And food (Turkey Burger), and more empty drinks:

Coming into Seattle….

And over my house, which would be just diagonal bottom left just beyond the industrial section:

Headed home to work.

[221.4}

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: Denver For Towelettes

Leave a Reply


Sun
15
Sep '19

Trip Report: Kansas City Quickie

This picture should explain how I felt the morning of this trip:

Apparently, so did the guy in the fourth row.

A quick trip to Kansas City since we are running out of Arthur Bryant’s BBQ Sauce, and they won’t sell and ship to me wholesale, but if I show up at the restaurant they will give me a case discount.

It’s also a good excuse to visit friends.

Went straight from the airport with Paul to Lawrence to have dinner at Merchants with Wendy.

Inside of an old bank building, where the restrooms are in the old safe.

An interesting cocktail to start. In A Pickle was my choice:

Lots of appetizers split three ways:

And a split sandwich…Brussel sprouts and mac & cheese as sides:

And because Paul was there, dessert:

Got back to Kansas City around 9PM to meet up with Gail who had a meeting conflict with dinner…stayed up until 3AM (well, Paul and I) chatting away, catching up from a year between visits.

In the morning, it was coffee before heading to the Nelson-Atkins for lunch and art…

Gail left before Paul and I wandered around a bit, then took off for Arthur Bryants for a case of sauce.

A bit of a panic ensued…my plan was to pick up two cases of their sauce in plastic bottles – which they didn’t have I stock so I had to do glass. With plastic I could just slap a bag tag on it and check it. With glass we had to stop by Office Depot for bubble wrap and an exterior box. Total pain that doesn’t bode well for future purchases.

Not sure why they didn’t have it in plastic – found it in plastic behind security albeit at double the price I paid with the case discount.

A fun, but brief trip. There is the possibility of a March trip as a four night stay with Rache as it’s on his list of places to visit.

[220.4]

For more blog posts, click here.

4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Trip Report: Kansas City Quickie”

  1. Conan L. Hall Says:

    Did you visit the “walking wall?” Lemme know when you return in March.

  2. UncleMarkie Says:

    They were in the process of dismantling it when I was there.

  3. Helicopterkc.com Says:

    The foods looks delicious! But is this in KCK or KCMO?

  4. UncleMarkie Says:

    KCMO

Leave a Reply


Fri
13
Sep '19

Destination Report: Kamaka Ukulele Factory Tour

I have so many pictures of the Kamaka Ukulele Factory in downtown Honolulu that I thought a separate post would be easier. This was probably my tenth tour of their facility –yes, I drag all my friends and family on this tour, and no one seems to regret the time.

They have been in business for 103 years, and the son (94 years old) still gives the intro part of the tour four days a week at 10:30am. The founder’s grandson (who is now the production manager) give the shop part of the tour.

This visit was with my sis-in-law and her husband

 

It starts with stacks of Koa wood, which they air dry onsite for 3-4 years.

Past their CNC machine

And soon we are inside the shop…where they use heat to shape the sides:

Then the shaping of the body…

The gluing of the book matched front and back panels…

The application of all the internal supports….

And the assembly of fronts, sides, backs…

And in their last stages…

Thought I’d include their current price list. Currently there is about an 18-month wait list for a new standard model. Longer on custom woods, etc. Got one to repair? That’s only 12 months out.

The last part of this post is for Jonathan since it has to do with dust collection…

Well, that’s it for this post. Headed to Kansas City next week.

[? ? ?]

For more blog posts, click here.

1 Comment »

One Response to “Destination Report: Kamaka Ukulele Factory Tour”

  1. C H Says:

    Now I want the tour.

Leave a Reply


Mon
9
Sep '19

Trip Report: Waikiki With The In-Laws

It feels “odd” to call them “My In-laws”, but there is no blood connection with them, just very strong bonds. Jen is my dead brother Karl’s widow. Kennan is her husband. Jameson and Julian, who you’ve read about in this blog are Kennan’s nephews. In many ways, when they married, we became a three-family unit.

Jen and Kennan got to Hawaii a few days before me to check out the North Shore in a VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner). Sounds like they had a great time, but you’ll have to ask them about that.

Do you think I packed enough for four nights at the beach?

It’s the wine that adds a bit to the packing. Sadly, it being a box and a bag style that usually has tools – it was unloaded with the other boxes. You think I pack a lot? This is just about half of the crates from my flight:

The place wasn’t ready as I arrived at noon for a 4pm check-in –this particular Wyndham has a bad reputation for slow room turnover, even with a mandatory 10am check-out. I headed next door to Giovanni’s with a 10% off coupon from the activities desk:

Nice place, though it feels like it’s the end of its lifespan (as in, it’s ready for a refresh):

Here is a panoramic video from our massive deck:

Tuesday as our big day:

  • Kamaka Ukulele Factory Tour
  • Liliha Bakery Café
  • Salvation Army for Aloha Shirts
  • Waikiki Farmers Market
  • Dinner at the condo

I’ll save the Kamaka Ukulele Factory Tour since that one will have a lot of photos.

So, that takes us to the Liliha Bakery Café, where I really like the fried chicken, which seems to be battered in a fish and chips-style beer batter. We got there a little before noon, and still had to wait to even get a seat at the counter. I blame the table of 20 elderly islanders, probably on their once-a-month lunch outing.

And, in a shocking twist, they now serve wine and beer – though the staff has no idea what “brand” it is. I took a chance with the “red” – which apparently, they store in the refrigerator. Because of that, it wasn’t bad. I assume it was out of a box. Didn’t ask what beer, that, they might have had a clue about (certainly, not on tap).

My chicken. I paid an extra $1.25 for the fried rice, but it also came with corn and a potato/mac salad:

Jen and Kennan split the grilled Mahi Mahi, also with fried rice and corn, but with a green salad.

Next stop was the Salvation Army on Nimitz, which Tuesday is Senior Discount Day with a 25% discount. Trust me, we are all over 55!

Sadly, their selection of Aloha Shirts was a third of what I’ve seen in the past, but at least Kennan found one.

Uber makes it really easy to get around, but all the places we’ve visited are on bus routes for a $5.50-day pass. With three people, it was Uber.

Next was the Waikiki Farmers Market – we came home with cut fruit, chicken curry, jerky, salad stuff – add some leftover rice and corn.

Wednesday was Pearl Harbor for Jen and Kennan – my chore was to find a real grocery store since the one that I have relied on for a decade of visiting Waikiki has been torn down for a new condo. Contrary to the Front Desk, who said there was no grocery store left in Waikiki – the Food Pantry just moved!

Yep – it’s a decent sized grocery store that is MUCH cheaper than the ABC Store and Deli (LARGE for an ABC Store).

I had a late lunch at Tommy Bahama’s Bar (above their store which is a block from the condo):

Blue cheese stuffed olives for their $10 Grey Goose Happy Hour Martini:

And the $10 2 for $10 Mahi Mahi Tacos…

They even brought a breadbasket with cinnamon butter!

But what caught my eye was this promotion that they were running – add $5 to your tab and get a $20 gift card valid next month (when I happen to be returning). Sign me up! Great cause, feeding hungry kids.

But going back to the in-condo cooking, the Food Pantry has everything from rice (for our rice cooker):

To Spam, panko flakes (for our last night’s dinner), whiskey, wine, you name it.

The one thing Food Pantry doesn’t have is Trump Memorabilia, which the ABC Store has a huge section:

We made some great meals in the condo!

On our last day, I got Kennan and Jen to come back to Tommy Bahama with me for an afternoon Happy Hour dessert….

As you can tell, I drank my dessert, just like my mother!

Friday, and we were all headed home, me a little later, and with time to grab breakfast in the combination AA/JAL lounge:

Yes, ramen and miso soup for breakfast.

I really like the Honolulu Airport because of the outdoor garden in the center of it (outside), but there are also the performances:

And next to the lounge, a public bathroom tucked away with bidet seats!

And a shot of the new ANA A380 that is dedicated to the Tokyo/Honolulu route (it’s a double decker):

Got upgraded to First Class (though via Portland) for the way home which meant a nice dinner on the plane.

It was a great trip with great company.

[224.0]

For more blog entries, click here.

2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Trip Report: Waikiki With The In-Laws”

  1. Lifestyle Says:

    Very good blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
    There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..
    Any tips? Cheers!

  2. UncleMarkie Says:

    I use a heavily reformatted WordPress template that is hosted on a private server. I’d go for free until until you build an audience.

Leave a Reply


Thu
5
Sep '19

Trip Report: PDX Mileage Run

In my quest to get to Alaska MVP Gold 75K faster than December, I decided to take a little day hop down to Portland. Even booked it in First (only a few dollars more since they are such short flights) so that I could have my favorite seat on an E175 – which is 1A, which is both a window and an aisle, and for the return, bulkhead aisle in one of the last Virgin America planes (they were bought by Alaska a couple of years ago) that hasn’t been renovated. They are much more comfortable than Alaskas, though their new First-Class seats are a step in that direction.

Here is what the numbers look like:

08/30/2019

ALASKA AIRLINES
Flight 1901 PDX SEA

Credited

129

1,371

1,500

08/30/2019

ALASKA AIRLINES
Flight 2662 SEA PDX

Credited

129

1,371

1,500

Last three columns are: Actual Miles, Bonus Miles, Total Miles Credited

The reason for some many bonus miles is that the minimum credit is 500 miles, and as an Alaska Gold MVP 75K I get a 125% bonus on top of that, and since I purchased the ticket in First Class (rather than upgraded), I get another 100% bonus. Whew.

Started the day in the C Concourse Lounge for a bagel-cream cheese and a hard-boiled egg (and some bubbles).

Then onto the plane:

Got settled into Seat 1A – and they came by to take drink orders for the quick flight:

One of the night reasons for getting 1A is that it is both a window and an aisle seat – and it’s on the mountain side of the flight path, though it was socked in today:

Got to Portland where to docked us at the FAR FAR end of the Horizon gates…got my steps in! And they’ve remodeled the Portland Lounge over the summer. Still no full bar, but there is now an Espresso Bar in addition to the beer and wines.

The footprint didn’t change, they just knocked out a conference room, turning it into a small administrative office, and put the check-in desk was, turning the former check-in desk into the espresso bar. It really opens the place up. Much lighter and airier.

After a couple of hours, it was back on the plane, which, being a full-size jet, was parked just across from the club.

And this is the former Virgin America First Class seat that I was talking about:

And now with me in it!

Got back to Seattle right about the time my buddy, Shua, got off. He works at Florette, which is affiliated with Café Flora in the Madison Valley. Went back to the C Concourse Lounge to hang out and wait for him.

Yes, they’ve added an espresso section to this lounge as well – the test for the concept was at the JFK Lounge.

And Shua finally made it during my third cocktail!

Last year I’d taken him into the United Club when I was on my way to Barcelona, and now I have a goal to get him into all the private lounges at the airport he works at, since as an employee he doesn’t get access to them.

Had a cocktail and a snack (no, not the green onions he is bringing home from work), walked down the beginning of C/D Concourse, popped in that lounge to show him around (it’s a two-floor affair), had another cocktail and some soup, and then took the train to the newest of the Alaska Lounges, the monstrous one on top of the North Concourse (see my review a couple of posts ago).

It was a fun day of playing around in airports/planes/clubs.

Curious where else I’m off to in the future?

Purchased reservations

Departs

Confirmation code

Check-in 

Seattle (SEA)

Fri, Sep 6, 2019

   

Kansas City (MCI)

Tue, Sep 10, 2019

   

Denver (DEN)

Tue, Sep 17, 2019

   

Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)

Mon, Sep 30, 2019

   

Honolulu (HNL)

Mon, Oct 14, 2019

   

Seattle (SEA)

Fri, Oct 18, 2019

   

Bogota (BOG)

Mon, Jan 27, 2020

   

Tokyo-Tokyo Narita (NRT)

Mon, Mar 2, 2020

   

London-Heathrow (LHR)

Tue, Mar 10, 2020

   

 

Still have to figure out my trip to Santa Fe in December to see sis/bro-in-law and The Colonels, And Shanghai to visit a friend who is teaching there.

Added bonus for today – I hit the Safeway discount racks on the way home. Here is the score:

And the savings.

Well, that it for today’s post.

[? ? ?]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: PDX Mileage Run

Leave a Reply


Tue
3
Sep '19

Trip Report: San Diego

Hard to believe that I haven’t flown anywhere in two months. I’m surprised my hands aren’t shaking.

Destination: San Diego WorldMark Balboa Park.

Haven’t stayed at the location in quite a while. An inexpensive Uber ride in from the airport, oddly with a driver I think I’ve had before. Cuban. Unlike WorldMark’s Inn At The Park, a bit further north, this closer to downtown location is just in a bit of what some might consider a “sketchy” neighborhood at night.

And at night:

And maybe it isn’t as “sketchy” since I saw this exotic sports car owner putting windshield washer fluid in at the gas station kitty corner from the resort…

Went out for food a couple of times. Brunch at the 12th and Broadway Restaurant. The menu was as uninspired at the name, but it was a $5.99 (cash only, +tax and tip):

Grabbed dinner from a couple of other places to bring back to the room, since neither served cocktails…one night it was Albert’s Fresh Mexican for the Chicken Mole Enchiladas (which were lukewarm after a two-block walk, so they didn’t start out super hot):

The next even was a little better grabbing something from the Dog Haus…their traditional brat with sauerkraut and brown mustard…

If you look closely (and I didn’t notice when I was in their – the sign says, “We Love Wieners”, and so do I. And that is a bunch of soldiers behind the beer taps (great place if you like beer). And they serve their dogs on Kings Hawaiian buns.

And I did a little window shopping at the Salvation Army – where I’ve scored really amazing stuff in the past.

Went back later in the visit to pick up the gown…$14.99, nice brocade work.

I’ll close this post with the most amusing sign that I saw at the resort, on the stairs to the rooftop deck. Please note the last prohibited item:

Just a quick trip south to keep my hands from shaking.

[? ? ?]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Trip Report: San Diego

Leave a Reply


Wed
28
Aug '19

Lounge Report: Alaska’s New Seattle N Concourse Lounge

Hard to believe I haven’t been in the air for TWO MONTHS. Might be a record. A couple of “firsts” for me today. The first time I’ve used CLEAR to clear security (took like two minutes – much faster than TSAPre) and my first visit to the new Alaska Lounge in the N Concourse.

16,000 square feet of bliss, that’s how I’d describe it:

 

Love the hanging lamps in the form of jet nacelles!

And the plane spotting!

Yes, this is one happy Uncle Markie.

Headed to San Diego for a couple of nights – getting back into travel mode!

[? ? ?]

For more blog entries, click here.

 

Comments Off on Lounge Report: Alaska’s New Seattle N Concourse Lounge

Leave a Reply


Tue
27
Aug '19

Home Report: Upgrading The Shop

Being home for the summer (other than a couple of trips to Whistler) give me more time to devote to the wine shop.

My business partner went out of town for 10 days and I decided to remodel the shop – first by widening the entry into the bathroom, turning a doorway into an opening and moving the wine fridge into the opening so people would actually know that we have cold whites, roses, and bubbles:

Our glasses cart is behind the fridge – and I made a display bit for all our corkscrews and other wine accessories.

Jim provided this new sink for the shop months ago, including a one-hole IKEA faucet.

I found a maple fronted drawer set at EarthWise (a house recycle place) for $35:

And Home Depot sliced down a sheet of ½” sheet of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)

Which got worked into this…

Which went into here…wish I’d taken a picture with the previous cobbled together counter and dishwasher cabinet…

Dishwasher is on the left above, to the right below.

I am not responsible for the water heater plumbing – that would be the clusterfuck of the previous landlord’s brother. At least I didn’t have to move any of it!

Here are the installed pieces:

I didn’t cut the sink hole out because as nice as MDF to mimic Maple, it doesn’t have much strength unless it is supported. It also shows the untreated wood. The Agua Spar is like $42 a pint – beautiful finish for cheap wood, but not cheap. It was the one piece that I actually made sawdust in the shop to cut it out.

Also note the floor is so uneven that I left space for a kickplate that I could taper back to the wall.

To get the kickplate trim routed out (1/4 round) with the right connections, I used some picture frame clamps….

Nice to have a woodshop in your garage.

Sink in!

And when you have a box of plumbing parts….which means I’ve done WAY more plumbing than I’d like to:

Only had to go back to the store to replace one pick that I had – but had a crack in it.

But the end result….

The counter let me move the microwave off a shelf across the room, and now the icemaker (that aqua-colored box) is on the counter.

Detail note – that is a wooden 6-bottle wine box that we are using as a lined trashcan.

Sadly, now I want to build a cabinet around the water heater and the Frankenstein plumbing.

But that is for another day.

[221.4]

For more blog posts, click here.

Comments Off on Home Report: Upgrading The Shop

Leave a Reply