I arrived late at night to Hanoi aboard a Dragonair A330. It was a short flight, and like I mentioned in my last post I was so exhausted that I fell asleep when I first sat in my seat and had to be lightly shaken awake by the flight attendant after we had landed. I had pre-arranged a taxi and I strongly recommend this, as the touts are out especially late at night and, as a caucasian, I kind of stood out. I used Hilton points to book a stay at…you guessed it…the Hanoi Hilton. No, not that one. They incredibly have a Hilton hotel in Hanoi, but they call it the Hilton Hanoi Opera to get away from the mental image of staying in a POW camp on your stay. The room was spacious and large, and I immediately resumed my slumber, ready for the next day.
Back in 2012 I decided to get into the points and miles game. I had many e-mentors in my journey, among them Gary Leff, Ben, and Chris Guillebeau (I talk more about my travel inspiration in this post). I had taken a few small trips here and there, and, through manufactured spending and credit card bonuses, built up a nice little amount of American AAdvantage miles. I decided I wanted to use them for a special trip: my first time to Asia.
Well this all escalated quickly. I won’t bore you with the details yet (you’ll have to wait until the trip report for that) but I’m heading out Sunday for what was originally going to be a couple of days in Europe. At the last minute I decided to add on the Middle East. I’m excited about this one because it all kind of came together in about a 6 hour period tonight and used a variety of points from a lot of different programs. Here’s what’s on deck: US Airways Domestic Coach US Airways International Coach Air France Short-haul Coach Lufthansa Short-haul Coach Lufthansa International Coach and then… Etihad International Diamond First Class American Domestic First Class The hotels, you ask? Hilton Molino Stucky, Venice Park Hyatt Vendome, Paris Conrad Dubai, Dubai Hilton Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi (THE BIG ONE) Hyatt Dulles, Herndon, Virginia In typical Andy’s Travel Blog fashion, I’m cramming 17,700 miles of flying and 5 hotel nights into about 6-7 days. Follow me on instagram (@realandyluten) for updates!
I could go on and on about the mystery and intrigue of Easter Island, but I think I beat the topic to death in Part I of this report. People tend to visit Easter Island for one solitary reason: to see the Moai. There is a lot of mystery about these statues, indigenous to Easter Island and left there by the native Rapa Nui people, ancestors of whom still populate the island today. There is a lot of mythology about the statues and there are numerous people who have dedicated their lives and livelihood to researching and discovering the untold secrets of these incredible statues. I am not one of them, but that’s ok. I didn’t come to understand everything about the Moai on this trip, I just wanted to live in their world for a bit and experience the culture of what, if not for the daily LAN flights, could accurately be called the Land of the Lost. I’ll try to fill in the blanks where I can, but I like exploring on my own and didn’t take a tour, so I no doubt missed out on a lot of details about the Moai. There are plenty of resources online that do a much better job than I ever could. One of the most recommended books I came across is A Companion to Easter Island, by James Grant-Peterkin, a British native who visited the island to study its unique linguistics (a blend of Spanish and Rapa Nui) and fell… read more
Easter Island. Rapa Nui. The very name invites intrigue and mystery. The island is under Chilean sovereignty, where they call it Isla de Pascua (literally: Place Where People Look For Stone Faces). Before we get into the details, let’s cover some logistics. Where the heck is Easter Island? It’s one of the most remote inhabited places on Earth. Quick, think of Santiago, Chile. Ok, now, think of Tahiti. Easter Island is about halfway between the two. Still confused? Let’s try this. Not helpful? Ugh, fine, here it is a bit more zoomed out: