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???

India – (Not) The Final Frontier

Stardate: 212016. Bags are like 99% packed…. I think. Just remember everyone, if we forget something on this trip, we are blaming Kevin. Sorry Kev.

I now have a will. I’m now “that guy”. While talking with a family friend he made a comment saying that after a week of India I will want to be home. I think since we aren’t staying in one location for more than 1 or 2 nights, I won’t be sitting still long enough to even think of home.

Tech Free? Not!

I am bringing my phone and laptop so I can keep in contact with family and blog/vlog. Part of me wishes I could just let everything go and just be there. No camera to take pictures, no phone to call family, no laptop to upload pictures and content.

It isn’t because I don’t want to be in touch with people. It’s that I want time that belongs solely to me and my grandfather. I know that the essence of this trip really is that, but it would be nice to just be tech free for a day or a trip.

Just Ready to Be There!

My family Is being awesome about my leaving. I am trying to tone down the true level of excitement I have so I don’t burn them talking about it. As the hours tick closer to takeoff, I am just ready to be there.

I have some goals for this trip

· Come home with a pet Himalayan Blue Sheep

· Do not come home half eaten by the tigers

· Do not get bitten by any snakes

· Take amazing vlogs

· Spend time with family I have never met

· EAT ALL THE FOODS (insert meme here)

· Do not come home with a bride

· Figure out how to make yearly work trips like this

The Food

I made a bad decision last night and decided to look up different foods in the regions we will be staying. I did this on an empty stomach and I was ready by the third page to go to the market and pick up all the ingredients to try everything I saw. Not smart to do at 3am.

Mango-Chutney-Chicken-1-finalMango Chutney Chicken

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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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!

Southwest AirlinesSouthwest Logo

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.

BUYER BEWARE: Banana Boat Sunscreen for men SPF 50+ and Banana Boat Ultra Defense Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30 Review

I own a yachtMy family owns a yacht… MY FATHER owns a yacht. Now before you ask yourself what is an obvious quadrillionaire doing writing a review website? I would just like to make it clear I am not a quadrillionaire… just a single, good looking and humble (heterosexual) bachelor trying to make it in the world. Okay so my father owns a 26ft sailboat that is a yacht only by a technicality and it is really only big enough for a 3 bros weekend of sailing and fishing.

The Backstory

The most uncomfortable weekend of sailing is where you get a bad sunburn on day one and have to stay in the sun for the next 2 days. Every year before sailing season, I buy a new spray bottle of sunscreen to insure none of us get burnt. Last year was different, I went to the store and wanted to get the highest SPF (Yes, I do know that higher than 30 SPF is just wasting money. If you don’t know what I am talking about, Google it).

Banana Boat “Triple Defense Sunscreen for Men” SPF 50+.

DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT! It does not work. While on my sailing trip, I applied and reapplied the spray and I still came home redder than a cooked lobster. I read the directions, I didn’t get in the water, I made sure I did it right so that I would come home happy and not in pain. but boy was that a fools dream. This products does not work.

mens50_c-spray_6oz_nonew

The Backstory Part Deux

In April of 2015 I went on a Princess cruise (link this) and while we visited Honduras a family member and I went snorkeling. you can read about it in the review. Again I was stupid and purchased Banana Boat sunscreen. However, this time I used the lotion and not a spray. I applied this junk product a number of times and even double applied. It still did not work and I spent the last 4 days on the ship looking like a bright red fire truck (I put on a few pounds, don’t judge me).

Banana Boat Ultra Defense Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30

DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT! It does not work.

bb-ud30_8ztube

Conclusion

Banana Boat is now zero for two.  I do not trust them to make a product that will be able to keep my skin from being burned.

The Emerald Princess 7–Day Caribbean Cruise 2015 Review

The Emerald Princess 7–Day Caribbean Cruise 2015 Review Atticus James

First I would like to start with an open comment for Princess Cruise. Fire your American staff. I could always find them on the ship by simply listening for the arrogant smug cocky jerks who help legitimize the stereotype that all Americans are pompous jerks. Rant over.

The Trip

I was invited on the Emerald Princesses last Caribbean cruise for this season. We left out of the port of Houston and made out way to Honduras, Belize and Cozumel before returning to the port of Houston for disembarkment. From Houston the ship left for their Mediterranean voyage.

The Food

While this review is not a comparison I do feel I should mention that Royal Caribbean does much better at all the food services with the exception of the formal dining room dinners. I do not know if the bakers just really were that bad at making bread or if that is normal but the bread was always terrible. The room serve food was about as good as a gas station lunch or breakfast. The sampling of fruits in the buffet were watermelon, honeydew and pineapple. None of which was really that good but you cannot blame that on the ship. The buffet foods were fairly boring to me but I did enjoy the Belgian waffles every morning.

As some of you might know I tend to work out about 5-7 nights a week and my workout partner wanted me to do a weigh in before I left and when I came home thinking I would gain weight. sadly because the only meals I looked forward to eating was dinner I only lost weight since I continued to work out on the ship.

Shopping

There are very few things I like shopping for. That list is: Food, guns/gear and electronics.  Outside of that I will buy what I need when I need it. If it is expensive, I will do enough research to know I am getting the best deal and I will be done.

While sitting in the terminal waiting to board the ship we were given a scavenger hunt that had to be turned in by “3pm” that day to be entered to win prizes.  Of course I wanted to do this, thinking I might be able to win an excursion or something. No, it was all a ploy by Princess to get you to go to their jewelry stores and in port “shopping partners”. This annoyed me more than I care to admit. I don’t like being tricked into sitting and listening to some guy droning on about shopping.

We chose not do any excursions on this trip, but to see what was offered in each port.

In Honduras, it appears that Princess and Carnival have created their own port “city” with all of their “partner stores” so you only have one choice if you want to see anything in the country and that is to take the excursions. Last time I was in Honduras for a cruise at least we docked at real port town you could visit that didn’t just have Diamonds International and all the other jewelry stores. There is a nice beach there that was created. A reef has been artificially created that we found and had a fantastic day of snorkeling.

In Belize we anchored 5 miles away and tendered to shore which was a real port town. I got my passport stamped because I had nothing better to do in this town in walking distance.

When we got to Cozumel I was worried about being kidnapped. If you stay in the guarded “port city” it was fine. But the minute you step into Cozumel you can understand why Americans are kidnapped down there.

If you are looking to experience any of these countries I do not recommend using a cruise line to do so.

At Sea

I enjoyed being at sea more than getting off the ship. I enjoyed the view as we sailed thru the drilling platforms. I loved watching the water being churned up off the stern of the ship. I really adored the beautiful sunbathers. I digress.

Emerald Princess 2015 Atticus James

I did not bring someone to spend time with on this cruise. I went with my family and everyone kind of had their own thing doing what they wanted to do. I spent a good part of my time alone (on purpose) just walking around exploring the ship. I highly recommend bring someone to be with.

Formal Dining Room

Our dinner was at 5pm everyday due to the size of our party. This was not very conducive if you wanted to go to the singles meeting. If you tell me I could have just skipped one night to meet people, I will question your sanity as to why you would think I would give up the tasty food to meet people.

Our head waiters name was Hamit from Turkey. He took very good care of our table as half of my family have dietary restrictions (allergic to chocolate, cream cheese, gluten, things like that) My grandmother is gluten free so Hamit came to the table every night so she could order the next nights meal it to her dietary restrictions. This was an incredible service and I was very thankful for it.  I know trying to please everyone on a ship with 3000+ paying passengers can be a little difficult.
Our waiters names were Edgar and Caesar, both from the Philippines. Edgar was a great waiter. He treated us like family and joked and made dinner very enjoyable every night. Caesar didn’t talk much but he was always on top of refilling drinks and getting the food from the kitchen. If your waiter recommends something it is a fairly good bet that is what you should try. If you like to try different foods and not a boring eater Princess will offer you many food adventures.  Edgars recommendations were always fantastic. He always knew that my father and I would always order shrimp cocktail along with whatever else he suggested.

As I said before, dinner was the only food I looked forward to in the formal dining room and I truly believe Hamit, Edgar and Caesar had a big part in that.

I am leaving last names out since I did not ask if they would like to have their full names published but I am sending another review to Princess directly that will have their names.

I celebrated my birthday with my family on the ship and when you have a birthday on the ship they have a chocolate dessert cake to die for.

Princess Birthday Cake 2015

If you have never been on a cruise ship before I will share something that not everyone might know. you can order as many plates of anything on the menu as you want. If you want to sample a few different items you can do that. As much as you want. (if it is not on the menu however they may not offer that item after that day). Yes, that goes for dessert too.

Unlimited Soda & More Package

I apparently do not drink enough during the day to make this worth the cost. At $8.05 per day for the package you can get soda, mocktails (non alcoholic cocktails), shakes, juices, floats and hot chocolate.    While it seems like you can order drinks mostly anywhere it takes so long to get them that it is almost not even worth the time to wait. I did have a shake everyday and that was nice.

Snorkeling

While in Honduras one of my family members asked the tour desk on the ship if there was any good snorkeling locations that was not on a tour and he flat out lied. When we got off the ship we walked to the beach. As you look at the ocean to your left you’ll see the ship and the swimming area but if you swim to the right of the dock you will find a very nice shallow reef. I don’t do snorkels so I brought a pair of my old competition goggles from my gym bag and just swam around looking at all the fish and coral. It was awesome.

The Entertainment

I do not enjoy musicals or plays. I do love comedians and GOOD illusionists.

On the ship we had comedian Miguel Washington. This was the first show I went to on the ship because everything up to that point had been musicals and I don’t care how beautiful the dancers are it just is not my cup of tea to sit there and watch people sing and dance. My parents said they were good, but not as good as they have seen on past cruises.

I went to see his show with my parents and I have never truly seen my mother laugh so hard in my entire life. His jokes were good  and clean, but Texan so… not politically correct. If you get the chance to see him live anywhere I highly recommend him. He was a good comic.

Also on the ship we had Michael Barron “illusionist.” My momma told me if you ain’t got nothin’ nice to say don’t say NOTHIN’ at all. If you see him don’t sit too close to the stage, try to sit in the middle seats further back in order to keep the “illusion” alive.

Overall Thoughts

This trip would have been more fun with someone to share it with but overall I liked the ship.
The food for the most part was boring but when it came to dinner you could bet I was going to walk out of there full.

Ports were about shopping which I don’t like but hey everyone wants to make money. Just please stop forcing it down my throat.

Best part of the ports was the snorkeling in Honduras. Next time I go on a cruise I will do the excursions.

Princess Cruise Line seems to be more of an older demographic. This isn’t bad if you are looking to have a quiet relaxing time but if you are in your youth and looking for fun this might not be for you. They cater to a more quiet group.