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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Italy

You know what I love about Rome? I can wander by sites like Trajan’s Column, the Pantheon and not care. That I can buy Ray-Ban Wayfarers & phony wayfarers side-by-side. That I can get gelato & froyo within yards of each other. That I can get honest-to-goodness faux Roman armor next to a MickeyD’s.

You know what I can’t do? (Cue Having Fun Onstage With Elvis music)

I can’t find a cellphone store to save my life.

I’m gonna be here 5 days, have an unlocked phone. I can probably buy enough(2GB) data to last me for €20, which is cheaper than any 120MB overage from my carrier. Except I can’t find one anywhere.

In Spain they’re 10 a penny, even the bum on the street with no legs can get you one any has the stapler that crimps a regular SIM card into one that will fit my phone.

Italy? I tried in Palermo, but nobody had any because they had sold them all to Al Queda. Rome? As rare as an honest cabbie.

If we really want a friction free world in Telco, can we effing get on with it already?

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Bar Hunter Advice

A brother from another mother just asked me how I find places to drink when on the road. I forgot to mention that it’s mostly by a lot of trial & error, but below is what largely followed:

In Europe or in general? In Europe I google for an Irish pub. If they got Irishmen behind the bar, I ask them where they would go. I’d never go anywhere in the book if I couldn’t help it. If they tell you that everybody goes there, go in the opposite direction.

Anywhere else? Look up my 5 favorite baby bands, cross reference the bars they play by town and start from there. Either that or look for anything old man bar near hotel as long as it doesn’t give off a biker/meth lab vibe.

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So I’m in the new BCN terminal as a passenger for the 1st time and I’ll say this: They sure do have the shopping down. Air conditioning, notsomuch. I swear it’s cooler outside than in, because I just spent 10 minutes outside in the massive smokers lounge (bigger than a soccer pitch) cooling off. But I digress. What I wanted to right about was a certain lack of customer service in the Spanish airline industry.

Due to a whole host of factors I’m thisclose to qualifying for British Airways frequent flier gold tier. I don’t know what that entails beyond having my rental car nicked out from under me if I ever rent a car @ Heathrow Terminal 5, but it’s the target. In theory after I get back to the States I’ll be over the finish line before the Aug 1 deadline. So I’m flying to Sicily on Vueling(which is a BA codeshare and the company that owns both airlines is the same) and I asked the guy at the check in counter if I can get the flight tacked on to my frequent flier card.

“No problem, you just have to do it with BA.”

Okay, fair enough. I walk over to the Iberia\ BA ticket counter (Iberia is part of the same holding company) and ask if they can get this squared away.

“No, only Vueling can do this.”

But it’s a BA codeshare

“Only Vueling can do this.”

But you OWN Vueling AND British Airways

“No, only Vueling can do this.”

Can’t you even swipe my card and take a look? It’s not like you’re the only person at the counter(4 folks staffing) and there’s a huge line behind me(no line.)

“No”

(Internal voice)F*ck you very much (Insert huge eye roll here.) Aaand it’s over. Go through security and then it hits me. They ask to see my bag.

Vale(Sure.)

“What is this?”

A hand holding an apple that knocks on the door.

“Porque?’

I repeat.

“Seguridad!”

So they make me rip open the packaging and show them that it’s actually a hand that holds an apple that knocks on the door. They ask me what it’s made of and I have no idea what the spanish word for brass is.

It’s days like this that make me wonder the Spaniards have this tourist thing figured out.

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