Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Ferie i USA, del 2 av 2

13.09.2010 17:02

This article is intended for Norwegians who’d like to repeat my vacation last year, either in whole or in part. It contains information on travel, booking and other travel tips when going on vacation to either Las Vegas (Nevada), Orlando (Florida), or both.

Min ferie i fjor sommer (2009) gikk til for første gang utenfor Europa, destinasjon USA, og jeg reiste helt alene. Nå i etterkant tenkte jeg å dele noen tips basert på mine egne erfaringer både i planleggingen og under selve reisen. Jeg føler at disse kan være til nytte for andre som kan tenke seg å reise til USA, og kanskje alene.

Dette er del 2 av 2 i artikkelserien rundt dette temaet. For planleggingsprosessen og innkjøp før avreise, sjekk del 1 i denne serien. Denne delen vil ta for seg selve reisen. (more…)

Forsinket bloggpost

05.09.2010 09:04

De som følger denne bloggen, vil kanskje legge merke til at jeg ennå ikke har kommet med andre og siste del i serien om feriereise til USA. Dette kommer mest av en spesiell nyhetssak som gjelder nordmenn nettopp i Las Vegas.

* Dagens IT: Norske Visa-kort forbudt i Las Vegas

Et slikt forbud ville da umuliggjøre en skikkelig reise til Las Vegas spesifikt, så jeg la min artikkel på is i påvente av en oppdatering.

* Dagens IT: – Loven er skivebom

* Dagens IT: Strandet på Kypros

Som dere kan se, så rammer en slik lov mye bredere enn bare gambling. Dessuten vil de som virkelig er spilleavhengige uansett klare å finne en omvei rundt en slik lovgivning, så det ville bare ramme alle oss andre. Så å si alle hotell på “The Strip” i Las Vegas er såkalte casinohotell, dvs. de er delt inn i to deler – en casinodel og en hotelldel – men begge deler regnes da under ett når det kommer til betalinger. Dermed vil en gjest på bl.a. The Venetian med et norsk kredittkort ikke kunne sjekke skikkelig inn på rommet med sitt kort for løpende utgifter (romservice og ting som settes på rommet – hvis man har fulgt mine anbefalinger i del 1 av artikkelen, har man nemlig allerede forhåndsbetalt for selve oppholdet til et online reisebyrå), og man må da være nødt til å ha med flere kredittkort på reisen slik at man kan ta ut kontanter etter hvert som maksgrensen er brukt opp på hvert kredittkort (altså maksimalt beløp for en spesifikk tidsperiode).

Først nå nylig har jeg lagt merke til enda en oppfølgingsartikkel rundt dette temaet, der kulturminister Anniken Huitfeldt kommer til å se nærmere på saken og vurdere å endre loven. Det er da håp i hengende snøre at loven kanskje er fjernet igjen i tide til neste år.

* Dagens IT: Huitfeldt vil se på «kasinoloven»

Jeg vil i løpet av den neste uken fullføre artikkelserien for de som skulle ønske å gjøre et forsøk på denne turen til neste år. Allerede nå har Expedia.no åpnet for bestilling av reise (fly+hotell) for juli 2011, for de som skulle være interessert.

* Ferie i USA, del 1 av 2

* Ferie i USA, del 2 av 2

Ferie i USA, del 1 av 2

15.04.2010 03:40

This article is intended for Norwegians who’d like to repeat my vacation last year, either in whole or in part. It contains information on travel, booking and other travel tips when going on vacation to either Las Vegas (Nevada), Orlando (Florida), or both.

Nå som jeg har reist til USA selv, tenkte jeg å dele noen tips basert på mine egne erfaringer både i planleggingen og under selve reisen. Jeg ser på dette som en mulighet for å korte ned på tid folk trenger å bruke på planlegging i forkant av en ferietur til USA.

April er allerede godt i gang, og da er det faktisk en passende tid å begynne planleggingen og ikke minst bestille reisen. Er man tidlig ute, kan man slippe mye av ventetider og samtidig finne noen gode kupp på reiser. Selv begynte jeg planleggingen i midten av mars, og gjennomførte bestillingen i begynnelsen av april.

For å unngå overraskelser underveis, vil jeg anbefale å lese kjapt gjennom hele denne artikkelen før du reiser for å unngå overraskelser.

Dette er del 1 av 2 i en kort artikkelserie rundt dette temaet. For selve reisen og oppholdet, sjekk del 2 i denne serien. Denne delen vil ta for seg planleggingsprosessen og innkjøp før avreise. (more…)

Earth Hour? What a concept!

02.03.2010 19:53

I recently caught on that my hometown is going to participate in the Earth Hour event, which this year lands on March 27.

Now, I’m all for changing the global climate and protecting the environment and all that. I just don’t think that shutting down non-essential lights and appliances for an hour a year (on a Saturday evening, no less) will do the trick.

We have come to a point in our technological advancement where electricity is a requirement. When we lost power in Ålesund and the surrounding area for an hour last week (mid-day on a Tuesday), our society more or less halted. You need electricity to register bar codes, fry/heat/cook food in cafes/restaurants/fast-food joints, pay with a debit or credit card, pay with cash where things like CashGuard are used, cool things down in fridges and freezers, work at an office (where computers are essential), etc. Basically, while not intended, we’ve already had our Earth Hour.

I see less of a point of the focus on an event like Earth Hour in Norway, where the vast majority of our power production comes from renewable energy. Living in a country full of mountains and subsequent waterfalls does have its benefits.

Also, we export more power than we import, so I don’t really see the point in the power companies’ major need to export power as much as they do.

Basically, with the amount of renewable energy produced in Norway, I simply don’t see the big need to “celebrate” an event like this.

So why do we do it? “Raise awareness?” What good will that actually do? It seems to me that the only countries participating are either already fully aware of the world’s energy and climate problems, or not big enough to make a significant impact in either direction.

We don’t need to cut back on energy consumption, we just need to find more efficient methods of both producing and consuming the energy, and that should be more up to the companies who make the energy production and energy consuming products. Although it’s more or less up to us consumers to select the right products, the companies making the products should be forward enough to do the necessary changes without having to wait on consumers and/or local regulations. And in particular when it comes to energy production, we also need the methods to be environmentally friendly.

To sum up just a couple of the not-so-environmentally-friendly energy production methods:

Fossil fuels: Coal, oil, the burning of wood, stuff like that. Sure, they produce the energy needed, but they icky stuff behind, both in the air and where they actually burn. That dark smoke is not a good thing, you know. Forests are replanted all the time, but unless you can dispose of both the ash and smoke somewhere other than Mother Nature, just skip it. Burning of wood in a fireplace should be saved for the rare occasions.

Fission: Or, in three words: Nuclear power plants. Sure, there’s a high yield compared to any other energy production, but there are also higher risks. Last I heard, nuclear waste still can’t be broken down easily; all they can do is store it in a safe place for a few thousand years in containers built especially for that purpose. Also, if the careful balance of keeping a nuclear reactor online is askew just enough, there are serious consequences, much like dropping a nuclear bomb in the area. Worst case scenario: think Chernobyl.

When it comes to the awareness bit, most of us are already well aware. What we need is for manufacturers to keep up, and preferrably in a quicker speed than now.

After all, if awareness with the consumer is so important to the environment, why aren’t the airlines pushing the manufacturers for more energy efficient airplanes? Instead, they choose to only focus on “reducing your carbon footprint” and buying carbon offsets.

And there’s another less-thought-out plan. Buying carbon offsets is really just marketspeak for paying a country to use some of their carbon emission quota which they weren’t going to use in the first place, and seems to be merely a the modern form of indulgence.

I’m just saying.

Back from Oslo

08.02.2010 15:30

I landed in Ålesund again last night, and wasn’t home until 11pm. I was so tired, I barely had time to get updated on the latest news and read my e-mail before falling asleep in front of my computer.

The flights were just fine, so was the hotel, although unless they plan to redecorate in the near future, I don’t plan on staying there again. The room was clean (which is the most important thing), but the decoration style (the bathroom in particular) was clearly not from this site of Y2K. The shower water pressure wasn’t up to standards either. But, anyway.

Saturday’s singles party was indeed somewhat of a grand event. Then again, my shy self (and the fact that I arrived about 8pm, an hour after it actually opened) contributed to me sitting alone so-to-speak all of the time. I didn’t get a chance to actually meet and talk to anyone, as all females in the interesting age range (from 20 and expanded upwards to around 35, just for the hell of it) were already in mid-conversation with a guy or two.

Then, at 11pm, the time came for  handing out the matching cards. When we arrived, we got nametags (simple stickers and a permanent marker) with the nickname we use on that dating website (can you guess which one I use?), and our photo was taken and attached to our nickname. The result for me was this (which I scanned in once I got home):

Match card, ages looked up at the dating website: nak (age 30, match 91), Maia82 (age 27, match 91), idita85 (age 24, match 91), ennah80 (age 29, match 91), SøsterMaja (age 26, match 90), liza_elle (age 23, match 90), helligku (age 24, match 89), wingwoman (age 25, match 89), kristy27 (age 27, match 88), ssl (age 28, match 88), Lindav82 (age 27, match 88), Gizly (age 31, match 87), Jenpen (age 25, match 87), Cadi (age 31, match 86), ida1984 (age unknown, match 86), whippet (age 24, match 86), Merrilee (age 29, match 86), Julia82 (age 27, match 86)

The blue background just means that I’m a guy (girls’ cards had a red background). For the ones who hadn’t already hooked up with an interesting person, it was almost a hunt to find anyone on their cards. All the girls on my matching card were good looking to me, but I had trouble finding any of them. In fact, I did cross paths with one in the top row, but she was already walking through a crowd with someone dragging behind her.

So basically, this whole singles event was a fruitless search for me. Bummer. Then again, my expectation for the evening was to gain some field experience for myself. I can’t say it was a big gain, but at least I had a change of surroundings for once.

On a more positive note, while I was already there, I met up my friend and his wife, who both had moved to Oslo late last year (he was offered a better position in the company he worked at, which meant he had to relocate to their office in Oslo, simple as that). We went out for dinner a few hours before I headed off to that party,  and I was invited to dinner at their place on Sunday. It was great to see where he now lives and catch up on other things in life.

Creeping birthdays

01.02.2010 21:03

Birthdays don't creep anymore - Garfield (reprin.... bah, you know the drill)

Yes, my 30th birthday is rapidly approaching (only a couple of weeks away), and I still haven’t made much of my life. This, of course puts some self-applied pressure on me, considering I haven’t achieved as much in life as I had hoped for at this point. I still live in my mother’s basement, I’m still single and unattached, and any sign of offspring is highly dependant on the previous two. I also haven’t reached as high career-wise as I had hoped for. All these thoughts don’t exactly help me keep my spirits up on a daily basis. What is it about decennial birthdays that brings on these kinds of thoughts?

This is the kind of thinking that pushed me to attending a large singles party in Oslo this coming weekend. Earlier this year, I noticed that one of the dating websites (Norwegian only) was hosting a grand event for singles in Oslo on Feb 6. From what I’ve read, this singles party is somewhat of a regular thing, and these usually have 500-1000 attendees, and usually only members of that dating website may attend (others may attend only by invitation from an existing member, something that also has to be authorized by the dating website). Once the party starts, matching cards with photos are handed out, and these include your best matches of the people at this party.

Three weeks ago, I made up my mind to attend this one (for the first time), so I ordered a ticket for myself (the party ain’t free, ya know), booked the flights and hotel (Oslo is a little under an hour flight in each direction), pre-paid for transportation from the airport to the hotel (and back), all completed and confirmed in less than 30 minutes (I had checked up on prices the week before, just to fuel my decision). Thank goodness for Travellink (a site similar to Expedia, both in pricing and concept – I used them for booking the flights from home to Orlando when I went to the US last summer) for making the flight and hotel booking simple and affordable (even for a 4 star hotel like Radisson Blu Scandinavia). Who can pass up such a great offer when it’s even smack dab in the middle of Oslo?

The flight leaves this Friday evening (liftoff at 8:25 pm from Ålesund, landing in Oslo at 9:20 pm), and the return flight is on Sunday evening (liftoff at 9:45 pm, landing in Ålesund 10:40 pm). The bus ride between the airport and the hotel in Oslo takes almost an hour, but at least that bus stops right outside the hotel entrance, so I won’t have far to walk (I’ll find something to pass time on the bus, don’t you worry). Transportation (bus, taxi, parents driving, whatnot) to and from the airport near Ålesund takes 15-20 minutes, so I won’t be home until it’s closer to 11-11:30 pm that Sunday. I deliberately wanted a late flight on Friday so I won’t have to miss work, and I sincerely hope I’ll get to check out late on Sunday (considering I have about 6 hours to kill after the usual checkout time until I head out to the airport). Like I did when I went on vacation alone to Copenhagen and to the USA, I’ve planned most of my trip down to the detail; I’ve pre-paid for and received a tram ticket (which was 25 NOK when pre-purchased on the web or at a convenience store in Oslo, but 40 NOK if paid to the tram driver/conductor) to use when travelling from the hotel to the party (the tram stops right around the corner from my hotel, and also stops under a city block from the party location); I’ve written down tram times (every 20 minutes, it takes 17 minutes from the hotel to the party); I’ve researched taxi companies and prices in Oslo (for the return trip to my hotel), and written down phone numbers for the 5 biggest. I’ve even saved map images around my hotel (walking route from the hotel to the tram stop) and around the party location (walking route from the end tram stop to the party) on my phone. All times (flight, party and return flight) have been plotted into my calendar and synced to my phone, and relevant info has been included in each of those calendar times.

Sometimes, I think I plan too much. Then again, planning is part of what makes it a safe trip, and leaves the remaining time (aside from the flights and the party itself) up for spontinaity.

The party may result in a girlfriend, or it may not. My goal for the party is to at the very least breach a boundary in me to go out and find love more actively (rather than spending time with my family and my introverted self – don’t get me wrong, I love the family time, I just want more than that).

Never having had a proper girlfriend does something to you (and I’m not counting “girlfriends” from kindergarten and grade school). However, I have made my observations on other couples, as well as reading into a lot of articles and forum posts on dating, romance (actual romance, not novel or fantasy romance), relationships, sexuality, conflicts and stuff like that. In short, as with sex, I have taken in all the theory I can get my hands on (which is, btw, a continuing quest for information), but I have yet to take all that theory into practice on a real live person. I now intend to do something more active to rid myself of my relationship virginity (of sorts). How that will actually play out, remains to see. I hope I don’t have to move away from Ålesund for it to happen, though (I just love my hometown in spite of all the cold weather – then again, what happens, happens).

Of course, my sister’s pregnancy and the pending arrival of my first niece in May does make me feel left out in a way. I may be putting too much pressure on myself, but being 3 years older than my sister, I had hoped to be close to 3 years ahead in life than her as well. That obviously didn’t happen. Instead, I’m left with a feeling of not having achieved anything significant in life at the entrance of my first 30 years as a human being.

That’s not to say I’m happy for my sister and her boyfriend, because I am. I just wished I had something like she has. And every time I catch myself in envy over my sister, I also feel ashamed for (in my mind) putting pressure on her (I’m only thinking about that pressure, though, I’m not actually putting any pressure on her).

Then again, I’m also still (relatively) young, and my seeds don’t t have the same expire date as a female’s eggs, but I’ve reached the point in life where I actually look forward to bringing a new life to the world, and perhaps even experience being a grandfather before it’s too late, in addition to having someone to grow old with. How’s that for a comfort level and sense of commitment? And that’s even before having someone to share it with!

I hope life still has something special in store for me, and I’m sure it does. It just isn’t happening soon enough!

Now, how’s that for a rant about life?