Better update those phrasebooks

Recently I was hanging out at a coffee shop when a European tourist approached me and asked, “Excuse me, is there a wireless signal here?” I said “Yes.” After a little hesitation, due to her lack of fluency in English, she asked, “Free?”, and I said “Yes” again.

It occurred to me that she might not be that fluent in English, but knew how to ask if there was a wireless signal. It’s an important thing to learn, because an Internet connection is one of the most important tools for travelers (for me it comes only behind clothing, money, and identification).

My, how the world changes.

Going to L. A.

I’m going to L. A. this weekend. Instead of comparison-shopping for airline tickets, I just went to southwest.com and booked my flight.

I’m not going to fly United or Delta or anyone who has gone bankrupt and continued to fly (and incur more losses) or anyone who’s received corporate welfare. This is for the simple reason that I’m not going to pay twice for my travel – first in tickets, then in taxes (or national debt, if you prefer to look at it that way) and in the strain on the economy caused by bankruptcy.

The trip should be interesting. The only times I’ve been to the L. A. area, I’ve either gone with family or just drove through. During the family vacations we were either in Anaheim, Valencia, or Dana Point. This time I’m going to stay with a friend at Thousand Oaks, and probably explore the areas south and west of there. I also want to go to Chinatown for dinner. It’s a goal of mine to go to all of the Chinatowns in major cities in the U. S. I told this to a friend, who asked if I knew Chinese. I sure don’t, but maybe I’ll learn a little. :)

Update: Southwest sure isn’t as fun to fly as JetBlue. In fact, in one way it’s worse than the (other?) big companies created by mergers. The seating is not reserved beforehand. On the other hand, I did help a person out with a spreadsheet on the way back and we had a good conversation. So it evened out.

JetBlue has a great website. It’s very usable, and has a nice picture where you can choose where to sit, that really beats the other airlines. Also, all of its planes are relatively new, which is nice, IMO.

Another update: The verdict is still out on whether I prefer reserved or open seating. The reason I didn’t get a good seat was that I reserved late on a holiday weekend. If I had been able to pick my seat in a web app I would have seen that all of the good seats were occupied.

Queens




Sea Lion

Originally uploaded by vote_zaphod_beeblebrox.

Yesterday, of the places I planned to go, I only went to the Empire State Building. Instead of going to the Gugenheim Museum and the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Queens Zoo, and the New York Hall of Science in Queens.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a very large building with thousands of exhibits. I could spend a whole week in there.

Queens is very green and very beautiful. It also has some poor areas, something I have not seen in Manhattan.

NY

I’m in New York right now. So far I’ve been to Central Park, Times Square, Washington Park, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I’ve also been on a ferry to and from Staten Island, where I saw the Statue of Liberty. I ate some pretty good New York Pizza in Manhattan. A friend also showed me a great dumpling place called The Dumpling Man.

Tomorrow I’m going to the Empire State Building, the Gugenheim Museum, and the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

I’ll post some photos later.