Saturday, April 30, 2011

At the Airport

There are lots of things I hate about travel, especially air travel, but what I like best is seeing what books other people are reading. What people read says a lot about them—for instance, it takes guts to read a trashy romance in public. Once on a flight I was reading "Paris 1919" and the guy next to me was reading "The Life of Pi." I ended up suggesting that for my book club, just because I saw someone else read it. This can backfire on you though—at a family reunion someone was reading "1491", which is about the America's before Columbus. What a snoozer. At the moment I am too embarrassed to take the book out of my bag—"Fascinating Girl." My friend says that she and her husband read it and make fun of it all the time, so I obviously had to read it, but you can't explain that you're reading the book for a satirical reason.

So far today I've seen a couple of people with library books—I admit, I have one or two in my bag. I like to travel with cheap paperbacks I got at the used book store so I can abandon them when I'm done with them. I figure someone else who reads will find them and they'll get another read. Plus, at some Holiday Inn Express hotels they have a paperback exchange shelf, where you can leave books and pick up new ones. I also abandon magazines in hotels and airports.

I don't like it when people are reading Kindles, because you can't tell what they're reading without asking them.

I also like to see what people are traveling in. I personally prefer velour sweats, but we're going to Florida where it is 80 degrees, so I'm willing to be chilled a little (it is snowing here) to be comfortable on the end. What really cracks me up is chicks that travel in high heels. That must be very comfortable when you are running between terminals to catch your connection.

If I had room in my carryon I would bring my Snuggie. I haven't seen anyone else travel with one, but it's got to be only a matter of time, especially since it's like pulling teeth to get a blanket on a plane anymore.

I hate it when people buy potent smelling food to take on the plane. Some of us are doing are best not to hurl, but certain smells can make us lose our lunch, and then we all suffer.

I think those backpack leashes on toddlers are a great idea. Those little ones are really quick, and you can lose them very fast.

I dislike it when people try to bring baggage on the plane that is obviously not going to fit in the overhead bin.

I really hate sitting in the back of the plane near the bathroom. I hate flying in general, but it just adds to my motion sickness issues.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wyndham Ocean Walk Resort

This post is an FYI for all Trendwest WorldMark owners who are considering staying at the Ocean Walk resort in Daytona, Florida. Since I have several extended family members who are members, I wanted to make sure they had more information than we did about choosing this resort to stay at.

The resort itself was quite nice. There were 4 pools and several hot tubs, a kiddie area and a water slide. There was a lazy river, but it was closed. The beach was on the other side of the pool. There was a free mini golf course.


There is no free internet for TravelShare members. There is free wifi in the bottom two levels, but it sucks. If you want in-room internet, you'll be paying for it.

This is apparently a Wyndham resort, not a Worldmark Resort. Worldmark has two floors.

If you want to use a luggage cart to bring your bags in, you have to leave photo id at the pool towel desk to check it out. They do not tell you this at check-in.

You may only have one car in the parking terrace. If you have more than one you have to park in another lot. They do not validate for this service. They do not tell you that they don't validate at check-in.

They charge a $150 deposit to your credit card when you check-in. They don't really tell you that at check-in either.

You have to sign out your pool towels and take them back to the pool towel counter. If you are a Worldmark member you can trade your towels in once. If you are a Wyndham member, those are your towels for the week.

There were only vending machines on the bottom floor and the 10th floor, even though each floor has a spot for a vending machine.

Worldmark Members get at 12:00 noon checkout, but you might be ahead to put your own do not disturb sign on the door because housekeeping starts coming around at 9:00am. Wyndham members check out at 10.

Your key will stop working exactly at checkout time. So if you are in the parking garage and you need to return the luggage cart, you will have to push the cart through the entire parking structure to go into the front of the resort. You have to do this so you can get your id back.

This is a really large resort, and when we were there a national cheerleading competition checked in. It wasn't that crowded before that. From what I understand this is a common occurrence.

They tell you they have a gift basket and a check-in survey for you—it's really an attempt to get you into a Wyndham presentation.

The resort itself was nice, but I am really leering about Wyndham now owning Worldmark because their policies suck. Usually when we leave a resort we are already planning our next trip. The annoying policies with OceanWalk have put me off travel at the moment. I don't even want to plan next year's Spring Break.

On the web-site Ocean Walk was not really designated as an affiliate site. Its dot was exactly the same shape and color as all of the other Worldmark resorts, although the salesperson for Wyndham argued with us that it wasn't. I double checked it after he left.

I am planning to call Worldmark to double check what the salesman told us, which was Worldmark is no longer expanding and all the new resorts will be Wyndham ones. I really hope he's wrong, and was just trying to get us to buy into Wyndham, which I wouldn't recommend doing based on our experience at this resort. We have never had an issue at any other Worldmark resort that we stayed at that wasn't resolved immediately, usually involving broken blinds or burnt out bulbs.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Kindergarteners are so stinking cute. Every time I drop my daughter off at school, or pick her up, I smile at the exuberance they show. They wear their little backpacks and go to class, turn in their books and homework, and sit down at their tables or on the rug.

When parents come to pick them up or help with school, they are so excited and say "that's my mommy!" They hug their parents good-bye and hold their hands.

They bring home the cutest art work projects.

My daughter H can't leave school without hugging her teacher. I sincerely doubt the third graders are doing that.

Whatever game you show up with for a class party they like to play. H's class really likes Simon Says, which was a back-up game.

They look adorable in their little caps and gowns at graduation.

They study math and reading, but they also get lots of stories, art, and music time.

One of their main jobs is to learn the school rules, which are cute like "walk slow like a turtle".

They don't see going to school in their pajamas as a threat; instead it's a treat.