Posts Tagged With: Baseball

Tampa FL, USA: Flying into TPA for some Rays baseball, 18 – 20 September 2015

It’s one of my close friend’s birthday, and as a treat, I decided to use my Delta Skymiles to fly us to Tampa, so he can attend games for his favorite MLB team – Tampa Bay Rays.

18 September 2015: Seattle, WA – Tampa, FL (direct on Alaska, redeemed with 12500 Delta Skymiles

19 September 2015: Tampa, FL

20 September 2015: Tampa, FL – Seattle, WA (direct on Alaska, redeemed with 12500 Delta Skymiles)

This isn’t a spectacular redemption or anything, but I am happy with it, because I got him a direct flight from Seattle to Tampa, on one of the best domestic carriers – Alaska, as opposed to my epic, multiple connection redemption to Panama City (SIX different airports! SIX!!!!).

I bought a ticket on Alaska separately for this trip ($385 initially), and used the $100 airline fee credit gift card trick from my AMEX PRG sign-up to offset some of the cost. After learning about the Alaska Airlines Lowest Price guarantee from this informative blogpost, I watched the airfare on Google Flights, and managed to get back $58 in Alaska credits, bringing the actual cost of this flight to ~$227 USD. That’s not too shabby for a 5 hr non-stop flight!

Categories: Events, Itinerary, Miles&Points, Sports, USA | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

USA: Day trip to San Francisco CA, 13 September 2015

San Francisco

Taking advantage of the Delta Award sale, I redeemed 10,000 Delta points for a same-day round-trip ticket to San Francisco. I had to plan this quite well, as my main goal was to check out AT&T Ball Park, and so, I had to ensure that I flew in on a day when the Giants were playing a day game at home. The stars aligned for today.

San Francisco

Getting to downtown San Francisco

Getting from SFO airport to downtown is easy. I took the free AirTran to the BART, which sells tickets at the station, and bought a ticket with my Citi credit card to cash in on the 3X transport bonus to Embarcadero ($8.65 – one-way, a fare chart is by the side of ticket booths), as I planned on eating lunch near there before making my way to the game.

Just a small note – you might want to get round trip tickets if you know your plans in advance. I had a lot of trouble locating a machine that took credit cards when I was buying my ticket back from the Montgomery Street Station. I had to try about 7 machines before I got one that took credit cards. The rest took debit/ATM cards. Weird. You do not get a discount for getting round trip tickets.

San Francisco

The BART trains are rather oldish, but comfortable. My tushy appreciates the padded chairs! The train to/from the airport runs every 15-20 min, and the journey takes about 30 mins. The signs should be fairly self-explanatory, and the driver makes announcements at every station.

AT&T Park

I was trying to eat lunch at Rubio’s, which was featured on Business Insider, but guess what? The Embarcadero location is closed on Sundays. Grr!!! It was nice to check out the Ferry Terminal building, and the buildings on Market Street, nevertheless. After striking out on my lunch plans, I simply walked along the waterfront to AT&T park. It was a pretty nice walk, where you see a mixture of older buildings, along with those modern tall glass buildings. I would say it was a 15-20 min leisurely stroll. San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco also has a bike share program alike Seattle (well, Seattle probably copied them, whatever). It costs $9 for 24 hrs, and you can check them out for 30 min stretches, but I have severely strained quad muscles, so riding a bike didn’t seem like such a good idea. So, stroll, it was. There are a number of little eateries along the way, if you want to get your munchies in before going to the ballgame.

I would say I generally liked AT&T park. At the bleachers, it has some nice views of the bay. My friend, who attended a game some time back at the terrace level, didn’t like how he couldn’t get to certain places because of his ticket. I was mostly on the main level with my bleacher ticket, and I thought it was kinda nice. The AT&T Park children’s play area also looked cooler than the Safeco field play area.

One of the nice things about the bleacher area is that, there’s a dining area behind the bleachers. While you cannot watch the game from this dining area, it has picnic tables, and a nice selection of interesting food options (i.e. not just ballpark food) – a crab shack, a seafood stand, a BBQ place, and a taco place. I got a crab and shrimp sandwich ($13.50) from Crazy Crab, which I thought was tasty and fresh.

One small little tip about drinks at the ballpark. They do have soda machines near the kids’ play area, and they sell bottled sodas for $3, and take credit cards as well. I would highly suggest this option, if you want to save some money, but don’t want to drink water either. It is a good deal for ballparks, considering how watered down sodas in cups full of ice cost at least $5.50 usually. If you did not get a chance to see/get on a cable car, they do have a sample cable car by the bleachers.

San Francisco

San Francisco

Unfortunately, after 7 innings, I had to leave, as I did want to check out other parts of San Francisco as well. I walked down 3rd Street, towards Market Street (and Mission Street further south), where the BART runs underground, as I was planning on catching the BART back to the airport. I was gonna check out a cafe, and do some writing in a cafe, but wound up at Ghirardelli chocolate cafe. Apparently, a store attendant handing out free chocolate is all it takes for me to walk into a store! In the short time that I was here, I did like the buildings clustered around Market Street. They have the early 1900s flavor, with ornate carvings, high ceilings. It is a shame that I had so few hours in San Francisco!

Costs:

Flight: $11.20 + 10000 Delta Skymiles

To/From SFO – San Francisco: $17.30

Lunch: $13.50 + $3

Ballpark tickets: $16

Hot chocolate: $5

Total: $66 + 10000 Delta Skymiles

Sea Salt Caramel Hot Cocoa at Ghirardelli, San Francisco (Met Trust building in reflection)

Categories: Architecture, Events, Miles&Points, Sports, USA | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

San Francisco, USA: Day trip to AT&T Ballpark, 13 September 2015

Delta Airlines is having a mileage and airfare sale. There are one-way fares going for 5,000 miles. I had 10,000 Delta miles lying around, which wasn’t good for anything (most domestic one-way airfares start at 12,500 miles), so I jumped on this deal. Because accommodations in San Francisco are prohibitively expensive, I decided to book a day trip to San Francisco, to accomplish one of my side projects – visiting all the MLB parks in the US! I found two non-stop one-way tickets, with the first arriving in SFO at 10.45 am, and the second one-way ticket leaving SFO at 7 pm. That’s time enough for me to take in the 1 pm game, and do some sightseeing around San Francisco!

So, for 10,000 Delta Skymiles and US 11.20, San Francisco, here I come!

Stuff I want to do:

1. Eat In&Out again

2. Ride the cable car

3. Check out a coffee shop

4. Watch a Giants game.

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Taiwan – Taipei & Taoyuan, 17 October 2012

Today was sorta my day, so I tried to balance fun and work. The night before, I spent time researching about food in Taipei, and stumbled upon this excellent food blog – A Hungry Girl’s Guide to Taipei, and with some luck, she actually reviewed a Mexican place a couple of days before. I have been craving Mexican for the longest time, so I showed up when Juanita Burritos & Tacos opened at 11 am. It looks very much like a Chipotle, and tastes very much like it, too. I was very happy with my soft tacos, and tried their offering of steak, chicken, and carnitas. It was probably a little pricey for Taiwan (8 USD/260 TWD for three tacos and drink), but cravings don’t really have a price. Go check out their Facebook page if you want to learn more. The walk on the alley towards Juanita was also really interesting – there are plenty of cute cafes. I’d really love to check them out in a future visit!

After a snack, I settled down and worked for some two hours. This was followed by another trip to Taroko sports for another round of batting practice. Apart from doing my softball practice, I also tried the 80 kmph baseball cage. Man, that really scared me. I made NO contact, and for the first five pitches, was scared shitless. Really gotta admire baseball players who stand and face 90 mph fastballs! But it was a good experience.

After my little exercise, it was time for more excitement. Last year, I went to a Taiwanese professional baseball game between the Uni Lions and Elephants Brother. This year, I was in time for the Taiwan Series (sorta the Taiwanese version of USA’s World Series) to see the clash between the Uni Lions and the Lamigo Monkeys at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium. It was interesting to see the changes to Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium. For one, they actually built the outfield stands, which I ended up sitting at. Probably not the best idea, given the drizzle. They also added a large TV screen, and I’m not sure if they do it all the time, but they actually had fireworks when the home team (Lamigo Monkeys) hits a home run.

Apart from the infrastructural changes, the atmosphere was also certainly different. The Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium is actually the real home stadium of the Lamigo Monkeys, and a lot of the Lamigo Monkeys’ supporters are from Taipei and Taoyuan. Needless to say, they came out in full force. Almost all the lower infield seats were filled up, and Monkeys fans also peppered the outfield stands. It sure was rowdy!

One of the many alleys in Zhongxiao area

An Alley Scene in Taipei (Zhongxiao E Road area)

Juanita Burrito & Tacos

Juanita Burritos & Tacos

Tacos from Juanita - steak, carnitas, chicken

Mmmm, tacos – steak, chicken and carnitas

Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium from the Outfield Stands

Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium

Taiwan Series 2012 - between Lamigo Monkeys and Uni Lions

Taiwan Series 2012 – Between the Uni Lions and Lamigo Monkeys

Categories: Events, Sports, Taiwan | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Itinerary: Taiwan and Japan, 13-18 October 2012

13 October: Taipei, Taiwan

14 October: Taipei/Keelung, Taiwan (board Superstar Virgo)

15 October: Ishigaki, Japan

16 October: Naha, Japan

17 October: Keelung/Taipei, Taiwan (I have some plans to go watch the Taiwan series [baseball], but I’m not sure if it’ll work out)

Categories: Cruise, Events, Itinerary, Japan, Taiwan | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan – Taipei, 25 August 2011

Today was mostly a travel day. We flew by Cathay Pacific from Singapore to Taiwan, which meant that there was a stopover in Hong Kong, to change plans for our trip to Taipei.

We arrived in San Want Hotel in the heart of Taipei on Zhongxiao East Road at around 4 pm. It was located directly above Zhongxiao Dunhua station on the Taipei metro, making it really convenient to get around. It’s also a bustling shopping street for shopaholics, and the rooms are pretty nice. Recently, I’ve been hitting the gym, and I checked out the gym, which small as it was, was adequate with two good treadmills and a stationery bike.

Despite it being a travel day, it wasn’t a wasted day. My parents and the rest of my family went off to Danshui, while I decided to go check out some Taiwan professional baseball . They had a game going on in Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium, which was about 20 mins from Taipei via the High Speed Rail. They had a game going on that evening, between the Uni Lions and the Brother Elephants. I managed to get a student concession ticket for about 8 USD.

The ballpark was nice, but definitely way smaller than MLB stadiums. There are built more like college baseball stadiums, and the concession stands available were also kinda like that. So there were say, about six to seven concession stands. On a bright note, things were actually reasonably-priced in the ballpark, and I had the Taiwanese version of hotdog, which was a spicy sweet Taiwanese sausage wrapped in a glutinous rice sausage, that set me back by about 1.50 USD.

One of the things that Taiwanese baseball has going for it, is its incredible cheering. It was quite a mega affair. They have like a life band (like the school version), guys waving flags (at least three), and a guy yelling out team cheers with a loudhailer. The fans follow the commands of the guy with the loudhailer. It is really quite a sight to behold! Some of them include, “Get a hit, XXX [insert player’s name]” or “Hit a homerun, XXX [insert player’s name]”, and all the fans will chant that in unison. A second note about the fans – there are more stadiums than there are teams in Taiwanese professional baseball, and these stadiums are spread all over Taiwan. Some of the teams actually follow their team from stadium to stadium. That’s some true commitment there!

I didn’t stay to the end of the game. But it was definitely a good experience for me. Now, Korea is next on the list, and I’ll be done with Asian professional baseball!

Room in San Want Hotel

Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium

Taiwanese Version of Hotdog

Very impressive cheering in Taiwanese professional baseball

Categories: Events, Sports, Taiwan | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Itinerary: Japan – Hokkaido, 10 – 16 May 2010

Family trip with parental units and other extended family, and it was with a tour group, so much of it was fuzzy.

10 May: Singapore – Narita – Chitose

11 May: Chitose – Shiraoi – Noribetsu

12 May: Noribetsu – Otaru – Sapporo

13 May: Sapporo – Toya

14 May: Toya – Hakodate

15 May: Hakodate – Tokyo

16 May: Tokyo – Singapore

Categories: Activities, Itinerary, Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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