Feb 2 2018

Atlanta


My first trip to the city, Feb 2-4. Atlanta is rather small, hilly and perhaps my short time here, don’t see any rundown area, all good and sitting pretty.

Landing on Friday evening from Huntsville, I take MARTA subway to the city, quick, easy and convenient. My hotel Aloft is 5 minutes walk from the station.      Buckhead is a bit away. the Lenox shopping mall aand Phillp Aven … .

 


Jan 28 2018

… Tourists @ Japanese Airport


I found two posts on People.com.cn (人民日报/人民网) dated January 26, and more:

  1. 18:41 日本机场滞留中国游客归国 使馆提醒理性对待突发情况
  2. 21:00 滞留日本中国游客今抵沪 我驻日使馆: 遇突发情况理性维权
  3. 17:24, SCMP Chinese budget airline passenger held over brawl at Japanese airport – 2016 SCMP and more
  4. mothership Stranded Chinese tourists clashed with Japanese police at Tokyo’s Narita Airport (video)

A big group, 175 in total, Chinese tourists heading to Shanghai stranded at Japan Narita Airport (日本成田机场) on JetStar (捷星 GK35), due to snow in Shanghai, reportedly only 5 cm. (Not sure how JFK functions … my gut feeling is China cancels a flight liberally – my last cancelled flight, fm Taipei to Shanghai.) 14653

To this post, someone comments “俗语:“横的怕愣的,愣的怕不要命的”,雅语“君子可欺之以方”。前些年俄罗斯排华,赶走那么多华人,没收华人财产,国人屁都不敢放一个。个个贼精贼精的。”

Following is a post written in Chinese, from yesterday, Jan 27

中国人不要再当“祥林嫂”——对中国旅客事件的一点苦言
Original 2018-01-27 徐静波 静说日本

上海下了一场雪,其实也不大,就落下5厘米,道路干净了,但是,机场全乱了。

因为飞机流量管控的原因,澳洲廉价航空公司捷星的一架从东京成田国际机场飞往上海的客机,在成田机场延误了十几个小时还飞不了。180名旅客,除了5名日本人,其余的都是我们中国同胞,基本上都是游客。

所有的人都已经办理了离境手续,都已经进入了候机大厅,飞机飞不了,而且据说要等24小时,这一份焦虑和不安,是完全理解的。而这一份焦虑与不安,最终演变成了对于航空公司的抗议,并与机场工作人员发生肢体冲突,一人被警察拘捕,消息传到中国国内,就演变成了“日本机场歧视中国旅客,日本警察对中国人施暴”。

根据当事旅客陈述,这175名中国旅客在成田机场愤怒的原因是这样的:

他们在机场受到非人道主义的待遇,没水没餐,甚至连小孩妈妈拿小孩的尿布和奶粉,都被非人道拒绝。凌晨2点多有位旅客实在饥饿难耐,准备前往离境区内的二楼自动贩卖机购买食品,但他在出门时遭到工作人员的限制,要求不许走动。而日本人被优先接走。随后,部分旅客和工作人员起了争执,更演变成肢体冲突,最后更有一大群人,开始在机场唱起了中国国歌助阵。

捷星航空公司的说法是:

因为乘客购买的是廉价机票,我们预先就与乘客约定,不提供免费住宿和餐饮服务,不承诺提供任何的其他补偿。航班取消或延误超过5个小时,旅客可选择全额退票。

那问题出在哪里?中国的乘客认为,我坐了你的飞机,你就得管我一切。至少应该提供住宿和餐饮,不然就是“非人道虐待”。而航空公司认为,我早已经跟你们说清楚了,飞机飞不了,旅客只能自己解决一切问题,航空公司不承担吃住,要不你就选择退票。

问题还有,作为成田机场这一设施管理机构来说,因为中国游客拿的都是一次性入境签证,你已经办理了出境手续,就意味着你的签证在日本已经失效,所以不能让大家离开机场去一般的外面酒店住宿,除非这一酒店是在机场离境区域内。但是,如果你是日本国籍,或者在日外国人持有“在留卡”(外国人身份证),拥有多次出入境的资格,才可以离开离境区域走出机场去外面住宿或回家。

而许多中国旅客显然不懂这一个道理,觉得凭什么日本人可以离开,不许我们离开。凭什么有些中国人看到工作人员手里拿的“在留”两个字牌子,就可以去领一万日元的住宿代用券离开,而他们的团体旅客就不能离开?这不是搞歧视吗?

有的旅客看到全日空、日本航空的客机陆续起飞,而捷星的飞机还不能飞,是成田机场故意刁难中国旅客。

于是情绪激昂,与机场工作人员发生肢体冲突,把一位女职员推到弄伤。还一起唱起了中国国歌,感觉到中华民族又到了最危险的时刻。

看到这一消息,我觉得有必要提醒一下我们的同胞(虽然这一种提醒可能会遭骂):

第一,要懂一些基本的海外旅游常识。譬如一次性签证在办理离境手续后,再也无法入境。

第二,买机票时,要搞清楚自己的票价可以享受什么待遇,廉价机票到底廉价在哪里?要有一种签约精神,不能以道德绑架签约。

第三,不要做“祥林嫂”,遇到什么事,满是受害者意识,好像全世界人民都在欺负中国人。也不要有“爷”的意识,觉得我们已经强大了,不再是“东亚病夫”,谁敢欺负到我们头上来?其实,飞不了的,除了中国人,也一定还有其他国家的旅客,人家为何不闹,偏偏总是我们中国人闹?人家为何不唱国歌,偏偏我们中国人总喜欢唱国歌?

第四,少一点民族情绪,多一些理性思考。在合情合理的范围内,提出合情合理的诉求。

第五,在海外,千万不能对警察、机场工作人员动粗。动一个手指,就有可能被捕,并被留下犯罪记录,影响你下次的入境。

第六,不要动不动就想到“强大的后盾”,因为飞机延误待遇不好之类的芝麻小事,要求中国大使馆深更半夜进行外交介入,说实在,大使馆在维护国民利益与国家形象之间,许多时候也是挺做为难的。

在整个事件中,旅行社的导游不知在干什么?是袖手旁观,还是积极做好翻译解释沟通协调?

中国驻日本大使馆就此事发表了一条消息,最后表示,大使馆将继续关注事件后续进展,同时提醒出游公民,廉价航空公司属低成本运营,事先与乘客签署相关免责协议,因为成本原因及运力人力有限,经常出现无法及时改签航班、不负责乘客食宿等情况,公民在购买机票时应仔细阅读购票协议,遇突发情况请理性看待,避免过度维权或卷入不必要的法律纠纷。

大使馆已经把话说到了想流泪的程度。

真心希望以后少听到中国人在外国机场唱国歌的消息。希望日本警方让那一位被拘的中国男旅客早一点回家!


Jun 9 2017

St. Pancras


Euston Road,
London, UK

The place has metro/subway (King’s Cross), EuroStar, railway trains and the Renaissance hotel, big is an understatement.

The hotel is pretty imposing, spreading over a block. Apple is building a new store, apparently.

   

 

 


Jun 1 2017

Frankfurt main station Hauptbahnhof

Am Hauptbahnhof,
60329 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

It’s opened on August 18, 1888. Very convenient, connecting to Underground subways U Bahn €2.75, and S Bahn to airport which cost €4.80. Be aware that Frankfurt subway ticket doesn’t take credit card nor €20 bill even the machine says it accepts this denomination.


Jun 1 2017

Haupbahnhof


I enjoy train travel more than air. The main station in Frankfurt is very convenient and familiar. The small shops might have come and go over the years but by large, it hasn’t changed. Two outlets (Ria and Reisebank) to exchange currency – given the status of Germany, credit cards are not as widely accepted as it is in USA.

 


May 30 2017

A breeze @ JFK’s T4


Terminal 4 @ JFK; the beautiful sunset.

A frequent business travel friend complained on WeChat an hour ago: “看来还是要停止抵制美联航。今天飞多伦多,试了一下porter airline。比原定时间推迟俩小时,据说雷阵雨不能按时起飞。更不方便的是脱鞋、解腰带、搜身都来了,看来美联航的Pre换了航空公司就不管用了,呵呵。” but the start of my trip is a breeze. At T4, there is no line. No taking out phone/laptop; empty your pockets. Open your purse. Take off shoes and strip search. Non of the above. Omg. It’s like pre 9/11.

With so much time on hand I shopped. For a pair of very similar sun glasses ray ban sells $160 while Prada $330. Oh well, the power of shopping.

Frankfurt airport has non working escalator like last time, which strikes me a bit unusual. It’s pretty warm too. Again no one wastes energy the way USA does.

 

 


May 22 2017

The train line

A few in this link how reliable is it? (a year ago – May 2016) – wrote that Train Line is more expensive but I found otherwise. Be-known that thetrainline.com is within UK while trainline.eu covers continental Europe.

The Train Line is easy to use especially for people who don’t know who the carriers are. For example, I need a ticket from The fares change but not really according to if you book x weeks in advance. When I looked up on May 22, 2017, the tickets from London to Oxford go for:

  1. May 24
  2. June 5
  3. June 6

It operates @ Paddington Station, which is a short hub (5 stops) from the Eurostar @ St. Pancras Int’l – Kings Cross. The ticket is expensive tho, £4.90 (x 1.293) = $6.34.


Mar 20 2017

Trains

Public transit in Los Angeles. The Union Station.

    


Mar 15 2017

JetBlue at JFK


JFK terminal 5

After the security 🚨 check point, is the center of the terminal #5 which is the food court with seating and wide steps, where people sit to read, eat or listening to their mobile devices. It feels welcoming and relaxing. A few wine bars and cafes make people wanting to enjoy a drink or two.

 


Mar 15 2017

Volkswagen @ Santa Monica


2440 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
volkswagensantamonica.com
(424) 322-2756

Many thanks to Kenny, who picked us up from the airport and provided us with many local knowledge for relocation. He made the transaction so smooth. Really liked his manner and straightforwardness. I appreciate a honest salesman.

The dealership is well run – we only made a few phone inquires. During one call, when the lady on the phone heard that we’re coming from the airport she immediately offered the pick up – that’s a thoughtful service. I’ve a few car buying experience in the past and many bordering on indecent practices (at least in my limited worldly view).

This is my first leasing experience and wasn’t too crazy about the little pressure from the woman who did the paper work: she tried to sell us every thing! Lease protection that cost $355 a month on a 36 month period. It cost twice as much than the leasing amount. Hello!!!! Gosh, how does this business model work?? She kept on telling stories about VW sending bills for the smallest damages at termination time. I’m thinking while she went on and on … does VW want repeat costumer or they just want to screw you?
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