Category Archives: travel advice

Why did we stay in this terrible hotel?

This past weekend my wife and I stayed in one of the worst hotel rooms. It is actually ranked third on my list of worst hotel rooms ever. For a few reasons it was not number one on my list of worst hotels.

First, it was quiet, which allowed my wife and I to at least get a good night’s sleep. Second, my wife said the sheets were clean and the bathroom was clean. Third, the hotel has a deal with a local pizza place which allowed us to get a great discount on great tasting pizza!

Angilo's Pizza 2 Angilo's Pizza

So, not a total loss. For me, the quiet night’s sleep was the most important thing. Plus, it was the cheapest hotel in the area.

However, here were the problems with our particular room at the Day’s Inn in Sharonville, Ohio:

 

hotel safe broken
The hotel safe says to use the key in the lock. But, there was no key left in the lock. Not a big deal because we weren’t planning on using the hotel safe.
hotel room picture
Overview of the room
water damaged ceiling
Crack in the wall paint and water damaged ceiling
night stand
Dried Red Sauce on the night stand
the damaged table legs
the damaged table legs
The Broken Dresser
The Broken Hotel Dresser, and we could only open three of the four drawers
Paint stuck to a loose shower head
The paint stuck to the loose shower head
Paint flaking off the bathroom wall
Paint flaking off the bathroom wall
the bathroom door would not close, so it kept swinging open
The bathroom door would not close, so it kept swinging open.
The toilet seat had several chips broken off
The toilet seat had several chips broken off
The hotel chair was broken
The broken chair

I have stayed in worse hotels. But this one was quiet (very important). In addition, my wife and I did not see any roaches or other nasty bugs. With the state of disrepair within this hotel I checked for signs of roaches. But after a thorough search I did not find roaches or any other nasty bugs (very important).

When we took our shoes off to walk across the carpet in just our white socks, our socks DID NOT change another color. That actually surprised us because the room looked terrible. We stayed in a hotel last year in which the bottoms of our white socks turned a dark shade of grayish- brown.

My wife and I felt like it was pointless to complain to the management of the Day’s Inn. The room quality is a reflection of management quality.

Would my wife and I stay in this hotel again? No.

Would my wife and I recommend this hotel to others? No.

So what is the worst hotel you have ever stayed in? What made it terrible? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Advertisements

Kentucky Tourism

Well, this is my second time visiting family in the Blue Grass State. I have friends in Ohio and Indiana as well, so this journey from the Pacific Northwest allows me to catch up with a lot of people the old fashioned way (face to face!) Sure that may not be as trendy as Facebook , but I prefer face to face interaction. In addition, we don’t text each other while sitting on the couch. We actually talk to each other. I know I know… I am so 1950s.

Anyway, we have seen some of the basic sights in the area, and yes there is more than just Kentucky Basketball! But it is out of season for horse racing, otherwise we may have gone to see a horse race in the horse racing capital of the world. But we did make it to Berea College and toured part of the campus. For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you know that creating a free college is one of the more dynamic goals I have listed on my bucket list. Berea College is a mostly free college. Students do not pay tuition, but they do pay for books, room, and board. It serves over 1500 students, and is a respected college.

In addition to seeing part of the campus, we also visited some of the art shops run by local artisans.

Old Town Artist Village in Berea Kentucky

One of those artists in Berea Kentucky was Jimmy Lou at Hot Flash Beads. We were given a demonstration of how she created these beads. It was a fun experience because not only did we see the beads being made, we were also able to ask questions about the process.

We also stopped in at a weaving shop, and a glass blowing shop.

weston studio glass At Weston Studio Glass, we were able to talk to Michelle Weston. Just like Jimmy Lou, we were given a demonstration of the glass blowing process and were able to ask questions along the way. It was really a fun experience, and the glass art was exceptional. Each one is individually made, making it instantly unique.

 

And then, of course, we included fishing on our trip. My wife and I are unable to catch fish in Oregon. When we went fishing with her dad in Kentucky, we caught two turtles which we threw back, a tree branch which we threw back, three small fish which we threw back. We caught and kept one decent sized crappie, one decent sized catfish, and one large catfish. So, we will not starve 😉

We have had an interesting difficulty with one-day fishing licenses while in Kentucky. When we were here two years ago, Wal-Mart told us that no one in the state sold one day fishing licenses. We went to a bait shop by the lake, and were sold a one-day license. So this time, we went to the bait shop by the lake for our one day fishing license. And guess what? His machine was broken that day. So we went to Meijer, which was able to sell us a one-day fishing license.

Moral? Um… I guess call around the day you want to go fishing in Kentucky to see which store can sell a one-day fishing license.  Regardless, we enjoyed fishing!

Sunrise: Kentucky Fishing
This is the lake we went fishing on.

Photos: Reflecting On Seattle

At Seattle’s Pike Place Market, we found a photographer who uses simple (yet genius) camera angles to take amazing photographs. Scott Cahill Rude, owner of Reflecting on Seattle, was very nice to talk to… and if you are in the Seattle area I encourage you to stop by his shop.

Here are samples of his work:

Reflecting on Seattle, Scott Cahill Rude
http://reflectingonseattle.zenfolio.com/
Reflecting on Seattle, Scott Cahill Rude
http://reflectingonseattle.zenfolio.com/

How to eat Rambutan?

How to eat Rambutan, www.ishism.com
Rambutan in the Philippines

Rambutan is one of the fruits I ate while traveling in the Philippines. The spikes of the reddish fruit peel are fairly soft, almost rubbery. I was disappointed by Rambutan I found in the U.S. after returning from the Philippines. The ones I found in asian markets were red and brown… the kind of brown which indicates overly dry.

How to eat Rambutan?

  • Pull the fruit open with your fingers
  • Then pull the fruit out of the peel. In the Philippines I was taught to pop the fruit into your mouth.
  • You chew it, but chew around the seed. Don’t chew or eat the seed.
  • When you are done chewing around the seed, spit the seed out.

It tasted similar to grapes to me. My favorite food in the Philippines was the fresh mangoes. In the United States mangoes taste horrible to me, but in the Philippines I loved them. Tasting new food is one of the best parts of traveling because I discover new things.

The interesting part is that rambutan and mangoes were new experiences for me. But rambutan is something I had never heard of before… and mangoes I knew existed. I had tasted mangoes and hated them. Just looking at the rambutan I would not have guessed it was something edible. But it tastes really good. And I would not have known mangoes existed that I enjoy eating if I did not travel abroad.

But because of my willingness to try foods in the Philippines I had two NEW experiences with food. So what are some of your good surprises with new foods?

Top 10 Reasons I Miss the USA

USA Top Ten List / Philippines by IshIsm.Com
Top Ten Reasons I Miss the USA by Ishism.com

This is a list of the various things I miss about the USA during my research trip in the Philippines. It is not necessarily a cultural study … these are just the things that I, an American traveling in the Philippines, have missed about the USA.

10. Dairy

Vitamin A is one of the primary nutritional deficiencies in the Philippines. And, because of their geographic location and culture they simply do not eat a lot of dairy products. There is a saying, “Filipino cannot survive without rice.” Well, there should be another saying… “American cannot survive without cheese and milk.”

The food here is very good, but when I get home I want a giant chocolate milkshake.

9. Internet Access

I have WIFI, occasionally. However, because of my creepy internet stalker, NBC prevents me from watching the Olympics because I am in another country. I have looked for other internet access locations to view the Olympics, but being in the Philippines has proven to be an interesting challenge in staying globally connected. In the United States I could watch the Olympics and get streaming internet access 24/7.

8. Culture Shock

Culture shock. I drink coke in a bag, everything is shorter than I am accustomed to including doorways, and the water is not safe to drink. At the grocery store, packages of food are sold in much smaller sizes. Many things look similar to what I expect in the United States, but then they are slightly different. In the United States, my brain does not have to work extra hard to recognize Coca-Cola, toilets, or safe drinking water.

7. My Voice/Broken English

This is my fault, not the Philippines. I say it is my fault because I cannot speak Tagalog. I am traveling in a foreign country, but the only words I can understand are some of the Spanish words I pick up. So my speech pattern in English becomes broken into shorter sentences so that I can be understood… and I have adopted a slight Filipino accent which seems to make my words more recognizable.

6. Warped Time

Well, on the West Coast it is 6:31 p.m. Friday in the USA, while in the Philippines it is 9:31 a.m. Saturday morning. So that is one adjustment. The other adjustment is never knowing exactly when someone is going to arrive. An 11 a.m. meeting might mean the meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. or 11:15 a.m.

The warped time is not as bad as what I experienced in Uganda, where 11 a.m. meant sometime that day between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. I like knowing that if I say 11 a.m. is the time we meet, then people are going to arrive at 11 a.m. ish, you know… within a few minutes. Starting at 10:30 a.m. throws me off and starting really late frustrates me.

5. Toilet Paper

At public restrooms toilet paper is not provided in the stalls. You can bring in your own, or pay for toilet paper outside the stall. But there is none provided inside the actual stall itself. In the USA, I do not worry about toilet paper being in the stall. Sometimes the stall is empty, but I don’t go into the restroom KNOWING there will be no toilet paper provided freely.

4. Spiders and Lizards

In America, I normally do not enter a restroom looking at the ceiling to make sure there is not a giant spider or some type of lizard which might drop on my head. In the Philippines I have learned to check to make sure nature does not fall on my head!

3. Hiking

This is probably more of a familiarity issue. I do not know where is safe in the Philippines to hike. I am an introvert, so getting away from people is important for me to recharge emotionally/spiritually. In America one of the things I loved about Colorado was being able to hike in the mountains on a regular basis.

Here in the Philippines I have not had the luxury of being able to get away for half a day to hike and recharge.

2. The London 2012 Olympics

I learn about what is going on with the USA Olympic team through the international version of CNN. I am very happy for Michael Phelps, the Women’s soccer team, the Women’s gymnastics team and all the other wonderful gold medal winners. However, I have been unable to watch anything really… not even on tape delay because of where I am at in the Philippines… and because NBC does not share much internationally. Bummer.

1. Friends/Family

The people I have met here have been wonderful. I believe they genuinely want to help me. But I am also an American, which means when I travel to most countries the world becomes Disneyland. (This has not been true in Europe when I was in London). Everyone is nicer to me because I have the image of American money and the image of American warships. I do not think people are afraid of me, but I do know that because I am an American I get treated much better than the average Filipinos who are walking on the same streets and shopping in the same stores.

Some Americans get the warped idea that people in other countries are much nicer than Americans. This is not necessarily true. You see, I am a guest in the Philippines.

Because of the “niceness”… I miss friends and family. My friends and family know I am poor, and they have no issue telling me when I do something stupid. They are genuine. In the Philippines it feels like I am told what will make me happy.

Sometimes when I am mobbed by 3 sales clerks in a store while a Filipino customer is ignored, I imagine the song “Be … our… Guest! BE OUR GUEST! Put our service to the test!” ….

So, this is my top ten list of reasons I miss the USA. What do you think? Leave comments below and share with others! Have a wonderful day!