The earliest memory I have of this, in recent history, is a flight I took in 2012 to India (DTW-AMS-BOM) where a gentleman in Schiphol actually asked me to leave the business class boarding queue because he thought I didn’t belong there. The icing on the cake was the look on his face when I showed him my boarding pass, clearly identifying the seat and class.
More recently, I have been asked a couple of times if I was in the right line when flying from Atlanta to Raleigh-Durham. I responded in the affirmative each time and the subject was dropped, but there was always an incredulous look returned.
While I can understand the frustration of hunting after overhead bin space and the desire to want to be seated in a timely manner, civility won’t hurt anyone.
Periyar National Park, and the tiger reserve, is located in Thekkady within the state of Kerala. Situated around the Periyar lake, it is a protected region that offers for some spectacular views. Unfortunately, given the diurnal nature of tigers, we weren’t able to see any of them during our visit. 🙁 Alas!
I have quite a few photos, below, from our recent visit to the region. You can see that the water level is considerably lower than normal due to a few years of consistent drought. Given the use of hydroelectric power in Kerala, this has implications beyond that of the animals in the region.
At the entrance to the park are specimens of trees that are found in the area. They were kind enough to attach placards to the trees to identify them as well as their fruit and purpose!
As I mentioned earlier, we weren’t able to see any tigers, which was sad though not unexpected given their diurnal nature. If you want to see tigers, the best times are early in the morning or during twilight hours in the evening, as that is when they are most active.
We were able to get rather close with many monkeys, however, as well as see water buffalo, an elephant, and many birds.
For our return, we took another circuitous route, though not as bad as our arrival to San Diego. The things we do for segments! Though our first two flights were without incident, our final flight was delayed by almost an hour because the thrust reversal indicator light wouldn’t turn off. Consequently, we had to return to the gate and get maintenance on-board to reset it.
Though we were all frustrated by this, the flight attendants were stellar as always. They took excellent care of us and even put up with the misogynists sitting in front of us discussing how they couldn’t joke with their female coworkers about being called “daddy”. (Seriously, the flight attendants aren’t paid nearly enough for this…)
I took this time to skim the Sky magazine and came across an article on the new blankets from Westin. Interesting stuff!
One last note… while most of you might be more familiar with Uber, I encourage you all to take a look at Lyft. Though it doesn’t have quite as large a foot print as Uber, it has quite a few distinct advantages… in addition to a huge promotion ($5 off 20 rides, which I was all over this visit), the app allows you to tip your driver. I’ve also found Lyft drivers to be much friendlier than Uber drivers, and always ready with suggestions for things to explore when traveling! Give it a go!
For Thanksgiving, instead of opting to spend time with family (boo), we decided to spend some time together with animals (yay)! SeaWorld offers all you can eat tickets, where you can eat at one of the five restaurants every hour, so we opted for that to reduce the stress of trying to find a restaurant that would be open on Thanksgiving.
After a day at the zoo, we realized we had yet to make our way to the beach. To rectify that, we opted for one of the more well known coastal areas of San Diego: La Jolla cove.
The guy above is crowding the sea lion. Not only is it against the law in San Diego, it is dangerous for both the man and the animal. As more people crowd the animal, the animal becomes more and more agitated and backs away (who can blame it?). This in turn prompts the humans to advance to get better pictures, and the cycle continues until either the animal leaves or the human gets bit. Don’t be like this guy. Respect the animal!
After a day of sea-watching, we were craving some authentic Mexican food. Being this close to the border, we did some quick Googling and settled on El Indio.
Featured on Guy Fieri’s show, Diners, Dive-Ins, and Dives, El Indio has amazing food for ridiculously low prices. Hard to say not to that!
Knowing that the San Diego Zoo is an experience, my girlfriend and I devoted many hours to exploring what the zoo had to offer. We were lucky enough to visit while they were running a discount on their Beer Map. Instead of paying $10 for each pint, I got four 12 oz “tastings” for $20! Not bad, right?
No visit to the zoo is complete without finding koalas… nope! We caught these divas while they were being fed. They had zero interest in the public… Just their lunch!
I am generally not one to randomly bash what other people do on their vacations, I came across a very disturbing post today on Million Miler Secrets regarding a trip to India and an elephant ride. To properly understand my problem with this, it’s first important to understand some things about elephant anatomy.
The spine of an elephant has evolved over time to support weight that is suspended downward, not placed above onto it. Additionally the soles of their feet are not shod in any form, as you would a horse, leading to severe damage over time. This also leads to grinding against the bones on their feet.
That said, there are many ethical experiences available to you if you want to spend time with these marvelous creatures. Tiffany, over at OneMileAtATime posted of one such sanctuary in Thailand — Elephant’s World. For roughly 70 USD per day, per person, you can spend time taking care of elephants that have been rescued.