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March 31, 2006

Waiting at Miami Airport

Filed under: Honduras,Travels,USA — stephane @ 2:23 pm

I’m right now sitting in Miami airport, waiting for my flight to Paris and getting all my mails via a paying wifi zone as I have nothing to do but wait and get up to date with news. This also helps me realize that now some people email me while they know I’m flying and expect an answer before my arrival in Paris. This will teach me to send news when I should not and I fear the day where internet connection will be widely available everywhere including in airplanes at no-charge.

I left Utila with the 6:20AM morning ferry on thursday. I took a taxi (20LPS) with Annelie (Danish) and Rufus (English ?). We took a breakfast in town as the Hedman Alas bus was leaving at 10AM. Annelie was flying the next day in La Ceiba and Rufus was going to Copan through San Pedro Sula and wanted to take the Hedman Alas bus until he realizes it was too expensive for his long-term travel budget (256LPS/$14). When talking to a taxi driver I managed to direct him to take a local bus for 60LPS. I understand people trying to save on money whenever they can, especially as I have been in that position myself 2 years ago when travelling around the world. Time and budget influence a lot travel conditions.

I stayed in San Pedro Sula at Tamarindo Hostel where I found again Nadine (Switzerland) who has been working in a local travel agency for the last 8 months and who I met briefly for a couple of minutes on my way to Utila at the beginning of the month. She wanted me to come with her at a party at the Alliance Francaise which I did briefly as my hosts Angela and Juan Carlos were performing a song there.

I took the morning 8:10AM flight to Miami along with Marie and Lars (Denmark) who had to cope with a 26h stopover at Miami airport before continuing their flight to Calgary via Dallas. As for myself, I only have a mere 7h.

March 4, 2006

San Pedro Sula

Filed under: Honduras,Travels,USA — stephane @ 1:39 am

I left Miami early afternoon. The AA flight was overbooked and they asked for 8 volunteers to show up and take the next flight in late afternoon against a $300 voucher. I was thinking about it for a second but I did not feel like having my bags showing up alone in San Pedro Sula, especially considering I have to leave them open because of security screening in US airports and that one of them contains all my dive gear.

I expected a bit of a hassle at the San Pedro Sula airport due to what I have been reading but nothing of that sort, a guy asked me if I wanted to change some money (which I did for only $20 to get some lempiras in the pocket) and another one asked me if I wanted a taxi. Nothing much. When I asked him how much it was, I was told $12, which is somewhat a fair price from what I know. $10 would certainly have been more appropriate but did not feel like bargaining.

I had a great welcome by Angela and Juan Carlos, the local couple who are managing the Tamarindo Hostel. So nice people ! (By the way, hope Juan Carlos won´t mind but Angela is simply stunning !). The place is brand new as it was open only a year ago. It is in no guide yet (a Lonely planet person is scheduled to visit the place next week). It was recommended to me by Ecomarine, a dive center in Utila. And I highly recommend it as well, it would be a shame to not support such nice people. The hostel is conveniently located in the center of the city, you´ll find plenty of restaurants around, moreover, the Hedman Alas bus station is a couple of blocks away.

As it is, I took my bus ticket ($14/256HNL) to La Ceiba for tomorrow morning.

PS: What´s going on here ? I had a restaurant waitress and a TSA agent calling me ´sweetie´ and a AA hostess winking at me when I told her goodbye.

March 1, 2006

Miami, at last

Filed under: Japan,Travels,USA — stephane @ 3:56 pm

Finally, I made it to Miami. And my bags too. Pretty much incredible.

As mentioned I treated myself with some sushis, bought ‘Memoirs of a Geisha‘ and used airport wifi.

Flight from Tokyo to Chicago was a bit boring/long. American Airlines came short of British Airways. Crew was made of a steward with a dodgy haircut (Dumb and Dumber like) with a cheap-quality shirt that was certainly washed the day before in the sink. As a he was greeting people coming onboard, that was certainly a sign for what to expect. The hostesses were all in the 40-50 range (or looked like it) and massively overweighted. Kind of a shock coming from Tokyo airport which is full of pretty young fit women most of them being some kind of a fashion victim.

Once onboard, one of the passenger expressed his doubt concerning the ability to do a flight connection in Chicago, considering his connecting flight was 1h later (who the hell authorized such a booking ?)

In the typical clueless overpositive attitude, he was replied by an hostess and a steward that it “would be a breeze and since the flight will arrive 30min earlier (!) because of tail wind” he would have “plenty of time”. The passenger laughed at this
prediction mentioning that it would be a first, but the crew stayed firm.

We left Tokyo 30 minutes late and we arrived 25 minutes late…

The movie selection was abysmal for an 11h-long flight, as for lunch/dinner/breakfast, it was a bit too superficial/cheap. You really feel that American Airlines wants to save on somewhere and decided that food would be an axis to work on by lowering quality as much as possible. No passenger pack (socks, toothbrush, etc..) was offered at all and I could not find any sleep during the trip.

Chicago airport was as efficient as I was told by frequent flyers to go through customs, immigration and bagage security screening. That was all done in 35min and I have now left my 2 index fingerprints plus picture for future reference to the US administration. Efficiency is night and day compared to LAX (Los Angeles).

I boarded the flight to Miami at 17:45 scheduled to leave at 18:02…we actually left at around 21:00 and landed in Miami at 01:00 instead of 21:00 !! 4 hours late and all this waiting in the plane !! That was mostly frustrating to me, as it was my last segment and I have been seating already far too long. American Airlines did minimal apologies and service and everyone was irritated.

When we arrived, we were apparently the only passengers at Miami Intl Aiport, everything was closed. I did not feel wasting more time calling the ‘Free 24h shuttle’ to the Days Inn and jumped into a taxi.

I checked in at Days Inn Miami Intl Airport. Not recommended unless you have some reasons to do so. wifi is working erratically and the connection drops every 10 secondes. (There is apparently a WRT54G at every floor). They maybe forgot to turn on hot water (or they are running out of it at or are scared someone burned herself and sue them), the TV channels are not the same as the one displayed on the room sheet, the remote control does not work but only the volume, information booklet is missing from the room, the swimming pool is from what I can see a bare 100m from the busy highway (enjoy car exhaust gas and noise), to be continued…

Good thing. I slept really well.

December 22, 2003


Filed under: Round-The-World-2003,USA — stephane @ 7:28 pm

I’m in Miami for 2 days now. Scheduled to sail to the Bahamas in the next days if weather allows. It is unlikely that I will update this site a lot until my return in mid-january since there is obviouslly very little chance to find an internet kiosk in the middle of the ocean :mrgreen:. I wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to every reader of this website. A big thanks to all of you who I met during my travel and still reading this. To all friends and family in France: see you in about 3 weeks time.

December 20, 2003


Filed under: Round-The-World-2003,USA — stephane @ 3:02 am

I just arrived in Dallas a few hours ago and will gladly enjoy a good night sleep after all this time spent in planes and airports. We changed planes in Auckland and amazingly a couple of us (including me) who were sitting in the upper rows of the 767 between Auckland and Sydney were assigned the same seats number in the 747 from Auckland to Los Angeles…meaning that I did the trip in Business Class. And let me tell you that I enjoyed that seat ! :mrgreen: Once in Los Angeles: total chaos !

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