The last few legs of my JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet month should be enjoyable but uneventful (at least as far as blog-worthy stories go), so it's about time to share my thoughts on it, and a few stories from the month.
Soccer in Bogota
The highlight of the trip was, of course, Bogota, Colombia. I've been wanting to go to Colombia for a while, and it certainly didn't disappoint. I stayed with blog-reader/awesome-dude Matt Aaron, who was also kind enough to show me around Bogota.
I don't follow any sports teams or watch sports on TV, but I do enjoy going to a live game here and there. Last time I was in London I tried to go to a soccer game, but the cheapest tickets were a few hundred bucks. In Colombia, on the other hand, the best seats are about $20.
Parked outside the stadium was an armored army truck and a bunch of military police. The street food vendors sold sausages, roasted corn, and rolls of receipt paper. The receipt paper confused me until I went into the stadium and saw what it was used for: ammunition.
Paper was thrown all over the field, at the cheerleaders, and at the opposing team. Three riot police with lexan shields had to protect the player from Venezuela when he ventured near the stands to kick a corner kick. When Santa Fe (the Colombian team) scored a goal, so much paper was thrown that it looked like some sort of tree-killing firework display.
The fans insanity didn't end at paper throwing, though. All dressed in red, they jumped, sang, and chanted in unison for their team. Their excitement was contagious and it was impossible to resist rooting for Santa Fe.
Road trip with Rolf and Justin
Rolf Potts, author of the awesome book Vagabonding, and Gadling Editor Justin Glow are currently finishing up the tail end of their trip around the world with no baggage. To fully complete the circle, they had to get from Los Angeles to New York. I offered to take them in my RV from LA to Las Vegas.
Despite me missing several turns, we made it about a quarter of the way to Vegas when they realized they had left a hard drive in LA. We turned around to get it, and then while we were back in LA I gave them a quick tour of some of the locations from The Game and we got a bite to eat. We had expected to arrive in Vegas around ten or eleven, but after all of our detours, we ended up getting in after five in the morning.
I was glad the trip ended up taking so long, though. Justin and I have known each other online for a while (he's responsible for me writing at Gadling), but had never met in person, and I'd never met Rolf before. The trip was a good chance to trade stories and get to know each other as we ate clementines and suffered through the record high temperatures in my non-air-conditioned RV.
We all crashed out as soon as we got to Vegas and the following day I introduced them to my favorite meal in Vegas, the Bellagio Buffet, before leaving them cloistered in their rooms to get caught up on video editing. Be sure to check out the videos at RTWBlog.com. I think they're some of the best travel videos on the web (I made the intro for them).
My grandparents were having a normal day, driving home to drop some things off before going to lunch.
"What is that guy doing in the middle of the road?" my grandfather asked, "Wait... that looks like Tynan."
They pulled over and picked me up. I forgot to tell them that I was coming, and rather than trouble them to pick me up, I took the train from Boston to the suburb they live in, and then started blasting down the road on a four mile journey on my electric skateboard to get to their house.
This was the trial run for traveling with my board. It's not too bad to carry, and really great to have around, but MAN does TSA hate it.
I tried to gate check it, because I hate waiting for the baggage claim, which means that I tried to get it through security and then intended to hand it over at the end of the jetway, where I could retrieve it on the way back.
"SIR! Can you please tell me what this is?"
Translated: "Sir, why did you put a bomb in my x-ray machine?"
I tried to explain that it was an electric skateboard, something they'd never heard of. The supervisor was called over, and she asked me if I'd mind checking it. I did mind, I said.
I became no more popular when I refused to go through the naked-machine body scanner. So, of course, I was subjected to a full pat down as well as a hands-on baggage and wallet check. And then when I got through security they told me that I would have to be escorted out and check the bag normally. I argued, but as I've learned through many arguments with the TSA, logic has no place in airport security. So I checked the bag and went through security all over again.
Thoughts on All-You-Can-Jet
There's no question whether or not it's an amazing value. I haven't tallied up all of my segments yet, but I'd guess that I got about 75% off the flights I took. It's a mind-blowing deal.
What I liked most about it was that I got to visit a lot of people that I might not otherwise get to visit. Two days in Seattle to see my friend Brian, a quick 12 hour stopover in Austin to see my friends there, thirty six hours in NY to catch up with other some friends, and around twenty-four hours in Vermont for a mini family reunion. I probably wouldn't have made any of those trips if it wasn't for the pass.
But, man, is it stressful. You have to book all trips three days in advance, and can't change them within three days. So right now I'm sitting in Vegas, really wanting to stay here, but I have to go to NY because I already reserved the ticket. You feel obligated to keep every trip short so that you can keep flying, which means that you're constantly evaluating three days out, trying to decide whether to keep your ticket or get a new one.
JetBlue has great service on the East Coast, but limited routes on the West, which means that I took some really janky routes to get places. To get to Colombia, for example, I flew from Oakland to Boston, then to Orlando, then to Bogota. The whole thing took about 24 hours.
In other words, it's a blast to be able to fly everywhere for free, but I'm not exactly dreading a nice long stay in San Francisco. I've gotten all of my North American travel out of my system for the time being.
Sorry there was no post on Monday. It was the end of a 212 day streak of completing my todo list every day. It was so hot in LA that I couldn't concentrate long enough to write a post I was happy with. I planned on attacking it again after getting to Vegas, but just wasn't functional at 5:30am.
Roughest flight ever: middle seat on a cross-country red-eye, sitting next to a HUGE guy. He oozed under AND over the armrest and actually took up a good 1/8 of my seat. He was also the loudest drinker I've ever seen, slurping and grunting as he drank his diet coke. He also crunched the ice with his mouth open. To add insult to injury, my computer crashed in the middle of the flight and I had to spend an hour fixing it.
On my way to NY right now... yet another attempt to sleep on a red-eye. My strategy is to scoot to one corner of my seat and then put my head down diagonally on the tray-table. Not the best, but it works.
Photo is from Bogota.
Tynan, I would love to hear a little bit about your take on Vegas, maybe even a mini-guide from a reasonably minded person. It seems that you have been there more than a few times and you mentioned the Bellagio buffet in this post. I just made my first trip there and ended up staying at the Bellagio (only because they were doing the fountain show as I drove by). We didn't make it to the buffet and honestly I was a bit grossed out by the thought. But a healthy endorsement from you would be awesome. If you've already written about Vegas I apologize for missing it. Thanks.
Literally just arrived in Vegas. Sucks you had to jet, would have been a great chance to meet face to face.
Tynan, what software did you use to make the intro for their travel videos? AfterEffects?
Whatever you used, it looked cool.
I'm interested in your experiences with the TSA. I am trying to decide how much safer they make flying, and weigh that against the losses in economic efficiency and civil liberties.
I recently read this opinion by one freedom-minded U.S. Congressman [ http://www.antiwar.com/paul/?articleid=4079 ]. Should the TSA be eliminated? And since we have a government by the people, what should we do to make this happen?
You should have gone to a cheapo soccer game whilst in London! For 10 quid you can see a soccer game that is just as intense as A-league, with the added bonus that you can hear the individual insults the crowd hurls at the linesman!
The new Sagemilk app might be of interest for you
Its a smartphone app that is easy to make and customize to learn whatever you input. Here is a tutorial.
Man, I so wanted to buy that pass and after reading about your adventures, I'm definitely doing it next year.
As anyone who follows my tweets knows, I'm going to be doing the JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet promotion. Because I'm flexible, I saved $200 and bought the five day pass for $500, which means that I can't fly on Friday or Sunday. The pass entitles me to fly from September 7th until October 6th for free on all JetBlue flights. This includes all taxes in the US, but not outside the US. I've been thinking about the best way to use this pass, and I'm going to share my strategy with you, in case you bought one as well.
There aren't all that many places in the US I want to go. Within a month or two of the promotion I will have been to NY, Boston, Austin and LA, which covers most of my bases. So I'm mostly seeing this as a ticket to get HUGE discounts on international travel for a month.
We are preparing for a very exciting journey.
"We" are my mom, my dad, and I. My name is Jakob, and I am 8 1/2 years old. I am Norwegian, but I was born in Colombia and used to live there when I was little, before my mom and dad came to adopt me and take me home.
Now we are going back to Colombia for the first time. Not to the city where I was born, but to another city. The reason is that I am going to get a little brother! We are all very excited!
I am writing this blog to tell you about our trip. I could write it in Norwegian, but I don't trust on-line translators, so my parents are helping me write it in English, so that more people can read it. (They are also helping me to think of things to write.)
My parents tell me that in Colombia people speak Spanish. I used to know some Spanish, but I forgot it completely when I was three years old. Now I know only Norwegian. But who knows — I may pick up some of the language while we are there to collect my little brother! And I believe my parents will, too. They like everything that has anything to do with languages. :-)