Monthly Archives: July 2014

All Flights and Tours Booked

Within the past week, mainly around the weekend, I finally booked my remaining flights (first and last legs) of the trip, as well as the two tours that I will join to see Machu Picchu and African safari.

I had been getting flight price alerts from Kayak for three months, and only last week did I put the prices on a spreadsheet and chart the trends.

Based on this article, they say the best time to purchase domestic flights is three to seven weeks before the flight. But I just wanted to get some of these big necessary tasks out of the way. Also, the day I charted the numbers, the price for the first leg dropped significantly in price. So I took advantage and booked it. It was with US Airways, but I don’t really care. I’m starting to get a sense of how much I’m spending this trip, and I’m okay with saving money on a part of the trip that has such limited range for enjoyment anyway. With the last leg, I noticed that the price had been pretty stable and never dropped below a certain point. I figured now is as good of a time as any other, and I booked that as well. Only afterwards did I have a little bit of buyer’s remorse when I realized that I would arrive at the airport 46 miles away after 10pm. I would have a lot of trouble finding efficient public transportation to get me home, which means I may have to spend more money on a taxi, which I might be able to save had I booked a flight at a higher place to a closer airport. But I’ll survive.

With the two tours, I went on to book the Machu Picchu trip, and then I went on to book the safari trip. I read through the complete trip notes to make sure nothing questionable jumped out. As I did brief research on the safari pickup locations, I inevitably started looking into the best hostels to stay at. That’s going to be my next task, after I deal with my giant shopping research spreadsheet I had set up and started buying these things I need/should have for the trip.

(79 days)

(Weird Al came out with a parody music video for Happy, called “Tacky”. It’s well made and full of cameos.)

(German soccer team had a homecoming party after winning World Cup. Good for them. Also, I like their “1” shirt.)

Norwegian Progress 1-19

Hyggelig å hilse på deg.

Kunne du si det en gang til?

Can’t believe I’m just about two-thirds done with the program. Norwegian is starting to make more sense with the way things are pronounced. They’re not completely fixed like Italian or Spanish, but I think I can remember most of the sounds. Again, the familiarity is so divided between English and the other romantic languages: English in terms of how close some of the words are similar, and romantic languages in terms of adjectives having genders.

I still have to get right the intonations of words. Oftentimes, sentences sound like questions, and questions sound like sentences. I have to remind myself to try to copy the pronunciation of the speakers.

(79 days)

(Germany won the World Cup over the weekend.)

Norwegian Progress 1-9, and Smørbrød

Favorite word right now: kjøpe, only because its pronunciation is so different from English (it sounds something like “shiurper”)

Also in Lesson 9, I learned about smørbrød, which is an open-faced sandwich popular in Norway and that region. One thing I love about getting ready for this trip is that I learn about the culture.

So now, I’m going to try to eat one while I’m in Norway, and I looked up how to eat it (answer: with a knife and fork). I looked it up on YouTube and found this brief story about the smørbrød (or smørrebrød in Danish) in Denmark:

(88 days)

(I spent the past two days researching and logging clothes that I’d like to get for the trip. It’s a lot of work shopping, and I look forward to being done with it and move on the next part of the planning: where to sleep for the forty or so nights)

(Just read that the TSA is requiring electronic devices to be charged for any U.S. bound flights. Makes sense, but now I have to make sure my flight from Japan to Hawaii will have my devices charged!)

(Talked to my friend Mike on Facebook today. He’s taking a year off and is currently traveling in Europe. Need to do a mind-dump with him when he gets back and get advice for traveling in Europe).

Norwegian Progress 1-7

Favorite/speakable/longest line so far: Jeg vil ha noe å spisa hos deg.

I’m in the state between catching and asking myself why I’m making seemingly random sounds, and totally impressed, dumbfounded, and surprised that I’m understanding and learning these words in just the past few days. It goes to remind us that language is a human construct, and we make meaning out of things and enough of us just agree on those meanings in order to interact with one another.

I’m still having trouble making sense of all of it, but with each new group of words, I have a better grasp. I do find myself asking why I’m learning Norwegian, but other than the applicability in other countries that also speak the language (very few), I could say the same thing about the other languages I’m learning as well.

Because of the origins, it’s very different from the Romantic languages (French, Italian, Spanish), and it’s different but also similar to English, which is just a bit comforting.

I also looked up the city of Tromsø on a map, with a bit of Street Viewing. It’s actually a nice little town, and I can’t wait to visit and experience the normalness of other people’s home while admiring any beauty it might have.

(Just under three months, 90 days. It’s actually making me a little anxious)

(Hurricane Arthur is making landfall)

(An overpass collapsed in a World Cup city in Brazil, which brought up issues that Brazil is having managing its airports and services. I hope my layover in São Paulo will be smooth.)