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PUBLIC MARKS from wiredsetman with tags trip & itinerary

26 March 2007 22:00

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

It was a dark and stormy morning. The boat was heaving worse than ever, and I got up well before sun rise, opened the curtains and was met by an angry sea: frothy white caps, a howling wind picking up seawater and blasting it at the side of the ship, and a driving rain. I couldn't sleep, so I grabbed my Sony Reader, which I loaded with books before leaving, and went up to the Lido Deck for coffee, convinced I was the only soul stirring on the boat. I arrived to find a collection of elderly gentleman already there, reading and drinking coffee. I settled down with a latte, a smoked salmon sandwich and my book and thought about the considerable pleasures of rising early.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

The ship started pitching early this morning. We woke up expecting to see a fierce ocean outside our window. Instead, it was a vision of calm. There was a fine chop on the water, the conditions were perfect for waterskiing, and yet, amidst all this calm were big, gentle rollers that threw the nose of the boat up, and yanked it down again.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

I am developing an obsession with the crew. Their lives seem substantial imbued with arc compared to the leisurely routines of the guests. Beneath their smiles and courteous nods, there is the aggravation and frustration of working life. There must be.

26 March 2007 21:00

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

I received an email from my father today that concluded with the line, "You are a terrible gambler." My father knows me well. As promised, I took yesterday's bingo winnings to the casino last night with the hopes of increasing my net worth even more. In a span of thirteen minutes, the afternoon's bingo jackpot of $140 had been reduced to $100 and I was so pained by my reversal in fortune that I refrained from another, no doubt equally calamitous, buy-in.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Between bingo games, I've found myself with a little time to respond to several questions and comments posted on the blog. Thanks all! I'm dedicating the next bingo win to you.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Cruise ship life has a way of getting inside you. We begin every morning with breakfast on the balcony, which is one of the most pleasant breakfast experiences there is. Why all the other guests congregate in the buffet area when they could be sitting at their very own, private ocean-view table watching the sun rising on the horizon is a mystery to me.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

A strange thing happened last night. Somewhere around midnight, we left Sunday and entered Tuesday. This implausible turn of events is due to the fact that we crossed the International Date Line, and no matter how hard I try to understand the physics involved, I am left perplexed. Monday, to paraphrase Lynrd Skynrd, is gone with the wind--and that's the problem.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Oahu. It has always struck me that Hawaii's most populated island was named after the particular yelp of excitement shouted by first time visitors. Perhaps this is why I envisioned several hours of euphoric tropical enjoyment during the cruise's all-too-short stopover on the island. Accordingly, I set myself the following itinerary: Dock at 10:30 a.m., take the shuttle to the Hyatt Hotel at Waikiki Beach (another outstanding name--Waikiki, not Hyatt) and rent a car. Drive to Hanauma Bay, go snorkeling, see tropical fish, return to Waikiki, sample two local delicacies: poke (pronounced "pokey") and shave ice, then hit the beach, where I would learn how to surf. Or try to learn how to surf. Or try to try to learn how to surf.

26 March 2007 20:00

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

I want to let you know that our Hawaii itinerary has been modified, for reasons that have something to do with the Coast Guard, apparently. Anyway, we get in at 10 a.m. on Saturday, then depart midnight that day. Not a lot of time. I'm planning on renting a car and taking the family to Hanauma Bay for some snorkelling, then to Waikiki Beach so I can try my hand at surfing. Does that sound doable to you?

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Here's a tip for you: If you should find yourself in Los Angeles and you have to get on a ship bound for Asia, try and be extra sure to go to the right pier. For instance, if your ship is departing from the San Pedro Pier, don't go to the Long Beach Pier. Then, when one of the friendly baggage attendants at the Long Beach pier tells you that the San Pedro pier is about a mile away, do not listen to him. Like every journey in Los Angeles, it requires a 20-minute stint on the freeway. And the LA freeways have a tendency to clog with traffic, even at 3:30 in the afternoon, which, when you're trying to get to the San Pedro Pier to make a ship that's due to disembark in less than two hours, can induce a state of animated panic.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Tracker1312, thanks to your instructions on how to read my GPS, I can now tell you that I am at: N28 48.505 by W133 36.604, or so my Garmin tells me. Whether this constitutes genuine knowledge on my part is a matter of debate. Fortunately, all I have to do is press the "page" button and a map appears, showing me as a little pink triangle somewhere between LA and Hawaii, pointed west. There is nothing like a nice colorful drawing to appeal to the simpleminded.

26 March 2007 19:00

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Try this the next time you're in a car. Drive into a school zone and be sure to follow the speed limit. When the needle settles around the 21 miles per hour mark, take a good look at how fast you're going. (Not very.) Now imagine driving at that speed all the way to China (assuming I-80 went that far).

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

The first local I met in San Francisco was just the kind of San Francisco local that Bill O'Reilly would warn you about. He was a transplanted New Yorker, and he had something of a refugee air about him, as too many transplanted Easterners do. Here was a man who resolutely refused to live in any other part of the country because, as he put it, "the rest of the country is insane."

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

We made it to Napa despite the meth-user. He showed up five miles outside Reno, surging in our rear view driving in a blue 1960s Chevy pickup and showing no signs of slowing down. This was a bit of a problem, because the right lane was blocked by the late-model Buick we were in the midst of passing. But the pale-faced, neck-scratching, scraggly, meth-user seemed to be prepared to plow right into us.

26 March 2007 18:00

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

The idea that everything happens for some overarching grand reason has always struck me as a stupid way of looking at life. Philosophers call it teleology, Harlequin Romance novels call it destiny and I now believe in it, thanks to the great state of Nevada, where it's known as Lady Luck.

Preparation: The Gear

Editor's Note: Before Mark set off on his trip around the world, he provided Conde Nast Traveler with a shopping list of items that he would need to stay blogging. The list included: a MacBook Pro and an Internet card for connectivity, a digital camera, a Palm Treo 680, an 80-gig iPod (pre-loaded with Shakira*), and enough batteries and adaptors to power a small village. We gladly obliged with the caveat that Mark blog as often as possible. So far, so good.

26 March 2007 17:00

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you're ever struck with the notion of taking a detour from your relatively straight-line shot across the continent to visit Denver and hunt down the known haunts of Jack Kerouac. The first is that Denver is invariably larger than you expect. Yes, we all know it's a big city, with sports teams and industry and restaurants, etc. But the last thing you expect to see as you drive south from Wyoming, next to fields reeking of manure and mountains jutting in the distance is to suddenly find skyscrapers looming dead ahead. But when you get downtown and are driving in between said skyscrapers, you notice that the city still has a western feel. I can't say why that is, but if you happened to, say, see a horse tied up in front of a bank, it wouldn't seem all that out of place.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

We pulled out of Chicago yesterday morning a little later than we should have. Rush hour was in full swing, which wasn't such a bad thing, because Chicago has to have one of the finest looking downtowns in America. The buildings are stately, yet beautiful, and it all seems to have been laid out coherently--not as haphazard as New York City. In all, we saw a lot more of downtown Chicago than we should have because our trip computer, who had been reliable up until this point, got pretty confused. She had us driving in circles, turning right down one way streets, and told us to pull onto highway on-ramps that were a hundred feet above our head.

26 March 2007 16:00

Day 2: Thoughts of John Wayne in Iowa

I am writing from I-80, just west of Des Moines, Iowa. Half an hour back, the traffic was all stopped on the eastbound side, and there was a guy in jeans trying to coral a big pig off the paved shoulder, but the pig seemed to like it just fine where he was. About 300 yards further down the road, we passed a school bus filled with convicts. The theme of the day, it would seem, is forcible confinement.

26 March 2007 15:00

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

This extremely beautiful stretch of asphalt is the pier at Red Hook, Brooklyn. Actually, it's the parking lot. I tried to get to the pier, but the security guard would hear nothing of it, for reasons that remain unclear. If all goes according to plan, I will be stepping onto said pier exactly 80 days from now. Soon after that, I will reach the parking lot. But I have many miles to go before any of that happens.

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