Monthly Archives: April 2019

Travelog: Orlando and Bahamas, Day 1 – Boarding

Traveling light is an understatement.

Above golden truth stated at Allegiant website has notoriously played it’s sinister part for us. We had chosen to fly to Orlando considering the fact that we had cheap flight options available during first two weeks of April. Given the fact that spring holidays were over in diminishing March, choosing April has its advantages in terms of flight options. But…

Caution 1: Manage you luggage well. Try to plan in advance and register number of luggages from Allegiant website. It will cost $10 less than at the airport. Allegiant has check-in baggage restricted to 40 lbs, cabin baggage to 20 lbs and only one free limited size personal belonging.

Things to remember 1: Allegiant has some really cheap options if there are no traveling reservations on day or time. We got flight tickets under $80 per person, to and fro. Check the calendar early on Allegiant website.

Caution 2: All Allegiant flights arrive at Sanford airport which is 60-70 miles away from port Canaveral and 50-60 miles to park area of Orlando.

Things-to-do: Do the on-line check-in which will be open 24 hours prior to departure.

I found Orlando flight conveniently “available” in the morning around 9:00 AM. Though had to settle up with returning flight at early 6:00 AM in the morning.

Once landed at Sanford, drive to port Canaveral was dotted with pleasant palm variants along the road with intermittent bright blue water bodies. Orlando was in full bloom at the start of summer.

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We choose Carnival as our 4 night cruise expedition, leaving from port Canaveral to Nassau to Freeport and back at the port. There are various other cruise options available from Orlando or Miami other than Carnival. Aligning of the boarding date with other traveling plan, availability of the appropriate stateroom and budget were few of the major factors for selecting Carnival. Boarding the cruise was easy and more comfortable then boarding flight. Everything was arranged and planned out by cruise management beautifully.

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Things-to-remember 2: Always carry passports. No need for Bahamas visa for valid US citizens provided they have green-card or valid stamped work visa.

Caution 3: select stateroom not too aft or too fore and at least at or above deck 4 if you have sea sickness. We had our stateroom at deck 6 where it was almost standstill all the time and won’t  have any feeling of traveling on-board the ship. Choose as per your capacity of fulfilling the sea travel.

Things-to-do: Complete on-line pre-requisites on cruise’s website and set up your account in advance. On cruise, all you need is cruise access card which will also act as on-board currency for everything. On the last day, you will get receipt of all your spendings which has been debited from your linked credit card.

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Settling down immediately after securing our room with tropical drinks, it was all about getting your way around the ship and be familiar with cruise’s mandatory emergency security briefing. Deck party has started once cruise raised the anchor. Once the tethering’s were severed, so as the connection with other outer world.  Next 4 days, it was all about sun decked pools, beach-wear and sunglasses, various tropical alcoholic drinks in hot colors and tiny umbrellas perched atop, full-volume DJ’s, group dance and all the other hosting of hilarious fun activities, live shows, live musics and much more. Party has just started……..

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Travelog: Orlando and Bahamas, Day 0

Summer is coming

Oncoming spring of 2019 sprouted fresh buds of desires for long travel after prolonged dormant winter here in Indianapolis. It was easy choice when you think of fleeing the cold; east coast or west coast. As west coast was partially ( very much partially, in fact) touch-based in winter of 2017, choice has befallen on east coast this time. And destination was Orlando, Florida.

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There was lot to do and act upon when you sit down with intension of finalizing itinerary for Orlando which will result in less hectic and more relaxing travel plan. In fact, I realized that “relaxing” was not an option when covering Orlando with single-minded objective of vacationing. As if all theme parks of Disneyland and Universal Studio are not enough, you have Sea world, Miami, Key west and other attractions on your plate considering vicinity of the Tempa and Miami to Orlando. I had already planned to avail 6-7 days for the trip. Also I was aware of the fact that covering everything without any rest day would mean unnecessary exhaustion of monetary aspect as well as of vacation itself. Hence I settled down with below itinerary for my 7 day excursion to Orlando, Florida.

Day 1: Flying to Sanford from Indianapolis. Boarding the cruise for Bahamas from port Canaveral.

Cruise was primary factor of my whole Orlando visit. I chose 4 nights Bahamas Carnival cruise. More on that in next travelogue.

Day 2: Fun day on the ship.

Day 3: Visiting Nassau, capital of Bahamas.

Day 4: Port of call, Freeport. Another Bahamas island.

Day 5: Landing back to port Canaveral, Orlando. Visit to Kennedy space center.

Day 6: Visiting one park of Universal studio. Island of Adventure in my case.

Day 7: Visiting one park of Disneyland. Magical Kingdom in my case.

I’ll try to separate each day into travel blog each, encompassing various aspects such as prerequisites, to-do-list, not-to-do-list, expenses, things to carry, how, what and why of whatever I can think of along with lots of photos.

Your mileage and stretch can wary. So adopt whatever feel like doable for you if you are referring to my travelogue. Else enjoy the read.

PS: In the process, I will try to answer one of the universally fundamental question which was bothering humankind from day immemorial; which theme park is better, Disneyland or Universal studio ? I might not be in best position but I had my enough fill of rituals to move towards enlightenment. I will surely attain complete truth after more visits.

Same old, Same old

Anywhere in the world where any race or religion or cast fanatic takes violent supremacist step with gun and population start talking about psychological impact of interactive media such as gaming on children and young adults as if that is their fundamental right to get closure on such violent anarchy. Its old story; even ancient one when we thought of inception of shooter computer games. Let’s instead of political arguments, de-construct the whole scenario and focus the subject in different light. I would try to address “why” of the blame game and might in process raise more ominous view ( this post is in response to recent tragic violent shooting in new Zealand mosque in response to which one educated intellectual friend of me has pointed finger towards currently most popular battle arena game PUBG as victim in jocular fashion. It came as shock to me how people are perceiving games; even in jokes.)

Why computer games or movies or any other popular media.

“Because it’s there” – this famous quote from world famous Everest climber George Mallory can also work as an answer to our dilemma. It’s easy to blame popular media. And our minds are happy to blame abstract “cause” which can act as righteous step to all of the wrongs. Human minds are bad at comprehending chaos, especially of a scale of gun attack in public places. It represents chaos in otherwise “stable” system. Hence there is need to find settlement to ease the terror or fear. And popular media is readily available for that. Shooter games themselves act as shooting target with bulls eye.

Games are not conditioning environment

All the popular media comes with their governing restrictions either in name of issued age restriction certificates or as moral values when we consider impact of them over minors. Doesn’t matter if such restrictions are carried out strictly or not; games, movies, books etc. should be conceived as the mind influencing environment rather then mind conditioning. They don’t have power to brainwash. If shooting games could have such power then lot of people including me were, by this time, could have been brandishing guns in both hands and having our poor lives “blasted” out of proportion. But looks like after so much digital gun toting, I came out decent and even violence-averting in nature. And the same can be said for those whom I knew as long time dedicated computer gamers.

Child’s malleable mind is far better in fantasizing; no matter what. Given right catalyst, it can be molded with care into something superior. But what we are talking about is not product of any such exposure. Empathy is part of natural behavior expressed from eons old evolved genes. What we are seeing as violent retribution is part of heavily subdued brain with either life altering trauma or tight conditioning or brainwashing.

And when we are talking about conditioning, most frightful conditioning parents expose their child to is religion which not even have any governing body to issue any age restrictions. It is more potent and effective than any violent game nowadays. See any of those ancient religion tomes and scriptures and try to glean the direct or indirect form of violence present (towards non-believer or evil); you will be amazed by ferocity and content.

Why shooting is fun in games

The fact is, gamers worldwide are not actually enjoying the killing spree in games. They enjoy the “feel” of it. That is, games have already established virtual context and world which is in sync with killing “bad guys”. It’s already been established as safe environment. Players enjoy the tactical decision making or super power fantasy or reflexes or mastering challenges; which is far away then actual real world shootings. Evolution has already instilled aversion towards real blood or carnage. Even given the right context, players feel guilty over killing NPCs ( player with no role or context in games. In short, innocent) even in computer games. So any argument pointing towards computer games playing key role in introducing real world apathetic behavior is utterly hogwash.

What’s the ratio

How many gamers worldwide actually converted to homicidal maniac ? Or how many deranged killers are actually gamers ? I bet even though we come up with exact statistics, numbers are quite high if we asked the same question with some other general attributes such as how many killers have dogs or how many go to religious places or how many are single or ……

Is it that having dogs or no-dogs is killing factor ?? Absolutely foolish, right !! Then why games have such attention. Games get the disadvantage of being “special” apart from other common variables. Games are highly visible. They are unique. And have high attention grabbing visibility. And playing games is still not the norm, hence has to face scrutinized stare of the society over such incidents.

It’s time we need to reign our basic instincts and think rationally before generalizing.