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The best airport security experience since 2000

Remember a time when you are not harassed as an airplane passenger by TSA agents at the airport security? Well, Yeah I do, it was before Sept. 11, 2001. Yesterday, I once again experienced that hassle free experience. So while going through security at the ATL airport, there is a special line for the “Pre Check”. I have forgotten that I have signed up for this a while back, but when I was going through the security, I got directed to this special line. As I was getting ready to strip down to my undies for security check, the TSA agent asks, “do you know about this line?”

I responded, “oh yeah, you take everything off and put it on the scanner and walk through in your undies”.

He responded, “No, just take off any metal objects and leave your jacket, belt, and shoes on. Also leave your computer in your bag”

I was shocked, and I followed his instructions and in 15 seconds I was through security and waiting for Vicky on the other side. This was such a good experience, that it gives me hope that we are slowly going back to normal!!!

Day 0 – Playa Del Carmen

So a long day of travel we finally made it to our rental home in PLAYACAR phase 2 in Playa Del Carmen. The flight over from Seattle to Atlanta was pretty good. Vicky got upgraded, as for me … I got to enjoy the wonderful economy class.

While in Atlanta airport, we went to our favorite Chicken place in the airport for lunch.

From there we met with Vicky’s friend Monica and flew in to Cancun airport. Originally, Delta was offering a 800 dollar voucher for anyone to volunteer. I was planning on doing so because I still have some work I need to finish up, and a night in ATL hotel will do wonders for my unfinished work. But at the last minute, the seats opened up because of some idiot trying to go into Mexico without a passport. Ok people, when you leave the country you need a Passport, it doesn’t matter if you have a green card or not, that is only for ingress not egress, Mexico could care less if you have a green card or not. Anyway, the guys and his girl friend flew from Denver to Atlanta, only to be send home by the gate agent, while all of their friends boarded the plane and headed toward Cancun. Sucks to be him.

Anyways, after a really short flight from ATL to Cancun, we arrived. As we walked out to find our rental car, there are alot of people trying to help us or trying to sell us something, I wasn’t very sure. We did find the Hertz shuttle and found the rental car place. Yes, I know, why are we renting a car you say? Well, I think it is just more convenient, and we are betting that it is pretty safe to be here with a rental car. Or at least we hope. Anyways, renting a car is very different in Mexico, since my car insurance doesn’t cover outside of the country, I have to buy the rental car’s insurance. The the super cheap rental car became 500+ dollars US for 1 week. When we finally got our car, it was such a cheap ass car that it is no comparison to anything in the US. I had a very hard time finding the defogger and the internal light for this look PoS car.

Driving at night in Mexico is interesting. Oh and this is the first time that I am driving outside of US, Canada doesn’t count. First of all, they don’t really have a free way system, they have a highway system, almost like State Highways in the US. What is surprising was the speed bumps on the highway. You can be driving around 70 km/s and all the sudden you see a weird sign (I was still trying to figure it out) and BOOM!!! Speed Bump or Speed Trench!!!

Luckily, I was able to get to Playa Del Carmen with a little help from my trusted iphone. I use an app called Galileo. It is an offline map app that let you create any offline map for free. This is a great travel app for anyone going outside of the US without data plan.

With the location mapped on Galileo, I was able to get us safely to our rental home with speaking very very very little Spanish.

Well… this is the beginning of our adventure.

Check our our room :)

My Thanksgiving Adventure

So after a eventful day of travel and activities, I am finally in Auburn and resting in my room and on my bed. Ah~~~ it is good to be home!!! So let’s recap.

My day started at 2:30 when I woke up trying to get book on an earlier flight of 6:10 am to ATL by using the same day standby. After calling in 10 minutes early and then recall them 20 minutes late, I finally got my 6:10 flight confirmed. The road to the airport parking was not as bad as I thought. I was able to get to the parking deck pretty quickly. Once I checked in, it look me a while to get through airport security. But with my disappointment, I did not get close and personal with a TSA agent. Pretty much all the SeaTac Airport advance imagining machines were off. When I got to the gate, my upgraded ticket was already waiting for me. (oh I love airline status).

The flight was very uneventful at first, the free gogo onboard internet was nice. Thanks Google Chrome!!! When we finally got to ATL, we started to land and just before landing the airplane pulled up and started to increase power and pulling away. The captain then came on over the speaker stating that there was an alarm on one of the landing gears and we are going to circle around and try again. Ok, I was a bit nervous, but not really that nervous. Then just before the second approach and landing the captain says that the landing gears are down, but the door did not come back up because of the hydraulics so we maybe seeing sparks when we land. But he added, everything should be ok. Now I was a bit nervous. However, we landed successfully and immediately pull to a taxi land and stopped. We are waiting for the ground crew to verify that the landing gears are secure before moving the plane to the gate, this will prevent the airplane from collapsing on a bad landing gear.

After picking up my rental car, (and yes Hertz Gold is super awesome, no waiting and just pickup and go!!! Best of all no harassment from sells people like at Enterprise) I was on a hunt for some lunch, in particular Chick-fil-a. After 3 exits of finding all fast food restaurants are closed, I realized that yes, today is Thanksgiving. Doh!

After 3 hours of driving, I made it to Montgomery, Alabama and enjoyed my wonderful Thanksgiving lunch and then Dinner hotpot.

More adventures to come tomorrow with the Auburn vs Alabama Game!!!! WAR EAGLE!!!

At the Airport… waiting to go home


I am sitting here in the ATL airport looking out I decided to take a picture and just wanted to share. so here it is…

Yeah… I am feeling pretty good today.. still home work is due soon.. yikes. :O

Oh it is such a sweet day… Happy July. First of all it is really nice to be back in the South. So today my sister and I went to Atlanta to watch the Braves to play against the Baltimore O’s. It was an afternoon game so it sure was hot, but it wasn’t really that bad. Beside, this is what I called summer. Anyway… The highest got around 95 F or so. But the game was exciting and we drank plenty of liquid so it was fine… Oh and don’t forget about the sunscreen. Yes we had some SPF 3o’s on as well. We had some wonderful seats behind the 3rd base, right in the foul ball section. Yep, there were some foul balls coming our way… it even hit a girl.. :( We were lucky to not to get hit… but everyone was fighting over the foul ball .. it was pretty interesting … it was like the sea gulls in Finding Nimo… “my my my my my” … ha ha ha … To top all the good feeling and good weather off… the Braves won 10 -3 !!! yeah yeah… 3 homers in the game. it was a good game.

Afterwards, we met up with my parents and met some relatives in Atlanta. It was good to see family. We had some wonderful dinner and ended a wonderful day.

oh but wait… when we got home we played some Mahjong and ah… it was a good day..

…. one more thing… today is my 4 years anniversary of being an American. If you don’t believe me look back to July 2002 and read my blog!!!! ;)

Once again… what a great way to celebrate my anniversary!!!

Yep… I finally got some Atlanta Braves tickets yesterday!!! Woo Hoo…
Yeah… I am going to go see a Braves game with my sister!!!
Gosh it has been a while since I last watch baseball.. this should be fun.


Christmas Chinese Mass in Atlanta Posted by Picasa

Well… Yesterday we spend most of the day in Atlanta. We where there for a Chinese Christmas mass. It was a lot of fun. I also got an hair cut. What is amazing is that I met some friends that I was their summer camp lead about 4 or 5 years ago. They are all in college now… that is just amazing. I barely recognize them. Well, after I got back yesterday, my throat started to hurt… I did not sleep very well, last night. I ended up not going to fishing with my dad. The rest of today I was at home resting and recovering… and playing alot of Mahjong… yeah of course … I am losing :P
Well… once again … it is good to be home and relaxing at home.

Well, I have checked in… I have to wait here for another hour… but guess what? I think I found another free AP. SWEET!!! The best part is this one is fast too!!! Well… I am tired… I hope I get an upgrade on this leg of the fight as well. Yes, I have an upgrade from IAH to ATL, but from SEA to IAH… nope not yet. Either way… I will go on board and sleep. ZZZZ
Still a long day to go…

What a wonderful long weekend. It was so busy that I forgot to put it in the blog. The flight home on Thanksgiving day was crowed but it was good. My sister and I got back to Auburn, just in time for the Thanksgiving feast. We had a Turkey, a Ham, some baked napa, some noodles, lots of deserts and just lots of good food.

On Friday, we went to Atlanta to shop. I realized that ATL has really developed since I last looked at it as a possible city to live in. I think it would be enjoyable to live in Atlanta.

On Saturday, we played some Mahjong and I bought my parents a new microwave. Our old one broke … after 15 years it finally broke. Well, this new one is pretty cool. It has a one button sensor re-heat. no longer do you have to figure out how long to heat your left over food. Just one button and the microwave will figure it out for you. Cool huh?

And today, we all went to Mass and then went to red lobster for lunch. Played some more mahjong with the family. I lost and then had the Turkey bone soup for dinner…. ummm.. umm good.

Well… The weekend gone by pretty quick… it really makes me want to move closer to home. Well… I did buy my ticket for xmas. I am coming home for 1 week next time. Yeah!!!

Just got back from Atlanta… I went to Atlanta two days in a row. Today I went there because my friend, Sergeon wants my help in getting some furniture from IKEA. IKEA in Atlanta is fairly new and it is very nice. I think I will buy some things from IKEA when I get back to seattle. Anyway… we got rained on just as we drove back into Auburn. We were able to get everything inside without too much rain on the furniture. Well, afterward, we went to fill out the truck and every gas station around Auburn are lined with cars and trucks. I don’t know what’s going on. It took us about 15 + minutes before we were able to get gas. After I got home, my Dad said that there might be a shortage of gas that is why everyone is filling up. I also saw my friend in Seattle saying that the gas price is around $3.14!!!! WOW… talk about high gas prices!!!

The plane is finally here…. well… my flight is delayed… so now the plane is de-boarding and we will be boarding in a bit…. woo hoo… time to go to sleep. Well… bathroom run before the flight….
Here I come Houston… then Atlanta… :-D

Well, I made it to the airport… I am doing ok… Seattle airport sure bring back alot of memories…. {sigh}….{sigh}….. it will be ok… I will be home soon… I will be with my family. Got to move forward…. no matter how painful…

So anyway… my presentation went very well today. Hopefully, I can get everything together … I think my idea will be good for the project.

I have been thinking about grad school… I don’t know if I am really the grad school type… you know… if I am really going to go… it would be nice to go full time… but you know what … it would be hard for me to give up everything and go back to being a broke student… yeah… it sucks to had the taste of spending money…

anyway… if I am going back to school… then you know I probably should not get a BMW… aaahh… a BMW…… SWEET!

Well… See you in Atlanta…..

Well, after a full night of travel… from Seattle to Atlanta … and from Atlanta to Auburn… I am finally hot to Auburn, Alabama. Since everyone is in school or work today, I decided to visit couple of my friend and former boss. I visited the University Computer Hotline. That is where I use to work in college. Then I walked across campus to visit my buddy Jay Blake. AU really have changed alot since I left. But it is good to be back and catch up with everyone. Yep… it is sure hotter here than Ephrata.

Couple more hours before my big trip back home!!! yep .. it has been almost 6 month since I went back to Auburn. I think this is the longest run of not being back to Auburn, since I graduated from college. WOW … I just can’t wait. My parents and my Fiancee are saying it is super hot is Alabama… but in some ways I am kind of looking forward to some of that Alabama sun!!!

SWEET HOME ALABAMA… Here I come!!! I will be landing in Atlanta tomorrow morning around 5:30 am EST.

I know what’s on many people�s mind today is the big New York power blackout that started yesterday afternoon. So how does this affect me? I mean, I am way down south in Houston, Texas. Which BTW, Texas has its own power grid, and it is isolated from the rest of the nation. I guess people here think that when the time comes to declare Texas independence, an independent power grid would make things a lot easier� right? Anyway, I digress. How the big blackout up north affects me is that Hsiu Hsiu, my girlfriend, and her mom and her sister were up there on vacation. Yesterday afternoon was suppose to be her flight back. She was going to leave from Boston and connect through Detroit and return to Atlanta. Of course, everyone knows that Detroit is also affected by the power outage. But luckily, Hsiu Hsiu was very quick on her feet, as soon as she heard about the outage; she quickly lined up with the airline rep. and requested a flight transfer. And fortunately, they were able to find 3 tickets on a direct flight from Boston to Atlanta on a Delta flight. So to make the story short, she is back home in Auburn, safe and sound. When I talked to her last night, she sounded very, very tired. I think she need a couple days of rest in Auburn to recover from her vacation up in the northeast.

I know I have not been posting in a while… but I guess I will start by talking a little bit about what happened on Tuesday …

anyway…

Tuesday started late as well and that was my fault. Hsiu Hsiu has been packing all night and I did not realize how much stuff she had. I showed up at her old apartment with my dad�s truck and ready to move around 9:00am � stupid me� she had to move everything out by 12:00 pm. Needless to say� I started to haul butt moving. Because she can�t move in to her old apartment until next week, we had to move all of her stuff to my parent�s garage. So after 3 truck loads we finally got everything moved over. Unfortunately, during the move one of Hsiu Hsiu�s baby fish did not survive. I am sorry. Afterward, we went to Niffers for lunch. Man, I tell you there�s nothing like a hard day of work and then having some good old southern sweet tea. Oh and I really like their Chicago burgers too. And in the last afternoon that day we drove to ATL and I flew back to Houston�. Oh and I did receive on interesting phone call�.

Yes I am back in Auburn safe and sound and the last two days has been busy and wonderful. It is almost surreal being back here.

So what did I do yesterday???

Saturday

It was a very very long day, but a very exciting day. Let see… the morning started around 3am, I woke up, clean up and had to get ready to catch my 5:30 am flight to Atlanta. After sleeping the entire flight� and it was a cold flight� I final got to Atlanta around 8:30. I was welcomed by my wonderful, wonderful girlfriend Hsiu Hsiu!! We then went for coffee and breakfast in Buckhead. It was a little strange to be in Atlanta for breakfast, but it was still pretty good. After breakfast we went to Zoo Atlanta see the Great Panda. It was pretty good but it was not as good as I remembered and I don�t think it is as good as the Houston Zoo. For the price and the animals, Houston Zoo is very awesome. Sorry no Great Pandas in the Houston Zoo. I took some pictures in the Zoo, but what really left a mark was the bee sting. Yeah, I got stung by a bee in the Atlanta Zoo. Funny thing is that this is about exactly one year after my last bee sting. And yes it hurts.After the Zoo we went to a Korean restaurant for some tofu bowls. It was pretty good. And on to Stone Mountain right after lunch. I have to say stone mountain has got a bit pricey, but it is still an impressive site to see. After the walk around Stone mountain park, we caught up with my old college buddies Trung, Julie, and Joe� it is so good to see them. We had a wonderful dinner at the olive garden in Gwentte. Only after seeing Trung�s 2 baby girls, when I realize that I am getting older. I still feel like just yesterday, that I graduated from high school. After a full day, we finally got home around 10 pm� Let me tell you � I slept very very well�.

Happy Mother’s Day!!! Well… it has been a pretty good weekend… I saw X2 yesterday and it was pretty good. I really think they will have a X3 movie. Yeah… I would really suggest that anyone that have not see X2 yet, go see the movie… it is pretty good. But do watch the first one first!!! So today is mothers day. We went to Atlanta to send my sis off to Houston and had a wonderful lunch there. I think my mom really enjoyed her mother’s day. Well… it is late… and we are driving to DC tomorrow… so Happy mother’s day and good night.

What an awesome Saturday!!!! Mazda’s Rev It Up was awesome!!! No no I did not win the race, but I had a great time. I felt like I was in the game GT3!!!!

I think I might even go to the one in Atlanta in a couple of weeks with my girl since I will be there anyway ;-) Vroom Vroom!