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schild
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Reply #35 on: February 08, 2019, 06:27:16 PM

We've got a room in Austin with enough advance notice.
Strazos
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Reply #36 on: February 08, 2019, 08:16:24 PM

I'm sure we can do whatever you'd want to do when you're in DC.

I also fully endorse going to Vegas. And even though Chicago will have shit weather, maybe catch a Cubs game?

I'm generally not a fan of summer in general - most of my hobbies and interests are either weather-independent, or are winter sports.

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Abagadro
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Reply #37 on: February 08, 2019, 09:11:04 PM

Where can you buy the cool temple stamp notebooks?

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

-H.L. Mencken
Brolan
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Reply #38 on: February 08, 2019, 09:14:24 PM

In July?  How about Colorado?  Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde, Pike's Peak, Garden of the Gods, Royal Gorge bridge, and the US Air Force Academy come to mind.
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Reply #39 on: February 08, 2019, 10:10:24 PM

Where can you buy the cool temple stamp notebooks?
If you go to any major temple, they'll be selling them at the same area you can get them printed in.  Also all over at various books stores and where ever as well, but the temples all sell them.  It's easy peasy, and again, I think one of the cooler and unique souvenirs you can bring back.
In July?  How about Colorado?  Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde, Pike's Peak, Garden of the Gods, Royal Gorge bridge, and the US Air Force Academy come to mind.
That's actually very tempting.  When I was in third grade we did a family vacation for two weeks across the western US hitting almost all the national parks.  Hit most of those and would love to go back.  Unfortunately, I think I just have to prioritize some urban exploring this time around.  There are many great cities in the US I haven't seen, while I live in rural jungle country where I go on amazing hikes all the time anyways (or fly to Japan and spend thousands of dollars for the privilege of trying to kill myself hiking 25 km a day through very steep mountains on the same path insane mountain worshiping Buddhist did).  I'm just going to fly into some place and stay for 2-3 nights, not sure I'd really have all the time I need to go out and do all that.

On that note, thanks for all the suggestions everybody.  I'll have at least a week for travel, but I hope more.  To me, this means probably fly to Vegas, fly to Austin, and then with time, hit a third place before going to DC.  Both Chicago and New Orleans are great suggestions, as I've always wanted to see both.  I've been around New England so would probably skip something there, but I've only ever spent about 8 hours running around NY.  Wouldn't mind also going to see that crazy place with more time on my hands.  Hmmmm. 

You all also need to remember I literally live in the jungle, so humidity it just whatever to me, not going to avoid it.  Especially since I'll be moving to a place even more humid after I leave here.   awesome, for real

"My great-grandfather did not travel across four thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this nation overrun by immigrants.  He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That's the rumor."
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Abagadro
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Reply #40 on: February 08, 2019, 10:47:32 PM

If you don't mind heat (and it would be a dry heat), the National Parks in Utah are great and could be a bridge between Vegas and Austin.

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

-H.L. Mencken
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Reply #41 on: February 09, 2019, 04:10:19 AM

Heading to Japan myself for 2.5 weeks in April (2 weeks in Tokyo with a 4 day trip to Kyoto in the middle), so this thread has been super helpful so far. Keep em coming!

My current  idea to not be overwhelmed by the thousands of things that I might do is to plan out every other day to check off sights in a certain district, with the days in between for free roaming.

I still get the feeling I'm not going to get to see anywhere near everything I want to, so making the most of it with details like that temple notebook is great.
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Reply #42 on: February 09, 2019, 07:45:13 AM

While the temple notebook looks cool, I wont be visiting any temples in my trip as I am going to be skiing pretty much the whole time. I guess there is probably a temple in Sapporo I could visit on my one free day but I probably will miss it.

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Reply #43 on: February 11, 2019, 12:46:23 PM

I'm going to recommend Yellowstone in July. It might not be snowing at that time, and it ranges from incredible to mind-boggling, if you're into nature at all.

Good luck with the reservations, though. You won't get anything for 2019.

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Reply #44 on: February 11, 2019, 08:43:50 PM

Yellowstone traffic is epic in July and August.
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Reply #45 on: February 12, 2019, 01:40:03 AM

While the temple notebook looks cool, I wont be visiting any temples in my trip as I am going to be skiing pretty much the whole time. I guess there is probably a temple in Sapporo I could visit on my one free day but I probably will miss it.
Yeah, I figured as much based on what you said.  Just wanted to throw it out there for anybody who is visiting.

Seeing some of the national parks in that region (Utah, Colorado, Yellowstone) is really tempting.  I'll have to think it over, and also see if its even possible (I know reservations can be a bitch).  The logistics just may be to tricky for my time frame, but I'll see what options I have.

In other travel news, I'll be heading to Ethopia and Kenya for my official R&R to visit some friends the last week of March.  We're going to try to go see Erta Ale, doing this fun tour:

http://www.ethiotravelandtours.com/tours/danakil-03-days/

"My great-grandfather did not travel across four thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this nation overrun by immigrants.  He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That's the rumor."
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Reply #46 on: February 12, 2019, 12:26:35 PM

Yellowstone traffic is epic in July and August.

I'd expect so.  I went during the first week of June and it was tolerable. Only some snow, varying by location within the park.

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Reply #47 on: February 14, 2019, 10:26:28 AM

The bad traffic in Yellowstone is concentrated on the loop between Gardiner and Canyon Village and then the big loop that goes from the lake around to the exit to West Yellowstone and back up to Gardiner. If you go down from Canyon Village to Tower Junction and then down the Lamar Valley, that's not so bad. The road from the lake out to Cody WY is also much less crowded, and Cody itself is kind of an interesting town. (Rodeo many nights in the high summer.)
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Reply #48 on: February 14, 2019, 11:07:29 AM

Denver in July is pretty nifty, I've got a foodie friend for suggestions if you end up there. Best part of my travels are June/July in Colorado for all the parks/hiking, and Denver for food. And legal recreational pot for the wife.
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Reply #49 on: February 16, 2019, 06:50:59 PM

SOME TIME IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY.  My boring but basic plan right now is to fly to Vegas, so I can eat stupid things and gamble stupid things.  Then maybe to Austin because Schild never stops talking about the food.  After that, I dont know.  Chicago?  Utah (I do love the National Parks)?  Florida(hahahahaha)?  Anywhere else somebody can convince me? 

I have to do two weeks in DC for manditory training and meetings before I run back into the jungle to disappear from life and die from curry overdose.  Happy to hear suggestions.

I think Colorado is a winning suggestion it even makes sense or could be a road trip from Vegas before Austin. But thanks to Netflix I kind of want you to go to the Lake of the Ozarks...

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Khaldun
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Reply #50 on: February 24, 2019, 09:29:50 AM

As long as this has become the general travel thread, here's a question:

1. Which place that you thought would be really great turned out to be seriously disappointing?
2. Which place that you had no expectations of liking turned out to be great?
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Reply #51 on: February 24, 2019, 12:18:34 PM

As long as this has become the general travel thread, here's a question:

1. Which place that you thought would be really great turned out to be seriously disappointing?

France. Specifically Paris. Whole place blows. The people are worse than anyone could even begin to say. If it weren't for the art, I'd consider it a flyover country.

Quote
2. Which place that you had no expectations of liking turned out to be great?

North Vancouver.
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Reply #52 on: February 24, 2019, 02:23:29 PM

North Vancouver.

Why? We didn't venture up that way, ran out of time. Now I feel like we missed a good opportunity. My only complaint about Vancouver is they don't do Lyft/Uber and public transportation was very poor in off hours. Otherwise it is a pretty cool place.

My disappointing trip was Portland. I'm used to navigating around the homeless in Seattle, but the homeless there is on an entirely new level. We wanted to hit the food trucks and breweries in the Pearl but there was so much food and trash all over the street that I couldn't actually get hungry enough to go do it. So we ended up staying only at the breweries where there was a 2+ hour wait to get in.

I did not expect to like the Oregon Coast as much as I do now. I appreciate the little pockets of liberalism in the middle of the country on the coast. Too cold and powerful to swim, but I could spend the rest of my life on those beaches.
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Reply #53 on: February 24, 2019, 04:05:36 PM

Yeah, Portland can't get over being a dump. They need to stop assuming gentrification is a slur. Though, prices are going up even though it's got its shitty parts.

As for North Vancouver - the people. the food, the general feel of the place. It all came together just right. There's nothing notably unique about it like "oh boy the museums changed errything."
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Reply #54 on: February 24, 2019, 06:41:07 PM

In Portland environs, though, I loved Hood River OR. Not sure why exactly. Felt like it was just enough of a place to like it for itself, but also to like it for what it was near.

I'll extend the North Vancouver: I fucking LOVED the Sunshine Coast further up. I don't know exactly why: it just lit up everything in my head. At the level of, "I would live here if I had the $$$ when I was done working".

I am always surprised at how much I don't like New York City now, even though it's objectively more inhabitable than it was when I was a young person. It annoys me for reasons I can't fully articulate.

I sort of hear what Schild is saying about Paris though I do actually love a lot of it. I love the interior south of France, not the coastal south which is trash for trash rich people.

I did not like Berlin at all on two visits. I am prepared to be told I fucked up, though.

I used to love Yosemite when I was a kid. I fucking hate it now. No fault on the place itself per se but fuck it is so awfully mismanaged that I can't love it really.
schild
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Reply #55 on: February 24, 2019, 08:57:15 PM

I'll extend the North Vancouver: I fucking LOVED the Sunshine Coast further up. I don't know exactly why: it just lit up everything in my head. At the level of, "I would live here if I had the $$$ when I was done working".

I have said the exact same thing. I've never had an answer for "why." I don't even like nature.

Quote
I sort of hear what Schild is saying about Paris though I do actually love a lot of it. I love the interior south of France, not the coastal south which is trash for trash rich people.

I realize it's absurd to say "if you remove the fine art portion of culture" in any sort of sentence about a city as old as Paris, but without the fine art, I find none of France palatable. Yes, the art is ingrained in the culture, and yes I loved it, but I hated every last wretched bit of everything else.

Fuck I've even had better French food outside of France than in France. Of course, there's also the whole "Japan literally does French food better than the people that trained them." Again, have not been there yet, but I fully believe it, they do everything better.
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Reply #56 on: February 24, 2019, 09:29:15 PM

I'm with schild on France. I've been a few times now to different places, coast, Paris, driving around the interior. Nothing has ever really clicked for me. Even Corsica is mostly a bore.

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Reply #57 on: February 24, 2019, 10:35:09 PM

Yeah, it just doesn't do much for me either.  Compared to every single other country around it, it just seems to have the most bland towns.  Only exception is when I went out to Alsace for a week.  Really beautiful towns and countryside with amazing wine.  But that's probably also because the people a hybrid French/German cultural group and the towns all look German.

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Reply #58 on: February 25, 2019, 12:13:05 AM

I'm pretty sure my choices mean I'm broken in some way... that, or incurably Eastern European awesome, for real. Anyway:

Disappointing: Los Angeles -- it just didn't do anything for me despite having a friend who's been living there for 10+ years show me around. I enjoyed NYC (especially Brooklyn), San Diego, and even Minneapolis WAY more.

Unexpectedly great: Ottawa. I probably lucked out by visiting it around Canadian Thanksgiving, but it just felt... pleasant? Even with the Rideau Centre being a bit on the eldritch side with its strange angles and non-Euclidean passageways. That said, I haven't been to any other Canadian cities, so yeah. One of my friends who moved to Vancouver said a lot of great things about that place, I should probably visit one day...

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Reply #59 on: February 25, 2019, 01:18:51 AM

I motherfucking LOVED Rome the one time I went there for a 3 day weekend.  The sense of history I got there was just overwhelming.  There is all of the obvious stuff to see, but then you walk into some random, empty church and find something nearly on par with the shit they have in the Vatican.

The Vatican itself....I mean, you gotta do it while you're there, but it is a big hassle, there are a trillion people moving about in a swarm, and the whole experience ends up feeling a bit hollow.  The kind of place you'd want to experience in a more peaceful setting, impossible as that may be.


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NowhereMan
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Reply #60 on: February 25, 2019, 03:35:10 AM

Not sure if this was covered with my skim reading but for travel abroad: Transferwise offers their own debit card that permits you to basically use their platform for direct card payments overseas in the local currency. I think revolut offer similar (and I'm sure there are others too) but I've had experience with Transferwise and it works well.

Basically transfer money from your bank to your Trasnferwise account (which is then available for you to use on the card). My advice would be keep it in your home currency unless you're expecting some kind of exchange rate collapse, if the currency isn't one you can sell on their platform you won't be able to change it back as well (say, if buying Chinese RMB) so you can avoid having foreign money left at the end of a trip.

It's a mastercard type debit card in the UK at least, so usable pretty much everywhere. They do charge for ATM withdrawals but in the civilised world where we don't use cash anymore, it's amazing for travelling. With decent internet home banking you can also top up the account at any time, free of charge.

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Reply #61 on: February 25, 2019, 04:35:17 AM

All of my credit cards give me the spot exchange rate at time of purchase on foreign transactions and my bank only charges a 1% exchange charge for foreign ATM withdrawals.

Are banks in the UK charging asinine exchange rates to their customers or something?

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Reply #62 on: February 25, 2019, 07:54:09 AM

Yeah, that bares repeating.  If you have any sort of travel card (not some cheap shit one they hand to college students) from the US, you can literally use it anywhere.  I've used my Chase Sapphire Reserve in random places across Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines, and if they have the ability to take a credit card (that's the bigger challenge) it will work.  The given exchange rate is always pretty spot on as well.

Is this a brexit thing?   awesome, for real

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Strazos
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Reply #63 on: February 25, 2019, 06:31:56 PM

Most disappointing - Los Angeles, but we were really only there for a day anyway. Big swaths of downtown were dead in the evening.

Most surprising - either Tucson AZ or Minneapolis MN. It was not difficult at all to have a good time in either.

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Khaldun
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Reply #64 on: February 25, 2019, 06:43:12 PM

LA is definitely a "live there or you won't get it" place. I don't think it's a good tourist destination.

My sibling freaking loved Laos and hated Vietnam, which I thought was interesting, because I really trust his gut reactions.

I still have great affection for Chicago after some years since I lived there. I think you can spend a great weekend or week there.

I want to go back to the Okefenokee Swamp--my sibling and I went on kayaks through there a while back and had a great 3+ days.
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Reply #65 on: February 25, 2019, 06:46:11 PM

Oh, also, I love camping at Acadia National Park, because it's really not camping--there's a town with good food, you can eat lobster every night in camp if you want for $2/lb, it's beautiful, there's great hikes, it's the best.

We hated the White Mountains, in contrast. That's for people who really want to climb on ropes or whatever up a shitty piece of granite that the West Coast mountain ranges would call "a boulder that fell off the real mountain" and the towns around are fucking shit and it's just no fun at all.
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Reply #66 on: February 25, 2019, 10:58:52 PM

We actually loved France.  Stayed a few miles north of Paris and got to know the locals.  Put in the time to learn to speak some French and learn how the they like to communicate.  The only issue we had was one really rude waitress in Paris.

I can't say I've ever really been disappointed in a new place i have travelled to, there is always something unique and interesting to do. You just need to research or ask the locals to find it.
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Reply #67 on: February 26, 2019, 12:29:34 PM

Since I don't get my hopes up before a trip, I generally am not disappointed. This is just a expectation-management technique. I use it for games as well.

I liked Iceland a lot more than I thought I would.

I spent two days tromping around Paris (walked over 13 miles). I am not an art lover in the art-degree sense, and found the Louvre impressive/interesting for all the wrong reasons. The painting on the opposite wall from the Mona Lisa was quite engaging and I suspect was put there on purpose to highlight what a joke the Mona Lisa is.

About food in Paris, I assume that depends entirely on which restaurant you duck into. My experience was basically the discovery of good bread with everything else being simply decent. Notre Dame was overhyped (I've been in A LOT of cathedrals). Gypsies with clipboards are annoying.

The Parisians themselves are probably the most controversial part of the whole "did you like Paris" question. My personal experience was fantastic but of course I did the whole "Bonjour!" thing and - as previously stated - have low expectations of any person's reaction to me. I'd rate all the Parisians that I interacted with as "very friendly". Contrast with Germany....

Haven't been many places in France but Strasbourg was super nice.

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Reply #68 on: February 26, 2019, 09:16:00 PM

I like Chartres much better than Notre Dame, for example, and it's in striking range of Paris.
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Reply #69 on: February 27, 2019, 01:26:48 PM

All of my credit cards give me the spot exchange rate at time of purchase on foreign transactions and my bank only charges a 1% exchange charge for foreign ATM withdrawals.

Are banks in the UK charging asinine exchange rates to their customers or something?

Exchange rate isn't too bad with bank cards (probably comparable with Transferwise) but there's a non-sterling transaction fee for every single transaction. So paying 2 Euros for a coffee can cost a similar amount in transfer fees. It's fine if you're happy to just take out a large amount of money from an ATM and stick to cash but I feel a lot safer having money on a card and know I won't get hit with extra charges if I need more. The ATM fees with it are the same (I'm guessing because most countries' banks charge them) but for cashless payments it's just cheaper. Over the course of a whole trip it's probably not a huge difference but I prefer it to carrying around a lot of local currency or (far worse) going through local exchange places.

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