Monthly Archives: January 2012

On a hope and a prayer

Well, my tickets are all bought, my plans are mostly set.  I’m going to DC for a week, then NYC then Israel.  But, I still don’t have my visa for Israel.

I called the mission in Miami and a man told me that if I have an local address for them to mail my passport to, the embassy in DC will process my visa request.  I plan on going to the embassy on the first day in DC and visiting them every morning there after until I have my visa.  I hope this plan works.

If that fails, I’m going to have to fly to Miami and get my visa done there.  I really hope it doesn’t come to this.

Have you ever had visa or passport problems?

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Little successes

So I’m working on my ticket from Tampa to DC (I’m going to DC for a week on vacation before heading to NYC to leave for Israel).  Delta charges 25K for either a one way ticket or a round trip ticket.  They won’t let me use it to go from TPA to DC to NYC even though it is about the same as a round trip from TPA to DC.

I don’t plan on coming back to TPA before leaving for Israel and I just can’t bring myself to spend 25K on a one way ticket.  So what is a girl to do!?  Well, I just found out that if I book my round trip ticket from TPA to DC and then call 72 hours before my return trip to cancel, I have up to one year to use it.  Bam!  I’m going to just stop back in DC on my way back from Israel and redeem the last half when I’m damn well and ready to use it.  Also, Delta has a call center here in Tampa!  I was talking to a representative only 3 blocks away!

It is the little successes that make me smile.

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Plans are actually in progress!

So I’m now a full time Occupier down at Occupy Tampa.  I have a lovely two man tent set up on the East side of the neighborhood.  The streetlight at the corner of Main St. and Albany provides me a lovely tint of night light when the sun has set and I’m just a few strides from the Kitchen.  Lovely if I do say so myself.  I’ll be working on getting the neighborhood to switch over to a credit union and whatever else I can do to support the economic justice movement.

Also, I’ve booked my flights to and from Israel!

23 FEB DELTA 268 NYC-KENNEDY 8:55 P

TEL AVIV 2:40 P

30 JUL DELTA 269 TEL AVIV 12:40 A

NYC-KENNEDY 5:25 A

I’m probably going to book my flight from Tampa to DC tomorrow and then I’m planning on hitch hiking from DC to NYC.

SO EXCITED!!

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ABCs of Travel

I stole this from a blogger I follow:  http://www.scenewithahart.com/  Fidel Hart is a great writer and photographer and I always wish I could update like he does.

A: Age you went on your first international trip: I was just shy of 21 years old.  I went to Papua New Guinea with Habitat for Humanity.

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: I’m not a big beer fan and try not to drink too much over seas but there was a beer in Munich, Germany I drank at Hofbräuhaus.  I don’t remember the name but that could be because there was so much for such a good price.

C: Cuisine (favorite): I am going to have to say the food in Spain – especially the desserts and sangria.  Everything was so fresh because it was made usually that day from goods grown close by.  That is common in places throughout the world but the Spanish cuisine was something close enough to call familiar but still different from American food.

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:  My favorite destination was Ecuador.  There was something so tribal, so surreal about that experience.  I really felt connected to the Earth in a new way.  My least favorite destination was Romania.  It started off by my flight being screwed up.  Let me first say NEVER ALLOW OTHERS TO BOOK YOUR TRAVEL IF YOU HAVE ROUGH LAST NAMES!!  My friend misspelled my last name and even though I told her months before we left the States, it was never fixed.  So we show up in Madrid to fly over to Romania and I’m told we can’t change the name.  Then I’m told that there is only one ticket left on the flight and it costs twice what I paid.  I really fell pray to the oldest and worst travel stories in the book.  I had no choice since I didn’t speak the language and didn’t have the luxury of time to haggle.  End of the story: I ate bread and dried meat on most of the trip because I had to use all my spending money on the flight…

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:  Seeing the stars in Papua New Guinea.  Not only where they different looking because I was in the Southern hemisphere for the first time, they were just SO many!  You just have no idea what we are missing because of the light pollution in our country.  Just. No. Idea.

F: Favorite mode of transportation:  Hands down: trains.  It is kinda like airplanes but you can walk around more, you have more room (head room, leg room, arm room, just more room!), you have better food options usually (steak dinner OR fast food type stuff!?) and the range of types of people is wider.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: That moment when you feel comfortable enough in a new place that you just entirely trust your sense of directions and just head out into the city.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to:  Papua New Guinea.  It is hot and humid.  Even though Florida summers are also hot and humid, I think I lost 15 pounds in the 3 weeks I was in PNG.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:  This is a tough one.  I tend not to go to places where service is high on the priorities because I tend to travel on the cheap.  But I will tell you that what initially popped into my head was the liquor stand in the Colombian airport.  You could get a shot right there in the concourse!

J: Journey that took the longest:  Well in terms of the entire journey, the month-long European trip was the longest. But in transit time, Papua New Guinea.  I had to fly from Tampa to Atlanta, Atlanta to Tokyo, Tokyo to Port Moresby and then finally to Madang.  It was def. more than 24 hours of travel but I don’t remember all the hours.

K: Keepsake from your travels:  Coins.  Usually just small denominations of the currency.

L: Let-down sight, why and where: Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam.  It is just a huge tourist thing now and expensive.  I wanted to go pay homage but after seeing the line going outside of the updated, modern looking town-home, I didn’t think it would happen.  I didn’t even go in.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:  I have always really enjoyed travel.  I think if I had to say a certain time it would be on a flight from Tampa to New Jersey to visit family.  The flight took off before sunset so I was in the sky as the summer sun was setting just outside of my window.  There is something about sunrises and sunsets as seen from 30k+ feet in the sky that just makes you want to see more.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in: This is tough since I work in hotels.  The greenest hotel I stayed in was in Spokane, Washington.  The classiest was in New York City.  But I think the fondest memory I have of a hotel is a random corner hotel in some random neighborhood in Paris.  The hostel I was planning on staying at was full so my travel companion and I just set out to find the first room we could.  This little hotel seemed over prices for us but once we got to the room it made sense.  The second floor on the corner of a block.  We could open our windows wide open and see down the streets.  We could hear the businesses on the streets and smell the pastries and food being baked

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:  Nature and landscapes.  I’m not sure why but I love taking photos of the environment.

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? Ummm, I don’t have mine with me right now so this is from memory: Papua New Guinea visa, Tokyo stamp, Ecuador stamp, Madrid Stamp, Romania stamp,  I think one from Germany but most of the European countries didn’t give them since I was mostly traveling within EU states and an Israeli stamp (soon to be visa!).  So what is that? 7? Sounds about right.

 Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:  The City of Tombstone in Arizona.  It is pretty much a giant amusement park full of people trying to sell stuff.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience:  Travel to a developing nation.  Travel to a country that you think you have very little in common with.  You will learn to appreciate so much we take for granted and hopefully learn from genuine people a few of life’s great lessons.

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:  Gifts.  I don’t just buy people gifts.  I seldom take a list with me of people who I “have to buy a gift for.”  But if I see something and am reminded of a someone or think someone can use it, I have no problem using a good part of my funds for it.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done:  Horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park in New York City.  I was in community college and was in the city on a group trip with Student Government.  A female friend and I were in that area and I decided I wanted to try my haggling skills.  Next thing you know, we are in the carriage for 25 bucks for the half hour trip.

U: Unforgettable travel memory:  A recent trip to New York City.  I was marching with Occupy Wall Street on December 17th as they tried to take Duarte Park.  The energy was just amazingly high and we really felt like the World could be ours just as soon as we occupied that park.  As we turned the corner and our goal was in sight, I heard shouts of “clear a whole, make a path!”  Then two home-made ladders were brought through followed by about 5 clergymen, one in full rob and cross garb.  They set one of the ladders up against the 6 foot tall chain link fence and this 80-year-old Bishop climbed up, reached the top, turned around towards the crowd and motioned for us all to follow him.  He then jumped down the 6 feet on the other side because they hadn’t gotten the other ladder to that side to complete the improvised bridge.  People started going over the bridge, just climbing over the fence, ripping the fence up from the bottom and going under that way.  It was all so liberating.  But soon the police were also in the park arresting everyone they could catch so I ran back out.  I will always remember seeing that Bishop motion for more to follow him from the top of that ladder.

V: Visas, how many and for where?  Oops, I guess I already answered this.  One so far from Papua New Guinea but soon to be a second from Israel.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? Even though it isn’t pure wine, I’m going to say a glass of Sangria made right before my eyes in a random bar that I found will wandering around lost in Madrid.  He took out a huge beer glass, poured in sugar,  poured in the red wine, then added a shot of this, a splash of that and it turned out to be the most amazing glass ever.  So great I had to have another.  After those two, my travel companion and I didn’t seem to be in such a hurry to find where we were supposed to be. lol

X: eXcellent view and from where?:  There is a park in Prague that is near the river I think called Lentenske park.  If you are going to this park, leave the city center heading North, cross the river and you come to a very steep series of steps going up to this park.  There is a giant red time needle at the top overlooking the city.  When you get to the top after going through this lush uphill walk, you turn around and can see the whole city behind you.

Y: Years spent traveling?: Domestically:  16.  Abroad: 4.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?:  Barcelona!  We were in town when they won a match that knocked Madrid out of something.  Or something like that.  Whatever the case was, they started burning down their own city in celebration!  They were burning their OWN CITY! In CELEBRATION!  lol

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January 6, 2012 · 09:39