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Old 12-31-2010, 06:26 AM   #31
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That all sounds like a great trip, you're so lucky to have so many Disney opportunuties. And you make me feel less weird for going to DL for a week! You had me worried on the APIS thing, I thought I had to fill something else out but then I checked the website and realised I'd already done it through Qantas. And Heidi I'm not 'extremely' shy, just not good at making new friends or talking to people I don't know...but you'll break the ice for me!
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:59 PM   #32
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That all sounds like a great trip, you're so lucky to have so many Disney opportunuties. And you make me feel less weird for going to DL for a week! You had me worried on the APIS thing, I thought I had to fill something else out but then I checked the website and realised I'd already done it through Qantas. And Heidi I'm not 'extremely' shy, just not good at making new friends or talking to people I don't know...but you'll break the ice for me!
Hey Aust! Thanks for stopping by. Good that you already did the APIS thing....it was completely new for me! It might have been something that we should have been doing all this while but I never realised until now.

And you do quite well by yourself at breaking the ice!
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:40 PM   #33
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Let me offer you a hint. GET OUT OF LA COUNTY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!!!!

Rush hour has become longer and longer, the window in the day that used to have light traffic has become very small. If you don't get out of LA County before 2 or 3PM you run the risk of hitting the Vetura County commuter traffic. I know it was the Christmas Holidays, but it took us six hours to drive about the same distance that you will be going. We took the I5 to the Ventura Freeway. If you plan on taking the 405 (Santa Monica), well the locals don't call the the 4 or 5 hour freeway for nothing!

I'd place my money on going lickety split to the Camarillo outlets for some shopping and have a nice Seafood lunch at the Ventura Harbor Village. Then you can move along to Solvang and hopefully arrive before dark! If you're on the road by about 9AM most of the traffic should be overwith, not gone, but at least not stopped.

Sounds like fun the rest of the trip, I've never been anywhere you're considering except Hearst Castle, so I can't comment on any of those!
Alison - that is very sound advice. I would love to run to Camarillo as quickly as possible (I have very fond memories of shopping there once); but we really didn't do justice to the Farmer's Market the last time because DS was asleep. We might decide to get there early (I expect we would be there before 10 am), look around have lunch and leave the area around 1 pm.

I'll mention it to DH and see what he thinks.
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:43 PM   #34
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Car Hire and other DisOrganisation

One of the unwritten divisions of duties in my household is the booking of car hire when we travel.

Afterall, I end up researching, organising and booking the flights, DFAT, ESTA, APIS, hotels and excursions; so it only seems fair that DH gets the pleasure of organizing the cars. Besides, DH usually hires a car on his business trips to the US; so he has Hertz gold member relationship, the hire company of choice for his work.

Sometimes…okay…most times….er……all times; I’ll encourage DH to book the car hire earlier rather than later. I also admit that I do keep an eye on the special offers from the car hire companies from time to time.

One such offer cropped up for Alamo…a mid-sized rental for 1 week, pick up LAX drop-off SFO, with NO drop-off fee…was available in early December. I pointed out the deal to DH. And yes, I realize that Alamo is NOT Hertz. But this part of the trip was pure holiday and where holiday car hire is concerned, my preference is clear….whichever company has the best value deal gets my business. Would you believe that the price came to about $250 including all taxes and insurance?

I think I reminded DH about the deal…oh…at least twice if not thirty times a week. DH finally got round to booking the car hire yesterday. Turns out that there are no cars available from Alamo for a LAX pick-up and SFO drop-off for that special price. There were cars available from John Wayne Airport in Orange County for SFO drop-off and DH contemplated taking a taxi between airports to get the deal. He started the booking process and in between start and end, the on-line price jumped to $1000.

DH is normally a very patient man. But the one thing that really annoys him is on-line booking systems (which is why I end up doing the bulk of things) and he was so ticked off with what he called “gross rip-off” that he went on to Hertz and booked a car for about $400 . Pick up from LAX, drop off in Silicon Valley (close to where we are staying) and easy transfer across to the work car hire booking.

I know we’re all thinking that he should have moved on the Alamo deal earlier; but there are reasons why he didn’t move quicker.

And one other thing – we recently found out that one of our credit cards was being used in Las Vegas. Neither DH nor I have been in Vegas in a number of years. The bank called us up and asked if the transactions were kosher. The card was immediately cancelled and we have been re-issued with new ones.

The interesting thing is that this particular card is only used when we travel overseas or for on-line purchases. The card was last used in our October trip and we only pulled it out twice. Once at the CSR reception and the second time at a restaurant in Silicon Valley. Both times, the card did leave our line of sight. Food for thought, isn’t it?


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Old 12-31-2010, 07:09 PM   #35
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And one other thing – we recently found out that one of our credit cards was being used in Las Vegas. Neither DH nor I have been in Vegas in a number of years. The bank called us up and asked if the transactions were kosher. The card was immediately cancelled and we have been re-issued with new ones.

The interesting thing is that this particular card is only used when we travel overseas or for on-line purchases. The card was last used in our October trip and we only pulled it out twice. Once at the CSR reception and the second time at a restaurant in Silicon Valley. Both times, the card did leave our line of sight. Food for thought, isn’t it?


That is so scary, what could you do to avoid this? Just use cash for everything? Except I wouldn't like to carry that much cash around with me.

I am not brave enough to hire a car in America, and Adam isn't too keen either. When I was little and went to America my father crashed the hire car we were in. When he turned into another road he went to the wrong side of the road. I am now too traumatized to try on my own. I have no problem driving at home, just in a country that drives on the wrong side of the road
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:16 PM   #36
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I take a combination with me - cash, Traveller's Cheques, Travel Card, Credit cards and my normal ATM cards.

I'm happy to use the Credit Cards where I can see them swiping the card e.g., usually shopping; but most of the time we pay with Traveller's Cheques. I know it's pretty old-fashioned; but TCs are quite widely taken in the US and they give the change in cash.

DH will now never hand over his CC in places where he can't see them swiping it and handing it straight back to him.

And we've always driven in the US; so it's almost like an automatic thing now for us to drive on the other side of the road. The hardest bit is getting out of the car hire parking lot!
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:30 PM   #37
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I thought I was the only person around who still uses travellers cheques!

Very jealous of all the scavenger hunt opportunities you will get!
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:14 AM   #38
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I thought I was the only person around who still uses travellers cheques!

Very jealous of all the scavenger hunt opportunities you will get!
They'll mostly be of the Disney and food ones! I've given up on all the snow and de-icing pictures; but am hoping to get the breath in cold air, bird feeding and mad bomber hat....
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:21 AM   #39
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They'll mostly be of the Disney and food ones! I've given up on all the snow and de-icing pictures; but am hoping to get the breath in cold air, bird feeding and mad bomber hat....
You beat me to the Nutcracker window display. May still do that if it is still up. We were going into the city tomorrow, but this damn rain! I am also hoping to get to Seaworld these school holidays. Maybe able to find something icy at the polar bear and penguin displays. DH works in commercial refrigeration, so hoping he may come across an icicle.

Do you have any idea what a po' boy is? I was wondering if it is like Subway, but then I was going to use that for a deli sandwich.
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:30 AM   #40
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A Po' Boy is a type of (New Orleans) sandwich...bread stuffed with deep fried crumbed shrimp. They serve them at Bubba Gumps and also at Ralph Brennar's Jazz Kitchen.

ICY! I think I remember seeing icicles at the Aquarium...penguin display.
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:35 AM   #41
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I don't think I will be finding a Po' Boy around here then!
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:41 AM   #42
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You could always get a recipe off the net and make one....

Did you get any firework shots last night?
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:33 PM   #43
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That is so scary, what could you do to avoid this? Just use cash for everything? Except I wouldn't like to carry that much cash around with me.

I am not brave enough to hire a car in America, and Adam isn't too keen either. When I was little and went to America my father crashed the hire car we were in. When he turned into another road he went to the wrong side of the road. I am now too traumatized to try on my own. I have no problem driving at home, just in a country that drives on the wrong side of the road
I guess I will scrap my post on your PTR where I suggest that you hire a car and drive to SF

We conquered the "wrong side of the road problem" when we went to New Zealand, the only thing that I couldn't get over was the word "left turn". As the Navigator I kept saying, "Make a Left" when I meant "make a right". See in my mind it was the turn against traffic and at home that's a left. By the end of the trip we worked out a new system, I knew which hand I wore my watch on and which one I wore a bracelet, so I would say, "turn towards the watch" or "turn towards the bracelet" and we were good.
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:41 PM   #44
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I don't think I will be finding a Po' Boy around here then!
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You could always get a recipe off the net and make one....

Did you get any firework shots last night?
One of the common ones is to take some fried shrimp put them in a sub roll with some cajun remoulade and lettuce.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:28 PM   #45
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Thanks for the timely reminder about keeping your eye on your credit card. What was the outcome? Will the banks reimburse what was taken?
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