Categories: "Daily adventures"

Las Vegas Junkie

Las Vegas Junkie
Las Vegas Blvd from the top of the Stratosphere. The strip is at the far left after the curve on the blvd.

Here we go again: I barely haven't recovered from my last trip to BlogWorld in Vegas a couple weeks ago and I'm already planning to go back to Las Vegas, this time for Pubcon.

At this point I'd almost have to wonder whether I'm not just making excuses for going back to Vegas over and over again. But honestly I don't!

Truth is... I don't really like Vegas. I don't gamble. Not a cent last time I was there. And I'm not that much into night life. I haven't even been to the strip last time. Worse: the perpetual slot machine sound at the Hilton last time made me explicitly pick a different hotel this time (although the Hilton is a darn good value if you want to be near the conference center.)

PubCon was great. Vegas around it... bah... Actually, one cool thing I did last time is go up the Stratosphere which was really worth the view. Best Vegas attraction if you ask me!

Now I realize I still have to check out some more stuff before issuing a final judgment! ;) This time I'll try to see at least one of those world famous Vegas shows and check what they're all about. And if that's not enough to make the whole "Vegas again" trip worthwhile, I'll also take a little trip to the Skywalk nearby...

Grounded in France

Grounded in France
Frederic Legrand - COMEO /

I was supposed to fly to Seattle today... but thanks to Air France flight attendants and one of their >:XX strikes, I'm litterally grounded in France... It's been 4 days now! :-/

Of course I wish there were other options for flying non stop from Paris to the west coast, but I'm afraid there aren't a lot. I even suspect the flights that have been canceled are precisely the ones with the least competition available. Bast>:XX (I mean: sensible capitalists! :|)

Anyway, here's a couple of things I learnt while canceling my hotel and domestic flight reservations:

  • Orbitz will charge you $25 when canceling an hotel reservation (more than 24 hours in advance) whereas canceling at reservation made directly with the hotel would generally be at no charge. On the other hand, booking through Orbitz oftentimes gets you a better rate. So it's a close call...
  • Canceling a hotel within the last 24 hours prior to arrival can be super expensive. You need to try and cancel as soon as possible.
  • Canceling my $186 flight with United from Seattle to LA cost me $100 charged by United an $30 charged by Orbitz. The remaining $56 credit is valid for one year but is going to be a pain to reuse (no automated procedure).
  • Had I waited to actually be in Seattle before booking that flight (i-e: booked it tonight), it would only have cost me $20 more ($207 total). I think I'm done with booking domestic flights way in advance.

Still, I really really should find out how to not rely on Air France any more... 'coz you know... they made their point: they're just unreliable! :-/

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. [site down]

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)