Monday, 30 April 2012

EXPEDIA Ripoff...I want my money now!!!!

As you may know from my earlier blogs, my Holiday to Fiji was cancelled due to the Cyclone & flooding the country experienced in early April 2012.

I called my Travel Insurance provider and spoke with a very pleasant young girl, who provided me all the information & documentation I needed to complete in order to have my travel expenditure reimbursed.

I completed all the forms, along with submitting my American Express statements and all the other receipts to confirm what I have spent on flights, accommodation, & day tours.

A couple of days later, I received a call from the Case Manager of the Travel Insurance provider to inform me they are going to refund most of the amount (minus the claim excess & government charges - taxes). Very proficient!

She then went onto inform me that the government charges (taxes) on the flight, need to be refunded by Expedia (the travel company I went with). She said that it was compulsory by law to have them refunded, but EXPEDIA are notorious for not informing you that they are indeed to be refunded, and that it takes them up to 10 weeks for them to do so (if you catch on), and you pretty much have to hound them on a weekly basis to do so.

So for the next 2.5 months, I have resolved myself to the fact that I have to call these idiots on a regular basis, demand they give me what is owing & to tell them to stop ripping off the the traveling public!

Lesson for young players: Online Travel Agents may appear to be cheaper upfront, but if you dig a little deeper, do the research & check online forums, you may find it could cost you a lot more, especially if an issue ever arises and you need to deal with them one on one.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Will Microblogging take over email?

Interesting story from what the merits of microblogging at a company can be & whether it will take over email as a standard communications piece.

Personally I don't believe microblogging had the maturity model set to take over email, but what do I know?

As always, I invite your comments...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Chicken Fried Steak

This Saturday, I'm attempting to make my first Chicken Fried Steak!!
We don't call it Chicken Fried Steak in Australia, we just call it "Crumbed Steak", and either nobody eats it, or they have never heard of it.
I had it on a trip to L.A many years ago, & I'm very keen to perfect it with my own version, which is not unlike an original recipe, just adding some more zing to it through some Habanero Pepper...

I'm keen to hear from people with their own versions of this...

Monday, 23 April 2012

eBay Sniping...Fair or Unjust?

I would be interested on getting peoples views on eBay Sniping?

Do you believe it's fair play, or do you believe that its detrimental to less "technical savvy or aware" bidders on Auction sites.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Competition is not just "GOOD", but NECESSARY!

Really good article on Mashable Business, who I follow religiously.

I know this Economics 101, but I think you need to stop, & take stock from time to time & remember that, 'Competition makes for a more level playing field and favors the Consumer' - Harley X

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Hawaii Vacation - Final Day Review

The Final day of my Hawaii Vacation was a day which remained quite restful.

Went and had some Korean BBQ which I love. 

Went and did some last minute shopping.

Walked in on a homeless guy on the toilet in Macy's Restroom....
I wish he had locked the door. He just sat there and smiled at me. I backed out slowly...

Payed the hotel bill and left for the 10 hour flight home

End of Vacation

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Hawaii Vacation - Day 4 in Review

Day 4 of the vacation was a fairly quiet day in comparison to the other 3, which involved a lot of walking.

Headed down to the pool for a swim. The weather has not been overly great since being here, but at least the rain held out for 2 hours and the sun shone through.

Back to the room for a quick shower, checked my emails and out for some lunch.

Decided to eat at Lulus Bar and Grill which is at the Southern end of Waikiki.
Have eaten here previously and found the food good, the beers cold, and the view over the Pacific Ocean isn't bad either.
The service was average today, but it did appear that they were short staffed, and they were most apologetic.
Ordered the Lava burger and as the name would suggest, was meant to be hot.
The waiter came back and proceeded to give me the fish tacos...sigh...
After it was returned, a 10 minute wait endured to get the Lava burger.
The burger arrived and I have to say, was a very tasty burger but not spicy (not to my level anyway).
Paid the check and then split.

As sure as sh*t, it commenced raining again.
Due to the precipitation, I headed back to the hotel for a much rewarded beer on the lanai.

Night rolled around very quickly, and I have craved for a week now, a Seafood Noodle Soup.
Headed down to the International Market Place for a bowl of the salty treat.
It was delicious and cost the princely sum of $8.50

By this time I was exhausted from doing nothing all day, so a return to the room for a glass of red and watch some TV was in order.

Day end.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Hawaii Vacation - Day 3 in Review

Day 3 of the Hawaiian Vacation commenced by a trip to the factory outlets known as Waikele Premium Outlets.
Every year that I have come to Hawaii, I have managed to pick up a Calvin Klein suit quite cheaply. 
This trip was no exception - $280
After a couple of hours meandering through the stores (Saks, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Vans, etc), and $1000 later, time to head back down the Nimitz Highway back to Waikiki.

Had lunch at CJ's New York Delicatessen. Beef Brisket Sandwich with Macaroni Salad and a Budweiser. Very tasty indeed!

Moseyed on down to the beach for a swim. There was a lot of white excess flesh being exposed down there. Fairly nasty site to behold. After 40 minutes of this, I returned to my room where I applied my "mind bleach" to try erase some of the things I had just seen.

An hour later headed up to the Tapa bar for a a quenching ale or 2. Take it or leave it type of place. Nothing endearing really.

Now, time for dinner!
I am not a fan of "theme based" restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe, Johnny Rockets, Dracula's etc, but I have been to Bubba Gumps Steak & Seafood Restaurant previously and found it ok.
I was really in the mood for a nice steak, which, in the past, I have had here.
Was shown to a table and out come my server. His name was Avocado! I kid you not!!!
This guy was intense and over the top. I am not one of these type, so I was feeling a little uncomfortable from the get-go.
I went against my better judgement and didn't get the steak. I got the Mahi Mahi. I wish I had ordered the steak... :(
I left as soon as I could digest the fish, and made a B-Line to the taxi rank to whisk me pronto.

In a nutshell:
1 bad meal
1 good meal
Couple of Beers

Day over

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Hawaii Vacation - Day 2 in Review

It was 7.30 and I could barely bench press the doona off myself, but I was determined to go for a run.

What better backdrop to go for a run is Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. The first 500 metres were a little tough acclimatising to the heat and a slight case of jet lag, but I started to get some momentum together and pass other runners.
I thought it be in my best interest to turn back and not overdo it on my first day, so a healthy 5km run in a fairly good time was chalked up against Harley X.

Time for some shopping. 
I'm not a "shopper" by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like the bargains when coming to the U.S
For example, a pair of Levi Jeans in the U.S retail for $20 something dollars. Australia sells the same pair for $120.
Went to Ala Moana shopping centre which is the largest retail outlet/mall on the Island.
After a couple of hours of getting pretty much every item of clothing required for the next year, I thought it in the best interest of my bank balance, to retire to the confines of the resort.

To stay in touch with friends, family, posse, FB friends, etc, I thought I best hook up to the Hiltons' Internet access.
A 5 day pass costs $65 USD, which in itself is outrageous, but it beats waiting for a computer in the Hilton Business Centre while some 10 year old spends his day consumed playing Angry Birds...
After finally getting online and checking emails, FB & Twitter, I thought I should just give it away for the day

More beer on the balcony followed by a Mikes Hard Lemonade. This stuff rocks! It's basically alcoholic lemonade & is very easy, no, too easy to drink in copious amounts.

As it was Friday Night, the Hilton Hawaiian Village provides fireworks at 8pm.
They did not disappoint and got some great photos from it

Retired to the room without any dinner (because I am so Rock Star), downed 2 glasses of red wine, and slipped into a coma almost immediately.

Lets see what tomorrow has in store...

Hawaii Vacation - Day 1 in Review

Day 1 of the vacation starts off positively with the plane leaving on time & arriving early. Thanks Hawaiian Airlines!

From the time we landed at Honolulu International Airport, exited the plane, went through Customs, got our luggage, it was 50 minutes. Thanks again Hawaiian Airlines!!!

Checked in at the Hilton Hawaiian Resort in Waikiki. Got a a great room in a great resort in a great location, considering the trip was only booked 4 days earlier due to the Fiji trip being cancelled due to cyclone activity.

The first thing to do was go fill up the bar fridge with Beer, Wine & Sodas. 
If you have been to Hawaii before, you will know that there is an ABC Store every 100 metres.
Got the standard supplies and successfully applied them to the said bar fridge.

Headed down to the "Super Pool" for a swim. Great pool but was a little crowded with kids, but who cares, I'm on vacation!

After 90 minutes of frolicking in the water, a walk down the main drag of Waikiki was in order to see whats changed since the last time I was here, which incidentally was 2010. The same shops still appear to be here but have just moved around in different locations.

Attention span was lacking after being up for almost 24 hours with a sleep period of only 3 hours, so back to the hotel for a beer on the lanai (balcony) and some relaxation for a couple of hours.

Roll on 7.30 and I'm starving. The old faithful CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) will do the trick.
Gorged on Steamed Dumplings 2 glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Peking Duck pizza. One word can only describe that meal. AWESOME!

Wandered back to the hotel, and within 10 minutes, I fell into the deepest sleep I think have ever had.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Downloaded Dropbox today and started uploading my personal and work files in there.
It is way more intuitive and easier to navigate than Google docs.

2GB Storage free with the option of getting more storage at a reasonable price.

A great way of backing up your files, not having to carry USB's, and be able to access your files at anytime, anywhere in the world.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Travel Jinxed AGAIN!!!

So, every time that I book a holiday, some random event occurs that potentially jeopardises my holiday.

In 2009 it was the yellow shirt protestors in Thailand which bought the country to its knees.

In 2010, replace "red shirt" from my previous paragraph and substitute it with yellow shirt.

In 2010, I was in Hawaii when the Tsunami hit. In the end, it wasn't so much a tsunami, but more of some sludge heading toward the island at a rate of knots. Never the less, we were evacuated to the airport.

In 2011, I was booked to fly on the Qantas A380 to Los Angeles. 
Brand new plane, paid the extra cash to get aboard, and then all the planes in the A380 Range were grounded due to cracks in the fuselage and crappy motors. 
That almost stopped the holiday, but they managed to secure a 747 from a Sydney to Tokyo route.

Now, 2012 has presented me with Fiji flooding with 3 days before I fly out. 

Holidays are meant to be a happy, exciting occasion. For me they are always about checking my Travel Insurance Policy and looking at other destinations at the 11th hour.