Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Captain Trips

For those of you who say I don't post enough...you're right, and it has been too long. But, better late than never. I decided to dedicate this post to my recent mini-vacations over the last few months, starting with the trip I took to Albany last October. Bonus geek points if you get the Stephen King reference from this post's title.

I suppose that after reading my last post you might think I didn't have a good mini-vacation in New York...however, other than that incident, it was a pretty fun getaway. We went hiking on Saturday, and out to dinner Saturday night, where my friend had the wait staff sing "Happy Birthday" to me, much to my embarassment. Getting home was a pain, but I did make it on all the flights I wanted to get on, and that's the important thing. Whoever said that getting there is half the fun definitely never traveled on standby. I took the picture to the left at the summit of where we hiked on Saturday, near Lake George in New York. The person in the picture is my friend Melanie, who is much more photogenic than I am.

I didn't travel again for a few months after that, but I did manage to finally get out of town before my nephew's basketball season ended. He's in his senior year and I had been wanting to get up for one of his games...it's a bit more challenging to do that now rather than when I lived in Wisconsin, but hey, what are flight benefits for? I got to see him play in two games, actually, during his end-of-season tourney. We also went out for food and saw "Vantage Point" one afternoon. All in all, a good trip, but I did discover I do not miss snow, at all. I didn't take any pictures of the snow, but I did make a YouTube video of my nephew in a 3-point contest before one of his games.

Fast forward to this month, when I finally decided to head overseas to complete my international flight deck observation requirement for the year. I'd never been to Amsterdam, and we fly there nonstop, so that's where I headed for a couple of days. I had one day for sightseeing, which isn't much but is better than nothing. I did take some pictures this time with my cellcam and uploaded them to Flickr if you'd like to check them out. It's still a bit chilly in northern Europe, but I had a good (if all too brief) time. I was able to visit some historic sights, including Anne Frank's house, and I took a boat tour that was kind of fun. I also checked out a Torture museum to get some ideas for my storage closet which I thought looked interesting, but turned out to be a bit dull. The torture museum did have a historic guillotine set up with a sign saying "do not sit on or lie down" posted nearby. I guess lying under a guillotine blade might make for a nice picture but it strikes me as a good way to make it into the Darwin Awards. Of course, you can never tell what an intoxicataed tourist might try, so I suppose the sign was a good idea on the museum's part.

It is very expensive there. Even knowing I would get reimbursed for my hotel and meals, I still felt like I was spending too much money. Next time, I'm heading somewhere with a better exchange rate. (On a positive note, the high prices did keep me from being tempted from trying anything crazy in the Red Light district.) It's definitely a really interesting and scenic city, even if it's pricey.

I actually got a first class seat flying over, and I rode back for about half the trip in the cockpit, fulfilling my annual observational requirement, then went back to coach for the rest of my journey. I was also able to visit an ATC facility at the airport there before I flew back, which is always educational.

I'm writing this post in Albuquerque, on my latest trip to see my Mom. Beautiful weather here, although a bit windy today. Back to Texas tomorrow, where I'll finish this post up, add all my pictures, and post it. Of course, I can't just kick up my heels the whole time I come home, as there are always some maintenance items to take care of on a 40-year-old house, but since we've increased Mom's caregiver hours it does give me a chance to run around more on my own without worrying about her.

I went to see a movie last night at a theater I used to go to in high school sometimes...it was a serious 80's flashback. That place, The Guild, has been there since 1966. It was closed for a little while but now is reopened, and doing fairly well from what I hear. It's a small, one-screen theater (the only one remaining in Albuquerque) but it's fun to see a movie in that environment from time to time...plus the tickets, at $7, didn't feel like a huge price gouge.

I don't really make full use of my travel benefits, I guess, but I do try and get away from time to time. I really do like traveling when I get the chance. I figure that if you put up with all the BS in the airline industry, and you don't enjoy travel, you'd be wise to find a lower-stress and more secure job outside of aviation...at least, there must be SOME reason I'm still doing this after a dozen plus years.


Merujo said...

The Sasquatch told me Amsterdam was killer expensive, too. I'm still waiting to see his photos of that trip. I haven't been out of the DC area in two years now, but I think, if I can scratch enough cash together, I'll drive down to see Williamsburg/Jamestown, VA this summer. Can't believe I've lived here this long without visiting!

Chuck said...

Merujo - Sometimes the best vacations are the cheapest ones...and if you discover a cool destination nearby, it makes it easy to visit it again.