Mar 3 2024

Hibachi Buffet

2456 Gulf to Bay Blvd,
Clearwater, FL 33765

… more pix on Google Maps, Yelp and TA

Will return – my friend and I are up since 5:30 and done 1.2 miles open water swimming by 9:30 at Sand Key park. After the medal ceremony at 10:30, we’re hungry 😋 … thanks to my friend who picked this place!

They have a main hall where the foods are. There is a smaller one at the back.

The food is decent. I particularly enjoyed the green string beans! I think their cheese cream spinach – the spinach is bit sweet – my friend tried and said NO.

Most serving staff are Chinese. They’re cheerful and quick on their feet. They take Apple Pay – yup, forgot my wallet. Thank you!

The waterfall by the entrance is nice.

Mar 2 2024

James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital

13000 Bruce B Downs Blvd,
Tampa, FL 33612

… more pix videos on Google Maps

Thanks to the men and women in the military.

I came here with a friend who is a vet. My review is for the look and feel of the place – it’s my first time visiting a veterans’ hospital, and very impressed, with the new building (??) where imaging / mammogram is located.

James A. Haley (1899-1981) was a WWI vet and served as FL Representative for many terms.

It’s early Saturday afternoon. The hospital is quiet. Simple decor, shiny floor, even men’s bathroom has a diaper changing table.

My friend got appointment done in less then 10 min, which also cut my exploration short too.

Parking, however is another story. Our driver was being harassed for pulling in there: you need a permit, I think. Oh well.

Feb 14 2024

Amex Centurion @ ATL

This Amex Centurion Lounge at Atlanta ATL Terminal E by Gate 11, has just opened this morning, I think at 6am, when we flew in from Buenos Aires, to change flight home.

… more pix videos on Google Maps, Yelp & TA

As we flew into Atlanta to change flight, we’re treated to their newest Centurion Lounge that just opened that moment.

Opening hours: 6am to 11pm daily.

The place is huge, easily double the space to other centurion lounges. A gentleman in suit showed me around – thank you. They’ve two outdoor terraces, one whisky bar with 34 (?) American whiskeys. Chef Deborah Vantrece curates nice layouts, from fruits to bakery to sausage … my most favorite is the pinkish cheese grit with a hint of spicy – the most delicious grit I’ve had 😘 salty and spicy

The decor is modern. With green-wall at the entrance, to books and luggage to enclosed meeting spaces.

Staff are fresh, friendly and energetic – do keep it up.

The only speck is the lacking of tea spoons – love their utensils by the way. “No worry,” I told the gentleman: the cruise ships use regular spoons for their desserts – is this the trend or what?
The shower has 15 minutes limit.
It’s a sunny day and I got a few sunrise videos and pix, before they put down the shades.

Feb 13 2024

Uber in Rio

We used Uber to get around in Rio de Janeiro. They’re not always cheaper. Once we took the taxi at the half cost of Uber, which was also a long wait. Waiting around for a Uber is the downside of it. But it’s convenient: just open the app and you don’t need to stick out your credit card.

Bloomberg News reports Uber has a banner quarter, up 30%, while Lyft is down 80%, which has very limited worldwide presence. My last encounter with Lyft was horrible, from both the driver and the company.

The location service is spotty in Rio. Many times, the drivers couldn’t find us. One time at the beach, the driver of a Black Fiat (lic ending I33) drove away from us, that was a terrible experience. We would spend next 30 minutes waiting for another car. It drained my battery as well. If I were to cancel it, Uber charges me a cancelation fee. It doesn’t seem fair.

On our trip to the GIG airport, the driver has a yellow tank in his truck. What is it?

One interesting thing to note: many Uber cars in the airport are mini, without a truck! We put our two carry on in the front passenger seat.

As of now, I still haven’t figure it out how to tell Uber the number of passengers, other than myself.

Above my pay grade topic. Uber 的季度业绩表现出色, 增长了 30%; 而 Lyft 则下降了 80%, 在全球范围内的业务非常有限.
几年前在旧金山Lyft 的司机无缘无故说我的狗在他车里💩了 加收$80. Lyft不调查 (照片的meta data was striped …) 说收的对… 当然我赢了. 这么烂的公司 简直了.

今天Uber 小哥看俺在照相 好心提醒俺 “… 小心 不要被人抢手机…”
这是来后第一个提醒. 俺觉得Rio 挺安全, 虽然最好的酒店都有些惨不忍睹 周围环境本应该高大上 但也就是New York 23 街的感觉.
满大街卖冰/水的小贩们 人手一个收银机. 在这个背后 不知道信用卡公司的努力
相比之下 德国🇩🇪小商店都还是现金…



Feb 10 2024

Airport lounge 机场休息室

Amex Centurion @ eze: Terminal B by Gate 19
Buenos Aires

… more pix on Google Maps

There are many airport lounge networks, most of them run by airlines itself, like Delta, while others run by credit card, such as Amex Centurion, and lounge access program such as Priority Pass.

Many credit cards give you free access to PriorityPass locations. During my younger days, I won’t leave a minute early than necessarily. Now, I’m early by the hour (ok, not the hour, but just leave early, to not have to deal with the stress of running late.) So airport lounges seem a good place to check it out.

… more lounges I’ve used:

  1. ATL @ Atlanta – Centurion
  2. GIG @ Rio de Janeiro – Plaza Premium Lounge
  3. EZE @ Buenos Aire

Amex Centurion Lounge at Buenos Aires‘s eze is my first, when we’re waiting to take our flight up to Rio de Janeiro.

What has gotten to me today? Little Irene wants a burger 🍔 are u kidding me?

Guess not.

At Burger King, I don’t know how to order with the machine. A little frustrated, I said, what the hell, why don’t I go to the Centurion Amex Lounge instead?

The Centurion Lounge is, as usual, decent with all the drinks (soft and hard) and cold food, with a couple of hots. The two tv monitors are showing soccer games. Their policy for Amex users are 3 hours prior to departure.

We’ve a long layover @ eze, so I checked out the other lounges:

  1. Latam @ eze, $45 pp, stay as long as you want (can go in and out)
  2. Aerolineas Argentinas $60 for four hours

一根筋 想吃汉堡
机器下单 自己搞不定 发愁

突然想起 不如去运通休息室吧

以前赶飞机 都是掐着时间 早一分钟都不肯
现在老太婆了 早的以小时计 (没有了 不过差不多…)
以前不会用运通的福利. 现在变常客
可惜现在没什么网球比赛 都是⚽️
吃了喝了 汉堡点了


多吃点了吗?想想俺轮流天涯海角的靠汉堡充饥 😜😹



Jan 19 2024

Santos Manjares

Paraguay 938, C1057 AAN,
Buenos Aires

… more pix on Google Maps, Yelp, TA

Won’t return: although the meat is good but the atmosphere is like an Irish pub, suitable for an after game meal. And the a/c is weak, if they’ve it at all.

We arrived at 3:44 on a Friday. Two couples were waiting ahead of us. We were seated 13 minutes later.

The restaurant is pretty small, with a small second floor. When I went, one of servers took my name (ok … she asked for my name, ‘nombre’ and I thought it sounds like number, and gave her my phone number – hope this makes your day … lol). After taking my ‘name’, she closed the door and told/pointed me (I thought) to wait outside.

Our table is close to the door. Some of the subsequent dinners have come in and waisted by the door – so you know how uncomfortable it is for us.

The menu is in Spanish. Google translates does a fine job. Our lunch at Cafe Proa hadn’t disappear completely, so we just ordered two steaks: filet mignon beak and rib eye. All steak comes with one side (I think).

  1. the sauce for bread: looks better than the taste
  2. the bread: pretty good
  3. the filet is tender but tasteless (as usual)
  4. rib eye is more flavorful (as usual)

… nothing is new.

The bill is inexpensive ($32) compare to US but I can’t see myself returning.

The bathroom is downstairs – it’s a trip.

Jan 19 2024

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

1860 Santa Fe Avenue
Buenos Aires

.. more pix on Yelp, Google Maps, TA

71.2% (2020) of books are sold online, physical bookstores seem on the decline, closing than opening. Another stat is North America has 32.9% of the world book market (2021).

This bookstore is in Barrio Norte. The theater opened in 1919, with 1050 seating. The converted bookstore was opened in 2000s, the stage is now a cafe. According to wikipedia, it sold 700,000 books in 2007 and 1 million people visit it annually.

It made some waves in 2008 and 2019. But isn’t that impressive. Old, in a sense that it needs repair. Big tour buses park outside is a huge turn off. A Korean group was there. They juggling for photo ops, and chit chat rather loudly … this kind of behavior just not mesh with a bookstore. Beside, how many of them will buy a Spanish language book?

Tranquility is what bookstore needs.

Jan 18 2024

Chevere spa unisexa

Montañeses 2118
Buenos Aires

… more pix on Google Maps; my second one at Vintage.

Def will return: enjoyed their work and atmosphere at this nail salon in Chinatown.

… more pix on Google Maps.

They’re between Mendoza & Juramento, in Chinatown. The young woman with neat teeth and genuine smile did a great job for me – a simple French. Everyone in the shop were friendly and accommodating.

Although they have sticker on the window that they accept credit cards but they don’t. Good practice that I asked before hand. And yes they accept USD. But in the end, they don’t and suggested that I go somewhere else to do the exchange. Two women in the salon offered to exchange for me. I took the first lady, who asked, eventually, how much do I want. I showed her my googled rate, which is 16,384.62 for $20. She gladly counted out the peso.

(Re FX: I know there is an active black market, which at the moment, is 20% higher than the bank rate. But I feel it isn’t the place to ask for it. Leaving something on the table for your opponent, even tho we may never meet again. She saved me a trip elsewhere. I’m happy, and hopefully so is she.)

At the moment, I’m a little buffed at their charge: it seems the final bill is always higher than what they quoted. In this case, it’s 1,000 peso high: they told me up front 6,000 for the gel (not sure if they’ve dip… I didn’t press because I don’t speak the language…). then 6,200. But eventually, it’s 7,200. Not a big deal but I’d like to know, if it’s the tax? or What?




Jan 17 2024

A Delta flight attendant

This review is for a female flight attendant in the main section, on Delta flight DL0101, from Atlanta ATL to Buenos Aires EZE on January 16 (took off 9:18pm arriving BA the following day, at 8:39am – all local time).

Is asking a flight attendant to help me to close the overhead bin door a ‘favor’?

… on Google Maps, Yelp

It was sleeping time during the flight. The hall was dark. I opened the overhead bin door and put my bag back in, but unable to close it. I’m too short, apparently. I looked to my left, hoping my husband would have done his business. No, he hadn’t but I saw the tall and slender flight attendant with short hair was watching. Leaving the bin door open, I’d think it’s dangerous. When I saw her making no move, I tried the second time. Still unable. Guess I don’t grow tall in a few second. So I walked to her, and whispered, “Can you help me to close it?!”

Please is part of my sentence structure but this time I left it out, because of the situation – it’s her job and she made no attempt to help.

She said, “what?”
“Close the bin” I said. Thinking isn’t it obvious?!?
“Are you ask me a favor?” She said.
“No. I’m not.” I thought it’s her duty. Isn’t it dangerous to leave the bin door open while in the air?
By now my husband is out of the bathroom, who closed it in a snap.

I remembered this attendant: when we met in the aisle before taking off, she coldly walked straight at me, as if I wasn’t there. How rude!

As I was walking away, she said, “if you ask for a favor, you should say please.” Is she teaching a kid, or talk down to a little old Chinese woman?
Why did she consider closing the bin door a favor?

A few hours later, at breakfast, I asked for a supervisor. An attendant said, “what’s up?”
I asked her if closing the overhead bin door, a part of their job? And what is that short hair attendant’s name. She said, “Ill talk to her in a minutes.”

“Ma’am, I’m asking you two straightforward questions.”

“I’ll talk to her in a minute.” The supervisor repeated.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“I’ll talk to her in a minute.”

Guess the supervisor’s name is I’ll talk to her in a minute.

What’s going on in the corporate America? No one wants to take any responsibility.

I guess their names are off limit too. So I took two photos (side and back) to identify the attendant and the ‘supervisor’ – I did ask another woman who assured me, the lady I was speaking with, is a supervisor.

… the flight attendant who won’t help to close the bin door and the supervisor whose name is I’ll talk to her

Unintentional, I’ve been flying – almost exclusively – with Delta for decades. Have been a satisfied customer. This kind of rude behavior is a first, actually is the first from any airline: leaving the overhead bin door open.

Their chief customer experience officer is Allison Ausband, hope she’ll handle this matter correctly.

Jan 15 2024

Cigars International Superstore

10660 Palm River Road
Tampa, FL 33619

… more pix on Google Maps and Yelp

Def will return, hmmmmm … even I don’t smoke.

Spacious, pleasant, big fire, many sofas. Women accounts higher percentage than I anticipated. What do I know.

The Aussie Open is on. So I asked if they can put on one screen. On a second thought, “will they kill me?”

The bar tender said, “I don’t think they’ll be happy.”

“… So I said nothing.” Gosh it’s half time. 😂

Never mind, Buccaneers 🏴‍☠️ is beating the Eagles 🦅… I’m happy.