Readying for a trip

June 15, 2009 at 10:28 am (Travel) (, , , )

So I leave for Asia a week from today.  My dad will be coming to Eugene on Saturday, because he is going to fly with me (so I’m not on my own on the way to Tokyo).

I haven’t had a whole lot to say just recently, because my mental energy has mostly been devoted to getting ready for this trip.  I’m getting down to the wire here, but I think I’m doing okay as far as packing goes.  I dragged my suitcase out this weekend, and will start tossing anything I don’t need to use into it.  I’ve got a list for my suitcase and another for my carry on (and it’s a third again as long as the one for the suitcase, too).  I’m going to make sure that I can live out of my carry on for at least 48 hours, if I have to.

I need to go to JC Penney (for the third flipping time) tonight.  The swimsuit I own fits okay, but it’s not very comfortable, so I need to look for a new one.  I think I’m going to try to squeeze in one more Target trip, too.

I’m going to have to spend a week by myself when I get back, too.  The boyfriend is also going to (a different part of) Asia, but he won’t be home until a week after me.  I haven’t spent this long apart from him since I moved to Oregon, and I am not relishing the thought of having to do it now.

I’ve realized that I like the opportunity to travel.  I can actually put up with quite a lot.  But darn it, getting ready to go is really very stressful.  I end up trying to plan for every eventuality, and of course I can’t actually do that.  I get the feeling I’d be less stressed right now if I wasn’t going to be separated from the boyfriend while I’m there, though.  That just adds another layer of worry about him, aside from just plain missing him.

Even so, once I get on that plane, I’ll be able to relax…if only because there won’t be anything I can do about stuff I’ve forgotten (except deal with not having it for a couple of weeks or figure out where to buy it).  So here’s hoping Northwest makes it as easy as possible for us to sleep on the flight from Seattle to Tokyo, and that they don’t lose our luggage.  I’d really like to have my suitcase when I get to Hong Kong.

(And isn’t it funny that, in this day of overcrowded overstretched airline travel, I consider it a minor miracle when my checked luggage shows up at my destination at the same time I do.  I think the last time that happened was 2 years ago.)

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Vacations

April 15, 2009 at 9:00 am (Travel) (, , , , , )

I’m having a hard time with the fact that it’s only Wednesday.  It’s sad, because I had two vacations just recently, but I feel like I need another one.  Only this time, I need a vacation that involves nothing more complicated than me sitting around my apartment and amusing myself in whatever way strikes my fancy.

Going to Houston was great, but I didn’t really have all that much down time.  I planned it that way on purpose, because there was kind of a lot that I wanted to do, and a lot of people I wanted to see.  I wouldn’t have been able to make the most of my time there if I’d planned on having time to do nothing.  But, of course, when I got home again, I had missed out on my weekend, and still had all the chores I wasn’t able to do over the weekend (plus the chores around unpacking).

And, in hindsight, it was maybe not the very best decision to plan a trip home to Houston that would have me getting back home just four days before Amiel’s parents visited.  I hate having visitors when I feel like my life isn’t quite in my control, and it always takes me at least a week after a trip anywhere to feel like I’ve got it all in hand.  So I spent a bit more time scrambling in that week than I otherwise would have.

But their visit was nice, and I enjoyed it.  We were able to go out to the coast, to Depoe Bay, and that was fun.  I’d never been up the coast that far north, and it was really quite gorgeous.  On our way up, we drove mostly up the coast on 101, and I think everyone but me was really surprised by the scenery.  But the Pacific coastline they are all used to is nothing like the Pacific coastline in Oregon.

We also stopped in this little town called Waldport that’s a little ways south of Newport and Depoe Bay.  I thought it was a cute little town, and had I been on my own, I might have wanted to poke around a bit.  There was a flea market I’d totally have gone into if I’d been by myself, too.  Flea markets usually sell junk, but I love looking through them anyway.  We stopped to eat at a restaurant there that looked to be half pizza parlor, half fish and chips stand, with Japanese bento boxes thrown in for good measure.  It’s sometimes almost comical the lengths that restaurants in Oregon will take “fusion food” – I suppose I can be thankful that there wasn’t any fish and chips in ramen type meals.

Anyway, we were all pretty hungry at that point, so I think all of us would have been just fine with “adequate” food.  It was a lovely surprise to find out that the fish and chips, at least, were actually pretty good.  Amiel and his parents all had halibut as their fish.  I tried a bit of Amiel’s, and it was tasty (I’m a fan of halibut, and it’s particularly good in Oregon).  I decided to get popcorn shrimp, and they were absolutely delicious.  Shrimp in Oregon can be a sort of hit-or-miss kind of thing.  Anything at least as big as your pinky finger was probably from somewhere else and frozen.  The little “shrimp meat” is sometimes good, and sometimes rather indifferent.  The popcorn shrimp I had at this restaurant was small enough that it could have been fresh, and I think is the best tasting shrimp I’ve had in Oregon.

The drive home from Depoe Bay was another story entirely.  Since it was just Amiel and I at that point, we decided to take a faster route that left the coast at Newport.  Since it was insanely windy that day, we were thrilled to be getting away from the coast that quickly.  It’s really too bad it was so windy, because the road we took was quite picturesque and winding…but the wind made it rather challenging to drive on.  I think Amiel and I may try to go back that way sometime this summer, and hopefully it won’t be quite so windy.

And, of course, when we got home, we had to go to the store and get ready for the week.  So I find myself, on Wednesday morning, desperately wishing for the weekend.  Fortunately, the only thing I have to do this weekend is get a new tire on my car, and that shouldn’t take more than an hour, hopefully.

So, that was the past week or so in a nutshell.

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Oregon didn’t want to let me go!

April 2, 2009 at 9:23 am (Travel) (, , , , )

So I’m visiting Houston this week, for the first time in a year and a half. This is the first time I’ve been back since I moved to Oregon. It’s sort of surreal in a lot of ways, although I think I’m going to talk about that in another post.

What I really wanted to write about was my trip to get here. I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life, but I think yesterday’s experience may still have made my top 5 of “most memorable trips.” And not in a good way.

So, I flew Southwest, which meant I had to fly out of Portland. It’s a bit of a pain, because it’s a 2 hour drive, but it’s nothing terribly serious. I could have taken the Amtrak, but it would have been really inconvenient, and not really any cheaper.

I managed to get myself on the road by about 8:30, which would get me at the airport an hour and a half before my 12:00 flight. About 30 minutes into my trip, my car started acting a little funny, and then I saw rubber flying at my windshield. Thank god I realized there was a problem and pulled over, because yep, I had a complete tire blowout. Half the rubber was completely gone.

So I got to sit on the left shoulder of the interstate, in the cold (because it was cold), and wait for the AAA tow truck as cars whizzed past me at 65 mph. It was terrifying. But, after half an hour, the tow truck got there and changed my spare for me (I could have done it myself, but it would have taken me just as long, and this was just better all around). Then I got myself back on the interstate, not able to drive more than 50 mph, and drove 20 miles to the next town. When I got there, I went to a tire place and bought a new tire. So, one hour and $67 later, I was good to go…but it was 11:30.

So I called Southwest, and was able to change my flight to one that left at 3:00 and would arrive in Houston around 11:30. 15 minutes and $230 later, I was finally able to get back on the road to Portland. I made it to the airport without any more incident, although it was raining the whole flipping way there. I almost forgot to turn off my headlights when I parked, because the shuttle to the terminal was about to pass my car just as I was getting out, and I didn’t want to miss it. Fortunately, I know I turned off my headlights and locked the car, so there shouldn’t be anything the matter with it when I return to Portland.

So I got to the airport, printed new boarding passes, got through security, and went to Wendy’s for lunch. They started boarding the flight a little bit late, but I wasn’t seriously concerned because my layover in Las Vegas was an hour and a half. But an hour after we were supposed to have taken off, they announced that the airspeed regulator wasn’t working, and they’d either find a new one or switch planes. Five minutes later, they told us all to get off, collect a plastic boarding pass to get back on another plane, and go across the hall to another terminal. Finally, about 4:45 we were ready to take off, although by then pretty much everyone on the plane with connecting flights had to be re-routed.

So I finally got to Las Vegas around 6:30, with just over an hour before my next flight. I got myself a new boarding pass, and then got on a plane that didn’t even have B group because it was not even half full. That was kind of awesome.

And, at 12:30 am, I finally met up with my parents at the airport to go home.

So, here I am in Houston, hanging out with my dad. The dog maybe remembers me, but at the very least, he’s decided that I’m not scary or anything. He slept in my room last night, and it took him for flipping ever to finally settle down and go to sleep. At 5:30, he wanted out so he could eat. Then he came back right before 7:00 and decided that it was time for me to go downstairs, too. Lucky for me, I was going to get up at 7:00 anyway.

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