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Sometimes change isn’t for the better

TSA version of Cut and paste.

It was a last minute decision to change my booking to the last evening flight instead of the intended first morning flight. I had figured that I was being too optimistic to land at 7:15 am to get all day meeting that starts at 8:00.

On all my last trips, I have in checked luggage and as such, I completely forgot about the limitations on toiletries. So there I was, at an empty Houston Hobby airport – which looks very nice by the way – with my bag put to one side of the X-ray machine, waiting for a TSA supervisor to come to tell me off and confiscate offending items.

It took a while for a supervisor as the airport was nearly closed and I was wondering if I was going to miss my flight over this. Eventually I got to the gate only to find my flight was delayed. ‘Great’ I thought, ‘that means I have time to get something to eat’. The one minor point to that brilliant plan was all the food vendors had closed.’Oh well, plan B- get something in Dallas’.

When the flight did take off, the Southwest pilot made up for lost time so by the time they gave out drinks, it was ready to prepare for landing and my Heineken turned out to be free.

After finally getting my rental car, I check into the hotel. Toiletries? :”Sir, the shop has them but they are closed”.Uhm ok, let’s order some food. “Sir the Kitchen closed 5 minutes ago”.

So the next day, I drive to my meeting unshaven, hair untamed and teeth feeling a bit furry, only to be stuck in rush hour traffic due to a wreck and arrive late. If I had taken the morning flight as intended, I would have driven a different route that would likely have got me here earlier, clean shaven, clean teeth, and non-wild hair.

Fate, I curse you !

Lights, camera, craption: That’s entertainment?

Modern day In flight entertainment

On my flight back to the US from LHR, we had a new Boeing 767-300. Great plane which on first impressions of the IFE, (In flight entertainment) looked as if it had lot of selection.

However, after watching 3 IFE movies that progressively went from bad to worse , I desperately need to moan and get my misery off my chest.

Movie #1 was “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. I loved the original Planet of the Apes series and films, but this was “Yawn of the Planet of the Apes”. I did not like it and was pleased to fall asleep towards the end.

Movie #2 was “Into the Wild” by Sean Penn. I hated it and could not empathize with the main character, Christopher McCandless, who was messed up by his father and so goes off to live in Alaska without much planning. I just thought the character was an idiot. (I just looked up IMDb and it has 8.2 rating: Feck me..)

Movie #3 was “Noah” with Russel Crowe as the main character. I couldn’t believe this actually made it to a film.  I was appalled that some major stars – Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly (I used to have a crush on her) and Emma Watson – actually appeared in it. Noah was one of the worst movies I have seen. What is up with the rock monsters?

Unable to take any more, I turned it off and watched the in flight map instead. It was far more entertaining.

Hopping mad

Hop away

I saw this warning sign near Burry Port in South Wales: What was it warning me of?

– Beware of Giant frogs crossing?

– Toad works ahead?

– Attention : Spawn of the dead?

– French restaurant nearby?

– Tadpoliticians?

Since it was so close to Halloween, I’m officially scared.. Help Mommy 🙂

Inconvenient conveniences: Roadway services in Germany need to see your money


All roads lead to groan…

Traveling down the autobahn near Stuttgart and having a few coffees on the way, I thought “Ich muss pinkeln”.

I stop at the next Resthof, follow the signs for “Toiletten” and… uh oh: A literal barrier to my mission.

Luckily I have a bag full of small change and insert my 0.70 Euro cents.

In older days, there used to be  elderly lady cleaners who worked for tips and it seems these have been offloaded. It was a bit weird that you had these old dears walking around while you splashed and dashed, but I am sure they didn’t care at all.

The bright side is at least you get 0.50 voucher to spend at the Resthof with your 0.70 cents but this sucks big time if you don’t have the money or change.

Bird watching

Aiu Wei Wei's snapshots from around the world

Aiu Wei Wei’s snapshots from around the world

Dahlings, Augustus sent me this picture that he had taken in the library of Blenheim Palace.

His presumption was that this was another contemporary art exhibit by Ai Weiwei.

Looking at this, I would have called this “Yellow pages 2014”.. Letting your finger do the walking talking.

At least I think it was Mr Weiwei as I was about to say I would very surprised to see a Duke – almost top posh dog in British aristocracy- doing this in public. And then I remembered the Duke of Edinburgh.

Ciao for now, Cleo.


Talking the TSA Walk.

I am at IAH on my way to Europe and it is pleasantly quiet being off season and mid week.

After going through document matching checks, I had the choice of two empty security lines to go through. I picked the right one where there were eight TSA staffing it. Two TSA were either side of the conveyor belt, talking.

After unpacking everything – shoes, belt, laptop, metals out of pockets etc – and loading it into 3 boxes I push them up the rollers and on to the conveyor. After a while wondering why nothing is happening, a supervisor shouts the line is closed and I am dumbfounded. There are 8 TSA people there looking as if they should be working ! The two at the front stop talking, look at me and go back to talking.

A TSA worker from the left lane saw what had gone on and without saying anything came across and picked up all my boxes to load them into his line. Thanks, I think.

As I walk through, I am standing in the  ‘Hands up, lets look at your bits’ equipment now waiting for the “ok, now proceed”. And I wait. Thinking they must be admiring my genitalia (I can’t blame them if they did) but alas no, the screener is instead talking to a TSA collegue and eventually stops talking to “ok me to come on”.

Finally, I am stopped for a pat down of my leg cuffs and yet another TSA person gestures to me to wait. Wait for important security screening equipment to come ? Nope, to wait for him to finish his conversation with another TSA talker.

I can see for miles

This was easy. I will go to London using United points for 30,000 each way where I am flying in two weeks time. The dates I wanted to fly would have cost me $1300. Both flights will be midweek.

A look at the seats shows the planes are relatively empty and looks like I will get rows all to myself and so far, there is nobody in the 3 rows ahead of me.

Don’t mind if I do !

Your Bad Trip Guide

20140913-104203.jpgToday, I had to reset the home screen layout on my iphone and Apple maps is back on my front page. The first thing I did was to move that stupid piece of software to my last screen in order to never use it again.

Apple maps is like taking LSD : every now and again, they will both take you on a bad trip.

Strike one was Apple Maps directing me on a 7 mile journey to a specific main street bank only for it to be another bank. Ok banks get bought so I excused that instance.

Strike two: it showed me the location of a major auto part store that turned out to be a Mexican restaurant. The problem was that it there was no way to make it another store before they’d closed for the night. I needed a particular main headlight bulb as it had just gone out.

Putting that behind me, I resolved to use Google maps instead going forward. Continue reading..