United changes mileage expiration to 18 months

Based on this press release from United Airlines, the company will be requiring that you fly on their airline (or a partner airline, but use your United FFN) every 18 months to keep your account active, instead of the 36 months it was prior to the release. There are other ways to keep your account active, such as signing up for a credit card from United, giving away miles, or using miles, but it's something to keep in mind.


First China pics up

The first pictures from our trip to China are up on the new Gallery 2-based website, Fong's China. The Fong refers to Irene Fong, our tour director with Pacific Delights Tours who ran our trip in China.


UK Customs searching laptops for porn

Didn't know whether to put this pointer to an article from BBC News in Policy, Technology or Travel, as it deals with the Policy of British customs officials to use technology (in the form of a software scanner) to look for porn on the laptops of travelers. Amusing note: I guess Apple computers are a pornographer's secret friend, as they don't scan macs.


Review: the W Hotel on Lexington in New York

I admit it, I'm a hotel snob. It's not that I can't or haven't stayed in tiny, cramped hotels in seamy parts of town, it's that I tend to choose not to. So, after asking around, and getting plenty of recommendations, Carol and I decided to stay at the W on Lexington when we went to New York this week. Let me start by saying there are at least three W hotels in New York City, and perhaps everyone who recommended a W had stayed in Times Square or Union Square, but the W on Lexington didn't pass muster for the price charged.


Drake Hotel rolls back rate for romantic couple

An article from the Chicago Sun-Times tells of the Drake Hotel in Chicago (a landmark hotel built in the 1920's deciding to give a Cicero couple a special anniversary gift: the same price they paid when they honeymooned at the hotel in 1946. According the the paper, "Amazed by the [60 year old bill], Drake officials, as a gift to the Cicero couple, decided to charge them the original rate: seven bucks a night." The manager later indicated that it's not unprecedented for the hotel to take such an action. Kudos to a fine establishment.


Bladders rest as DC 30-minute rule is relaxed

Anyone who has flown into Washington DC's (Ronald Reagan) National Airport since 9/11 is certain to be familiar with the inconvenient (and often very uncomfortable) fact that you cannot get out of your seat within 30-minutes of takeoff or landing at the airport. This rule, intended to prevent terrorist attacks before all of the new security measures, such as hardened censoredpit doors, were put into place is now obsolete, and is finally being lifted! This relief brought to you via an article in the Washington Post.


We're back from Scotland

OK, after a couple of weeks out, Carol and I are back in the country and had a great time in Scotland (although the next trip out of the country will likely not include driving 1973 miles on the wrong side of the road in a country that believes in "single track" roads).

The country was beautiful and welcoming and although people are consistently telling us that the weather in Scotland in May can be "dodgy," we found it absolutely delightful. Pictures, etc. forthcoming.


Fly 'em if you've got them?

An article from the International Herald Tribune advocates using those frequent flier miles before they become even more difficult to use.

Although I don't entirely agree, I will concur with his assessment that the best way to spend them is on premium-class international flights. They're where you'll get your best bang for your buck.


French airport police lose explosives

Not to beat up on the French, but they're getting the Homer Simpson "Doh!" award this week for this article from the International Herald Tribune describing a counter-terrorism check gone bad.


A taste of the Caribbean

Not exactly travel, but I'm not sure where to put this. On Saturday night, Carol and I went to Celtic Christmas, a concert held at Dumbarton United Methodist Church in Georgetown. The concert was good, but the meal ahead of time was spectacular!

Red Ginger of Georgetown (located at 1564 Wisconsin) is a find of a restaurant and well worth trekking through the morass of traffic to find a treasured parking spot to get there.



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