Planes, Trains and Automobiles…and Ferries and Buses (Honolulu to Warsaw)

October 8th – 10th, 2013

Have you ever realized after doing something that you’re a complete idiot? I mean just downright stupid and you hate yourself for doing it but feel that because you’ve displayed such lack of intelligence that you probably deserve the suffering that you’re experiencing? I felt like a monumental idiot after planning our commute from Honolulu to Warsaw. While Anjli won’t confirm my feelings, I know in her heart, she concurs 😉 Let me explain.

Our commute from Honolulu to Warsaw included 4 flights, averaging 6 hours each, an 8 hour bus ride, a 2 hour ferry ride and finally an 8 hour drive in a rental car. Not to mention a night’s stay in the Polish version of the hotel from Jack Nicholson’s The Shining.

We left Oahu on a flight headed for LAX on the night of Oct 8th, arriving in LAX on the morning of the 9th (my birthday). We spent much of my birthday on the flight from LAX to JFK and the Delta lounge at JFK Terminal 4. Took a luxurious shower at the lounge, followed by Vueve Cliquot and gelato! #balleronabudget

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Our next leg was from JFK – LHR, The plane was completely empty and Anjli and I grabbed a middle row each and slept most of the way to LHR. How in the world was the leg between the two busiest airports in the world so empty is something we didn’t understand but didn’t complain about either! The sweet flight attendant brought us some chocolate cake for my birthday! 🙂

While the stop over at LHR was fairly long, there was a lot going on! We had to make sure Anjli could check-in for the flight to CPH without much hassle. She’s still a FOB, you see 🙂 What I mean is she has the Indian passport and needed a UK visa to easily go to landside to check-in for our flight which was on a different itinerary. Long story short – we checked into the new terminal only to discover that the lounge we had access to was at the previous terminal. Worst airport ever!

In all the hustle bustle, I booked us on a bus to Berlin from Copenhagen for the wrong date! There was some weird rental car rules in the area about which city you could rent a car from which dictated which borders you could cross, so we planned to rent a car from Berlin to drive into Poland. So there we were, 7 hours later, walking through a dark alley in downtown Copenhagen at 6am trying to find the bus leaving on that morning, hoping we could convince the bus driver to let us on the bus. We were fortunate and 2 seats opened up. Here’s Anjli giving the thumbs up celebrating after the bus started moving.

Bus

The bus drove for 3 hours from Copenhagen to a town on the south coast of Denmark called Gedser, from where we hopped a ferry to Rostock, Germany. Running on fumes of sleep, Anjli and I Indulged in the breakfast buffet on the ferry. The food was delicious and we even pocketed a couple of sandwiches for our drive to Warsaw.

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Anjli promptly proceeded to pass out after the meal.

Sleep

After two hours on the ferry, we arrived in Rostock, Germany, a small port town on the north coast of Germany.

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Just a beautiful European city.

Surprisingly, we did not have to go through immigration as Germany and Denmark are both a part of the Schengen area. We hopped back on the bus and went straight to Berlin.

After 3 hours of hassling with the different car companies at the Berlin airport, we finally had a car and were on our way to Warsaw. After we crossed the border in to Poland and had driven about 300 KM, I really started to feel the jetlag, Anjli forced me to pull in to a truck stop and we checked in to a shady looking hotel that had all the lights turned off and was just down right creepy. While walking to our room, I seriously thought Jack Nicholson would be waiting for us with an axe around every corner.

Shining

But for 30 Euro, we got a clean bed and breakfast in the morning.  We drove the remaining 230 KM to Warsaw to meet our friend Zbig and were greeted by his cats Kobuz, Lenka and Dominic. Here’s a picture of Anjli and Kobuz

Kobuz

Moral of the story, keep your travel schedule as simple as possible. sometimes it’s worth the extra few hundred dollars to reduce total travel time. Still, I feel like we had some interesting adventures along the way. Anjli may disagree though.

Til next time.

Cheers,

-Rajat

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O beautiful Oahu!

October 3rd – 8th, 2013

We’re in Hawaii! Man, do we love this place! Raj and I often fantasize about what it would be like to live on one of the Hawaiian islands, what we would do for a living, whether we would have beach bodies 😉 and how we’d deal with the tourists!

I’ve been eating a bunch of tuna poke (so much that my tummy hurts) and Raj has been drinking local beer like a fish – he claims that he won’t get good beer while we’re in Asia!

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We are staying in a vacation rental condo with a view of the ocean in Waikiki. This luxury is not going to last long though since we’re going to have to keep a close watch on our spending when we head to Europe in a couple of days. One of our goals during this time off is to try and get as much luxury as possible without breaking the bank – I call this being a #balleronabudget 🙂

We haven’t explored the island a whole lot yet, but from first impressions I think I preferred the laid-back culture and the green lushness of Maui. Oahu (specifically Honolulu) has a lot of concrete and wayyyy too many tourists who seem to be here to shop at high-end retail stores. We are headed to North Shore tomorrow so let’s see if my impression changes. We’ve done a bunch of touristy things already:

– soaked in the sun on the beach at Hanauma Bay. Beautiful crater that got filled in by the ocean. Absolutely visit here if you’re going to be in Oahu. Here are some photos from bing: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=hanauma+bay. My photos don’t do this place any justice.

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– Pali lookout. Crazy how the side of a volcano caved in into the ocean! A bunch of scenes from The Lost were filmed here.

– Hiked a trail off of the Pali lookout. We were trying to find the Likeke falls but went up the wrong trail. Fail! The only win was plucking out guavas from the guava trees that seemed to be growing like weed in the forest! Raj was pretty happy with the guavas!

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– Hiked to the top of the Diamond Head Crater. Walked hella fast part of the way to beat a poor, fat kid who was unaware that he was on a race to the top with me 😉

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Our return tickets in March are also through Honolulu and we’re planning to spend some time in Hawaii before heading back to Seattle. Although I think we’ll head to Kauai instead of hanging out in Oahu. So, for family and friends, who can’t visit us in Asia, think about visiting us in Kauai in March (20th onwards)!

Aloha!

One week down!

Wow! It’s been a week and a day since we’ve been on the road now! We left Seattle on Saturday, the 28th of September, visited friends and family who we hadn’t seen in a long time and are now on the beautiful Hawaii island of Oahu. It’s a little surreal (well, more than a little) to think that we don’t have to go back to work on Monday or the Monday after that or the Monday after that or after that 😉 You get the idea. Honestly, I’m a little worried about getting a little bored of not working but of course, Raj thinks that six months of travel may not be enough 🙂

The first two days were spent visiting with a couple of our best friends Priya and Amesh, their beautiful daughter Arianna and puppy Gatsby! Wow did we drink a lot of wine with these guys! And hung out yapping away just like the old times 🙂 It’s so wonderful to see your friends build a beautiful life for themselves.

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Next, we visited with Raj’s cousins Ashu and Shanna and our little niece Gia. Here is a pic of Ms. Helmet head 🙂 Good to see you guys!

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And finally to round off our trip on the continental US, we visited my high school bestie Mala and her husband, Subal! Mala and I hadn’t seen each other since 2006! Let’s never let it get that long again, Mala. You guys are incredible hosts.

Next post on Oahu coming up!

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