ickaimp: (kidnight)
So... The Japan trip at the end of March has changed to a trip to Ireland.

Couple of things prompted this. First one, Money.
Travelzoo keeps posting those great deals for Ireland. So for the same price as roundtrip from LAX to Narita, we can get roundtrip from NYC to Dublin, Hotels for 8 nights in 3 cities, plus an automatic car to drive around.
So even with the exchange rate and paying for gas, should be about a third cheaper in the long run.

Two: Logistics.
Neechan's spine. In Japan we were facing dealing with public transportation while carrying luggage with someone who can't take stairs. And Japan doesn't have a lot of elevators. Plus the shinkansen, and finding hotels, and various subtrips, and shopping...
Ireland, we have a car. No scrambling to carry stuff, we can take our time going where ever we want.
Not to mention language barrier...

Three: It's somewhere we've both wanted to go for years and neither of us have been. We've both been to Japan many times.
-And Ireland is supposed to be special for writers. Mebbe we'll get our mojo back. ^__^

Four: My gut is happier. Have not had a good feeling about Japan since it came up, and this feels right. It doesn't feel like bashing against an invisible wall in order to plan it.

-It's not without some crazy prep, I need to get an International Driver's Permit and research driving in Ireland so I obey the traffic laws, figure out places to visit around Dublin, Galway, and Limerick, but overall, I think it'll be a better trip.

Add bonus, we're flying out of NYC, so looking at booking a hotel for a couple of days in New York on the way back because of reasons. ~_^

Anyway. Driving out to San Diego this week to spend the weekend with friends, and getting ready to go visit a vineyard this afternoon, so will talk to all you lovely peoples later!


Jan. 9th, 2014 09:19 pm
ickaimp: (Kabuto)
Seems like when I need to do serious thinking about RL, I'm turning back to this rather than Tumblr, which is mostly fandom squee.

So... um. Yeah. In honour of discovering that my PTO at work hasn't been rolling over the past couple of years to the tune of 56 hours, and it getting fixed: Travel.

That Japan trip I was mentioning? Looks like it's a go, all cylinders firing. Neechan's spine is deteriorating to the point that it's a matter of when, not if, she becomes paralyzed, and the third person dropped out today, so we're going for it. Last 10 days of March.

She’s currently planning a couple of days in Tokyo (mostly to see the Ghibli Museum), Nikkō, and Fukuoka. Possibly other places as well, she's figuring out where she wants to visit. I... really don't have much input to be honest, just pleased to be going. Suggestions are very welcome.

She's also going to shop for doujin to re-sale, so the current plan is that I ditch her at various Mandarake and Book-offs, and go wander the area, since we learned the hard way last time that busty redheads stumbling into the hentai department makes all the guys in the area highly nervous and us escorted back to the yaoi section. True story.

Lots of flailing on my end over the realisation that I haven’t need to speak or read Japanese in almost a decade. *headdesk* I’ve forgotten so much….

Travel for the year is shaping up as: San Diego in February, Japan in March, New York City before August, and New Orleans in October, because dagnabbit, I wanna go.

Still working funds/timing for NYC, so is very flexible at this point if anyone wants to meet up. ~_^
ickaimp: (Kidgrin)
Since people have been asking, figured I'd sit down and see how much London actually cost. Click the links to where I bought things.

Air Fare: $840
Place to Stay: $550
Transportation: $108
6 Day London Pass: $149
Insurance: $79
To & From Phoenix: $80
Cash in Hand (food, gifts, misc): $1200 (approx £730)

-I came back with £100($165) in hand, so about $2850 total. For 12 days of International travel.

In retrospect, would not have gotten the London Pass. Most of the places I wanted to go were free or ended up not being included in the London Pass, although there were a few places that I went to that I wouldn’t have otherwise. *shrugs*

The Insurance was a safety net, and very nearly needed it with getting sick and a 7 hour delay back, so glad I had it even if it wasn't used.

Missed the Shuttle back from Phoenix, so that was $40 lost.

All total, pretty pleased. ^__^

Currently have three trips in tentative planning stages, kinda hoping to get one solidified soon. Am feeling somewhat off balance without travel looming in the future. #^^#
ickaimp: (Seto_Dreamer)
Got an email from British Airlines saying my flight out to London was cancelled, they were moving it from 19 Nov to 20 Nov, which meant only 8 days in London and two travelling.

Called them up, they moved the flight back from 29 Nov to 1 Dec, which means an EXTRA DAY IN LONDON!!!! \o/ With no fees! And I still have Sunday, 2 Dec to get over jetlag before work on Monday!!!

ickaimp: (Izzy)

So I'm talking to Winter, and she mentions that Epcot is changing their 'Kim Possible World Showcase' to 'Agent P's World Showcase', where you get a phone and go through the various worlds in Epcot, solving riddles.

Which combines two things I really enjoy, Epcot and Phineas and Ferb.

I said we had to go sometime next year, to allow time to save up. And since [personal profile] savvyliterate had been talking about it when I saw her earlier this month, she should come too. And didn't Universal Studios just open up that Harry Potter park?

We'll call it the 'Magic and Platypus Tour'.

Otherwise, it's the 'Magic Secret Agent Tour', which would mean sulking around in fedoras with magic wands.and we'd do that anyway.

Now we have two or three more people who want to join, and it's turning into this huge giant bouncing thing of fandom squee. \o/

Elinor has given me two warnings.
1: If some guy asks if I want to see their 'Magic Wand', I should say 'No'.
2: Not everybody in a trench coat is a Secret Agent. Be leery of them.
ickaimp: (Kidgrin)
.... And the radio decided I needed to listen to Metric's 'Help, I'm Alive (my heart keeps beating like a hammer)' to write this. *laughs*

So a week or so ago, I jokingly sent Megs a link to a contest for two tickets to the premire of BBC Sherlock Season 2 in New York, saying if she won, I'd fly out. We both laughed over it and I at least, forgot about it.

Until I came back from a muffin run this afternoon to find frantic IMs and a Text message.

She won.

-I'm flying out 1 May. The intent (plans make the gods laugh) is to spend the day in NY, see the premire and have tea with fellow Sherlockians. Saterday and Sunday we're heading to Toronto Comics and Arts Festival, in Canada.
.... I've never been to Canada. *starry eyed*

And then heading back home on the 8th. Which ought to make the Baronial A&S competition on the 12th interesting, because I had originally planned (see? making gods laugh) to finish my entry over that weekend. C'est la vie.

In the meantime, need to figure out things to do/see in New York and Toronto, since Megs knows me well enough to know I'm likely to wander off and get lost and doesn't mind. ((Snuggles))

ickaimp: (Seto_Dreamer)
Heading to a foreign country by myself again! why yes, I did fail my sanity check, why do you ask?

Tickets are booked for London. Flying out 19 Nov, flying back the afternoon of 29 November.

Still need to figure out where to stay, prefer B&Bs over hotels, but the tickets out are the big thing. ^__^
ickaimp: (Zim_Bored)
So there's this deal that's good until Monday. $815 roundtrip (including taxes) from Phoenix to London, flying between 26 Oct. - 16 Dec.

My birthday this year falls on the American Thanksgiving in November. Which is not a British Holiday. But it does mean if I go then, I have automatic time off anyway.

One of the big things I was bummed about last July was the fact that I didn't get a chance to explore that much of London's museums, and figured next time I went, would either just spend a week in London, or avoid it all together.

The airfare would be around half of the cash I have on hand for a scooter. Which means pushing back getting a scooter for another month or two. edit: nevermind, forgot to budget this week's cheque.

So it is possible.

The thing being is that there's other things/goals for the year other than running off to the UK again.
New Scooter.
New Place.
Visiting [personal profile] savvyliterate and [personal profile] gigabahamut666 on the East Coast.

The latter was originally planned for Oct, but could push that back to Sept to have time to juggle finances. If I can beg airfare from someone whose miles are about to expire, that would make budgeting that much better, since that's the big expense.

New Place, beginning to think that that's not going to happen until May/June, when the students clear out and more housing opens up anyway. Look for a studio or a mother-in-law's house, hopefully around $350 a month.

New Scooter... Well, I do have tax money coming in. Honestly, I miss the freedom of going where I want to go when I want to go, but I can schlup the bus for a while longer.

So.... The question then becomes, if I do go to London for my birthday, how long do I go for? Week and a half? What dates? If I book a B&B now, it'll be cheaper, although I don't know what the Olympics in London this July is going to do to the exchange rates....

Suggestions? Opinions? Beuller?

[Edit: *le sigh* Okay, checked out prices. It looks like the best dates are Monday, 19 Nov to Thursday, 29 Nov. Any closer to Thanksgiving and the prices jump.]
ickaimp: (PervyKaitouFancier)
BritRail Pass is what I had. Due to finances and time, got the one limited to England only, not Scotland, Wales or Europe. Any train, going anywhere. Was awesome.
BritRail Journey Planner
When taking any train randomly, this is invaluable. Or not so randomly. Which ever.

However, for London, you want an Oyster Card. I got one when I got the rail pass, but you can pick them up at the stations, highly recommended than trying to get a single ticket every time. Also work on the buses.

Outside all of the major rail stations in London, as well as inside any city centre, you should be able to find a Travel Information Center. From there, you can book accommodations, find the best local places to visit, coupons, etc.
I was able to do this for Stratford-upon-Avon, and not so successfully in London and York. (You'll want to go to Victoria Station for accommodation in London, its open til Midnight)

One of the nights I ended up in a strange unplanned city after the Visitor Center closed, I asked the Police Station for where the B&Bs are, they tend to be in groups. 10 minutes later, I had a room. ^__^
B&Bs, which included Breakfast, were between £26-40 a night.

If you've forgotten anything, head to the dollar Pound Shops. Pound World and PoundLand were the most common, followed by 99p Only.
If you've forgotten anything, these are the places to go. Not only toiletries (socks!), neat gift stuff, but luggage stuff as well (tags, straps, passport holders).
The 99p Only store also had 'Visitor to the UK' adapter plugs, the rest had 'UK visiting Europe' or 'UK visiting US' adapter plugs. (may have the chain wrong, but pretty sure it's the right one)
Which is much better than £10.99 at Curry's Electronics. (better adapter too) The Boots Pharmacy in St. Pancreas Station had them for about £5.99

As for clothing, it's not 'Thrift Stores', it's 'Charity Shops'. I had better luck with The British Heart Foundation than Oxfam, which is more of a vintage shop.

Due to it being summer, two things I noticed.
One: No one wears hats. Apparently hats are a cold weather thing, the only people I spotted wearing hats had either American or Australian accents. If you're trying to blend in, ditch the hat, enjoy the sun. (which is how I returned from chilly damp england to the hot dry arizona desert with a sunburn. the irony burns)
Two: Scarves. Light weight cotton, flimsy viscose, heavier acetate or wool, I'd guess at about half the girls under 40 were wearing some sort of scarf around their neck. If you pay more than £3, you're playing too much. Look at Charity Shops or Touristy sidewalk stalls.

Between those two and picking up about 6 different distinctive accents (including Scottish while in Scarborough), pretty much blended in as 'British, on holiday'. Which was nice, because apparently American is awful difficult for people to understand, and people would just walk away. (I got a little crazy for lack of genuine human interaction towards the end)

Food... Food was cheap. My budget was under £10 a day for food. Tesco (which, contrary to BBC Sherlock fandom, the Chip and Pin machines are easy to use) and Sainsburys both have a deal: a sandwich, a drink and a side (fruit or crisps or candy) for £3. Regular groceries were cheaper as well, even accounting for exchange.
Bakeries, such as Greggs, are a great place for a cheap meal. Meat pies and Pasties are love. West Cornwall Cornish Pasty were good for on the go, under £4 was usually a meal and a snack. In Stratford-upon-Avon, dinner was £1, I caught them at closing and got two meat (non-pork!) rolls. ^___^ Keep an eye out.

Um... Any other questions? This is all I can think of at the moment, and MOrgan would prolly like her computer back...
ickaimp: (PervyKaitouFancier)
Warning: This is essentially my thought process. So hard to think in linear. )

[Edit] Okay! Britrail and Oystercard got, just have to figure out where we're staying while in London!!! o_o
ickaimp: (PervyKaitouFancier)
Woke up in London yesterday
Found myself in the city near Piccadilly
Don't really know how I got here
I got some pictures on my phone

... 2 months before we fly out, exactly.

Lyrics are Good Life by OneRepublic. Thought they were fitting. ^^;;
ickaimp: (Seto_Dreamer)
Megs: So, other temptations of Liverpool ... Beatles stuff.
Megs: Docks. Harbors. Tunnels.
Icka!: Food.
Icka!: Language.
Icka!: History.
Icka!: ..... Food.
Megs: Food.
Megs: Real fish and chips.
Icka!: *laughs*
Megs: Did we mention food?
Icka!: Mmmmm... food.
Icka!: I think it must be dinner time
Megs: *laugh*

-So... Megs asked if I'd like to go to Liverpool with her in July, for Mike's Graduation. (I was Mike's best man when they got married last year)
After flailing for a bit, realised that if I don't have to save up funds for Estrella, and fates willing, I can save up enough to go.

*rests head between knees and hyperventilates*

Well, told myself that this year I'd like to go somewhere we'd never been before.

... And may have just talked Megs into visiting the Sherlock Holmes Museum. ^______^
ickaimp: (Zim_Bored)
Made it to Torrance!

Am currently hiding in my in-laws house up on the peninsula, because it's quiet and too many screaming kids, dogs and talking people at my folks house right now is a little overwhelming.

Am not saying that my in-laws house is posh.... but I can see the Queen Mary from the bedroom window if I look one way, and Catalina Island if I look the other. And miles of ocean in between. It's kinda intimidating.

Bus ride... I really dislike Greyhound. Was trying to take Crucero, which books through Greyhound, but there tends to be more space for sleeping and free wifi on the bus.

The last of which would have been really nice when they suddenly decided that the 6 people who were going from Tucson to Santa Ana were no longer going to be routed through San Diego, but the Los Angeles Greyhound Depot. And my phone doesn't work out of Tucson.
-Was assured that we'd get to Santa Ana on time.
Got to LA an hour after we were supposed to be in Santa Ana, then informed we had another hour to wait before -that- bus would leave.

Fortunately, got a payphone, finally got ahold of my Dad, and then caught a taxi to Union Station because I understand why people don't want me going the Los Angeles Greyhound Station.
It reeks of too many people and a morbid sense of despair. ._. Do not feel entirely safe there.

So that was the adventure getting here. Mild, but minorly worrisome. Thankful to be in Torrance again.

Went and had breakfast at the historic Clifton's Cafeteria. The first two levels of the restaurant is decked out like Yosemite, including Sequoia (and a moose!).
The third floor? Late Victorian/Edwardian, with pictures and history of the restaurant, starting back in 1888, when the family moved to LA. Food is good, priced well and the waitstaff is INCREDIBLE. Definitely worth checking out if you're ever Downtown. ^__________^

In the meantime, nap time!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
ickaimp: (Kabuto)
Mentioned to a few people I'd found a script on line for Alice in Wonderland from Feb 2007. You can find it Here. It's a lot darker than the movie was, but the vocabulary list and background culture is AWESOME.

Am reminded of the Hemingway Quote lately: "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a keyboard typewriter and bleed." Because it feels like we've written more in the past week than in the previous several months.

Burton's Alice in Wonderland: Amore (the Cheshire cat is in love)
Gordian Knot: Air (final chapter)
ickaimp: (kidontherun)

One of these things is not like the other...

Cut for pics )

ickaimp: (kidontherun)

Final Count:
2 dead alligators (including above)
9 dead armadillo
1 sneaky opossum
2 Cockroaches
Several frogs. (-minus the one caught by the opossum)

Love watching architecture and what it says about the environment. Louisiana, with the exception of strip malls, has VERY high peaked roofs, and the houses tend to be either redbrick or clapboard. Redbrick goes to the ground, clapboard houses were all at least a foot above the ground.

Talking to one of the guys who worked at the Marriott (19 stories tall) he was saying that come hurricane season, that people just come moving in because it's one of the few buildings that have a back up generator when the Hurricanes knock out the power.
He also talked about the curfews, if you're out after dark, even if it's just to nip down to the store for more gas for your home generator, you're arrested, spend the night in jail and massively charged for breaking curfew.

Think one of the things I'm most grateful for being back is the use of my vocabulary. Keep things -real- simple down there. However, 'simple' most emphatically does -not- mean 'stupid'. /end drawl.

And the heat! I'm warm! And Dry! DESERT! I'VE MISSED YOU SO. Here's how to bake cookies on your dashboard!

Anyway. As mentioned f-locked earlier, I'm back on the job hunt. "A trained monkey can have a selling ratio of 25%", so I'm outta work.
Anyone knows of anyone who needs house or petsitting, lemme know.
ickaimp: (kidontherun)

Turtle fight!! )

Bayou )

Mississippi )

Old Capitol  )

ickaimp: (Default)
Today was a day full of firsts.

First time ever dipping my foot in the Mississippi. Just the left foot, not the one with the zombie nail.
... Mississippi mud is squishy. And oozy.

Tried gator for the first time too, down at Boutin's. Was nice, just watching the water go by and feeding the turtles. ^__^

One of the things I've noticed is the amount of Fleur de Lys motif there are around here. Texas has a lot of stars or stars in circles as decoration all over the place. Here it's Fleur de Lys.
Asked someone about it, and evidently while it's always been the symbol of New Orleans (Which is pronounced as one word), since Katrina, it's become the 'Symbol of Hope' And Rebuilding.

Just kinda interesting.

Anyway, early morning tomorrow. *yawns* Hope everyone's doing well. ^_^
ickaimp: (kidontherun)
Got the internets at the hotel to work! \o/ Go me.
-errors with their router, which are apparently not the hotel's problem. >_O
Go Kevin on tech support for going around their router!

Dear Priceline:
A single full size bed in a room that is less than 15x20 feet is not 'accommodations for two full adults'.
No love,

Dear anyone travelling:
Crestwood Suites - AVOID. AVOID. AVOID.
Think 'chain roach coach motel'.

Dear Band playing at the Brides for the Cure:
Bonus points for playing Closing Time after the bridal show ended for the vendors to close up to.
The zoot suits weren't bad either. ~_^
Grins and Squees,

General Weirdness:
It is so humid that the -outside- of the windows are fogging up.
The general choice is between hot and humid outside, or cold and dry inside. Odd feeling, when one is used to hot and dry.

And I now have a zombie toenail.

That's it from me! Ta-ta for now, Dah-lings!
ickaimp: (kidontherun)

Things forgotten while packing: house keys, water bottle, phone power cord.
Things realized forgotten the next morning: Glasses, jade bangle
Flight to Houston cancelled on the road to Phoenix, re-routed, still made it on time, but didn't make it to storage on time and ended up having to crash in Houston.

-13 stories up. \o/

Swear I saw Seto Kaiba at the airpor (sans pointy coat tails of doom) and there's a lady who looks and dresses like Edna Mode wandering around the hotel. XD

And now, back to the road...


ickaimp: (Default)
Icka! M. Chif

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