smofbabe: (twistplane)
Because you all have had to listen when my travel has gone horribly wrong, I feel obligated to report that my trip across from Melbourne was as near perfect as it gets. The short flight from Melbourne from Sydney was uneventful (except for two Hollywood types traveling to LA who decided that the entire Red Carpet Club lounge had to listen to their business meeting on speakerphone). For the flight from Melbourne to LA, not only did I have my favored upstairs window seat with a locker at the seat, but the seat next to me was empty, which meant that I could actually hydrate myself without having to worry about the trips up the aisle necessitated by the hydration disturbing a sleeping person next to me. Dinner was actually decent, fish with lemon/myrtle sauce and roasted potatoes that weren't soggy. And I slept! For hours!

As a result, while I had to shower when I got to my brother's place, I didn't need to nap. We went out for brunch and, due to the crummy movie season, also went shopping. I am now happily ensconced in the Hampton Inn in Arcadia, at nearly 5 pm body time and 10 pm local time, still relatively awake.

The one fly in the ointment is the fact that I had to rush on Friday to get a replacement phone for the one I left in a taxi on Thursday night. The plan I have with Telstra gave me a choice of a Nokia 6150 or a Motorola v9x. Even though I like Nokia's interface better than Motorola's, I went with the V9x because it looked sturdier and the keys are not exposed. However, there was a problem with Telstra's initialization software so the phone wasn't working in Australia when I left, and I have had no success getting my contacts onto the phone. But, at least it's working in the US. Now, I'm off to try to get familiar with it and enter numbers by hand if I can't get the automatic transfer to work.
smofbabe: (twistplane)
Because you all have had to listen when my travel has gone horribly wrong, I feel obligated to report that my trip across from Melbourne was as near perfect as it gets. The short flight from Melbourne from Sydney was uneventful (except for two Hollywood types traveling to LA who decided that the entire Red Carpet Club lounge had to listen to their business meeting on speakerphone). For the flight from Melbourne to LA, not only did I have my favored upstairs window seat with a locker at the seat, but the seat next to me was empty, which meant that I could actually hydrate myself without having to worry about the trips up the aisle necessitated by the hydration disturbing a sleeping person next to me. Dinner was actually decent, fish with lemon/myrtle sauce and roasted potatoes that weren't soggy. And I slept! For hours!

As a result, while I had to shower when I got to my brother's place, I didn't need to nap. We went out for brunch and, due to the crummy movie season, also went shopping. I am now happily ensconced in the Hampton Inn in Arcadia, at nearly 5 pm body time and 10 pm local time, still relatively awake.

The one fly in the ointment is the fact that I had to rush on Friday to get a replacement phone for the one I left in a taxi on Thursday night. The plan I have with Telstra gave me a choice of a Nokia 6150 or a Motorola v9x. Even though I like Nokia's interface better than Motorola's, I went with the V9x because it looked sturdier and the keys are not exposed. However, there was a problem with Telstra's initialization software so the phone wasn't working in Australia when I left, and I have had no success getting my contacts onto the phone. But, at least it's working in the US. Now, I'm off to try to get familiar with it and enter numbers by hand if I can't get the automatic transfer to work.
smofbabe: (twistplane)
Called American Express so I could get details (yet again) on exactly what they cover and don't when rental cars are charged to personal cards. I think I've mentioned before that my lack of regular car insurance in the US means that I am stuck paying for extra coverage when I rent a car. (I sometimes roll the dice when we rent a car in Albuquerque and count on AmEx for secondary coverage that will pay for at least part of whatever it might cost if Ghu forbid we were in an accident. However, having lived and driven in Miami, no way I'm self-insuring there!) The charges from the rental car companies have ranged from $9.95/day to $19.95/day, which is quite a hefty addition to the rental car cost.

The good news from AmEx is that they now offer Premium Car Rental Protection, a program where once you enroll and you charge a rental car to your AmEx card, you're automatically charged an additional flat fee per rental of either $19.95 or $24.95 depending on how much coverage you want, which gives you primary coverage with no deductible. It's obviously a much better deal than the rental car company insurance costs, especially if you're renting for more than a weekend. This is especially good news now that the Aussie dollar has tanked (we're now at US$.61 *sigh*).
smofbabe: (twistplane)
Called American Express so I could get details (yet again) on exactly what they cover and don't when rental cars are charged to personal cards. I think I've mentioned before that my lack of regular car insurance in the US means that I am stuck paying for extra coverage when I rent a car. (I sometimes roll the dice when we rent a car in Albuquerque and count on AmEx for secondary coverage that will pay for at least part of whatever it might cost if Ghu forbid we were in an accident. However, having lived and driven in Miami, no way I'm self-insuring there!) The charges from the rental car companies have ranged from $9.95/day to $19.95/day, which is quite a hefty addition to the rental car cost.

The good news from AmEx is that they now offer Premium Car Rental Protection, a program where once you enroll and you charge a rental car to your AmEx card, you're automatically charged an additional flat fee per rental of either $19.95 or $24.95 depending on how much coverage you want, which gives you primary coverage with no deductible. It's obviously a much better deal than the rental car company insurance costs, especially if you're renting for more than a weekend. This is especially good news now that the Aussie dollar has tanked (we're now at US$.61 *sigh*).
smofbabe: (propellor)
Went to Perth for the first time to attend the Australian SF National Convention this past weekend. We had a somewhat rocky start to the trip when after waiting for a taxi for about 25 minutes, Stephen called them only to be told that they had already sent one, which must have been taken by someone else in the 3 - 4 minutes it took for us to walk downstairs with our luggage. Good thing we called as we barely managed to make the 30-minute cutoff time. Once I got on the plane of our budget carrier and saw the narrow seat pitch, I was extremely glad that we had paid $30 extra apiece each way for "blue zone" emergency exit row seating. (Now I kind of wonder when the regular airlines are going to start to charge extra for the exit row too!) I hadn't thought through the fact that there would be no amenities and the lack of a pillow for my lumbar meant that my back was very unhappy by the time we landed.

The convention )

Perth )

Overall, I had a nice, relaxing time, ate some good meals in good company, and was glad to finally get to Perth!
smofbabe: (propellor)
Went to Perth for the first time to attend the Australian SF National Convention this past weekend. We had a somewhat rocky start to the trip when after waiting for a taxi for about 25 minutes, Stephen called them only to be told that they had already sent one, which must have been taken by someone else in the 3 - 4 minutes it took for us to walk downstairs with our luggage. Good thing we called as we barely managed to make the 30-minute cutoff time. Once I got on the plane of our budget carrier and saw the narrow seat pitch, I was extremely glad that we had paid $30 extra apiece each way for "blue zone" emergency exit row seating. (Now I kind of wonder when the regular airlines are going to start to charge extra for the exit row too!) I hadn't thought through the fact that there would be no amenities and the lack of a pillow for my lumbar meant that my back was very unhappy by the time we landed.

The convention )

Perth )

Overall, I had a nice, relaxing time, ate some good meals in good company, and was glad to finally get to Perth!

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