Buying foreign currency for a trip to Indonesia and Japan

Howdy, folks. I have a trip in December to Tokyo, Jakarta, and Bali, and this is the point in a big trip when I start to plan out some of the small details– how will my cell phone work, how will I buy stuff, etc. Happily, both Japan and Indonesia and pretty credit card friendly (in theory, anyway). However, I don’t like to go places without at least a little bit of cash to get me started. The exchange rates aren’t great, although Bank of America had a much better deal than did, say, Travelex. With Bank of America, you do have to have an existing checking or savings account. It is worth checking with your bank to see what sort of exchange rate they will offer you. I got about $200 worth of each currency so I would have something as soon as I land. Continue reading “Buying foreign currency for a trip to Indonesia and Japan”

La Esperanza Mexican Restaurant, Odessa, TX

We (my family with whoever else we were with at the time) ate at La Esperanza Mexican Restaurant twice in November, and I am upset with myself for only having been there once before. Don’t walk in expecting fancy, because fancy ain’t what they do. The service, while both pleasant and accurate, is also a little bit slow. However, one does not go to La Esperanza for fancy digs while an overpriced maitre’d brings him a warm towel with which to remove the soil from his delicate hands. One goes because the food is fantastic, and this trip was no exception. These two photos give you a pretty decent idea of what to expect: Continue reading “La Esperanza Mexican Restaurant, Odessa, TX”

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas in Grand Suite Cabin 1286

Howdy, folks. I am taking a new cruise next year, which gave me occasion to recall a cruise from last year. In addition to the pictures below, you can see a short video. We left out of Galveston on the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas and traveled from August 2-9, 2015. The itinerary was a sea day, followed by Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and two more days at sea. This review is about the ship itself, and I will talk about the ports of call in a future post. The short version: Royal Caribbean isn’t as nice as it thinks it is, but this was still an excellent way to travel with children. Continue reading “Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas in Grand Suite Cabin 1286”

Domestic First Class on United (A319 and Boeing 737-700)

I was in domestic first class on United twice recently. On October 31, I flew from IAH to DCA in seat 2A on an A319, and on November 2 I was in seat 2A on a Boeing 737-700 for the return from DCA to IAH. Both planes had wifi which was $5.99 for the duration of the trip, although I also had the option of paying something like 810 United miles. The big advantage of the Boeing was that there was a personal screen at each seat with Direct TV, which is free in first class. It is also available gate to gate unless someone is making an announcement at the time. Sadly, the news channels featured the same depressing content that they do on the ground and there wasn’t an interesting game on at the time. C’est la vie, or something like that. Continue reading “Domestic First Class on United (A319 and Boeing 737-700)”