Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Vacations --- the Downsides

Apart from the horrors of flying nowadays, what with increased security, including denuding yourself in front of your fellow passengers of your shoes, your coat and jacket, hat, belts, etc, unpacking and repacking your laptop, spending more time at the airport than in the air, the fact that they don't feed you anymore and you are constantly searching for something vaguely resembling food in the airports, along with the folks who think the one carry-on bag per person applies to everyone except them and after they have filled the overhead bins with their three bags plus their duty free purchases and there is no space for your one bag as per regulations so you are forced to put it under the seat in front and now there is no room for your feet, there are some other downsides to going on vacation.

The thing that bothered me most of all on this vacation was my internet connection. Now it was not all bad by any means. At the hotel, the free WiFi connection worked like a dream and I kept up with everything quite nicely.

But connection on the ship was another matter. I knew that it was expensive as I had done it on a previous trip. Plan 1, $55 for 110 minutes. or Plan 2, $100 for 260 minutes. Last time there was no difficulty with Plan 1 since I did most things off-line and only went on-line when necessary. This time I seemed to spend more time on-line and the speed was excruciatingly slow. So within three days I had upgraded to Plan 2.

But then came the really sad story. I have a very good virus/spam/malware program on my computer provided by my internet company in Vancouver. Up popped a little window, Virus Alert, you have been infected by Email-worm.Win32.Brontok.q. What the heck? This had never happened to me before, so I was pretty clueless. However I decided to run my anti-virus program. Oh, oh. Worms cannot be disinfected they can only be deleted or quarantined.

So I ran the scanning program and forty-five minutes later it showed 4 infected files. Bye, bye. Deleted. I hoped they were not important. A couple were music files but I keep my iPod library on the desktop so who knows what they were. Gone now. Another forty-five minute scan later and the computer was clear. Thank goodness, but two hours wasted by this whole schemozzle. So where did this thing come from? Why from some other WiFi user on the ship's network who probably had no idea that his laptop was infected and obviously did not have a decent anti-virus program.

Two more days went by, then we had a repeat performance. I suppose I was infected by the same computer and after the time-consuming process of deleting eleven files and running two scans I decided I would not use the laptop again, but use the ship's computers instead.

Unfortunately the only browser option was Internet Explorer and not even the latest version with tabs, but some prehistoric version. The keyboards were so beaten up with not all the keys working so they were horrible to use and I had no history in the browser or favourites or my bloglines feed or any of the things that I take for granted on my laptop. Eventually I got so fed up, I even left unused minutes of my time. I was ready to tear out my hair.

So now to the return flights, yes flights, plural, to Vancouver. We flew via Las Vegas and yes they do have slot machines all over the airport terminal there and people were playing them continuously. Not my idea of fun so I resisted the urge to make my fortune or more likely make someone else rich.

Eventually we landed in Vancouver and surprise, surprise, our luggage actually arrived at the same time. Our friend picked us up at the airport and told us the sorry saga of the happenings while we were away. Apparently our house alarm was malfunctioning and going off so the alarm company kept phoning him. One of the motion detectors seemed to be malfunctioning, so after checking three times he told them to ignore the alarm if that zone rang again. Unfortunately on the last of his journeys to our house his car was hit by a speeding car, rendered undrivable and had to be towed away. Luckily he and his wife were not hurt, nor the other idiot who hit him at a stop sign, no less. So he met us in his wife's car and it will be some weeks before it is repaired. As you can imagine I felt very badly about that, since they were looking after our house, although we do the same for them when they are away.

To put the final crowning touch I came down with a horrific cold the next day. Ah the joys of flying with hundreds of others in a small space and breathing recirculated air.

I think I'll just stay put for a while. Vacations are fun but it's very nice to be home again.


Semaj Mahgih said...

Fascinating post, JMB - there are some tales I could tell too. Glad you got home in one piece.

Liz said...

Oh dear, jmb, you sound like you need a holiday!

Hope your cold is better soon.

Sean Jeating said...

neither by its length nor by its quality your introductional sentence has to eschew (?) the comparision with Nathaniel Hawthorne. :)
It gave me a looong smile.

As for the 'rest', to cut it short: I am with Khan Semaj Mahgih: Fascinating!

Phil A said...

Know just what you mean about the mucking around at airports these days actually using up more time than the flight.

All the fun seems to have gone out of it. Maybe it is intended to make us reluctant to fly and reduce our carbon footprints.

That dosn't even account for the time taken to-ing and fro-ing between the airport and your home/destination

leslie said...

Ah yes, as Dorothy put it, "There's no place like home." I hope the trip was worth all the hassle and subsequent illness. Good to have you back safe and sound! :D

Janice Thomson said...

Exactly the reasons my friend I don't travel myself - it's so much easier via the internet. :)
Hope the laptop is running virus-free again. So glad you are home safe and sound - and stress free.

Tai said...

Sounds like you need a vacation from your vacation!
Glad you got back safe and sound :)

sally in norfolk said...

welcome home... :-)

Crushed said...

Home is where the heart is.

All these other countries are lovely to visit, but you always know where you belong.

Ellee Seymour said...

The one thing that puts me off holidays is the airport hassle, the long security queues and baggage restriction. It takes the fun out of it.

Love Bears All Things said...

Wow! That was some vacation. We've had our share of problems with airlines.
J had a worm on his business laptop last week. I didn't ask any details. Its networked so it could have come from anywhere. I never carry my laptop when flying. I just don't won't the hassle but I use it in Hotels often.
My hat came today. It fits great, which is one of the reason I wanted it. The one-size-fits-all never fit me. The box had a dent in it and the brim was bent. I used the hair dryer on it and then left it sitting flat, I hope that helps. I don't have a steamer. Thanks for tuning me into these hats.
Mama Bear

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a nightmare, jmb! At least you weren't using the new Heathrow terminal 5, though, or it would have been even worse. Now, bed for you, my friend, and have lots of hot drinks! Love from simi and me in Sicily xx

Rositta said...

Your right, Internet on cruise ships is incredibly expensive. It cost 5 Euros for 10 minutes on the Mediterranean so I hardly used it. I was incredibly happy to be home too so I know how you feel. For me there's nothing better than my own bed, hope you feel better soon...ciao

Political Umpire said...

Just don't try terminal five at Heathrow!

Carver said...

I hope you get over your cold JMB. I'm sorry you had to deal with the viral computer issues too. That is a shame about your friend's car. Yes, it does sound like you need a vacation, at home that is.

jmb said...

Hi James,
I'm sure you have much more interesting tales to tell than I. Thanks, home, but sick.

Hi Liz,
It seems the cold always comes with travel nowadays.

Hi Sean,
I was wondering if I could beat Proust, but no. Thank you.

Hi Phil,
Luckily I am not too far from the airport but the three hours' wait there is a bit much.

Hi Leslie,
It was a good trip, brief but nice. I'll recover soon I hope.

Hi Janice,
It is certainly not so nice any more, this travelling business. Yes I obsessively check the laptop but it seems fine now.

Hi Tai,
A vacation from my vacation. Sounds good. Next time I should go stay at the Bayshore!

Hi Sally,
Thank you, it's good to be home.

Hi Crushed,
I do love to go other places, besides being beautiful it's a bit dull. But it's good to be home.

Hi Ellee,
It would be nice to travel by train again but I suppose that has its downsides too.

Hi Mama Bear,
Oh, I feel for J and his worm. It was horrible.
I hope you can fix the hat with steam from the iron or the kettle.

Hi Welshcakes,
Too true, Heathrow 5 sounds a disaster. I'm sure I'll be better soon.

Hi Rositta,
That is expensive internet access too. No place like home is there? Thanks.

Hi PU,
How can they have messed up Terminal Five so badly? I suppose they will sort it soon.

Hi Carver,
Some minor disasters occurred but in the overall scheme of things they were insignificant. I'm resting up with my cold!

Thanks to you all for visiting and commenting.

Chervil said...

At least your luggage made it back home with you... Doesn't sound like a dream vacation, though. I hope you feel better now.

Eurodog said...

I agree with your comments about going anywhere by plane. I have discovered the joys of taking the train but in North America, that's not always an option.