Archive for January, 2008

NC Eatin’: Forsyth County

Thursday, January 24, 2008
Old Salem Tavern
736 South Main
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

No, I haven’t given up on my quest to eat in all 100 counties yet!  It’s just been a while since I have had the chance to go somewhere new.  Actually, the Old Salem Tavern isn’t new to me.  My parents and I visited Old Salem several times when I was little; I auditioned for NC Governor’s School at Salem College (ended up at the east campus, which was then at St. Andrews in Laurinburg); and I nearly attended Salem College for undergrad.  I’ve also met my parents there as a half-way point a couple of times when we get desperate for each other but can’t commit to a whole weekend.

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January 31, 2008 at 4:38 pm 3 comments

Today is the day: US border crossing rules change

 

Passport rules for US citizens have been kind of complex as of late.  We’ve always needed passports for travel in Europe and other super far away parts of the world, but it used to be a lot easier for closer countries.  We could go to the Caribbean with just a drivers license and a birth certificate, and we could go to Mexico and Canada just by telling the border patrol folks that you’re a US citizen.  There have been lots of complicated changes lately though.

The initial plan was just to have everyone have a passport, even for Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.  Then the government decided that was too much of a pain (hello – you have to have enough staff to process all those passport apps!).  They changed the rules to say we only needed a passport if we flew back from Mexico or Canada.  If we traveled by land or sea, we just needed a declaration plus a government-issued photo ID.  It’s all very confusing for those without passports.  So what’s the story right now?

Air travel: Everyone must have a passport to fly into the US.

Land travel: As of today, US and Canadian citizens entering the US must have either (1) a passport or (2) a government-issued photo ID plus proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate.  Children 18 and under may get by with just the proof of citizenship.

Sea travel: As of today, it’s the same deal as land travel.

The good folks on NPR said that the border patrol will probably let people through based on the old guidelines for a little while and give those people a warning.

My advice?  Get a passport.  Make sure to keep it current.  Don’t leave the country without it.

Passport image from City of Orange.

January 31, 2008 at 9:33 am 2 comments

RENT is closing

RENT is closing on Broadway on June 1, 2008.  If you haven’t yet seen it, make your plans now.

This show has touched millions, including me.  I remember when I first heard about it back in 1996.  An old friend told me the story and about how awesome it was.  Being a big fan of musicals, I ran out and got the original cast recording ASAP.  I listened, cried, and repeated those two steps about a million times.  Heck, I even named my car, a Subaru station wagon, “Roger” because it was kind of wimpy and on its last legs but still a good car.

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January 30, 2008 at 8:28 am 2 comments

Krispy Kreme Challenge

   

The challenge:

  • Run the 2 miles from the NC State bell tower to Krispy Kreme on Peace Street.
  • Eat 1 dozen donuts.
  • Run the 2 miles back to the bell tower.
  • Finish within 1 hour.
    1. Crazy, yes?  Of course!  It’s even crazier when you think about the fact that you’d consume 2,400 calories and expend less than half that in completing the run.  I’d heard about it just prior to last year’s challenge and vowed to do it someday.  I told my brother about it, and he and his girlfriend flew in from Mississippi to join me.

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      January 29, 2008 at 1:30 pm 1 comment

      TTT: Call your bank and credit card company

      Image from OilEmpire. 

      This Travel Tip Tuesday, please keep in mind this PSA when travelling in a foreign country.  If you’re leaving the country, call your bank and credit card company.  Tell them where you’re going and when you’ll be gone.  This will prevent them from cutting you off from making withdrawals and charges wherever you’re going – very important if you’re like me and don’t use traveler’s checks (btw, I wouldn’t recommend getting those – they’re becoming more and more difficult to use).  I know of at least two people who’ve run into trouble for failing to do this.

      When we went to Rome in 2004, I made sure to call my bank and credit card company to let them know where I was going, the dates, and that I would be making ATM withdrawals and foreign charges.  I reminded my husband to do the same a couple of times, but it slipped his mind.  When we arrived, he used his ATM card to get some Euros.  A few days later, he tried to get some more cash but couldn’t; the ATM said there was a problem with his account.  This happened at a couple more ATMs.  Fortunately I had no problems, so I just withdrew cash from my account (yes, it was his card and not the ATMs; another thing to remember is that you need to find the right kind of ATM for your card).  Good thing he wasn’t by himself!

      On our last cruise, my friend didn’t know to make these calls.  Sure enough, when she tried to make a second charge to her credit card in a foreign country, the charge was declined.  She knew she hadn’t maxed the card, so it was that the company was trying to protect her from unauthorized charges.  Luckily she had a back-up credit card, which was good for at least one charge, and I was able to loan her some cash.

      Don’t be like my husband and friend – make those calls before you leave!  Check your daily limits as well – you may need to ask that those be temporarily suspended or increased.  Also, take multiple options for making purchases/obtaining cash (I like to take my ATM card, 2-3 credit cards, and a little cash) and take the applicable phone numbers with you just in case you still run into a problem.

      Bonus tip: If planning to withdraw cash using your ATM card while in another country, make sure you have plenty of cash in your checking account.  Some foreign ATMs may not allow you to access your other accounts.

      January 29, 2008 at 9:41 am Leave a comment

      Destination Friday: Brighton

      My day trip to Brighton with my classmates back in 2000 was one of my favorite day trips.  (Okay, I’ll be honest – they’re ALL my favorite day trips.)  Brighton is on the south coast and is one of the largest and most notable settlements by the sea in the UK.  It became a health resort during the 18th century, and it’s still popular with travelers today.

       

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      January 25, 2008 at 8:52 am 1 comment

      TTT: SeatGuru

      I’ve been so busy this week that I didn’t even think about the fact that yesterday was Tuesday!  So I’m one day late for Travel Tip Tuesday this week.

      Whenever I’m booking a flight, particularly a long one like to Vegas or a trans-Atlantic, I like to look up a seat map for the plane I’ll be on before selecting my seat.  SeatGuru makes this a breeze.  It tells you where in-seat power port locations are so you can snag one of those seats if you plan to bring along your laptop or other electronic that you want to plug in.  It also tells you which seats have limited (or NO!) recline, reduced legroom, increased legroom, and no storage space for takeoff and landing.  Whenever I’ve remembered to use it, I’ve been grateful.  Whenever I forget to check and end up in a seat that won’t recline, I curse myself for forgetting!  It’s a great resource – one you should use when booking your next flight (assuming you get to choose your seat!).

      January 23, 2008 at 9:08 am Leave a comment

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