know before you go: IND

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As alluded to in my post from last month, Indianapolis International Airport is one of the nicer domestic airports through which I’ve ever been.   I’m not the only one who is impressed; this airport tops ‘best of’ lists of airports year after year.

Modern, spacious, it’s your standard two story, two concourse (A&B) airport but the open, airy design and ease of moving through said space makes it anything but average. From the time you step foot inside, you can tell the personality of the city and just how proud of it they are.  It’s an enjoyable feeling, even if just for a layover.

As it is the gateway to one of the most visible international sporting events in the world, the airport has to make a great first impression, and it does.  The most eye catching feature is the large civic plaza which is a rotunda just outside security that gives you a 270 degree glass-windowed view of the Indiana plains.  There is great signage, and technology both at the airport and on their website informing you of line wait times.  There are about 44 gates serving most domestic carriers (American, Alaska, Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United) and one international carrier (Air Canada).

Remember ✈️ pace(r) yourself  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ Gentlemen, start your plane engines!

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (if there’s one gripe, it’s that it’s about 25 minutes west of downtown, but that’s where there’s a lot of open space)

Security/immigration:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (clear signage and wait times posted, TSA was very efficient)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (not a massive airport, but it feels very large yet easy to get from concourse to concourse, rental car facility on the lower level)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (your normal fare: Au Bon Pain, Chick Fil-a, McDonalds, Starbucks, local deli Shapiro’s)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (well dispersed, there are a lot in the ticketing area, pre-security)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi, the civic center area has charging at almost all their lounge chairs.  This cannot be overstated.)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️ (Delta Sky lounge, barbershop and multiple Indy themed giftshops to pick up your last checkered flags and racing memorabilia)

Quintana Roo Crew

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Cozumel is one of the most famous Mexican island “balnearios” or seaside resort towns in the Caribbean sea.  Located just across the way from Playa del Carmen, it is a very convenient stop for cruise ships.  Another municipality in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula, it is famed for its snorkeling/scuba diving and shopping.  Once a bustling Mayan pilgrimage site to fertility, now tourists arrive in droves to sip on cervezas and eat tacos.

Sorry, that’s a bit reductive, but I think the rich history of this region is lost amongst the thick blanket of tourism that is now its main economy.  And I’m also a little salty that the main Cozumel museum was closed when I visited.  Saltier than the rim of a fresh marg.

Cozoom zoom…

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know before you go: Chinggis Khaan (ULN)

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You read that right.  Ulaanbaatar, capital city of Mongolia, has an airport named after one of the most famous pillagers of all time, their native son, Chinggis (Genghis) Khaan.  I mean, pretty cool name for an airport, and was so named in 2005 to celebrate the 800th (!) anniversary of Mongolia being an independent state.  Currently, there are around 3 million people in the country, with ~1.5 million of them in Ulaanbaatar.  Many Mongolians are still nomadic, traveling around the country in their gers (yurts), but I have to imagine that most that are on the grid use this airport for travel.

I can’t take sole credit for this one, this is courtesy of my parents, as I have not yet made it to the ends of the Earth..one day.  Apple does not fall far from the tree.

This is a small airport, serving mostly domestic flights throughout the country (Aero Mongolia, Hunnu Airlines), however there of course, are many flights from Asian countries such as South Korea and China, as well as European cities like Moscow and Berlin.  Mongolia has only really been open to foreign tourism for the past few years, so its airport system is still developing.  It’s a little bittersweet because this old airport is being replaced with a new more international friendly airport in the next few months.

There is one terminal with two levels.  Arrivals level one, departures second floor.  It’s located about 11 miles from the city center, and you can access easiest by car/taxi.

Remember ✈️ khan it  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ hun-ny I’m home

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (bus, taxi — there can be dense traffic around the airport)

Security/immigration:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (typically not too bad as there aren’t usually tons of flights coming and going at the same time)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (just one small building)

Dining: ✈️✈️ (cafe, noodle shop, just enough to get by)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️ (a lot of bathrooms for departure level, only 2 for arrivals, I guess they assume you’re go when you get to where you’re going)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi)

Amenities: ✈️ (one first class lounge, duty free shop/convenience store)

hoosier daddy: indy day trippin’

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Indianapolis is a place you hear about constantly if you’re a sports fan.  From the Indy 500 to Larry Bird (Reggie Miller, if you’re in my age group) and Peyton Manning SB team of 2007, the “Hoosier State” capital is hallowed sports ground.  It has been the bullseye of the news cycle lately, notably for the retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck.

I can honestly say beyond sports, I didn’t know much about this city, other than the fact that it seems like I know a million people from there.  Impossible, since it is the 17th most populous metro area in the country with about 2 million in population, but their residents certainly infiltrate everywhere else in the Midwest.  Indy is about the size of Kansas City, and similar in many ways.  There are great neighborhoods, a friendly sense of community and an unmistakable pride in their hometown.

Gentlemen (and gentle ladies), start your engines…

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know before you go: kansai (kix)

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The best thing about this airport may be its code: KIX.  Like the wholly underrated cereal.

Kansai is the airport that serves Osaka, Japan and is located on its own artificial island in the bay of Osaka.  It is made up of Terminals 1 (main) and 2 (domestic low cost carriers), which are not connected, but have shuttle service between them.   Kansai is designated as the longest airport terminal in the world at 1.1 miles in length.  This is why there’s a people mover.

As this airport is in the middle of the water, railways connect it to the mainland, and a ferry service can transfer you to Kobe airport.  That does however make it a potential target for tsunamis, such as Jebi 2018 which halted operations for several days.

Remember ✈️ kant-sai  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ pumped up kix

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (bus, car, etc.  there’s an efficient railway, duh it’s japan, but it is on an island, so…you have to plan ahead for travel time.  There’s a high speed ferry to KOBE airport as well)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (terminal one has a people mover)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (What are you even doing if you’re not loading up on musubis for your trip?  Have curry, udon, even okonomiyaki before you board.  And yes, there’s Starbucks, McDonald’s and Burger King if you must)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (japanese toilets are the best)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi, business oriented so plenty of charging)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (japanese airports have the best shopping.  Aside from luxury brands like Rolex, Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, you have japanese craft markets, dollar stores like Daiso and even a Pokemon store.  There’s Korean, JAL, ANA, Royal Orchid lounges, business centers, and an airport hotel as well.)

 

 

 

day tripping coral gables

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Coral Gables is the leafy suburb of Miami that will remind you of one thing: Golden Girls. Yes, this was the likely backdrop of Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia’s adventures in the beloved sitcom, although their exact location is never expressly stated.

All of the houses look like the house the four women shared, ranch style and marvelous with palms and monstera and banana leaves everywhere. But, Coral Gables is more than a very affluent suburb. It is where the University of Miami Hurricanes (the U) are located and surprisingly, a lot of cultural gems. It’s also the home of del Monte and Bacardi.

traveled down the road and back again…

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know before you go: marseilles (MRS)

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But where’s the Mr?  I jest, but Marseilles Provence Aeroport has the coolest code, MRS! Although she makes less than her male colleagues. {rimshot} I’m here all night, y’all.

This regional airport is actually the fifth busiest in France, with destinations from all over Europe and Northern Africa.  Located about 17 miles from Marseilles in the bucolic region of Provence, this is probably the most convenient airport for those who summer in the south of France. As one does.

There is a direct shuttle from the train station to the airport for those coming in from the city.   There’s also bus, car and taxi transport.

There are 2 terminals, with around 45-50 gates total.  It is a small regional airport, but has all the traveler comforts you need.

Remember ✈️ provence is enough  to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ marseilles it again

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (plan ahead, it’s a regional airport in a rural region)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (small, very manageable)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️ (mostly french cafe fare, but there’s a Burger King and Starbucks)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️ (there could be more, but it’s a small airport)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi, could have more changing)

Amenities: ✈️✈️ (paid VIP lounge, a few airport shops, uniquely a few culinary shops due to the region where you can pick up your herbs de provence and sel and lavender and all sorts of curated gourmand goods)

colorful hue, vietnam

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Love a good pun.  Pronounced hway (not really exactly right don’t @ me) not hugh like the color or Grant, this very proud city was the former Imperial capital of Vietnam until the end of the Nguyen dynasty in 1945. I’m sure you’re familiar with what happened next.  Vietnam has three regions, and this is the largest city in the central region (see previous posts on Hanoi and Saigon/HCM).

Hue was the stop after Hoi An, my favorite on the Vietnam itinerary, and I think I would have enjoyed it more had I NOT GOTTEN SICK on the way there.  I made a rookie travel mistake that you will read all about after the jump.  Hot tip: don’t drink foreign beverages.

right hue, wrong hue

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traveling to a galaxy far, far away

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If you’re familiar with this blog, you may remember that I have not been to a Disney Park for 16 years.

Well I’m proud (?) to say that streak has been broken.

I was cajoled by my nephews (14 & 11) into going to D-land for the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge land that recently opened at the end of May.  This was a momentous occasion, and the really only thing that warranted a special visit.  I will say that not much else has changed at the happiest place on earth since I last stepped foot inside, and maybe that’s a part of its charm (especially for millennials).

may the force be with me…

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