Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A cunning act of desperation ( booking a flight and missing my bike shop)

It's 8 degrees. The sky is covered end to end in dark clouds.  Drizzle creates those lovely impact circles in the puddles.  George would have called this slit-your-wrists weather.

So last Friday, when Zulema took upon herself to drive her car from Abbotsford to North Vancouver for the sole purpose of visiting me, I asked her if I could use her credit card to book a flight.  WTF? Am I turning into my mother???  No worries. I paid her back as soon as we found a bank branch that hadn't closed (The nearest TWO bank machines ceased to be present in line with the efforts of tearing down strip malls and selling condos in 4-storey paper-mache buildings to unsuspecting idiots.

So I booked a flight.  A while ago I decided to use Alan's presence at a physics centre in Quy Nhon (Vietnam) as an excuse to visit him there (AND to get out of HERE).  So did I book a flight to Vietnam?  

Strangely NO, LOL.

This is where my habit of looking at flights from Vancouver or Seattle for fun comes into play.  The first thing I noticed was that quite a few cheap flights with many lay-overs used Manila as a lay-over point, but only for something like 5 hours.  The second thing I noticed was that if I booked the flight from Vancouver through Seattle to where-ever, it would be $200 cheaper than booking the flight right out of Seattle. WHY?  Don't ask me!

 But it's probably the same reason that is responsible for the CHEAPEST flight on July 10 from Luang Prabang (see post last November) to Saigon (CAD 134) to be a 3 (THREE) hour flight to Kuala Lumpur followed by an overnight stay there and a 2 (TWO) hour flight to Saigon. Go look on a map where all these places are, LOL. And WOW.  US$ 100 for 5 hours of flying and yet another stamp in my passport.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (without a view of the Petronas Towers, LOL)

Soon enough I had a spurious overview of all the flights that would be of interest to me.  I just had to decide whether to have an extended layover in Manila or in Bangkok, both places I have never been to.

So a few days ago, with the help of Zu's credit card, i booked one.  

One-way  Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle to Hong Kong to Bangkok.  For CAD$ 500.  NOT bad, in particular since flights from Bangkok to Saigon can be had for as little as $94!
NO, of course I'm NOT going to fly to Victoria and then to Seattle.  I'm just going to take the train down to Seattle and board that flight to avoid the two lengthy lay-overs I would have to face otherwise.  But booking that flight from Vancouver was actually $200 cheaper than booking it from Seattle.  

The simple act of booking that flight allows me to dream again: Of course I'm looking forward to an overnight layover in Hong Kong. 

 Always a JOY to come back here ;-).
  And I've researched a few more fabulous places to stay in Vietnam. And yesterday I finally realized how small the world has become: the waitress in my Vietnamese restaurant insisted I check out Phu Quoc.
 I had to look it up in Google Maps.  HOLY F#%!  It is an island off the southern Vietnamese coast.  What really floors me is the fact that it is only 80 km as the crow flies from Koh Rong, the island PARADISE that I visited in January with Zu. Good stuff !

And that leads in the direction of the point I'm trying to make.  Sure, I love to return to my favourite places of the recent past.  But what is even more exiciting is to discover something entirely NEW.  And that's why I booked my flight through Bangkok.
 So far, I had almost assumed that Bangkok consisted entirely of bathhouses and massage parlors.  But a bit of research reveals: NOT so.  I get to explore and discover again !  

And of course staying in a fabulous centrally located apartment for just CAD 39/night does NOT hurt either.  And I'll get to sample the world-famous Bangkok street food before the government follows through on its intent of 'cleaning the streets'

And as almost every single day in Vancouver , I get reminded WHY I like to travel AWAY from HERE.   

Riding the bike back from supplying Grandma with food, I get drenched by COLD rain AGAIN.  

Yuho & son
I stop at Yuho Sports, a fabulous bike shop that I discovered last year.  No appointment needed just to change brake pads !   No wait, and half the price of other bike shops.  That should tell you something.  Good AND cheap usually does not survive in Vancouver. So I'm not too surprised when I see a close-out-sale sign in front of the shop.  What happened?   The owner of the little strip mall sold the building and the new owner raised the rent by $1000.  The usual story.  While Yuho changes my brake pads on the spot, he tells me that he has been in Vancouver for 27 years and now is moving to Sun Peaks.  While I'm sad that I have to look for another no-bullshit bike maintenance place, I also know that his move will be best for him and his 3 sons.  

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