Tuesday, July 19, 2016

[TRIP] Prague, Hong Kong, Taiwan

My once-a-year trip to Taiwan is here

Booked the below Mini-RTW Economy award in Sep 2015 at 75K Aeroplan miles + ~$200/person

  • YYZ-PRG on AC Rouge, stop 1
    • ACr 767 had no IFE, we watched on Tablets via onboard Wi-Fi
    • Seat pitch/width is okay
  • PRG-ZRH-HKG on LX 77W, destination 
    • Swiss 77W is 3-4-3, but we were okay, big IFE screens
    • Loved the new ZRH Midfield E terminal *A lounge with terrances/views
  • HKG-TPE on EVA Air, stop 2 = HOME
    • 7/7 was Typhoon night, surprised BR didn't cancel, but there was no rain/wind at all
  • TPE-YYZ on EVA Air
    • Upgraded to Elite class (empty), fast flight of 12.5 hrs only

Thoughts
Czech Republic - Karlovy Vary, Prague
KV was small, warm town. The hot springs or architectures weren't that special IMO
Prague - everybody loved it, said it's beautiful. I agreed, although for some reason it didn't impress me (vs. Paris). Food is average to pricey, people are generally warm. The general atmosphere is relaxed, beautiful sights (castle, old town, river, trams)

Hong Kong
Typical HK, hot, humid, lots of food. We only visited to visit local friends

Notes

  • HKG is my destination only to cap the YQ $ on my award, which is ~$28 per AC segment. If HKG wasn't my destination, YQ would be hundreds $$
  • Originally we were flying PRG-IST-PEK-HKG (2 stops) but due to IST bombing and AC waiver, we were able to stay 1 extra day in Prague to fly Swiss PRG-ZRH-HKG
  • I changed my original return TPE-NRT,HND-YYZ to nonstop BR TPE-YYZ. Change fee was ~$100 but I got back ~$100 also, not bad, considering bus from NRT->HND would've costs $40 CAD one-way already

Monday, April 04, 2016

[TRIP] Paris 巴黎 2016.03

結束了巴黎之旅 趕快整理心得
巴黎 比我想像中吸引人 有一種魅力 無法解釋 會讓我想要再回來(當然 回來的話要順便去南法看看)
整個旅程 漸入佳境 又有一個完美的升等商務艙結尾 這應該是我們的2016旅行高潮了吧!

Good

  • YYZ-CDG round-trip flights only costs $290/adult ($247/child) during price error on 9/18/2015
    • We got 2 empty middle seats on YYZ-CDG on 787 to lie down
    • Even better, we unknowingly got upgraded on CDG-YYZ 777 into Classic Pods. 4 J seats!!!
  • Weather was forecast to be cloudy and cold, but we had many cold but beautiful sunny days
  • AirBnb hotel was lovely, well-located in busy district, walkable to many things and close to many bus routes
  • Paris is beautiful. I don't know how to describe it, Eiffel Tower and all of it just grows on you
  • Tourists, despite the Easter long weekend, were not too bad. I hear it's much much worse in summer at busy places
  • Seafood platter for 2 at Pedra Alta ($43 Euro) is huge and so good, memorable
  • Paris the city is old, beautiful, but not dirty

Bad

  • Accidentally dropped my aging Olympus camera when asking stranger to take photos of us at Chateau Versailles, oh well
  • Weather was still chilly, even had hails one day
  • Food is not cheap, as its costs, while reasonable, are in Euro (which is 1.5 CAD). $10E meal = $15 CAD

Monday, January 11, 2016

Converting USD to CAD using Norbert's Gambit in TD Waterhouse [DLR.U -> DLR]

To convert USD to CAD

TD Waterhouse

  • I bought 2000 DLR.U at $9.96 ($9.99 commission) on Tuesday
  • Call TDW to journal to CAD Margin right away (+2/3 days)
  • I see DLR in CAD Margin on Friday
  • I sold 1000 at $13.9, another 1000 at $14.1 .. guess what, it's now $14.2 ... one can never win :(
Overall, quite an easy conversion to do to save FX fees and get the best rate




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

TRIP - Dubai & Abu Dhabi 2015.11

從杜拜回來囉

2014年訂的特價機票(JFK-AUH來回$200 CAD而已喔! 不訂對不起自己) 終於飛完了

回來之後的幾個想法

  • Dubai真的是Las Vegas的豪華版 有錢就蓋 到處都是超級跑車Ferrari, Bugatti
    • 每個公車候車亭都有冷氣
  • 還是個需要開車的城市 Taxi真的很方便 還好不貴
  • 大部分都是外來人 也沒啥友善不友善 大部分人都不錯 只是英文不太行
  • 參加Hop On Hop Off的巴士方便多了 雖然開很慢 不過能參加免費的Dessert Tour 看沙漠 騎駱駝 也值得了
  • Abu Dhabi - Grand Mosque真的很漂亮 人也很好
  • Etihad航空 - 飛機還不錯 不過ground service真的不敢領教 gate-checked的推車 反而要到行李區領出

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Another flight price error booked & honored, Toronto-Paris round-trip for $300 CAD/person

Friday Sep 18
AirCanada.com had a price error of missing the carrier surcharge (about $450/ticket) to their Europe destinations

It started about 1 pm, ended around 2 pm (lasted only 1 hour and so), but I managed to book YYZ-CDG round-trip, $1000 CAD for 4 of us, for March 2016 (it'll be 6-11C in Paris, oh well)
By the time I try to book for May 2016 ($50 extra per person), AC already fixed the error, but they came out same day on Twitter to say they'll honor the tickets

I can't believe it still happens, but this is price error #4 for us in the last 2 years already!!!
I don't need to plan any trips ahead now (besides the annual summer back to Taiwan), I'll just let price errors dictate where we will go in future. I need more vacation days!!

None of these destinations below were on my soon-to-visit lists, but I am glad to have visited Italy (loved it), Seoul (so-so), Turkey (so-so), Dubai, and finally, Paris!!!

2014

  • Wideroe - NYC-Milan Italy $300/person
  • Delta - YYZ-ICN $500/person, booked for 2015 April
  • Aeroplan stopover error - YYZ-IST in Business for 50K miles/person instead of 105K, for 2015 May
  • Etihad JFK-AUH $200/person, booked for 2015 Nov


2015

  • Air Canada - YYZ-CDG $300/person, booked for 2016


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

TRIP - Taiwan on 4 days vacation 2015.08

Yep, flew back to Taiwan and back in 6 days (2 days of flying) to pick up wife and kids and 8 luggages

Return
TSA-HND with 13 hours layover, went out to Tokyo Odaiba for side trip
HND-SFO-YYZ

Saturday, July 04, 2015

TRIP - 土耳其之旅 Turkey (Istanbul, Antalya, Pamukkale) 2015.05

We visited Turkey only because of Aeroplan price error on Halloween 2014 (For business class on Turkish airlines, we paid 50K miles per person instead of 105K for N.A. to Europe 2)

TK: YYZ-YUL-IST, IST-ORD-YYZ

May 15-25, 2015

We visited

  • ISTANBUL
    • TOPKAPI PALACE
    • BLUE MOSQUE (SULTANAHMET MOSQUE)
    • HAGIA SOPHIA
    • Taksim
    • Kadikoy (Istanbul Asia)
    • Bosphorus Cruise 12TL
    • Egypt/Spice Bazzar
    • People everywhere, especially near Eminonu/docks
  • ANTALYA
    • Old town (Kaleici) is very relaxing, unique, and we loved it
    • The harbour is very beautiful from atop
    • Boat tour - so so, nothing too exciting. 
  • PAMUKKALE
    • Super super hot
    • See & walk the white cotton castle (Pamukkale), too bad there aren't too many water pools
    • Very touristy but people are nice in general


感想
  • 土耳其人非常熱情 尤其