The world of vacation rentals

Flipkey vacation rentals
My mom and I arrive to Cinque Terre hours after we were supposed to, thanks to the Italian train strikes taking place on the day we hike it from photogenic Venice to Milan to La Spezia to Vernazza (whew).

Exhausted, moderately grumpy and ready to take in the beauty of the Ligurian region, we exit the train station and begin our search for our Flipkey vacation rental and the woman who owns it.

We wander past the rock archway leading to the beach and down the car-free lane lined with tiny shops and restaurants, craning our necks to find our host.

Reviews Travel

Watching Your Back: Being Streetwise in Los Angeles

Watch a movie set in LA and you’ll see that it’s an action packed place to be. There’s all sorts going on and it attracts people from all over to jump on flights to Los Angeles for a taste of the action, or at least to see if it’s all true. Land in Los Angeles and there may be all kinds of fun sights and events going on around you. Sometimes you can get so caught up in the glamour that you don’t realize the sneakier elements up to dastardly tricks.

Here’s a little guide to being streetwise so you can enjoy that fun side of Los Angeles and avoid any nasty incidents:

Travel

A cigarette and a view: the coupling of smoking and travel

I sit, tuckered out from a long day of travel. Situated on the former Olympic Steps in Sarajevo, surrounded by green mountains dotted with homes which used to be in the middle of a war zone, I take it all in.

Sarajevo Olympic Stairs

Then, I light a cigarette, inhale deeply, and really begin to take a look around what is — in this moment — my world.

The dilapidated steps, crumbling into the weeds growing alongside what used to have been something bustling, something grand.

I sit, and as I pull the toxicity into my lungs, I get it. I let myself open up to the history of Sarajevo being surrounded, the struggles, the pain, the rebirth of this city.

When I stub my cigarette out, I light another one and ponder some more.

Smoking and Travel. The perfect couple.

The Comfort Zone Project Travel

Daily Wanderlust: happy elephants

Happy elephants aren’t always easy to find in Thailand. A quick look at the current Travel Blogger Calendar and the related blog posts can give you insight into why this happens. (Note: you can win a trip to Thailand through them!)

For me, working at Save Elephant Foundation, I am treated to happy elephants whenever I journey to Elephant Nature Park, located just outside of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand.

The elephants here are most definitely happy. I mean — they get to roam free, eat heaps of tasty fruits and veggies and hang out with their best buddies and family all day, without ever having to work.

Travel

Hayarkon 48: the beach hostel to chill at in Tel Aviv

Normally, beach lodging is made up of pricey, resort hotels. However, in Tel Aviv, if you’re looking for a place to rest your pretty little head and meet other backpacking travelers, you can find one a quick walk from the beach.

Tel Aviv's beach

A quick walk from the hostel and guests are treated to this!

Hello, Hayarkon 48.

 Exterior of Hayarkon 48 in Tel Aviv

This hostel, with a rather nondescript exterior, is anything but once you are buzzed in. After three nights in Tel Aviv already, I just want a place to chill out and get some beach time in. The days in Tel Aviv in August are blazing hot and a relaxed vibe, air-conditioning and wifi are all I want when I arrive.

When I enter through the doors, the staff immediately greets me and is super friendly.

“We have a Shabbat dinner tonight, just sign up and you can join our hostel and another for a big dinner,” the staff at the front desk informs me. I swing my head to the right, and there is a huge board showing all of the different activities going on each night for guests, including this dinner and a pub crawl the following night.

While I’m not in the mood to be social, if I was, this would be the perfect place to greet other travelers, swap stories and make friends for a night, a day or a lifetime.

I sidle up to the bar/front desk and give them my information. My room isn’t ready yet, so they take my belongings and tuck them safely into a locked storage area.

After an afternoon shopping, I return and am given instructions to my room. A cool three floors up. With no elevator.

If I had a backpack, it wouldn’t have been a problem. But, this Tel Aviv visit isn’t a part of a backpacking adventure, it is a stop-over en route to America, where I need a proper suitcase. So, hot already, I lug my suitcase and backpack up 60-plus stairs to my room. It isn’t anything I haven’t done before, after all, there are plenty of hostels in Europe where elevators don’t exist. But, at the end of a hot day, I want to magically be whisked to my room with my heavy suitcase, not drag it up flights of stairs. Again, a backpack would have been a lot easier in this situation.

Private digs

I’ve got a private room for three nights — my first truly private room ever — and when I open the door I love it. In the late afternoon, the sun casts a golden glow through the multi-colored curtains opening up to a private balcony. A. Private. Balcony. Granted, when I step outside, I don’t see the Mediterranean, but I still love the fact that I can step outside without having to haul it down to the main floor.

The private room at Hayarkon 48 in Tel Aviv

The room is huge. Bigger than what I expect in any hostel for a private room. And, there is a flat screen TV that rivals my TV in Thailand, hanging from the wall. I hop on the bed, and it is hard. Thailand hard. But, I don’t expect beds in hostels to be plush and perfect. Hostels are a budget option, and I cannot recall a bed in a hostel that hasn’t had coils, or a hardness to it. But, it isn’t bad. I pop on the air-conditioning and check out the bathroom.

It’s clean, with a shower curtain separating the little shower from the toilet and sink. The hostel provides soap and towels, which for me is a definite bonus since I’m traveling sans these things.

The view from the roof of Hayarkon 48

I head upstairs to the top floor, which is a gorgeous rooftop terrace with a spectacular view of the sea. I can imagine plunking down here and enjoying the breeze and sunset. Apparently, they used to have a bar upstairs, but it stopped because it was difficult to lug the stock up all of the flights of stairs (yeah, I can imagine). But, it is still a fabulous place to chill out and relax above Tel Aviv.

What’s included

With my stay at Hayarkon, I get complimentary breakfast each day. While the sign at reception tells guests it is toast, it is a far nicer breakfast than just that. The full kitchen offers up eggs you can cook, veggies and yes, toast. With Nutella. Of course, I’m happy. Israel is expensive, and not having to shell out the sheckels for breakfast is nice.

Wifi is also included in my stay. However, at three floors up with the router on the first, the wifi is anything but good. It doesn’t even get acknowledged on my iPhone, and the signal goes in and out on my laptop. While I can get the general stuff done while in my room, if you’re staying on the third floor, don’t expect the wifi to be up to par … unless a stronger signal or more routers get put in. Sometimes, late at night, I can go out on my balcony and pick up a signal for my phone, but it was only on occasion. If I want to send someone an iMessage, I have to go downstairs to the first floor to be able to do so.

The hostel is very secure. You cannot even get in the front door without getting buzzed, and no guests are allowed anywhere beyond the main area. There are also lockers which can be used, and locks to rent.

I love some of the little things that are included — like access to sun block as you walk out the door to the beach and free ear plugs in case you have noisy bunkmates. It’s stuff like that which can make a superfly hostel.

The bottom line

As far as hostels go, Hayarkon 48 is really good. I’ve stayed in nearly 100 hostels during my travels, and this one ranks as one of the better, if not one of the best. The staff is friendly, the rooms are clean and I always feel secure. The atmosphere can definitely be social without being too much of a party hostel, and I love that they organize outings with guests to encourage meeting new people. They can even arrange a taxi to the airport for you for less than you would get on the street. The only downside for me is the wifi. I love places with good wifi. It is important to have good wifi. Hell, I’d even pay to have some wifi that worked all of the time in my room. The location is stellar. There is a bus line that takes you down the main drag of the district tourists want to see, and staff is wonderful.

Editor’s Note: My time stay was organized by Hostelworld and courtesy of Hayarkon 48, however all opinions are my own. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy

 

Hotel Reviews Travel

5 Great Places to Enjoy in Ogunquit Maine

Editor’s Note: This post is written and provided by Jenna S.

New England is a beautiful part of the U.S. to visit. There is so much in N.E.; pristine beaches in the summer, foliage in the fall, skiing in the winter, and sightseeing in the spring. But with so many places in New England to visit, it may be hard to decide where to go for a week of leisure and fun. Ogunquit, Maine offers some of the best beaches, restaurants, scenery, and festivals throughout the year for anyone to enjoy.

Where to Stay

The Juniper Hill Inn is a quintessential property located in Ogunquit. With five acres of trees in rural Maine, you’re sure to find relaxation when you stay here for the week. It is within walking distance from the beach or the town if you want to do some exploring. According to TripAdvisor there is also a trolley that comes by and has a stop in front of the Inn. Some of the amenities you’ll find:

– Business center.

– Free breakfast.

– Free parking.

– Wheelchair accessible.

– Fitness center.

– Swimming pool.

Enjoying the Sun

Ogunquit beaches are one of the best places for camping, swimming, or just enjoying an afternoon walk. Fill your beach bag and head out to enjoy 3 ½ miles of award winning white sand and smooth surf. At the beaches you will be able to access:

– Public restrooms.

– Beach chairs.

– Umbrellas.

– Float rentals.

– Indoor and take-out restaurants.

If you want to camp out on the sand, you can connect with Beach Acres Campground. You can make reservations year around, and the grounds are located near shopping, sporting activities, and great places to eat.

Marginal Way

OgunquitBeachInfo shares about one of the most exceptional finds in the North East – the Marginal Way. The Marginal Way is a paved footpath that stretches for 1 ¼ mile along the coastline, and it was actually a gift given by Josiah Chase of York in 1925. As you walk along the footpath you can enjoy the ocean, along with tangled bayberry and bittersweet bushes, gnarled shrubs “of fragrant pink and white sea roses”, and shaded coves.

Unique Shopping

If you’re going to hang out in Ogunquit for a few days, you will certainly want to stop by Spoiled Rotten. It is one of the best places to shop in the area and you can find everything from upscale gourmet foods, to kitschy tourist items. The Melamine dinnerware is a precious find for individuals who love beautiful plates or dinnerware pieces. You can pick up some unique and charming décor pieces like a Balance desk lamp and Prism Hammered glass jars.

Finding What Maine is Known For

Okay, you can’t vacation in Maine without getting lobsta’! The locals tout Footbridge Lobster as having the best lobster rolls in town, and you won’t go wrong with great deals like $1 ice cream with any lobster purchase! Yelp lists them as:

– 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

– Affordable.

– Great for groups and kids.

Your Maine vacation won’t be complete without a stop at Footbridge for sure!

If you’re looking for a week of fun and relaxation, you can’t beat Ogunquit. Grab your swimsuit and lobster bib and enjoy!

Guest Posts Travel

Daily Wanderlust: Vendors in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul provides no shortage of ways to spend your money. There is the Grand Bazaar, where the whirl of colors, maze of ancient halls and vendors hawking their goods makes it easy to part with cash to the Spice Bazaar and the impending assault you know want to inflict on your tastebuds, playing tourist in Turkey is often times synonomous with dumping your wallet into the hands of vendors.

It’s no different on the streets of Istanbul.

Grilled corn. Bread. Kebabs. It’s all there, ready for you to enjoy a cheap snack en route to spending more money.

What’s your favorite street food in Istanbul?

Vendors line the street in Istanbul

Travel

How Mr. Lucky got lucky

I have a bleeding heart. If you know me, you know this.

And, on my third day in Chiang Mai, this bleeding little heart is tested.

“Hi,” a couple says, walking up quietly to the large crop of desks inside the Elephant Nature Park office. “We found a kitten and wanted to let you know … it’s down the street … it doesn’t look good. Do you want to go and get it and bring it back here?”

I try to mind my own business as I sit on the other side of the desk, but when I hear the words “kitten” and “doesn’t look good” my ears immediately perk up.

“Oh noooo,” says Patty, who runs the office. “That’s not good.”

Silence.

“Diana, you go with them and see where the kitten is ka,” she says to me.

Me?

Charged with the task, I leave my laptop and follow the couple down the street, crossing over the moat which surrounds the old city of Chiang Mai and through Thaepae Gate.

“We saw it and tried to give it milk, but it just sat huddled in a corner, not moving much,” the girl says.

When we come to the kitten, my heart breaks.

Under a metal bench of some sort, I see him. Squatting down. Oh-so thin. Shaking. His orange and white fur is a shade of gray from the pollution. His leg looks a bit deformed. His one eye is cloudy.

My heart breaks.

“I … I … don’t know what to do,” I tell them. What am I supposed to do? Take him back to the office? “Let me call Patty.”

So, I get her on my phone and she tells me to call the park and the volunteer who runs the dog shelter. On the phone with her, I nearly burst into tears.

“We can’t save every street cat in Chiang Mai,” she explains, but I can hear it in her voice. Don’t give up … yet.

Then, I fight for the little guy.

“He just looks so scared. So sick. We can’t take him?”

“Well … look at him with me,” she says, quickly succumbing to my desperation at saving the sickly creature.

I scoop him up in my hand, report to her that he has pink gums, no fleas, a big belly.

“OK … what you can do … if you want … is take him to the vet and see what is wrong with him. You will have to pay for it. Then, if he is OK, I think we can take him up at the park.”

My heart thumps happy.

I leave the couple and scoop his tiny, shaking body into my arms and nuzzle him in my neck as I head back to the office, trying desperately to shield him from the puttering tuk tuks, the thick humidity and the smell of diesel fume that winds its way up my nose.

I try to get a red bus to the vet, but instead, one of the staffers tells me she can take me on her motorbike.

I freeze with fear. I’m scared to death of motorbikes, even though I have been on them before. Here, in Thailand, where you have to always be mindful of getting knicked by one, the idea of holding a kitty and clinging to someone driving sends me into a near panic.

“Don’t worry,” she says to me soothingly. “I will drive good. I promise.”

So, I put the kitten in a cardboard box and hop on the back of her motorbike.

“It is OK if I hold on to you?” I ask, voice shaky.

“Yes, of course.”

And then, we are off into traffic. I try to move as little as possible. At red lights, I peer into the box and talk sweetly to the kitten who has ceased his little meows and traded them for hisses.

“I know, I know,” I whisper to him, wishing with all the world that he will calm down.

When we arrive to the vet, they peel the box from my arms and take him into a room where they examine him.

Mr. Lucky at the vet

Just rescued from the street, Mr. Lucky heads to the vet’s office.

“He very sick,” the vets says once she is done. “He need lot of medicine.”

“What’s wrong with him?” I ask.

“Don’t know, but we do test to see. He stay overnight. Expensive.”

I’ve come this far.

“Do what you have to do,” I say, feeling myself give in to this little life I am trying desperately to save.

She does one blood test as I stand in the doorway, watching him cower on the metal table.

“Oh no, it no look good,” she says, furrowing her brow and casting a sympathetic glance in my direction. “He has parvo. Very sick. May not live.”

I stand there. I can feel the tears coming. I can feel them wanting to leak out of my eyes in front of these strangers. Although it has been less than an hour since he entered my life, he’s already touched it.

I don’t want him to die.

“What do you need to do?”

“He stay overnight for a few night, we give him medicine and get him to eat soft food,” she says.

“I can’t spend the money on him unless I know he has a chance at life,” I explain, wanting her to know if his chances are slim that he will make it, I cannot afford to pay the bill.

“He may make it, depend on immune system,” she says.

I hand over my credit card and let them swipe it.  It’s not nearly as expensive as a vet in America, but it is pricey for someone who has just moved to Thailand and found a street cat.

“What his name?” She asks me before I leave.

“I don’t know,” I say, not wanting to name him and get attached to this little puff of cat.

“He Mr. Lucky,” she says. “Mr. Lucky because you found him.”

That night, she calls to report to me his condition. “He poo poo a little. He eat a little. He take medicine. Call you tomorrow night unless he get worse.”

The next night, she calls me to report that he is getting better slowly.

And, the night after, I head to the vet to go and see him.

“He would have died had you not found him,” she says as I stroke his little body in my arms. “He very sick. Mom and brothers and sisters probably dead. He would have died in days if not treated. Mr. Lucky? He very lucky.”

Mr. Lucky stays a few more nights at the vet and is then taken up to Elephant Nature Park to finish the de-worming (because he has that, too) and finish his treatment for parvo.

Mr. Lucky slowly gets better.

Still so tiny and fitting into the palm of my hand.

When I head to the park a few days later, the first thing I do is go and see him. He’s quarantined and when I step inside the room, my heart melts.

“Mr. Lucky,” says the volunteer who took him in, “Look who is here to see you.”

From under newspapers, he pokes his little head out and meows. Then, he is in my arms again, purring.

His belly is still a bit swollen from the worms, but he looks a million times better than he did when I first rescued him.

“Hey little guy,” I whisper to him, nuzzling his little body in my face. “You look so good.”

We snuggle for a few minutes before I put him back into his cage and I disinfect myself so as not to get the other animals at the park sick.

Mr. Lucky is an adorable sleeping cat

A little purr machine, and then Mr. Lucky passes out in my arms.

A week later, I head to see him again. This time, he is out of quarantine and hanging in a cage. He mews when he sees me and then, as soon as he is in my arms, crawls up to my neck and tucks his tiny body there, softly purring.

I walk away from his cage and find a secluded spot on a bench. We sit together for 30 minutes. A wave of happy rushes over me as he lays on me.

I saved a life. And, now I get to see this little Mr. Lucky live out his other eight lives. Entirely Lucky.

And now, more than six weeks after being treated and healthy, this is how cute the little playful guy is:

Mr. Lucky hangs out with Mom D

Six weeks after being found …

A portait of the cat, Mr. Lucky

He strikes a mean pose, eh?

Asia Blog Expat Life Thailand Travel

When travel sucks

Flight One: Chatty Seatmate Suck

“We’ve just had two days from hell,” an older woman says, hovering over my seat in the bulkhead as I fumble (too late) to get my headphones in my ears. “You just wouldn’t believe what happened to us. First, our flight has issues, then we get stuck on the tarmac, then we get out and have to wait in line, then we get to a hotel, then we have to wake up early and get back to the airport and now …”

Damnit. Damnit. Damnit. I clearly pulled the short straw in seat assignments.

I smile feebly and silently curse the woman standing over me.

“So now, we are on this plane and we don’t even get to sit together. I mean, really!”

Don’t look at me lady. I paid good money for this Economy Plus seat.

“My husband? He has had a hell of a time the past month. See, we thought he had a problem with his testes …”

Whoa. Chatty Seatmate crosses over into TMI Seatmate in a matter of seconds. 

“Oh goodness,” I feign interest as I struggle to hear the announcement from the pilot about our plans to take off from Dulles and head to San Francisco. But Annoying Seatmate continues her diarrhea of the mouth, sparing me no detail of her husband’s examinations (“thank goodness it wasn’t anything terrible”), family troubles (“my annoying bitch of cousin”) and travel complaints (“I hate United”).

By the grace of god, her daughter comes and sits in between us, giving me the perfect chance to put my headphones in my ears and turn my head to look out the window, letting me enjoy my last sunrise on American soil (or above American soil).

Thankfully, she continues her bitchfest to her daughter instead and I tune out, watching out the cabin window as the plane picks up speed and eventually is airborne, flying over America.

I take it all in, trying to imagine what we are flying over and reliving my road trip adventure from two weeks earlier that brought me from west to east.

Funny I am going backwards to go forward.

Sleep grabs me, but I wake up in time to see the brown of the desert below. I’ve flown to Las Vegas enough times to recognize what is below, and I know it’s not the Vegas desert I am looking at, but it is Nevada. Then, we’re over the mountains, then we are descending into San Francisco.

“Glad you made it home safe,” I mutter to the woman in my aisle as we exit the aircraft, then I head to my next gate.

A delayed flight from San Francisco to Beijing

Flight Two: Delayed Flight Suck and Plane Suck

I look at the departures board, squinting to see my Air China flight from SFO to Beijing. Delayed. By an hour. I do a quick calculation in my head: that leaves me (maybe) one hour catch my connection to Bangkok in China. If I miss that flight, I can’t get to Bangkok until the next day, which leaves me missing my other flight on Air Asia getting me into Chiang Mai.

Shit.

So, I go into Fix This Mode. I message Air Asia. I get on the phone with Air China. I call my parents and bitch, bitch, bitch.

“This is such a pain in the ass … I am going to have to rebook tickets if I can’t connect.”

“Then, that’s what will happen,” my mom says into the phone.

“Got to love travel,” my dad jokes.

Air Asia tells me if I miss my flight, even with a certificate saying it was Air China’s fault, I still have to pay to book a new flight. And, Air China tells me they can’t do anything to get me to Chiang Mai should I miss my connection.

As a last resort, I approach the gate agent to ask what they can do since my connection will now be cutting it very close.

“Guess you will just have to run,” the woman shrugs.

Thanks.

Almost two hours late, we finally board the plane.

I sink into the seat. Or attempt to sink into the seat. It’s hard as a rock.

At least there is entertainment on long-haul flights.

Then, I look at the seatback in front of me.

Something is missing on this Air China flight!

There is nothing there. A tray to pull down. No cute little television. Nothing.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Instead of getting pissed I forked out more than a grand for the flight — because that isn’t going to solve anything at the moment — I pull out some little blue Tylenol PMs and pop them. Goodbye, AmericaTwelve hours later (and with 45 minutes to catch my connection), we land.

The man next to me sits and waits as people from behind us go.

“Sorry,” I say, tapping him lightly on the shoulder and fighting the racing heart pounding in my ears. “I have to catch a flight.”

Flight Three: Security Suck and the Should-Have-Bought-Two-Seats Suck 

Groggy, but awake, I bolt off the plane and am greeted by a shuttle to take us through immigration.

Oh please. Please. Drive. Drive. Drive.

I glance at my phone nervously. 30 minutes. 30 minutes. 30 minutes.

When the doors open, I race through the halls, rounding corners with astonishing speed for someone weighted down not only with a carry on, but also a completely full Pac Safe tote.

I race through an arch that takes my temperature, head to immigration where I am directed to another immigration. When I am finally allowed to pass, I am the first one to get to security.

20 minutes.

I’ve traveled a lot. I know what can stay in my bag and what needs to be taken out. I start to pull out my laptops.

“You have camera?” The security agent asks.

“Yeah,” I say, getting antsy.

“You take it out.”

OK. Fine.

I remove my camera and put it into a bin, along with my laptops, then wait for everything on the other side of security.

The bags move through the belt and stop. Then move a little. Then stop. Then, they come out. Along with a security agent.

“You have chords in here?”

“Yeah,” I say, heat rising in my face.

“No chords.”

What the hell?

I go to open up my bag to take them out, but the agent reaches for it, too. He opens my bag and dumps out my charger for my laptop and my phone. Then, he opens my carry-on and begins to rummage through that. Then, its back through the X-Ray machine.

Anxiety sweeps over my body.

15 minutes.

The bags come out again.

“You have battery?”

“Yeah.”

Again, the agent goes into my carry-on, this time basically dumping the entirety of its contents into bins. Business cards. Make up bag. Journal.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

“Please, please,” I beg. “My flight. I have 10 minutes.”

Four bins go back through the X-Ray machine. I break into a sweat as I watch them examine the screens, looking for who-knows-what. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, four bins come out. My four bins.

“OK,” security tells me as I fight tears, looking at both of my bags, entirely unpacked, sitting in front of me.

I toss everything into them without caring what is where, and run to my gate.

With two minutes to spare, I get onto the plane and sink into my seat. My aisle seat because, even though I had spoken on the phone with Air China and was insured I would have a window, the ticket said otherwise. This time my seatmate takes up nearly my seat and hers.

I pop another Tylenol PM, blow up my neck pillow, arrange myself to fit into a corner of my seat and pray the carts don’t run over my toes, and close my eyes.

The Intermission Suck

I stand, scanning the luggage on the belt once we arrive in Bangkok.

Where’s my bag?

Fortunately, I’m with a few other girls I met in San Francisco who are headed to Elephant Nature Park, too. And, there bags aren’t here.

We survey the carousel a few more times, then look to find a representative from Air China to help us. Of course, there aren’t any. Instead, we are directed to Thai Airlines customer service.

“Try Carousel 7.”

We head there. Nothing.

“Try Carousel 9.”

Again, nothing.

Finally, we are brought into a room where they track our bags.

“Your bag is still in Beijing,” the rep explains to me. “It said it got on an earlier flight, but it did not.”

“How would it get on an earlier flight? Did it get scanned when I landed in San Francisco?”

“Yes.”

“And it was scanned again when I got to China?”

“Yes.”

“Then, how did it get on an earlier flight to Bangkok or how did it say it got on an earlier flight to Bangkok when I arrived with 30 minutes to board my connection?”

“It will be here in a few days.”

“I need it here sooner than that,” I sigh.

I fill out the paperwork and head into the airport to get some food, some wifi and some rest.

As I lay down, at 2 a.m., people begin to crowd around me, talking loudly.

Finally, I decide sleep isn’t going to happen and, when I can, I head over to Air Asia to check in to my final flight.

The final flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand

Flight Four: The No Refund Suck

I stand at the Air Asia counter, trying to explain Air China has misplaced my bag, trying to explain I wanted on refund on the $100 I spent to check a phantom bag.

“Sorry,” the ticketing agent says. “You need to cancel at least four hours before to get a refund.”

“But, you just opened and this only happened five hours ago.”

“Sorry.”

It’s just not worth the fight.

I head to my gate and board the plane.

As we fly over the emerald green mountains of Thailand and begin to descend into Chiang Mai, all of the Suck from the past 30-something hours of traveling dissipates.

I look out onto the land and feel warm. Glowing. Thrilled.

This … this is my new home.

Then, the smile doesn’t leave my face.

When has travel sucked for you?

 

Asia Blog Thailand Travel

Daily Wanderlust: World’s Largest Baseball Bat

If Louisville, Kentucky could have one major claim to fame in the world, it would be the Lousiville Slugger. At least in my mind.

After all, the wooden bats made here have become synonymous with baseball. The “Lousiville Slugger” scroll etched onto each bat is easily recognized. In downtown Louisville, it is easy to see the city’s deep appreciation for the bat manufacturer. For more than 120 years, the maker has been here, creating bats for some of the world’s best baseball players.

In the century-plus, Louisville Slugger has sole more than 100 million bats and is considered the most popular bat brand in the history of the sport.

Today, the company has extended its breadth, now making gloves, helmets, gear, bags and more.

During our road trip, we made a stop at the famed World’s Largest Bat, perched against the Louisville Slugger Museum. Made in 1995, the five-story bat weighs in at 34 tons and is made of hollow carbon steel, like the bat used by Babe Ruth.

Editor’s Note: This post is a part of the #winosontheroad series. Over Yonderlust and d travels ’round went road tripping and exploring America from Colorado to Maryland in June 2012. Be sure to check out all of the posts of life on the open road.

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