Category Archives: Laughs

Getting Out the Vote


“Oro, Plomo o Provisiones?”  Mexico Election 2018 Campaign Slogan 

 

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Game of Horns


Spirit Airlines


by Staff Senior Travel Editor, Otto Overbooked 

When I plug in my flight searches on Google Flights, I have most often deleted Spirit Airlines from the search due to their a la carte pricing menu confusion.

But, my recent flight date and time needs just happened to fit Spirit’s schedule on a coast to coast trip.  So down the tarmac we danced with Spirit.

Spirit’s “bare bones” fees exclude! a checked bag, a normal 20″ carry on bag, peanuts, beverages, seat assignments and these add on fees change if you don’t plan ahead or make a mistake.  My favorite add on is printing a boarding pass, costing them less than 10 cents, will cost you $10 at the airport.

After reading several reviews and packing lightly, I only had one bag to check as my only add-on fee this flight.  What is confusing is that the fee can be several different prices.  A pre flight online checked bag fee, a “bad passenger needs to check it at airport” fee or a join our Spirit “club” for a discounted fee are on the menu.  Most loyalty clubs are more painful and email SPAMful than are worthwhile, so I paid the $30 fee.

I did not have time for golf on this Florida trip, so I did not need to pay the $100 fee each way for my golf clubs, ouchee! Other checked bag fees also add on to that $30 fee I paid, depending on how heavy your bag is up to add $100, wheee!

Downloaded the Spirit APP and set my alarm for 24 hours before my flight to checkin.  Did not want to pay the $20 seating fee(x 2 for the two flight legs) so I guessed that earliest checkins get the better seats.

I did not get my seat assignments until I hit the customer experience counter at Orlando Int’l terminal B. Found my window seat and aisle seats for my two flights. So my logic on early checkin was solid or possibly just a random stroke of luck.

BTW, what is with MCO(Orlando Int’l Airport) having digital signs at passenger drop that read out “United Airlines” half the time, then “Do not leave your vehicle unattended” half the time.  If you are driving by while the digital readout give you the “unattended” script, howtf do you know where your airline checkin counter is along that 1/4 mile strip of choices at passenger drop-off.

Special thanks to my 07:00 limo team for excellent service to the MCO airport.

Back to Spirit, I get into the line that says “Equipaje Documentado” and hope I’m in the right line.  At counter, produced my Spirit app boarding pass and ID.  Bonus non-fee is that Spirit includes a receipt for your checked bag and verbal instructions on the gate assignment.

Am I the only one that often does not remember the verbal gate assignment?  30 seconds after that, I’m always looking for a outgoing flight monitor to tell me what gate I need. I’m usually short on caffeine most travel mornings and my senses are a bit agitated about the whole airport/TSA adventure.

Orlando TSA is always packed.  Fortunately, I successfully got my SENTRI(aka trusted traveler) # to register with Spirit, giving me TSA PRE ✔ access.  “Belts ON, Shoes ON, Laptops IN, no metal, empty your pockets…!!!”.

Flight was on time with the big yellow Airbus 319 waiting at the jetway.  Boarding was confusing because the Carib Island gate clerk had poor enunciation and low volume with everyone asking which boarding group was up.  Prefer the airlines that display which group is boarding on a monitor.

Please don’t be the passenger that hovers for the next boarding group in the boarding line.  Are you in the line, or are you super shy about being close to the preceding passenger, or are you waiting, or are you confused like me?

Got to my 18F window seat.  I’m not a big guy, but, subjectively, Spirit seats do seem a bit tighter than my American, Southwest and United flights.  Seat backs have a strap containing safety documents. If you need to get some work done on your laptop, that little tray, that looks like a cigarette container, is approx 5″ x 12″ to test your balancing and keyboarding skills.

You will not get a magazine with the CEO praising himself, cosmetic surgery centers or the best steakhouses in America.  But, a barf bag is included at no extra fee.

Spirit seats do not lean back.  Longer flights might want you to walk the aisle to ease your discomfort.

Thankfully, there was no flight attendant skit or stand-up comedy attempt.  Some may like that cuteness factor.  I just want to be left alone in peace with minimal crew interaction or them barking something at me.

Instead of the seat kicking kid, I got the couple that enjoys playing a video with enough volume to share that enterainment with the nearest 20 passengers.  I turned around and gave them the hairy eyeball look between the seat opening.  I believe she convinced him that they might just be a bit irritating and the volume came down to a whisper, thanks.

Arrived at DFW on time and in a peaceful attitude.  This was easier than expected.

Heard a new city name while waiting at DFW for next flight.  “Passengers on the ‘Alanna’ flight…”?  That is Atlanta for you northern Yankees.

One glitch hit me on the Spirit app.  The boarding pass kept refreshing so that I had to enter first name, last name and Confirmation #.  Hate confirmation #s passionately.  Why not my email addy or phone #?  C’mon technology geeks.  But, the boarding pass tried loading and continued to fail.

My customer experience sweats broke out as I envisioned combat mode argument about Spirit taking a lousy $10 away from me for printing the stoopid boarding pass.  No prob, showed them the app fail and they gleefully printed my pass.  Will do a screen shot next time.

That $10 could have purchased a Boar’s Head sammich at DFW terminal E, that was disguised as 2 oversized slabs of bread with a thin line of mystery meat and lettuce somewhere between.  No thanks.

DFW-SAN Diego flight was also easy and on time.  Got a gray color Airbus this time. Bag arrived easily and I exited the San Diego terminal 20 minutes after flight wheels banged the concrete.  I am very fortunate to have a smallish airport to use in San Diego.

 

We award Spirit Airlines with 3 out of 5 air sickness receptacles for doing mostly what they promised at a good overall value.  Saved me $100 this travel day, did not harass me and got me to my destination about the same as any other carrier.

Pack light, be light, fly short flights and study bag fees diligently on Spirit.

Drive Through Dining


I am traveling in Florida this week.  Rain, bugs, traffic(Spring break and Bikers’ Week), 3:30PM dinner hour, rednecks, fishermen, creative items dangling from bumper hitches, reflective decals of professional dancers on cars(didn’t you already cover these in the redneck section?), gator meat(it’s horrible, don’t bother) and more out of state license plates than possible are the highlights of the Sunshine State.

Noticed a drive through food service establishment in Orlando Florida area and my mind went Hmmmmm.  Are there any drive through food, banking, other services in Ensenada?  Mexico? I’m not a fan of McD, BK, KFC and that crap food, so maybe they have drive-throughs in Mexico that have missed my attention.

Noticed a Dunkin Doughnuts lineup of cars at the drive-through.  Guessing it was a 15-20 minute lineup.  Wow, who would sit in a stationary car for that long for what would take 3 minutes to walk in the door place your coffee and doughnut order and done?  Apparently, the answer is millions of people do it daily.

The microwave culture chooses the slower option of sitting in a car for 3X to 10X the wait time for a service.

Heck, Panera Bread has an in the stoer fast lane kiosk that will avoid the line and V.P. of customer experience.

Oops.  Perhaps my irreverence is misplaced.  With more blue handicap stickers per population than anywhere else on the planet, those handicapped Floridians might not be able to escape their cars for their tall Giuchie Giuchie ya ya Dada Mocha Chocalata decaf, lowcal, glutton free.

When was the last time I did the drive-though thing?  It may have been decades ago at a drive through liquor store in Texas.

Yep, count me out for dining in my car.  So what has been your best drive through service experience? And what business in Baja would benefit from a drive through service?  Hmmmmm.

The first drive-thru-focused chain opened in 1951 (and it wasn’t McDonald’s). It was Jack in the Box, another California-born concept created to take advantage of the burgeoning car culture. The original Jack in the Box was in San Diego and was drive-thru-only, offering motorists hamburgers to go for 18¢ apiece. While most Jack in the Boxes now also have indoor dining areas, roughly 85% of the orders at its 2,250 locations are either drive-thru or to-go. Jack in the Box is also credited with creating a rather self-serving fake marketing holidayNational Drive-Thru Day, which is celebrated every July 24.  Time.com

A list of unusual drive-through business services

 

March 14 Bikini Contest


AKA, Why I missed my Wednesday evening flight.

Ordering Eggs in Mexico


foto por Bajadock @ Casa Marcelo, Ensenada

mexkitchen.blogspot

One of the lesser, but frequent challenges for the expat in Mexico is ordering eggs in a restaurant. If you are fussy about how you want them cooked, as many are, you should read the following primer about getting your eggs the way you want.

But before anything else, I want to confront head on the nearly apocryphal mysteries of the double meaning of the word, “huevos”. While it’s true that it also has a second meaning of “testicles”, or more accurately, “balls”, the visiting gringo or savvy expat should not worry about evoking snickers or even guffaws from the waitstaff. The staff deals with eggs all morning, and if they were constantly snickering, they’d have no time or energy left to serve customers. That sort of humor, and also about chiles (a potent phallic symbol) is best relegated to the humorous repertoire of small boys and barely pubescent adolescents.

Nota bien: if you accompany your ordering with sign language, you may provoke humor. If you personalize your order, you run further risks. For example, don’t say, “I’ll have youreggs, fried, and over easy.”
That’s personalizing it. You just want “huevos estrellados.”

Common Pitfalls In Ordering Eggs
1. “Huevos al Gusto”, literally, “eggs to your pleasure”, but really “eggs to order”.
Don’t make the mistake of a one of our visiting friends and say, “I’ll have the huevos al gusto.” The waiter will have to ask you again how you want them prepared.

2. “Huevos Estrellados”, or eggs, sunnyside up. These are among the most popular. You need not accompany your request with elaborate sign language, making what seem to the waiter to be confusing and possibly humorous gestures. You have a better chance of getting them as you like if you use those two simple words. And, “por favor”, of course.

3. “Huevos a la Mexicana”: eggs scrambled with chopped chiles, tomatoes and onions. Simply, “eggs in the style of a Mexican woman”. Try not to say, “huevos al MexicanO”, which gives a simple order a new, special meaning.

4. “Eggs, over easy” aren’t easy to order. Many restaurants don’t get the concept. You have to ask for “huevos fritos volteados”. I once mistakenly said, trying to be helpful to another breakfaster, “huevos revolcados”, or something like, “knocked down eggs”. Where did I get that?

If you are lucky, one of your breakfast companions will order eggs sunnyside up, using gestures, and his eggs will arrive revolcados, umm, volteados, and you can swap.

Let’s move along quickly now. The following egg dishes are less fraught with peril:
5. “Huevos Rancheros”: eggs sunnyside up, on top of a lightly fried tortilla or two, covered with a salsa picante. Why this is totally snigger free is a mystery.

6. “Huevos Divorciados.” Sounds spicy, and they are: two eggs, estrellados, one in salsa verde and the other in salsa roja, on top of tortillas. This is a gringo favorite, especially those who have been in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

7. “Huevos revueltos”: I almost forgot them! Scrambled eggs. They are seldom cooked as I like, so I do not order them while breakfasting out.

8. “Omeleta” Sounds like “omelet”, and it is. Usually made with two eggs, and filled “al gusto”. What does “al gusto” mean? Class???
“As you like.”, that’s right. Muy bien.

So, you will need to specify what you want in it. “Tocino” (bacon), “queso”, (cheese); “cebolla” (onion), et cetera. Omelets are usually attractively garnished with onion, tomato and avocado, so you get a bonus for your breakfast pesos.

Special hint: The Omeleta de espárragos, cebolla, nopal y queso at the Gran Hotel Café in Pátzcuaro is a delight.

9. “Huevos Albañil”, or “Stonemason’s eggs”; scrambled eggs drowned in a very spicy sauce. Order this, as I do, when you want to be a cool, Old Mexico Hand.

10. Poached eggs: in general, don’t even try, unless you are in the restaurant of an international hotel. My Spanish-English digital dictionary yields the word, “escalfar” for “poached”, but we have had some limited success with “huevos pocheados”. Don’t get your hopes up. Please, whatever you do don’t call them “huevos pochos“.

There are other ways of preparing eggs, but the above listed are among the most commonly encountered. For further information, sign up for our advanced Huevos Clase.

Always be polite, and say “Por favor” and “gracias” at appropriate times. Try to keep gestures and especially sign language to the minimum. They look rude.

Finally, try to remember that Patience Is A Virtue, and that glitches in service do not occur only in Mexico. I’ll end with a video drama, made in an American diner, to keep things in perspective.

This is probably my last post of 2008. We’ll be travelling to México D.F., Puebla, and then spending a couple of weeks on Oaxaca. I hope to be observing, tasting and even cooking while we are there. With luck and energy, I’ll report back on our experiences.
May you have una Feliz Navidad y Provechoso Año Nuevo 2009!

 

R.I.P. Ask A Mexican Column


Gustavo Arellano said the final version of his humorous ‘Ask a Mexican’ column will appear online for Albuquerque’s Weekly Alibi after he resigned as editor of OC Weekly, who owned the rights of the column. John Gilhooley via AP

santafenewmexican.com

ALBUQUERQUE — The “Ask A Mexican” column, a satirical weekly installment about U.S. Latinos that once ran in more than three dozen alternative weekly newspapers across the country, is coming to an end.

The column’s founder, Gustavo Arellano, told The Associated Press on Monday that the final version of the humorous installment will appear online for Albuquerque’s Weekly Alibi. The column will not appear in the OC Weekly of Fountain Valley, Calif., the publication where the column began, he said. It will also run in Wednesday’s edition of The New Mexican.

The move comes after Arellano resigned from the OC Weekly this month after he refused a request by newspaper’s owner, Duncan McIntosh, to layoff half of the publication’s staff.

 Arellano says the OC Weekly owns the column and he has rejected an offer to continue it as a contractor.

“When I had my meeting with Duncan McIntosh … he said he was open to me continuing the column on a ‘contract’ basis,” Arellano said. “That’s when I realized he was planning to keep the trademark on the column instead of giving it to me.”

McIntosh did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press.

Arellano said he opted not to continue the column under a different name and logo because it seemed like he would be “clinging onto the past.”

The column, which began in 2004 in OC Weekly and appeared in other newspapers two years later, drew national attention for asking readers to submit questions to Arellano about Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans.

Questions ranged from readers asking why Mexican immigrants park their cars on their lawns to why Mexican-Americans in Texas use yellow cheese with Tex-Mex dishes.

Arellano responded with history and humor while also challenging stereotypes about Latinos.

 “Ask a Mexican was my way of confronting the racism that Americans have thrown at my culture for over 150 years,” Arellano said. “It wasn’t just enough for me to yell and protest — I needed to do it with stats and satire.”

He became one of the few Latino columnists in the nation where Hispanics remain underrepresented in newsrooms. A survey released this month by the American Society of News Editors, for example, found that less than 6 percent of newsroom staff is Latino.

As alternative newsweeklies shrank and reduced pages and staff, the number of newspapers that ran the column fell to just five as of this month. Still, it remained popular online. Arellano sometimes answered questions through video, even challenging Latinos’ stereotypes about other ethnic groups and gays and lesbians.

Alexandro Jose Gradilla, a Chicana and Chicano Studies professor at California State University, Fullerton, said Arellano brought a new perspective to media on Latinos that attempted to embrace the contradictions of being Latino in the United States.

“He didn’t rely on heroic representations or nice and neat ones,” he said. “[Arellano] instead spoke about the people and identity they have with all the messiness that is part of the experience.”

Baja Peasant Food


My diet is fairly healthy with little pre-prepared food.  But, once in a while, I indulge in something that is full of fun like this week’s chili fries.

I’m all about peasant food or “comida campesina”.  Fresh, local ingredients prepared and cooked family style are my pleasures.

As mentioned before, lots of swirlies, splashies, sprinkles and flowers on plates are warning signs.  If “elevated cuisine” is simply plate decorations, enjoy the above example for your next hot date.

Hey, Doc, isn’t that a splashie decorated on your  chili fries plate?  Um, that is a spill from my ladle.

Salads, tacos, soups, stews and ceviches comprise 90% of my food intake.  But, the chili fries thing was because I had a carbohydrate itch that needed scratching.

Yep, I like my fries cooked medium-well, so they get a few extra minutes in the oven for the crunch factor.

Chili recipe was a slight new twist adding mole sauce to the mix of pork, black beans, poblano chiles, celery,  zucchini, tomatoes, onion, cumin, oregano and chili powder.  With cooler weather here, this cauldron of bubbly goodness poured over crispy fries is a good evening.

Poblano or pasilla?

Only thing I omitted that could have pumped up the decadence factor on my chili fries is some gooey cheese.

What wine to pair with this seductive dish?  That would be “vino ambar”, aka cerveza!

Next up?  I think I’ll be exploring a seafood poutine, thanks for my friends in the other BC, British Columbia.

Ensenada Bans Alcohol On Beaches


The mayor toured yesterday the esplanade of Playa Hermosa.

Bajadock: Geezo, Can’t enjoy a beer watching the sun set from the beach?  Will be interested to observe how strictly this will be enforced.  Soon, Baja California is going to have as many laws and regulations as Alta California. Remove alcohol, insert poop.

ElVigia.net

The mayor, Marco Antonio Novelo Osuna said that he has already issued instructions “to prevent alcoholic beverages from being disturbed and to avoid disturbing public order” in the area of ​​Playa Hermosa.

At the same time, it was reported that because the latest measurements of enterococci conducted in the area of ​​Playa Conalep, they showed favorable results and within the established in the norm, the precautionary closure decreed last Saturday was lifted.

César Cueñas Ceseña, head of the Department of Urban Management, Ecology and Environment and spokesperson of the Clean Beaches Committee, reported that the last sampling carried out by sanitary authorities gave 10 enterococos per 100 milliliters of water.

“The samples that were made on this beach are within the ranges established by the norm in the matter, which means that they are suitable for recreational use of bathers,” he said.

Cesar Cuevas, specified that, at this time, all the beaches that are located in the city of Ensenada, are open and can be enjoyed by the local population as well as domestic and foreign visitors.

The head of Civil Protection, Jaime Nieto de María y Campos, indicated that once the results were known, the red flags were lifted on Conalep Beach and two kilometers south that had been closed as a precautionary measure.

Monitoring results in Ensenada Beaches:

Monalisa Beach 31nmp / 100 ml

Pacifica Beach 30nmp / 100 ml

Playa Conalep I 10 nmp / 100 ml

Playa Conalep II 10 nmp / 100 ml

Playa Hermosa 20 nmp / 100 ml

Walks the mayor, esplanade
The municipal president, according to press release, visited the esplanade of Playa Hermosa, accompanied by staff of the Public Services and Infrastructure Department, as well as the Municipal Public Security Bureau

He said that during the visit, people who exercise every morning in this area, where I expressed their concerns to have a better space.

Marco Novelo said that “this area must be a space worthy for the ensenadenses and national and foreign visitors, where the families can have moments of healthy recreation”.

Angie’s Pole Fitness


Returning from Ensenada weekly shopping trip and happened to notice a sign for a different kind of business. There is Angie’s List and there is the Rolling Stone’s “Angie” song. Upper left with the pink curtains is Angie’s Pole Fitness.

This is great news, as I have been needing to diversify my workout routine.

“Tonifica musculo, mejora postura , elasticidad, recupera el autoestima, quema calorias y mucho mas
VEN ANIMATE A TINIFICAR TU CUERPO DE UNA MANERA SEXY.”
On Reforma/Hwy1, Chapuletpec, east/inland side of road.  Find your pole!
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