Girl’s Trip to San Francisco With My Favorite Girl

Early in the summer Susie and I talked about going on a girl’s trip some time during the summer. If you are new to my blog, Susie is my daughter. She’s 26, but was 25 when we took our trip. She works as a preschool teacher and it’s hard for her to get time off. Keeping this in mind, we looked for a long weekend that would include a holiday. She had plans for July 4th, which fell on a weekend this year. That left Labor Day. With that decision made, we now had to decide where to go. I threw out the idea of Las Vegas. We had gone there for her 18th birthday and had a good time shopping and going to a show. She said she thought Las Vegas would be more appropriate for when she finished school. She has her degree in Spanish. She was that close to becoming a high school Spanish teacher when she decided to go for her Master’s in elementary education. She loves the kids she works with now and they love her. I kept reminding her that teenagers weren’t quite as lovable. In fact, they could be, and most of the time were, pretty hideous. She finally listened to me. At any rate, it was a thumbs down for Las Vegas.

I looked at the Broadmoor, which is a AAA five diamond resort in Colorado Springs, which is just an hour and a half drive from us. It is a nice hotel where we have spent a night or two various times. They have an awesome spa and good restaurants and the best Sunday brunch I have ever had. However, it was freakin’ expensive at $400 a night. For that much money we could fly somewhere.

Susie likes shopping and San Francisco has awesome shopping and we would get the added benefit of seeing Nicholas. Susie was on board for a weekend in the city by the Bay. As it turned out, Nicholas came home for a visit just the week before. That’s okay, we ended up not seeing much of him while we were there, so there was no danger of too much Nicholas (as if).

Zung and I usually stay at the Grand Hyatt in Union Square. I like to look at other options though and as it turned out, a package with the Ritz Carlton was cheaper. I had no idea it was up a big freakin’ hill from all the awesome shopping. I would find out though, and be reminded, again and again.

Our flight left at o’dark thirty. I checked us in online the day before and Zung drove us to the airport.


We were each taking carry on so we didn’t have to stop at the Frontier counter.

We got to see the sun come up!


We breezed through security and bought water and magazines. We went to Chef Jimmy’s but all we wanted were Mimosa’s and it was 6:40 and they don’t serve alcohol until 7 am. What? Why? WTF? We went to Caribou Coffee instead, and got pastries for the plane. We went to our gate.


We boarded. We were in Row 21, both had aisle seats so we were right across from each other. There were several babies in the vicinity, which is always a scary occurrence. They were all good though, aka happy and quiet. We passed the short 2 hour flight by the usual ways. We read magazines, I read my book on my Kindle and played Candy Crush. There’s nothing like Candy Crush to pass away some time in a totally mindless manner.


Before we knew it we were experiencing a nice smooth landing.

Where can I find a Mimosa around here?!

Posted in Non-Mexico Trips, San Francisco/Napa | Leave a comment

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 140,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Last Day

This is the sad, going home day. No matter how good a trip is, the day I go home, I am sad.

I sleep well until 5 am when I wake up not feeling great. I worry about having to travel if I am sick. I fall back to sleep and wake up a couple of hours later, hungry. The only cure for that is to go eat.

It is a little cloudy. The sun wins out later.


For breakfast we forget to take pictures. I had a fried egg, and I have had bacon every single day. The diet starts tomorrow, right? The mangoes have been really good this time.

When we get back to the room I pack quickly and Zung packs slowly. I want to get in more beach time, but he doesn’t want to go out. I go by myself. Ironically, it is the best drink service of the whole trip and I don’t feel like drinking anything.

I walk to the part of the ocean where it is nice to go in. The waves are rough, even though the flag is yellow. I am alone and afraid I would get into trouble if I tried to go in by myself, so I just go in up to my ankles. I’m a real risk taker.

Soon it is time for me to go in and shower and finish packing.

We are ready by noon, which is when we asked the bellboys to come get our luggage. No one shows up. I check to make sure the Do Not Disturb sign is not up. It is not. I call at 12:20 and Roberto tells me I am on the list for a late check-out at 2. I say no, we said noon. Then he sees that it was copied from the original sheet wrong and we are supposed to have someone there at noon. He says someone will be here in eight minutes. Not five and not ten. Eight, which is definitely better than “some” minutes (you have to read the heart attack trip to get the significance of that.

Someone arrives and he takes our bags and we go to lunch.

We enjoy our last lunch.


But I am still sad.


Raul is our waiter.


He’s been a really great waiter.

We have a great last lunch, and I drink some wine.

We both have the shrimp fajitas.


The fries are really good today. The Grand has the best fries. And if you think it’s weird that I eat shrimp fajitas and french fries, then you need to expand your horizons.


We have coconut ice cream for dessert.


We say good-bye to Luis.


We say good-bye to Mariana. She’s always so cheerful, with her big smile and her dimples.


We walk the sad walk to the lobby.We pass the new putting green by the pool.


We get to the lobby and I check us out. Raul comes out to say good-bye. Or maybe it was Fanny. I can’t remember. One of them did.

We sit in the lobby bar and I get a Havana and coke and Zung gets a Margarita.

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Cancun Valet arrives, always a little early. It is a quick drive to the airport. We get checked in and through security.

I buy some Mexican vanilla. We decide not to get anything at the Duty Free shop. Next time I will though. Our president just normalized relations with Cuba, so I will be a rum smuggler no more!

We get something to eat at Bubba Gumps. I get clam chowder. That is my comfort food when we are leaving.


I have comfort drink too.


The clam chowder is good. The drink, not so much. It’s too sweet.

We board and are happily surprised to see Dave, our favorite Frontier flight attendant. I give him a big hug and we catch up during the flight back.

It was an awesome trip, despite the cloudy days. It was great to meet Heidi and Ricky. We were treated very well and it was an anniversary to remember.

If you are thinking about going to the Grand for a vacation, DO IT! Just book it. You won’t regret it.

I took a lot of trips this last year and have several I want to blog. It’s been a good travel year for me. I just returned two weeks ago from my 14th trip to the Grand, and that was definitely a memorable trip. In a good way. It is however a few days before Christmas, so I may take a break from blogging over the next couple weeks. Or, I may not!

Have a great and safe holiday season!

And, thanks for reading!

Posted in Awesome Staff, Food/Menu Items, The Grand | 8 Comments

Finishing off our 35th

We go to the Lobby Bar to finish our anniversary celebration. I start with a chocolate cake shot.

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These things just go down way too easy.

Next up is a cucumber martini. Daniel shows me the new size they have. It’s a little bigger than the regular size.


I believe in drinking in moderation, so I choose the regular size.


We talk to Steve and Dawn and Eduardo about the difference between cookies and biscuits. Biscuits is the name Brits have for what I would call a cookie. Eduardo says cookies are on the internet.


It was lovely meeting Steve and Dawn.

We also talk about Eduardo’s love life, which, at the time, was very complicated. He has straightened it all out. He is now (December 2014) expecting a baby with his lady. He has also moved over to the Maya, so I won’t get to see his smiling face anymore.

I have another shot, followed by a chocolate martini, and finish off with a final shot.

I chat with Gabriel, the assistant GM, for quite a while.


We talk about the hotel, leadership styles of the different GM’s, his work history and his girlfriend. It was a lovely conversation. Getting to know the people who work at the Grand and make it such an amazing place is what makes these vacations so awesome. When I come back, it’s like visiting family and friends.

We stagger back to our room at about quarter to midnight. The maid has decorated our bed and drawn a bubble bath for us.



There is a plate with a chocolate sculpture and tuxedo strawberries. There is also a bottle of extra nice champagne. Zung took a picture of the strawberries, but not the champagne.


We did not drink the champagne. We’d had enough to drink. We took it home. We didn’t get in the bath either. It was pretty cool, and we were really too tired anyway. Staying up this late is pushing our limits.


It had really been a lovely day and the Grand had made it a memorable 35th anniversary.

Tomorrow is the sad, going home day.

Posted in Awesome Staff, Bars, Drinks, The Grand | Leave a comment

35th Anniversary Romantic Dinner

We go into La Brisa and are greeted by a hostess and we walk through La Brisa and go outside to where our table is set up. We are greeted by Fanny, from PR. She gives me a red rose and there is another one on my plate and a couple in a vase. The table was lovely, and the view even more so.


It is breezy. They are still setting up the lights along the path. During the dinner the lights sparked and smoked and had to be turned off. Yikes!

The hotel photographer is there and takes several pictures and tells us we can come look at them tomorrow. We take a few of our own.



My hair is getting blown all over the place.

Luis, the sommelier, arrives with our wine and opens it. It is the perfect temperature and it tastes so good.


The food begins to arrive. I have ordered the vegetarian option. I am not vegetarian, but I was up for something different. It turns out to be my favorite of the three options. My first course is grilled asparagus with tomato vinaigrette. It is very good.



Zung has the ratatouille.



Next is the fettuccine for me. It is really good, but it is a huge portion.


Zung’s course has salmon with hollandaise. He likes it.



His tournedos is cooked perfectly.


My entree is good, but a little odd for the entree. It is mashed potatoes covered by spinach. It is good, but just seems like an odd choice as an entree.


We have a visitor. But I tell him, sorry dude, we are not sharing.



The sky is beautiful as the sun sets.

DSCN3542 DSCN3543Dessert comes. Our waiter has brought the food at a really nice pace.

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DSCN3547It has been a lovely dinner. It has been a lovely day. And it is still not over yet. It’s our last evening. I’ve got some shots I need to do at the Lobby Bar!



Posted in Food/Menu Items, The Grand, Uncategorized | 3 Comments