I’m Home!

I’m Home!

So before I give my wrap up of India I still have a few days I didn’t write about while I was in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

A Geography Lesson

First and foremost, we heard repeated from people visiting while we were, that they thought they were in Saudi Arabia. Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in The United Arab Emirates (UAE). They are their own country.

Thank you, now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Reality In Dubai

We left Mumbai for a second time on the 23rd to head back to the UAE to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Contrary to what the young lads at Taco Bell seem to think, not everyone drives fancy cars. I did not see a single pet tiger, and while I didn’t visit every bathroom, I can say, I never found gold toilet paper anywhere.

Burj Khalifa

We stayed at the Sheraton, at the Mall of the Emirates. The night we got in, our first stop was to visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. This was AMAZING! I have only been up there at night and I can tell you for fact that the view changes from day to night. If you get a chance to go up during the night and the day it is worth seeing. The fountains were cool in front of the Burj but I wouldn’t call them better than Vegas… just different.

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Side note: I noticed I have a few days missing from my travels, so I will be re-uploading them shortly.

On the 24th we visited Abu Dhabi and took a bus tour around the city. There wasn’t any one spot we wanted to get off the bus and visit. I am not Muslim but we did see the grand mosque. Honestly it is a mosque to me, so it wasn’t something I really care about. The carpet is one single piece and that was cool. The chandlers are like 9 tons. Otherwise it was just another mosque to me.

We stopped at one of the malls and grabbed lunch which was very tasty. We wanted to have the leftovers for dinner but there was not a way to get it home and still have it safe to eat. Tis’ a shame.

The Gardens

On the 25th We stayed in Dubai and visited the Butterfly Gardens and the Miracle Gardens. Why are they a miracle? Because we are in the desert! It is beautiful and green and flowering and how they are able to have this is the desert is amazing! They desalinate the ocean water to keep the UAE green and beautiful. Truly incredible.

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The Butterfly Gardens were AWESOME!!!! Why? Because they let us pick them up! Grandpa needed a pet so I gave them to him!

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We met some people from Colorado who are now living Kuwait teaching. I ended up giving them a few butterflies as well. If you are in Dubai these places are sooooooooo worth the cost to visit.

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The next morning we work up at 4am and headed to the airport. I am ending my trip to Dubai and India here because Emirates Airline will have a review coming shortly and that is where I will pick up from.

India is Calling my Name

This trip to India was amazing and I honestly wish I was there right now. It has been great being home but India is calling and I am ready to pick up the phone.

I am so thankful to my grandfather for planning and inviting me on this trip of a lifetime. I cannot wait to finish telling you all the stories.

Song of the Day

Rob Thomas – Ever the same

I just like the song

LAX to Dubai and on to India (Delhi)

 

Emirates A380

The A380

Okay, my grandfather surprised me and didn’t tell me that we were flying business class to Dubai and then on to Delhi. I have flown first class once before, from Dallas to Cabo San Lucas, when I was 17. THIS WAS NOT THE SAME!

Anyone who likes or follows planes knows that the Airbus A380 is a monster. If they haven’t seen it or flown on, they know that it is a “bucket list” plane. Why?

· It holds 500 people!

· It has TWO floors!

· It requires 3 jet ways to load the plane!

A380

Okay so maybe I am just a bit excited right now, but you would be the same in my place.

The Triple 7 (777) holds 360 people so you can see the A380 is a beast and a wonderment to our ability to build planes that are bigger and more awesome.

After the flight from LA to Dubai, I am currently in the 777 flying to Delhi Airport in India and I have to say, this is an old plane. The 777 is a twenty-year-old design and it’s just not as nice as the A380.

The 777

The plane is a cigar tube with wings. If you have ever been on a flight with someone like American for non-international travel you can pretty well figure out what first and business class looks like on the 777. A wall to divide the classes and not much else. screen timeelse.

First VS Business Class?

I was texting with family while I was on the flight to Dubai. They asked what first class had that business didn’t and honestly I am not sure. I know first class has a shower but the seating pods were the same. I know they had to pay for Wi-Fi just like the rest of us but I don’t know what the difference really was. I will have to look it up at some point.

The Food

Wow, okay, so let’s talk food. I told my peeps (that is gangster for people because I’m AN OG!) when I get home I think I will be thinner. I figure due to the change in how and what I eat. After eating on the A380 I think I might become fatter. WOW! the food was amazing. Side note: I am smelling the food served on this four hour flight and I am getting hungry again for dinner. (FYI I just ate breakfast 2 hours ago on the last plane).

Breakfast

Emirates

I don’t want to give away too much in regards to my upcoming review of Emirates but I will say this… if you are taking a long haul they are worth looking into.

I understand that most people cannot afford business or first class (myself included) but trust me when I say that as someone with a bad back, I have never slept so well or been in so little pain after a flight. It is crazy. This is because the seats aren’t cramped. They are open, you have room to move around in and you can make a nice little nest for your flight.

Dinner

My Final Thoughts for Today

I have the coolest grandpa ever. We are somewhere in the sky and I am just so blessed to be on this trip. I give my thanks to God and to my grandfather because if this trip was not meant to happen God would have shown us that. The skies have been clear and we are ready to take a trip of a lifetime.

Traffic In India

Traffic outside the airport in India at 3am.  Crazy, right???

AJ’s Trip to India – Bringing Home a Bride?

Bringing Home a Bride?

This week has been filled with anticipation for the adventure ahead. My grandfather has been joking with his friends that the whole point of this trip is for me to bring home a bride… Thanks -_- Grandpa!

Trip Needs a Richter Scale?

I have been out of the country before(obviously), but never on a trip of this magnitude. I am packing light, so we will just do our laundry as need be, in India.

A380

We are flying on the A380. This is just one more part of this trip that makes it epic! My best friend and his father are plane nuts and sometimes I am just plain nuts myself… wait a minute… I digress. I told them that I was flying on the big bad boy and my best friend is a bit jealous. He has been a world traveler his whole life and still wants to take a trip in one.

Modes of Transportation

I have been looking over the itinerary and it reads something like this: plane, rickshaw, car, bus, plane, train, boat, plane car and bus ride. Needless to say, we will be busy traveling to many awesome locations. Hey, any production studios want to pay for me to scout awesome locations? I only charge $1.5 million per location per movie. Cheap, cheap, cheap!

What Did I forget?

I am sitting here just waiting for it to be time to leave thinking, sh*t did I pack everything?

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AJ’s Trip of a Lifetime –

India: Introduction

My Paternal Grandfather is an Asian Indian born American; He traveled to the United States of America when he was 18. My grandmother is a typical American and so growing up my dad and aunts were raised, for the most part, as a regular American family. They had very little influence from the Indian culture. Needless to say, I am a born and raised Texan, and not all that much Indian.

A Long Distance Relationship

I lost my maternal Grandfather when I was 13. This opened my eyes to the fact that grandparent’s (at least in my case) are worth spending time with and getting to know. Since about the age of 17, I have been using video chat to keep in contact with my Grandfather who lives in California. Since we don’t get to visit often, this has let me get to know him and have him as a big part of my life. Most of our calls are about things like Apple products and talking about what is new here. What it really did, was show him that I was interested in getting to know him.

One Last Journey Home

I tell you my history so I can tell you about my upcoming trip. This past summer my Grandfather decided that he would like to take one last trip to India before he dies. He isn’t on his death bed or seemingly anywhere near it. He has decided that this is the best time to go, while he is still of sound body and mind.

A Priceless Trip

After he decided he wanted to go, he invited me on the trip. Forgetting the financial standpoint, this is truly a priceless trip. While it is true I would never be able to afford this trip on my own, it is even more priceless because I am going with him. I am going with someone who knows India and will introduce me to family I have never met. I will be able to see a country that is just incredible.

February 3rd – February 26th

My Grandfather is funny; when he invited me to go, he told me that it would be a surprise as to where in India we are going and what we are going to be doing. As we have gotten closer to our departure he still wants to keep it a surprise, but like someone who is bad at keeping a secret he keeps sharing pieces about the trip. He wants me to look up the places we are going and I have to say WOW!

Vlogging and Updating

I want to vlog while I am in India but I do not know what my upload ability will be. I am also planning on keeping up with a daily journal of what is happening on our amazing adventure! When I get home I will upload whatever footage I have that I wasn’t able to upload over there.

The Compass Points Southwest

The Southwest Airlines Review

As someone who travels enough to have a go to Airline but doesn’t fly enough to rack up the 25,000 miles needed per year for the “elite status” American Airlines offers I can tell you this, if you fly less than 25,000 flying miles per year Southwest is the place to start!

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I live 20 minutes either way from DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field so I have all the options of airlines open to me without having to drive forever to get to the airport. Nothing to me is more stressful before a flight than having to drive two hours to get to the airport and still have to deal with TSA. 

Southwest is awesome for a lot of reasons

  • · No assigned seating
    · No first class
    · Two Free checked bags
    · $72 Flights
    · Peanuts!?!

I have flown first class a number of times and honestly it has always been on short flights. So the biggest upgrade was the bigger seats and warm cookies. If you fly a lot, yes this is a nice perk to have but if you aren’t willing to cough up the upgrade fee why be reminded of the warm cookies?

Southwest doesn’t fly everywhere as you can see from the map below. However they do fly to a lot of airports.

Southwest Airports

The bulk of my travels are to LA, Las Vegas and on the rare occasions Phoenix. When I make my way out west I have two options with LAX or John Wayne (Orange County). This is really helpful for me as I have business near both and family within 30 minutes of either. Southwest fly’s out of both always making my trips less stressful.

I avoid Sky Harbor Phoenix at all cost, just due to how many bad experiences I have had with layovers, TSA and the general overall lay out of the airport. I have family located there and so sometimes I have to man up and just go. It is comforting knowing once I deal with all of that, it is Southwest I am flying with in case I have I have to stay longer than expected or you have flat on the way to the airport or TSA holds you up etc…. Southwest allows you to call and cancel your flight. You can then rebook your flight and reuse the fare that you paid on your flight. You just have to do it before your flight leaves. This is a huge bonus and one that I keep in my back pocket in case of emergencies. I just don’t know of any other airline that offers this.

Rewards Programs and Casey Neistat

As I said I don’t fly enough to reach the base level rewards program with someone like American Airlines or any of the others who offer big perks to frequent flyers but I do want to talk about them for a minute. (Southwest does have a rewards programs where you can earn free flights)

I have been a follower of Casey Neistat for years and I have always enjoyed his work. He filmed this a few years back in regards to AAdvantage and how he has his Executive Platinum status. As of late in his daily vlogs he has been sharing a few more perks such as golf carts to take him from one terminal to the next, the airport lounges and some of the other benefits.

Emirates

I am excited to share that I will be visiting for the first time, my grandfathers’ homeland of India. The trip is coming up in February 2016 with a six day layover in Dubai. I will be going with my grandfather for three weeks. I will be joining up with him in LA for our flight to Dubai with Emirates on their A380. I am very excited about experiencing a plane this size and an airline that offers the amenities that they do.

My flight to LA will of course be with Southwest as they offer two free checked bags and I intend on flying out with some camera gear and my luggage.

Final Thoughts

If you know you are going to be flying enough to rack up the miles, loyalty to someone like American Airlines does put you into the elite status and give you awesome benefits. It seems to me that most airlines have just never returned to being about the passenger. They want to charge you an arm and a leg for a checked bag and they can’t even muster up the cost to give free peanuts with your drink. 

Southwest is one that truly stands above. They aren’t someone who is catering to just the elite and frequent flyers. They have a funny business model that people like Frontier Airlines just doesn’t get. Southwest makes money by making sure people want to fly with them again! WHAT?!?

Are they crazy?! They want you to come back by offering free checked bags every time, cutting out the ELITE and offering no bullsh*t $72 flights?! So they don’t fly everywhere and they don’t offer flights to overseas but they aren’t that type of airline. They want you to fly with them again by making your flight as easy as possible from what they can control.