Category: "Trips"

USA Immigrant Visa

Today my passport came back in the mail.

It had a cool sticker in it:

That's what happens when you play the green card lottery. Beware: it doesn't only happen to others!! ;)

You play... you wait... you forget about it... you're asked for a lot for paperwork... you forget about it again... and the next thing you know, you end up with a visa inviting you to rave up your whole life! :D

Jetlag 2.0

Ok, so I'm back to France... and guess what: I'm actually seeing the light of day!! :)

When I flew back from California last October I had the hardest time ever to sync back to European time. This time... it might be smoother...

There is a 9 hour time difference between California and France. That means that when you normally wake up at 10 am California time, it is already 7 pm France time. So when you fly over this way, you tend to wake up in the evening... stay up all night... and finally feel sleepy in the morning. Do that in the winter when the days are shorter and the nights longer... and you literally won't get to see the light of day for weeks! Guaranteed ending up somehow depressed...

This time I tried to prepare real hard for the trip back home. I would go to sleep really early for the last few days in California, then get up every morning around 5 am (2 pm French timezone).

So I planned I would keep that rhythm when coming back: wake up at 2pm and manage it from there...

Of course it didn't go as planned! Does it ever anyway?

I couldn't sleep for the whole overnight flight. T'was actually the most turbulent flight I think I ever experienced. We landed at sth like 11 am yesterday and I got home at something like 1pm. Had to stack up the fridge first ad basically got to sleep around 6 pm, just when daylight would start to fade a little...

I woke up several times during the night but fell asleep again shortly thereafter, until 6am when I just couldn't sleep any longer. Luckily the day would dawn around 6:30 and I'm now feeling almost okay.

Of course I always talk about jet lag on planes and nobody seems to have ever cracked it really... However, I just felt so bad last time that I keep thinking there's room for improvement, at least for myself.

So far, this time seems to good to be true. But on the other hand there's one thing that makes it a lot easier: summer time! Days are long enough to make it easy to wake up at some point when it's *not* dark outside. And daylight helps, really, a lot!

Anyway, we'll see how it goes in the next few days...

Let's get to work!!

Alive in California

Allright I’m not dead yet. I’m actually back in San Francisco after a 5 week trip through Chicago IL, Kansas City MO, Flagstaff AZ, the Grand Canyon AZ, Monument Valley UT, Las Vegas NV and San José CA…

I just did the SF Friday Night Skate again ;) Gotta put up some videos for that!

In the meantime, if you’re interested, I’ve got a small boatload of pictures from the trip online.

So far:

  • Most amazing natural site: Grand Canyon
  • Most amazing artificial site: Las Vegas – The Strip
  • Most beautiful site: Monument Valley
  • Worst food: Amtrak
  • Best food: Chicago (still deciding between Gibson’s and The Chop House)

California, here I come!

Okay, this time there's no turning back! I have booked my Flight! I'm off to San Francisco on October 4th! B)

Wow! It's actually been 12 years since I left Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania. And I've not been to the US once ever since. Despite my constant and renewed interest for the American culture. How could I let it slip away for so long?

This time it will be California for 3 weeks.

It's been pretty hard to decide for how long I would stay. I originally wanted to get an open ticket and stay until it got bored (or my VISA ended, or I ran out of cash, or I got homesick...:P) but it turns out that any open ticket costs 5 to 10 times the price of a fixed date round trip.

I settled for Air France which would conveniently fly me non stop from Paris to SF and back from Los Angeles to Paris, non stop again. 699 €, pretty hard to beat. (and yes, I chose to come back through LA on purpose! ;))

Now, of course I'm very busy evaluating the housing situation! A hotel inside the city costs somwehere between $70 and way too much. Of course, when reading the online reviews for the $70 hotels, I rapidly began to think that the $200/night offers were worth the price. :-/

I also checked Craig's list but I got bored really fast. Looks like there is no way to do any flavor of advanced search on this site! And if I have to browse through all the offers one by one, I'll never find until too late. That site may be extremely popular, I don't get it...

One of the most useful resources I have found is Orbitz. It is incredibly useful for targetting a specific area of the city. It also allows to narrow down on hotels with WiFi access.

Ironically, $70 hotels near the airport tend to get better reviews than $150 hotels downtown!

So I figured it would be cheaper to get a hotel out of town and rent a car than to try to get accomodation inside of the city. Actually I think, I'll stay downtown for a few days, and then get a car to explore the rest of the Bay Area. At that time, lodging off town might be more convenient anyway.

Haven't decided yet when and how I would get down to L.A. though...