I used to feel uncomfortable about taking photos of First Class or Business Class travel, even though I use points, because I felt it was flaunty. ( I had to get over that since my blog focuses on travel.) I have now decided that excellent flights with exceptional service and interesting lounge design should be recognized and included in my blog in the same way an innovative restaurant or beautiful architecture should be.
I flew from Manila to San Diego with a 5 hour layover in Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific (thank you American Airlines points) The journey was one of the highlights of my holiday trip. Here are some photos....
My first stop was the Cathay Pacific lounge in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila which was opened in May 2015 and meant to look like a domestic space. I felt like I was in a Danish Modern, Mad Men style living room and I love the wood walls (I am not sure what type of wood) which looks like teak. I was surprised and how nice the lounge is.
I work in the food industry and there are days when life is hectic and I want to escape to a beach, drink tropical cocktails and mentally unwind on a hammock. My fantasy came true when Peter and I flew to Coron, Palawan known for its pristine white sand beaches, clear waters, aquatic life, diving and snorkeling sites and shipwrecks. We stayed 3 nights at the Club Paradise Resort.
When I visit my mom in Manila, we always schedule a beach trip. I am proud to say that the Philippines has some of the world's most beautiful beaches.
I am so grateful for The Points Guy. I've used American Airlines points several time to fly to Europe but never thought I could use them for flights to Manila, Philippines where I go yearly. Peter read How to Search for Oneworld Award Availability and How to Book Awards with American Airlines Advantage Miles on The Points Guy and booked for me a flight in November from San Diego to Manila via Japan Airlines Business Class in November and Manila to Los Angeles via Cathay Pacific First Class in December. These were flights were so relaxing, the food so good that I was in no rush for the plane to land. Culinary pampering in the sky.
Flight: JAL Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner ...San Diego (SAN) to Narita (NRT)
Miles Used: 55,000
Last September, Nette and I planned a bachelorette party for our friend Maria. We met for cocktails at Fleming's in La Jolla to plan the festivities and decided on a relaxing spa getaway where we could laze by the pool, eat delicious meals and celebrate Maria's last months of being single. We did not want a wild "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" style weekend. After a glass or two of wine, it was decided that the venue would be the JW Marriot Palm Desert Springs and Spa. The color of the evening....RED.
When a friend told me about her annual visit to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Night, I was curious. Universal Studios Halloween Horror Night includes 6 mazes (The Walking Dead, Insidious, Halloween, This Is The End, Crimson Peak , AVP), rides, a terror tram (Survive The Purge), scare zones and Jabbawockeez show. Being a Walking Dead fan, the thought of walking through a zombie filled maze screaming in horror is thrilling and got added to my bucket list. After all, my bucket list does not have to be limited to World Heritage Sites.
We drove from San Diego, grabbed a meal at The Anaheim Packing District and checked in at The Hollywood Hotel. The rooms and bathrooms were outdated, but the front desk staff was very nice and the free breakfast buffet was better than I expected.
After a particularly challenging (and awful) week, it was a relief to hop on a train to Anaheim and take a quick Uber ride to the "happiest place on earth". It's hard to be sad riding through a cave filled with colorful adorable retro dolls singing about world peace.
Date night at Fogo De Chao Brazilian rodizio style churrascaria steakhouse in Downtown San Diego. The only reservation that we could book on Friday was at 9:30pm because of Restaurant Week (we ordered from the regular menu which has the filet mignon and ribeye). The place was packed and according to our server it was the busiest that she had ever seen the place. Despite the crowds, the service was impeccable, the energy was fun and the gauchos brought the skewers quickly to our table. We had an excellent time.
We were in Mexico City last June and took an overnight trip to the city of Puebla, a Spanish colonial town established in the 1531 located in East-Central Mexico, whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Mexico's 4th largest city. Believed to have been built with the help of angels, the city was called Puebla de los Angeles or "City of Angels".
We took Uber (our ride of choice in Mexico City) to the TAPO bus terminal then rode the Estrella Roja bus to the Capu bus terminal then hopped on a 20 minute cab ride to our hotel in the historic area of Puebla. The roughly 2 hour ride premier class ticket cost about $12 one way and the bus was clean, comfortable and felt safe.
Our first glimpse of the city was of stunning Baroque and Renaissance architecture painted in vibrant colors and dramatic talavera tiled facades. So beautiful!
We also visited because we heard that they are known for their dishes such as Middle Eastern inspired gyro style taco Arabe which were created by immigrants from Iraq who moved to the area after World War I, mole (one of my favorite dishes) and the cemita poblana, a massive meat, cheese, avocado sandwich in a specialty sesame roll.
My favorite wardrobe staple and travel essential for summer are white shorts + print top. Outfits for our next trip in September which will be to Punta Mita Mexico for a wedding.