Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Cuba – 2nd world country, 4th world life. Tips and tales from 7 days in Havana.

January 9th, 2017

Time is the least thing we have of.
– Hemingway

My impressions of Havana Cuba January 2017

Arriving and exchange of money is pretty standard – they will x-ray your bags on arrival. TIPS: if there is a line (and there will be a line,) in Terminal 1, go upstairs, a fraction of the line and time spent! Also, make sure you know your Terminal – getting dropped off at Terminal 3 will result in trying to wrestle-up a way to Terminal 1 that won’t eat into your Exit Tax* and your wait to Check-in* 😉

I hitched a ride from the airport to my first of 3 Airbnbs, with two American teacher gals, who arranged to meet later in the week.

My first Havana Airbnb was up 60 steps on the 3rd floor of an ancient but only slightly decrepit building, near Avenue 23 – a main road into the old town. The ‘hostess’ was a gal in her 20’s, who was not really there or helpful but her 87 year old grandmother was so loving and sweet, kissing me and hugging me every time we met with a gleeful exuberance and a swiftly flowing river of Spanish, where only a few familiar words surfaced.

General hint: All beds in Havana are hard and slightly lumpy and all your hosts will tell you they are new, and by new, they mean within the last few years. Some will have a plastic mattress cover, all will have painfully thin sheets but apparently newer than new and a Janka Hardness scale rivaling Macassar Ebony…

*Exit Tax: Save 25 CUC to pay upon departure, OR confirm your Exit Tax is included in your ticket – mine was, but saved extra money Just In Case.
*Check-in: You will have to check-in, you will have to wait in line, there is no ‘elite’ line, you will not be able to change your ticket in a way that will take money (upgrade, early boarding.)

Rooster on Plaza Vieja


Paris 1997

September 7th, 2016

I left work in LA to go to home to Silicon Valley. Fast forward and I’m in France at the 50th Cannes Film Festival representing Sun Microsystems Video Server group. Weekend-ing in Paris before returning home, I ran into man in his mid-fifties in the lobby of my little ** hotel. Turns out he lived 30 minutes from me in California and couldn’t get online via an antiquated switchboard/dial up to check email. While helping him to get on line, he told me he and his wife had ‘downsized’ and were in Paris for two weeks before renting an apartment for a month near Nice before heading to Russia for a consulting job interspersed with several months of vacation before heading back to the bay area for holidays with their family. They didn’t want to wait until retirement age to travel.

Yeah, that sounds good.

It was this chance encounter that made me focus on quality not quantity; it made me think differently about what success means to me. I may not have oodles of cash but have a great deal of personal freedom and my time is my own.

It took time, effort, and a lot of throwing the proverbial darts to see if they would stick, but here I am, 20 years later heading back to Paris for dinner with friends before traveling on to Portugal and Morocco.

Yeah, that sounds good 😉

 

Europe – here I come 3 x !

June 24th, 2016

Took advantage of the One World sale on Business Class tickets to Europe. One to Portugal for my bday; one to Italy for – who cares – it’s Italy!! (Italy with a friend,) and the last one in March – don’t know where I’m going yet but it will be to places anew!

wisebread.com features 25 Hotel Hacks from Professional Travelers by Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo, with a little help from Elizabeth!

October 23rd, 2014

http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers

Nora was kind enough to use several of my travel hacks on her wisebread.com blog. Super excited to be mentioned with the likes of Chris Guillebau – the been to every country in the world, Art of Non-Confomity Chris, and Nomatic Matt. Check them out! 5, 6, 7, and 16 are mine.

A ‘Funny’ Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum…

August 16th, 2014

“Is there a Doctor on board? We have a medical emergency.”

In ode to my quasi-former Mileage-Running ways, I was on a rockin’ a dirt cheap First Class fare from San Jose, CA, to Rome, Italy (Thank You Flyer Talk/Boarding Area Mensches!) Unfortunately, it was a multi-connection, back-breaker, so, when the opportunity presented itself I took a BUMP, a 250$ voucher, and re-booked on a two-hop via IAD red-eye from SFO. Check, check, check!

On said SFO-IAD red-eye with double digit minutes from landing, and only AFTER FA’s (Flight Attendants) announce for the 3rd time ‘Is there a Doctor on-board; we have a Medical Emergency?’ (ME,) ‘Is there a Dr. or Nurse on-board for an ME,’ increasingly panicked sounding; ‘Is there a ‘Dr., Nurse, or Medical Professional on-board for an ME?’ I finally say, uh, oh, I have an expired OEC Certificate and can do an assessment if you want. OEC=Outdoor Emergency Care – it was for Ski Patrol – but that’s another story 😉

The FA’s take me toward the back of plane. There is an UNCONSCIOUS young woman lying flat out in the aisle, OUT COLD. Unconscious, unresponsive, and the aforementioned ‘assessment’ put my ass in the assessment. WTH, seriously.

‘What is her Name, what Happened?” I position myself at her head, she’s breathing, phew, and poke her with my fingers, saying her name, and ‘can you hear me?’ Her 12 family members all chimed in – in a combination of Spanish and broken English. The Puerto Rico Dozen voiced their concerns.

I ask, what turns out to be her Grandmother, what happened; Grandma doesn’t speak English but was translated: 15 YO female, felt nauseous, got up to use lavatory, passed out, and fell in the aisle. Did she hit her head? Yes. On the way down or on the floor? Don’t know. How hard did she fall? I say this while positioning my self at her head, adjust her chin, and ‘take the head’ with my knees since my hand is trying to get a pulse – which is really FRICKIN’ hard to do at 35,000 feet – man it’s loud in this old Boeing… Is she on any meds? No. When was the last time she ate? Does she have allergies? Has this happened before? Does she have any medical conditions? Of course they are all trying to help – each and every one of them… Does anyone have a watch with a second hand? Trying to get pulse. She’s breathing, so she must have a pulse…

FA – can you please get me some ice? Okay, her forehead felt hot – and I figured ice couldn’t hurt and the plane was bloody hot – or I was. Grandmother says “Orange Juice” I ask if she is diabetic? When was the last time she ate? Noon!? 15 hours ago?! (Trying to get a pulse, WTH!) Is she hypo-glicemic? Diabetic? NO, NO. I say to the FA’s ‘No OJ.’ Do you have Glucose? Maybe in the Medical Kit. “Raise her knees up, please.” Got the ice – note to self, ask FA’s put a knot in the ice bag… I’m drenched, but the ice on her head – At least it helps with swelling if she hit her head…

Grandmother is trying to get pulse too – she’s starting to panic. But kid is breathing – screw the pulse. Oh, FA’s “Do you have glucose?” Maybe in our Medical Kit – ‘Get it.” They say they can’t until they have approval from ground Medical. They ask – are you a licensed professional. heck no! I can’t administer anything, the FA’s call ground Medical and arrange for paramedics to meet the plane.

The kid starts to come around. Phew. So, of course the family wants her to get up. No, no, no, no. After a few more minutes on the ground, with ice, knees up, she is coming around. We get approval for the FA’s to open the emergency kit and get the glucose, I open the glucose and hand it to the girl and put it to her mouth and said to take it, slowly. She took a bit and then I handed it off to the grandmother. Okay, now the assessment, she knows her name, where she is, what happened, no she didn’t hit her head or neck, she doesn’t hurt. Do an upper body squeeze and poke and nothing seems wrong. I say wiggle your toes, and move your legs, anything hurt? Nothing – Phew.

PA Announcement, 20 minutes to land, Paramedics meeting the plane.

Family out of the way – Big strong guy in row 37, help. We get her sitting, then standing, then to my seat in row 1. I take a seat in the back until my row 1 seat mate changed places with me so I could sit by the girl. Plan lands – I don’t even have my seat belt on as I’m trying to get blankets around the girl who is now shivering – I hope she’s not going into shock…

Taxi to the gate – Paramedics arrive, they get her and the Puerto Rico Dozen off. Paramedics have it well in hand and I get my pack and leave, to the thanks and kind words from the FA’s, family, and passengers.

The adventure continues.

Elizabeth

Billy at Baker Beach December 2011

December 9th, 2011

I love the Beach Signed Billy

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A word about Coffee

March 1st, 2011

Yummmy.

Okay, this is more than one word. I like – ne- love a good cuppa joe. My current fav is an Woman Owned Ethiopian Coffee Ethiopia Amaro Gayo

This exceptional coffee is exported through Ethiopia’s only female
miller/exporter, an exceptional woman. Asnakech Thomas is one of the
most inspiring figures in Ethiopian coffee today. Native to the Amaro
region, Asnakech decided in 2005 to return to her homeland to improve
coffee quality at her mill and in local communities.She is one of the
few people to travel weekly between Addis and the coffee areas. The
Amaro Mountains are a small range separating the communities of Amaro
on the eastern slopes from Nechisar National Park and the lowland
tribal areas of Arba Minch in southwest Ethiopia, Sidama region. The
local coffee varieties, relatively light population, waterfalls and
highland bamboo forests are among the many unique features of the
area.

All Amaro Gayo coffee is certified organic. Prices paid for this
coffee are at the extreme high end of market, social programs are in
the works including possibilities for assistance with capacity
building and coffee job creation, schools, clean water and medical
care.

Altitude: 5200 feet
Processing Method: Natural
Grade: Strictly Hard Bean
Species: Arabica

Cup Characteristics: thick body, chocolatey, dried banana &
blackberry. sweet rich chocolate aftertaste, very clean and consistent

Welcome to my travel page.

February 18th, 2011
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