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About iancal

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  1. We watch what street food we eat. We won't eat the those processed mini wiener-don't know what is in them and don't want processed foods. Other than that, the only other street food that we don't eat, and probably never will, is the roasted bugs of various types on a stick that you see in SE Asia. A definate no go for us-psychological more than anything else.
  2. Since retiring we are overseas about 4 months each year. Lot of different countries and living conditions. We don't wipe down anything. Eleven flight segments over the last two months. Never wiped down anything on the plane. Same for buses, rental cars, ferries, trains, you name it. Nor do we carry a bevy of cleaning products with us when we take a cruise. Never have. Nor do we carry around a suitcase full of just in case OTC products and bandages. One little bottle with a few pills of this and that. Anything else we can buy locally. The only exception is sunscreen-we take 100ml with us always. We eat local food, often street food. Especially night markets. Once in a while we return home with a cold, perhaps from the airplane. But that is it. I am convinced that this wiping down business is more about product advertising and what is does to us rather than either common sense or science. So far the only illness or discomfort one of us has suffered has been the result of a physical injury. The one thing that we do practice is to wash our hands-wash them well and wash them often. And on cruises absolutely avoid certain foods in the buffet that are subject to improper handling and pawing by customers.
  3. Years ago we spent six weeks travelling through the UK in a camper van. Too much, too fast. Since than time we have had numerous trips back to the UK, and to London in particular. We would suggest that the best way to see the UK is not to try and see all of it in one go. Pick a few areas and spend time. Perhaps Yorkshire, the Cotswalds, Wales, Lake District, Cornwall,, Scotland..etc. Pick two or three areas and spend some time enjoying everything that the UK has to offer.
  4. We have been to several places where some Gov't agencies have recommended against for various reasons. Usually personal safety. Turkey, Greece, Thailand to name a few. In all cases we made contact with either expats, US, Canadian, Brits, or Aussies who were either living there are spending time in those countries at that time on extended trips. In all instances we made our decision based tp gp based on the feedback from those folks. And in all cases, I might add, we returned wondering why we were ever advised against visiting. One benefit though, tourism was down, airfares were less expensive as was lodging, etc. I really think it pays to listen to people actually live in those locations. My guess is that there are places within cities in North American that people who reside there would never recommend locals, let alone tourists travel.
  5. I can sleep on planes. Lots of business travel in the past. Not unusual on some flight for me to get to the zzz's before we take off. DW is very envious of this though it as hardly a skill. Just luck. Many of our fights are 10 hours or more so sleeping a little really helps me to be in better shape on arrival.
  6. ^agree completely with this. Sad, but I think accurate. It is what happens when there is no vision, no direction, and an over dependence on a loyal customer base that is shrinking by choice and by age.
  7. Our experience is that by and large the airline personnel are very good. My spouse cracked several vertebrae in Kuala Lumpur mid trip several years ago. Rather than flying home she decided that we should carry on with our plans continue on to Australia. It was a 10hr flight to Gold Coast vs. 17 or more to get home. She told the AirAsia folks on check in about her condition. They assigned her a seat, blocked off the other two seats in the row AND told her lie across just as soon as the seat belt light went out.
  8. Everyone has a different opinion, different experiences, and comments. Bottom line is this is a decision that only you can make. It is very simple. If you are not comfortable going to Mexico then simply go someone else. It is not really much of a puzzle. I hope that you have a wonderful and safe vacation where ever you decide to go. Our approach to travel is that we dress down and stay aware of our surroundings. Our travel clothes are non descript. I have a clearly inexpensive watch that I travel with. The wallet I keep in my pocket has no credit cards and never much more that the equiv. of $20. in cash. We regularly see people on our travels flashing cash and cards in stores or wearing expensive jewelry. Outside the stores we see people paying more attention to taking a photo of the fountain than keeping track of who is behind them or who has their hands in their backpack or their pocket. Heck, in Rio the kids will pull a an inexpensive $100 gold chain off you neck or wrist as they pass you by. We do our best to remove all of that from our persons.
  9. In the last two months...three times on Air Transat, probably five times or more on Aegean/Olympic. I go to on line checkin. Check off the box for both of us. Then try to get an aisle seat and a window seat in the same three seat row. The system changes the assignment so we are sitting side by side which is not what we want. In the past we have been able to get aisle across from each other but never aisle and window. Without paying advance fpr seats we have were able to both get good seats, within 24 hours of flying, on two Transat transatlantic flights and one Transat cross country flight. And on both of our 3 1/2 hour Aegean Airlines flights. Aegean would let us do it on the Dash equipment of course where the seating is 2X2. And on the past three or four Transat flights to Mexico. We have experienced this before on one or two other airlines. I cannot remember which...we do a fair amount of air travel.
  10. That may be so but we travel like this at least twice a year and often for several flight segments. Never had a problem getting acceptable seats. Never been stuck in the middle seat, at the back beside the lavs or near the serving areas on longer flights. Flying to Athens this fall we had our choice of many good seats....about 12 hours prior to blast off. The airline will allow it presumably if you phone in. Our experience if you do it on line many will not allow it. Just a easy for us to log in twice. In Canada it most certainly was the case with Transat and as I recall Westjet. On one of our recent flights I was asked to switch from aisle to middle to accomodate a young couple. Response was negative. IF we know the plane will be crowded, and the flight will be long we willingly pay for seats. Did that last winter on a Thailand-Oz flight, and OZ-HNL. For us it depends on the airline, the flight, and the date or time.
  11. Quite a few airlines will not let us check in together and select an aisle and a window on three across. The seat selection option forces us to sit together. Neither of us wants a middle seat. Many of the airlines we fly on charge extra for seat selection. We used to pay. We found out that we can obtain the same seats by not checking in until 24 hours from flight time...at which time it is free. So...we recently did an extended trip that had 11 flight segments. Most of them 1 hour but few 10 hour flights. In North America Air Canada, Westjet, Transat. Most other trans atlantic and transpacific we can pre select when we book. We do more flights on LCC in Asia, Europe, and OZ than we do in NA where there is a charge for pre-selecting seat. We have never not been able to get an aisle and a window.
  12. I like the aisle. DW wants the window. Especially on long flights of 10-14 hours. So, we check in on line seperately. Same locator number. I check in and select the aisle. Then I log out, log back in and check DW for a window seat (assuming 3 across). Often in the same row, sometimes not. We have been married 45 plus years so not sitting together for a few hours is not a biggie. And sometimes the middle seat ends up being empty.
  13. The only time we have been in Cancun was at the airport. We did take the local bus from Playa to Cancun, then a taxi to the pier to catch the ferry to Isla Majeures. And returned the same way. What we saw of Cancun turned us off. Yes, in some ways it reminded us of Miami but we have no interest in Miami either. We went for dinner and walked around Puerto Morales at night without any concern. Last Oct/Nov some areas, especially Puerto Morales, were having issues with sargassum. The beach was cleaned each day. It is my understanding that it is much worse now. We would think twice about going there without doing some research and having a look on google earth. The sargassum stinks. Might be fine at a AI beside the pool. Besides, Huatulco is on our bucket list..never been south of Acapulco. If you or DW is nervous why bother? There are lots of other places to travel.
  14. Forgot to mention that there is an AlphaBank branch in the Athens airport. Much better exchange rate those other rip off exchange offices. We spent four weeks in Greece, two weeks in Cyprus. We went with $1200 CAD (which we exchanged along the way) cash and 100 E. We used an ATM once. Took out $500E. Came home with 150e but used up 150e in places we could have used a credit card just to get rid of some of the cash. We were surpised at how many places accepted credit cards compared to a few years ago.
  15. We have not done any escorted land tours. Not that interested in a night or two in one place and then up at 7 in order to get on the bus. Usually our stays are minimum of three nights, more often five to seven nights. We have become slow travelers.
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