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Birthday...UA J Mileage Run? SFO-TPE-HKG-EWR-HNL-MAJ-KWA-KSA-PNI-TKK-GUM-HNL-SFO

Birthday...UA J Mileage Run? SFO-TPE-HKG-EWR-HNL-MAJ-KWA-KSA-PNI-TKK-GUM-HNL-SFO

Old Jul 6, 16, 6:28 am
  #16  
 
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Great TR - I also loved the Grindr order-in comment.
Did you get the frog eggs? I'll always remember my first-ever night market which was in Beijing in 1992, with my dish of fried pigeon on a stick.
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Old Jul 6, 16, 8:15 am
  #17  
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Originally Posted by gaobest View Post
Great TR - I also loved the Grindr order-in comment.
Did you get the frog eggs? I'll always remember my first-ever night market which was in Beijing in 1992, with my dish of fried pigeon on a stick.
I beleive the "frog eggs" are a joke as they had them all over and upon closer inspection the frogs floating were limes and it looked like what they scooped out was big chunks of a clear-ish jelly type material with the liquid into cups.
Sort of like the "bucket of dirt" we would get as kids which was chocolate mousse with Oreo powder on top and some gummy worms.
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Old Jul 6, 16, 3:09 pm
  #18  
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Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
I beleive the "frog eggs" are a joke as they had them all over and upon closer inspection the frogs floating were limes and it looked like what they scooped out was big chunks of a clear-ish jelly type material with the liquid into cups.
Sort of like the "bucket of dirt" we would get as kids which was chocolate mousse with Oreo powder on top and some gummy worms.
They are tapioca pearls cooked a different way. This is actually one of my favorite drinks to get when I visit Taiwan. The hotel where I was staying had a number of frog egg milk tea shops/stands and I got one (or two) everyday I was there.

More info on "Frog Eggs"
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Old Jul 9, 16, 11:54 am
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Fantastic, TR! Thanks for sharing.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the Sheraton; I've not stayed there, but recall hearing positive feed-back from others who did. It's not as central to Tumon as the Westin (for SPG options), which was very nice as far as the island's properties go. The Hyatt was nice the few times I stayed there. It's been a few years, but I would avoid Club USA and Club Texas. My oh my, hot messes

I've really got to do the island hopper one of these days...
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Old Jul 16, 16, 6:20 am
  #20  
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Greetings from Guam! Survived the Island Hopper. Now that I'm not in NY and HI where I was occupied with friends night and day I'll try to catch it all up in the evenings here.

Even got a "...are you JVPhoto?" waiting to reboard in Chuuk. Also got a green tangerine, thanks again!
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Old Jul 16, 16, 3:58 pm
  #21  
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The Langham, Hong Kong

It was on sale on Expedia and I had a few points to get like a $75 credit as well so I went ahead for it. I actually booked a room at The Ritz to celebrate my birthday but decided it was money wasted when being alone.



I was in HK in February for a few days before flying to Thailand, so really this trip was just to stop over for a quick 2 nights as I had my ticket HKG-EWR where I found the R space at booking to buy Y and use a GPU for BusinessFirst.



I was early so I actually took the train from HKG to HK then connected to Central and took the MRT to TST. Even with taking my time I still had about 90 min before I could check in. Dropped my bags and not far I found Itacho Sushi. Pretty good, order it all by iPad.






Also in TST is No. 1 Coffee Club which is great, stopped by there as well before heading back to the hotel.


Comfortable, clean, relaxing.




After working out at California Fitness in The One building I stopped by this place to get some onigiri to take back. Smallest amount of filling in the middle, EVER.


It was raining hard when I got hungry so I just went downstairs to Main Street Deli to get a burger for dinner. Was pretty tasty, but pretty expensive for what it was (by HK/NYC standards)...$40 USD.



The pool and gym at the hotel were actually pretty decent.


I'm a sucker for the Star Ferry. Never in a hurry here so makes it a bit fun to get across Victoria Harbor.


Had a great lunch at Ohlala in Central. Still came out to be cheaper than my dinner.




From Be Juiced...just what I needed.


At check in they gave me a card for a free drink in the lobby lounge, pretty comfortable and nice spot. Big drink and wine lists. Wonderful service.


Breakfast also had lots of good choices and options.



If you're looking at the hotel I don't see a reason to not book it. But, with countless hotels in HK if...when I come back I'll most likely try something else out.
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Old Jul 16, 16, 5:22 pm
  #22  
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Also like Star Ferry😎
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Old Jul 16, 16, 8:38 pm
  #23  
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United Club HKG + 777 BusinessFirst HKG-EWR

I opted to walk the terminal instead of taking the train to the United Club because I wanted to find an Americano.



I jumped the gun and got one at Joe & the Juice, if I waited 3 more gates I would have come to the Illy cafe.


The UC was closed for a bit for a refurb and sprucing up. It's a bit shinier than my last trip through here last year. Last trip in HKG I was next door at TG F.




Uhhhhh...

How can anyone slide in?


An East meets West breakfast.

Love the cans of Perrier, wish they had them on the flights instead of Seagram's club soda.




Boarding was orderly and on time.


He also talked on his phone through the safety video and two FAs had to tell him to stop.

He also used his toes to make selections on the screen...





Was an okay change from salmon.

Great to have pumpkin, hate peppers.

Tasty! The noodles were great too. A bit too much sauce so I tried to scrape some off.

I spoil myself sometimes....though I haven't had the sundae in like a year.


Pretty bland, glad I asked for the chili sauce.


After having a dream where the FA brought me pigs in a blanket trying to convince me it was congee.


MUCH better than the SFO-TPE congee.


Decent flight. First time going this direction. I did EWR-HKG in 2014 and was absolutely miserable having a bit of a stomach issue from Tulum and waking up midflight with a fever that I had to break with water and OJ.
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Old Jul 17, 16, 12:55 am
  #24  
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The Ace Hotel, New York

Compared to other places I've stayed The Ace had a good rate so I figured I would try it out. I've only been in the rooms once when I was on a bender with two models I had shot. Been to some events in the lobby and have eaten at The Breslin 2x (hate it).
After almost 10 years in NY I've only had to deal with hotel staff since August. The Ace (while I know that it's its thing to be cool/casual/hip) could at least get the girl at the front desk to make eye contact.





The bed was big and COMFY. Had some great sleeps on it coming off the harder rocks in Asia. There was no curtain in the bathroom, only a frosted window...with the frosted door on the window it meant the room was lit by 9am so once it woke me up I put my eye patch on.
Maid service leaves something to be desired. The first two days I had the sign on my door from 10am-3:30pm and no one came in that time.

For the same area I would consider checking out The Nomad in the future or just returning to The Carlton.

I didn't do much in NY, just hang out with friends.
Two friends finally took me to Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca which was amazing!

Super cool space, nice massage, wonderful to soak and walk around the baths. Pricey but for sure worth it.

I also had my birthday tradition of dinner at Indochine. I used to live around the corner on 4th and up Bowery from it so I would go fairly often, but it started back in 2007 as a thing to do where I would take 8-10 friends. This time it was just 4 of us as things, people, change. Jane Fonda was also throwing a dinner.


I checked out the new (well...technically original location) of Barneys on 17th Street. Cramped, horrible windows, low ceilings, horrible staff. Will continue shopping at Madison with my usual sales associates. The Fred's was decent and enjoyed a boozy lunch.
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Old Jul 17, 16, 3:49 am
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Interesting to see your review of the Ace. Nomad is great, btw - definitely worth trying out if you can get a rate you're happy with (it seems to pop up on sale on Tablet from time to time).
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Old Jul 17, 16, 5:06 am
  #26  
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United First Class 767 EWR-HNL

Nothing like a 10 hour domestic flight!
Last time I went to Hawaii (KOA) two years ago flew through SF but came back HNL-EWR.

Not having been through EWR in a while I was worried about all the security line back up issues. Hoping that a Sat it wouldn't be too bad. Looked worse than it was. Still had plenty of time before boarding to have breakfast at Saison.
The omelette is really just the things you ask for folded inside the egg, not mixed in.


Favorite.




We boarded on time but ended up posting a 55 min delay. Some computer issue/reboot and waiting for mechanic to sign off. Ended up making the time up and landing about on time, but had to wait 10-15 for the gate to open up.

Saw this Wamos 747...first time I've seen the airline, had to google it. Charter company but lists usually going to JFK.




Had a really friendly and good crew.

Tasty!


Calzone before arriving, I picked at the insides which were good...pepperoni/sausage/cheese but didn't eat too much of the bread. I brought a lot of my own stuff to eat.

Landing in Hawaii I got this ad on Instagram...I think they need to tweak their algorithm.


Got scared when I saw the lines at the rental car counters, luckily no one was at the Gold counter and got the keys in a jiff. Friend flew in on Hawaiian from SJC and was ready and waiting.
Top down, tops off.
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Old Jul 18, 16, 1:50 am
  #27  
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Oahu, Hawaii

This was my second time to Oahu, the first was c. 1990-92 with my grandparents when we stayed in Honolulu. I've been to Hawaii (Big Island/Maui) since then a combined 8-10 times. I originally had booked this trip to myself and thought I would go meet my parents and sister on another island, but my sister didn't feel like flying with my nephew yet (17 months).

I decided it had been so long I may as well just stay on Oahu and I would invite my friend to come meet me for the trip. With that I knew I didn't wan to stay in Honolulu. I thought about a Marriott/SPG hotel but decided I'd rather have more space and a kitchen so I went through AirBnB and saw that places in Kailua/Kaneohe looked pretty good, area seemed decent enough and could easily pop over the mountain or up the North Shore. Parts of it were upscale and then you'd go over a few streets and it was very working family.


(not the house we rented)

Whole Foods was a 2 min drive or 6 min walk from the house which was perfect. Went to stock up on things in the hour I had to wait before I could get the keys and then made our way down a little bit to cruise around and went to Waimanalo Beach just pace the Air Force base.



When on Oahu...eat at Maui tacos.


I found a place in Aiea called Powerhouse Gym which offered a week pass for $25 which was a steal. Open 24 hours. The girl was shocked when I said we were staying in Kailua. It's a beautiful driver over the Pali Highway or the normal hwy and only took us about 25-30 min enjoying the scenery with the top down.





In the shopping center there was also this plate lunch spot which we ate the garlic chicken from after every workout.



Looking up hikes and things to do I wanted to go on the Maunawili Falls trail, it's only a 7 min drive from where we were staying. I read that it was muddy and ruins your shoes, breaks your flip flops. We didn't have anything we wanted to ruin...so we went barefoot. The whole way.






It's pretty much in the covered canopy and yes it's a slog the entire way. Honestly for a while it felt good and I enjoyed the mud. The rocks for the most part was fine. What started to kill us in the last bit and on the way back was the roots that you go across, very unforgiving. There is one hill you crest and it opens you up on top of a ridge that you then go back down into the falls.



Took us 3:20 and we actually didn't slip and fall once. Sites say it takes 3 hours (including some swim time) and lots of people we saw had mud all over their asses or backs. We found sticks to use which I think helped with not falling. For the next 2-3 days the pads of our feet were pretty tender anytime walking around the house barefoot.

Beach time it was to recover.



We had some photos to shoot at sunset which means we had to go to the other side of the island. I scoped out a few things at Barber's Point with the light house and then also a bit up the road at Paradise Cove (next to the Four Seasons Ko Olina).



Paradise Cove is next to a luau and the beach was a lot busier (pretty small) with lots of kids. Barber's Point you go through this industrial park and it also has a luau but a larger stretch of beach with more local families, people fishing.



Before you get back on the freeway is a shopping center and we went through to a conveyer belt sushi place Kazuka that was decent. Didn't see much else besides Outback, Chilis and those sorts. The nice thing is when you're starving you don't have to wait to order.


Spam!


Back home at our Crossfit gym in Monterey there's a decent amount of military families and 3 of them had lived in Kailua so they told us to get breakfast at Cinnamon's. On a Tuesday morning huge amounts of people waiting, we almost didn't ask about the wait but did and since we were just 2 it would only be about 15-20 as all the other parties were big groups with 45-60 min. We were told to get the Kaula pork eggs bene...it was okay, nothing amazing.





Fueled up it was time to...Koko Head! I knew it wasn't a "fun" hike and it's just an old tram track straight up the mountain. Once you actually see it and how high and steep it goes it gets a bit daunting. We did it for time. I got up in 17 min flat and my (stronger, buffer, sexier but slower) friend got up in 19:30.



Once you get to the top and go past the little tram structures there's great views (sorry he's not included on future hikes) and a WONDERFUL breeze.



After getting back and freshening up before we did a backyard BBQ we talked over to Cactus for some happy hour spicy margaritas and ceviche. The staff was great and the menu looked awesome.


Our hump day was a bit of a bust. We decided we would go up and around to the North Shore. I wanted to stop halfway up and go to Goat Head Island. It was pretty windy, the waves were big and it was off and on raining. I would have been fine swimming there but I originally wanted to take photos on it but that wasn't going to workout with my treading with camera in 3 plastic bags above my head. We went on and then got stuck in a standstill for about 25-30 min as the road was down to one lane and alternating traffic.

Another rec from our military friends was Opal Thai in Haleiwa. You can say that I'm skeptical of people recommending Thai places who haven't spent much time in Siam. Walked in, guy shook our hand, waitress gave us menus. Came up and asked if we liked Thai food, I said sure love it. Asked us to name 5 Thai dishes...when I did that (including things like khao soi) and said a few other things in Thai he asked if I've spent much time/ lived in Thailand. After that he took the menus away from us without ordering and just brought us some food. It was really good, not the best Thai food I've had. But when he sat down next to us and talked for a few minutes and the whole experience made it very special.




We proceded on along the shore past Dillingham Airfield where the sky diving is to do the Kealia Trail. Upon getting there and double checking that people say it takes 3-4 hours and being late in the day and still having to go to the gym we skipped that and went back down to Aiea to work out. It looked AWESOME.



Went back around to the shops and was going to go to another plate place called Fat Boys but I was too tempted next door by the nicer dining at Formaggio and devoured the prime rib.


Another day another hike. Going up the west side we went to Makua Cave. You'll see the pull out and space to park for Kane Cave which is just off the highway, no climbing. If you go north on the road just past the speed limit sign you'll see a few starts to trails...and this.


They all converge and start going up the mountain, once halfway up you go to the right and around the front of it and you'll see a small cut out and going down and past that on the other side of the rock you come to the "cave".


It's more of a really large overhang and shelter. The photos most people take with super wide angle GoPros make it seem big. There were 5 of us sitting around and that was enough to be out of people's ways taking photos and such.





Last day, just enjoy a little bit more time in the water at Lanikai beach.



All in all I enjoyed my time but I think that was since I finally got to travel/spend time with someone when I'm usually solo or just meeting someone here or there for drinks/food/etc. Do I want to come back to Oahu? No*. We only had one time where we dealt with the horrible traffic. I feel the locals hate howlies more here. If I wanted to go to a big beachy city you can go to Miami or San Diego. I'll gladly continue to go back to Maui or Kona but in the future I'd like to finally make it to Kauai at some point.
*If I could legally do the Stairway to Heaven hike I would come just for that.
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Old Jul 19, 16, 4:04 am
  #28  
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United Club HNL & Island Hopper Y HNL-MAJ-KWA-KSA-PNI-TKK-GUM

Left Kailua at about 4:35 to give me enough time to find a gas station by HNL to fill up the car and also make the 75 min bag check that is required for the Island Hopper. Curious as the reasoning, perhaps given all the extra cargo and things like that which the Hopper carries they have to get their ducks in a row.



Still a pretty busy check in counter at 5:15am. Pre-Check was pretty quick, normal security looked like it had about 50 people or so in it.



This is my first time in the HNL UC. It's a bit dated, but "islandy".


No hard boiled eggs out but they did have oatmeal and yogurt and such.


I realized I had no cash on me and was worried in case something went IRROPS at one of the stops I didn't want to be without cash so I left a bit early to find the closest ATM (inside the main part of the terminal by the Carls Jr or whatever it is. That one had no cash so I had to go further down past where security spits you out near the DL lounge to find one.


Enjoying the women in the boarding area for the hopper. Specifically the far one who had a lei made of party sized M&Ms, Crunch bars, Butterfingers, etc.

I got on the plane and saw already seated in my row was an infant. I got closer and saw the old man and thought this couldn't be too bad. At least he wasn't a person of size!


Had about a 10-12 min delay while they were still loading the cargo hold.


Next up.


See ya HNL.






Pretty quick into the flight we were given breakfast.
It also came with a fig bar. I pulled a Michael Scott and just ate the meat and egg and left the crusty hard bun.


Nice clouds out the window. Watched Ant Man again and The Lego's Movie.


Not long into the flight grandpa next me started nodding off now and then would slouch my way.
That was until I would adjust when he would come to far and he would wake up a little and move. Finally as I would adjust he would keep coming over and over and over to the point to where his elbow had to be 3-4 inches over the arm rest and in my side.



Finally after two noticeable pushes back from me I think he got the point. Luckily I could see they only had BPs to MAJ so things looked good.

Finally time for the good stuff!







When we got on the ground the purser made an announcement that we want to leave MAJ as quick as possible because a rain storm is approaching and asked transit passengers to not deplane. Not knowing the run of show I obliged and noticed most people did until I saw one lady leave her teen on the plane. Eventually I noticed a few people who got off got back on. Not a big deal, plenty of other stops and as the doors closed there was no one in my row so I had that going for me.



We were ready to go and Captain said we had to wait 14 min because of traffic which was a Hainan and Air Marshall Islands plane that came in from each direction.



It was here that the mechanic got on board and saw on the aisle across from my row. I don't think I saw him on the plane elsewhere on the first leg and was under the impression that's always his seat which it was for the rest of the flight.

Drink service and some nuts (thankfully raw!) on the quick flight to KWA. We didn't have to close our window shades but we were told to not take any photos on approach, landing or take off. I don't know what the big deal is, you can see all parts of the atoll on Google Earth. Didn't seem like much other than old buildings and a few round/dome buildings. Of course we couldn't get off, but this is where most of the white people who were on the flight got off. A guy that was bouncing around each leg on standby took the aisle seat in my row.

They didn't do drinks on the KWA-KSA flight because of weather. At this point I was very glad I packed my Lenny & Larry cookie and later on in the flight Quest bars. I suggest anyone doing the Hopper for sure back provisions.








Okay this is enough time...I am getting off!



Glad to feel the sun and even the fresh, albeit humid, air.




I was actually surprised at the re-boarding processes. Not gate lice, no one in a hurry, everyone just sitting and taking it easy. My SBY row mate then got a new boarding pass for a seat in F. He was very happy about that even though he was getting off at the next stop PNI.



Amazing colors, formations and just feeling so out of this world. Spots on a map most of the world doesn't even know exist let alone could place or see on most maps.



Nauru Air parked at PNI.


Very exclusive I'm sure.


I had some sneaking suspicions on the previous legs but here at PNI it was confirmed that some people who I thought were missionaries were in fact that. Later on the last leg the purser upgraded a priest (normally clothed).


Leaving PNI is the cool sight of a ship that is beached and abandoned on the reef.


Heading to Chuuk we passed over this random atoll. It hammered home the idea that some of these places we stopped are just small strips of sand in the middle of the ocean, unsheltered with little protection.








I wonder if in IRROPS people are put up at the L5 hotel in the back?

A bit more lively terminal at TKK than the other stops.


It was here that someone who I had seen on the other legs approached me and said...."Are you JVPhoto?"


Sure enough another FT'er was doing the Hopper on a J award. Lucky guy! All the other legs in this TR were upgraded via GPU/RPUs at booking. I could have used $/miles to try and upgrade but I was worried that I wouldn't get a window seat in which case the trip was silly. Also, it's been about 3-4 years since I've sat in Y in something other than an intra-EU/California flight.

Also gave me a delicious green tangerine!


Everyone loaded to go on time, no delays and scheduled to arrive a little early!



The last bit of beauty on the flight leaving TKK.



Even after eating 3 protein bars I was still really hungry so I went ahead and ate the simple white carbs. It was actually much tastier than the Jimmy Dean thing.


Well...everything was good to land early. Until we were over Guam and I could see the airport out the window, we started to get closer and I noticed a KE plane taxing to the runway. I saw that there were dual runways and figured this would be like SF...well about 15 seconds later we pulled up and did a go around. Not as exciting or thrilling as the touch and go one in HKG on BR as we were still a couple hundred feet above ground at this point.



Once in a life time trip, all you need to do it is once!
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Old Jul 20, 16, 9:59 am
  #29  
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"Once you get to the top and go past the little tram structures there's great views (sorry he's not included on future hikes) and a WONDERFUL breeze."



I must say your trip reports just keep getting better and better!
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Old Jul 20, 16, 4:40 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by DEK View Post

"Once you get to the top and go past the little tram structures there's great views (sorry he's not included on future hikes) and a WONDERFUL breeze."



I must say your trip reports just keep getting better and better!
You should see my Snapchat on a weekend in Bangkok.
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