Day320 travel

I am really out of topic to write…so going to go out on a limp to talk about money aspect of my last trip.

It is a sensitive topic…even if it is not a time as now when many people don’t have a job. I really don’t know the number, but I have heard something worse than the Great Depression. Is it like 20% of the population are out of job?

During my trip to Atlanta, I tried to not spend too much. Flying though, can’t be cheap…I used to fly American or United, but their services disappointed me – they are no frills, but it is their way – their corporate culture treating their lower paying customers, just rub me the wrong way. I got it no frill. I have been on cheaper airlines but they do well, but somehow I can’t stand American/United services.

Then I discovered Jet Blue and that was Amazing (remember in January about my layover trip to Boston for a Wendys shake?). Same too for Delta. Their services are A+. Of course I later learned you pay a bit more for Delta, but I don’t mind (though I read with Corona, people are paying double to fly on Delta). Off topic, only recently I found out both Jet Blue and Delta were being partially owned by Warren Buffett; ya no wonder the two companies are so good; but now he sold his share, hopefully quality won’t decrease.

There was no direct Jet Blue flight to Atlanta. This time I booked Delta. It was expensive, but I found out they are one of the few airlines that do social distancing seating. Everyone wearing masks is a given, but they leave the middle seat empty, that was a surprise. They lost ton of money by doing this. I have no regret. They also say their jets do not recycle air, but pump fresh air from outside.

Today, I finally tallied my spending expense for the trip. Flight was about $400. Uber $200. Food $300. Hotel $250. I paid $60 for checked bags. Originally, I was going to do under the seat/carry-on, but I had to bring a lot of stuffs, I was too tired the night before the trip to be creative in my packing, and decided to get my bag checked.

Things that surprised me was I spent a lot on Uber. When I went to San Diego, I rented a car, and I thought that was expensive, but looking back, on that trip I spent less on transportation than having Uber. Rental was something like $30 a day. For me Uber was $90 on one of the trips, and bled my heart. So my trip to San Diago was cheaper; $200 cheaper!

A thing I learned from the trip was how to pay for things using my phone – contactless payment! I made many stops to gas stations and convenience stores during my 100 mile run. It was not easy to pull my credit card all the times from my running pack, so I started to use my cellphone for payment. I found out how easy it is. I had Google Pay set up long long time ago when I first got a Google phone, but I never use Google Pay in stores because at the time it was not popular (none of the store support it but I think one or two stores). But now it was ubiquitous but I didn’t know. I just went up to the register, unlock my phone, press and hold the power button (not sure if this step is needed), but by doing that my credit card shows up on the screen. Then I just hold the phone over the credit card payment unit, and it beeps (and does it stuff) and my phone shows the payment confirmation. That’s it. Easy. No more pulling out wallet and putting things back.

I was learning as I go. Another wonderful thing I learned was using the airline app for boarding pass. I have been seeing other people doing it for a while now, but I was always reluctant to try new things. I like to have a piece of paper in my hand and walk up to the gate agent with my boarding pass – that is my ticket. But this time, I read holding paper is not safe, since so many people would touch it. So I switched to relying on the phone app. It was easy. I used the app to check in. It had my boarding pass. I used it to check my luggage, going through security, and finally boarding the plane. It was entirely contactless. On the way, I can check the gate number, check the status of my luggage, and check my seat assignment. They changed my seat because I was being seated next to someone, so they offered to move me to a seat with the middle being left empty. I was delighted. Instantly the seat assignment in the app was updated. So no need to print out a boarding pass any more.


traveling time

Day 214

OK OK. I flew to Boston to pick up a milkshake and then finally got to San Diego. It was a lay-over because of the cheap ticket.

I love Jet Blue. I have been flying American, United and Delta. Recently the last few trips have been with Delta, but Jet Blue is above them all.

I got a free check luggage, well probably included in the price of the ticket and had also prority boarding. It doesn’t matter to me much since I was not using the overhead bin. Our flight was full and some people was forced to check their luggage too. They were not trilled.

I flew Jet Blue many many years ago when I went to Boston. I haven’t been back since then. Might have been 15+ years. The airport has changed. At least I couldn’t find McDonalds or maybe it was Burger King. Any way the food court was not how I remembered it. A lot changed in 15 years. There used to be a big food court and now it is a TSA security check. I got my Oreo Milk Shake and happily reboarded the plane to my destination. (and you know why I was hungry later on? no solid food for dinner).

The lady at a seat over was having her plate of Walburger on the plane with cup of fries and here I was thinking, why I didn’t think of that.

O why I love Jet Blue? Free WiFi!!! And electrical outlet at every seat. Thank you Amazon for partnering with JetBlue. They give air mileage points for shopping on Amazon and free Prime Video.

I had plenty of leg room. It is not business class but every seat feels like one. I flew Delta on my Chile trip and Jet Blue felt like it has way more leg room. It doesn’t matter for me, since I am ‘short’ any way. I am like an inch or two shorter than my peers, though I am a tall guy in my family.

The trip was long and by the time I landed it was 7:30 local but actually 10:30 back home and I was hungry and sleepy. I have been on the go since 8 in the morning, that was like 5 AM local. Cheap ticket I tell you. I was too tired to explore the city.

I ate at an authentic ‘Cantonese’ cuisine at the airport while waiting for my baggage at the baggage claim. Yes it has some Cantonese flavor – steam/boiled carots – tasted authentic alright. Everything was bland except for the mogolian beef with scallion. I love carrots but somehow I had no appetize. They just don’t look good when they are not cut right. It was a bit too thick and there were lot of them, whole plateful. Truly I finally realized the different between Cantonese vs the normal chinese carry-out that I eat every day in the East Coast. But chinese was probably cheapest meal I can afford at this time. I used to not mind paying $14-15 for a meal, but now that seems to be the minimum. My chinese dinner was $12. They did say expect the food to cost more here in San Diego.

I was still hungry after picking up my luggage and got a rental car. In no time I was zipping down Interstate-5. Didn’t know at the time but I had no clue where I was going. Just zipping down the highway toward Los Angeles. North was where I wanted to go.

I almost did not bring my phone on the trip. I would have been so lost and would not make it to the hotel. Another thing I almost forgot on the plane was my passport. The air attendant stopped me from going back into the plane to retrieve it, but luckily they found my passport and brought it to me.

I missed having a traveling companion like back in Chile, because I didn’t need to figure out where to go. I was now on auto pilot mode just following the flow. I had to tell myself, well wake up and find some direction otherwise I would be in big trouble. Um, where I am going again?

Luckily I booked everything on Orbitz and it had the direction to the hotel. With a few taps I got the map and navigation going.

I checked in at my hotel, staying in Best Western in Encinitas. I butchered the word many times over – to me it is a food. The hotel room was more beautiful than any other I have been in. I usually stayed in places like Days Inn. This was heavenly and all by myself! This race would costing me arm-and-leg at any other time but fortunately the price I paid for the stay is like any of my other previous trips.

Of course I am here for a Wedding. The marathon was something a bonus on top. Danged, my suit is ruined because I did not fold it properly. I thought I followed the directions as shown on YouTube of how to fold a suit. Anyhow, yup Wedding and then a race the next day.

I love my rental car too! Nissan Altima has plenty of zoom-zoom as a friend told me. It is my first time driving one. The guy at the counter was offering Nissan or Kia and I couldn’t say it fast enough give me the Nissan… like a race car or something. I know I wouldn’t take a race car if he hands me one. It has about the same horse power as my truck but in a much lighter and smaller body. I love it. Of course I was also thinking I am blowing away a month worth of food while driving the car (I have been very cheap with my meal lately – like $2 a day limit), and it pained me to pay that much for a rental. I love the car though. You paid for the feel.

That’s Day 1 of my trip. Best remembered by oreo milkshake from Boston and fast driving on the I-5.

Flying over Boston. I was trying to find the Gillette Stadium and didn’t know it wasn’t even in Boston. Duh.