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The Planet is Closed

The global pandemic of Covid-19 has closed the planet until further notice. The shops, restaurants, and countless businesses, and even entire countries are closed, 43 countries in fact.  We love to travel and we most definitely are not traveling anytime in the near future.  We are, however, doing the few things we can do-we are shopping small. We have made it a habit to order out a couple nights a week. We even drove 40 minutes, there and back again, to one of our favorite restaurants to support them in this new, and hopefully temporary, economy.  We encourage you to save that box of mac and cheese you’ve got in your pantry and order in. We are sure the delivery drivers, cooks, and restauranteurs will be thankful for the business.

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Welp… what next?

If you are like a lot of us you’ve suddenly found yourself with more time on your hands. I was about to start a one-week spring break from teaching high school when the state decided to extend it to two. I doubt you need me to explain why… coronavirus. We were told to prepare to teach online before we left so we teachers thought something might be up.  We haven’t been told if that’s what is expected in this “second week” of spring break but we’re prepared.  I gathered up everything that makes sense to help transition to online classrooms including a spare laptop to help keep personal separate from private.  I know this is just one of those situations that you need to just be able to roll with the punches.

The biggest drawback at the moment for me is the lack of sports on television. We’ve got no Baseball, no College Basketball, and No NHL. You can imagine that for hockey fans such as ourselves it has impacted our leisure time. We’ve both decided to make the most of these wholes in our schedules. I’m going to the gym more and Amanda is trying to relax, if just a little, more.

The simple message we have for our readers is, just relax, don’t panic, and practice good hygiene. We will weather this pandemic because we are a resilient species that can think its way out of trouble. I’ll try and come up with something more interesting to write about next week.

Hang in there.

Zeke

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Spa Day

Historic Postcard

In 1539, Hernando Desoto reached the shores of Old Tampa Bay and discovered the natural springs, later named “Espiritu Santo Springs,” believing he had found the legendary “Fountain of Youth” missed by Ponce De Leon. In 1926 Safety Harbor Sanatorium & Hotel opened and proclaimed that “To visit the Sanatorium is to bestow upon yourself the gift of health brewed by the Great Chemist.” In 1945, the sanatorium became the Safety Harbor Spa, a landmark Tampa resort and spa that still anchors the town to the bay and to a passion for good health. 1964 the U.S. Department of the Interior recognized and designated the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa a Historical Landmark in 1964 and in 1997 it became a Florida Heritage Landmark and in 2020 No Kids, Will Travel took a spa day.

We’ve both been feeling a little run down and needed to do something different to recharge. A chance to take in the waters of a spa said to rejuvenate figured like it was something we should give a shot. The recently renovated historic spa offers an array of treatments. We chose to stick to the bubbling spa and the indoor pool each fed water from the spring. Amanda also scheduled a pedicure so I rested in the steam room and sauna before grabbing a drink poolside.

The experience was a bit different for me. I’m not the spa kind of guy. I do like a nice sauna and spending time in a pool is always nice. I told Amanda after we left is she wanted to join it be okay, the dues for one were $200 a month. She said she didn’t need it, but she deserves a way to unwind that doesn’t require her to burn a bazillion calories in the gym.

The indoor pool complete with murals of the Greek Islands.

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Birdland

We know its spring (or at least its getting close) when the boys of summer start stretching their legs in the warm winter sun of Florida. I grew up in Maryland when we only had one baseball team and that was the Baltimore Orioles. The first professional baseball game I ever attended was at the old Memorial Stadium the Angels at Orioles. The Orioles Hall of Famer Eddy Murry hit a home run and Hall of Famer Cal Ripkin was still playing shortstop. I even remember that the manager at the time had planted a tomato garden near the bullpen. I say all this because Oriole baseball played a big part in my life growing up and it was a thrill for me to take in a spring training game in sunny Sarasota.

The best part of spring training is getting a closer view of the pros in the smaller suncoast stadiums. The 8,500 seat stadium was pretty packed, probably because the give away was a “Birdland” Hawaiian shirt. We got there late so we didn’t get the shirts. We did, however, enjoy a day in the sun setting right behind the dugout. Amanda, because the home team is from Baltimore, was able to get a crab cake sandwich.  I had a classic dog and Cracker Jacks.

The O’s had the game in hand from the outset. We were a bit worried as the Florida Marlins staged a rally near the 7th. The end result was a big win for the O-R-I-O-L-E-S. I look forward to exploring the other ballparks and watching more of the big league players in these small stadiums.

Google

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MIAMILAND?

MIAMILAND!  may market itself as the largest theme park in Florida, but that’s not quite it. The new creative branding initiative in the hopes to attract visitors to more than just is vibrant downtown and top-notch beaches. The MIAMILAND! campaign is there to remind us that not too far from downtown you can immerse yourself in nature.  You can go paddling in Sunset Harbour near Miami Beach, go Gator-spotting in South Miami-Dade County, camping in a national park, or taking an airboat ride in the Everglades you are still near enough to drive into downtown for an elegant night on the town.  The town that began as a trading post surrounded by nature may be bigger 200 years later but is still surrounded by nature. If you are visiting South Florida you might want to do a little research on the new “theme park” in town, MIAMILAND! 

 

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Subscription-Based Travel Solution?

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Etihad Airways has announced TravelPass, a travel solution targeting frequent travelers. The frequent flyers can purchase a TravelPass for a set number of trips or a predetermined period instead of booking their flight one trip at a time. The innovation is aimed at giving flyers ease of booking and making their travel more cost-efficient.

Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “The innovative TravelPass technology offers a revolutionary booking experience for corporate and frequent clients who will also be enrolled into our award-winning Etihad Guest frequent flyer program. By simplifying the travel process to just a few clicks, our guests have a seamless transaction through a platform that holds all your details in one place, gives you the flexibility to make changes to your bookings without fees and gives you the choice to pay later. We know our corporate clients are time-poor and believe this innovative addition to our digital offering will improve the travel journey for subscribers.”

Etihad TravelPass will be available to book on the Etihad website on a desktop or mobile. The hope is that customers will be able to streamline their bookings by having their information saved so they don’t have to re-enter the info again and again.

Svein Therkelsen, Chief Executive Officer, Braathens IT, said: “Etihad is going to take sophisticated digital personalization very far, everything from ease of use to customization. They are an innovative player and they will continue in that direction to improve their customers’ digital experience using TravelPass.”

We will be watching to see how this innovation seems to make booking easier and promote the loyalty of flyers. We do see some pitfalls that haven’t been addressed as if you book several flights months out and months apart will you get the chance to get your money back if the cost of the trip goes down. Also, will this subscription-only be with Etihad or will its codes carry over to partner airlines?  We will keep an eye out for more news on this in the future.

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ROYAL CARIBBEAN DEBUTS COCO BEACH CLUB

The Coco Beach Club is the result of a $250 million transformation of the small cay in the Berry Island chain in the Bahamas. The beach club built for the exclusive use of Royal Caribbean guests touts the first floating cabanas in the Bahamas. The resort also includes an oceanfront infinity pool, beach cabanas, a dedicated restaurant an exclusive bar. The development of two swimming beaches Breezy Bay at Chill Island and South Beach. Coco Beach Club has a total of 20 floating cabanas bring a bit of Bora Bora to the island.  The cabanas are each equipped with a private slide into the ocean, overwater hammock, dining area, freshwater shower, wet bar and an unbeatable view of the Caribbean sea for a day of indulgence.

We know we aren’t cruising people and we aren’t necessarily promoting the idea of cruising (not that there is anything wrong with cruising) but there is something special about what’s been done here in the Berry Islands.  The words we latched onto were FLOATING OVER WATER BUNGALOWS. You see it is very hard to get permits to build overwater bungalows, especially in the Carribean. It’s not because it’s a technical task, it’s because building these structures aren’t always environmentally friendly. The pillars can damage coral, the pipes and cabling that links them with water, power, and sewage can also cause environmental damage if not meticulously maintained. A floating platform in the United States, and most likely the Bahamas as well, is basically considered a vessel and is subject to frequent inspections by the Coast Guard. You also don’t have to worry about damage to the coral from the pillars as they don’t have any and harmlessly float on the surface of the water. Now, this isn’t disclosed but if they float don’t you think they might be able to be pulled a sure and tied down if a hurricane blows through so you don’t have to worry about them sinking to the seafloor.

So, we’d like to applaud Royal Caribbean for this innovation in design. We hope more people companies take their lead by designing environmentally sound structures that are beautiful and sought after.

If you aren’t sure where the Berry Islands in the Bahamas here are some maps….