Friday, March 13, 2009

Trip to Phoenix days 2 3 and 4 and friday trip to Springfield

My first day at the job in Phoenix started with free breakfast (all my breakfasts during my trip where free at the hotel). Even my boss had breakfast there when he came to pick me up and he liked it. We had lunch together too and all my lunches were paid by him. So I didn't spend any money on that either. That first day was my deep-end dive into driving alone in the US.
My boss requested a car rented for me and at the end of the day we went to pick it up. I was hoping it would include a nagivation system but it didn't. So the next best thing was a big paper map of Phoenix and I was sent on my way. I had little trouble finding my way back to the hotel although stuff was in construction or repair all over the place. I did had to slow down to read some signs and reach my hotel.
After dropping my stuff at the hotel, I went to a nearby mall to buy a book for a coworker from Honduras (she had given me the money beforehand), and there was a Walmart next to the bookstore. I went in and bought $1 and $2 items for my girls and my wife, stuff like body lotions, blouses, shirts. I got some socks for me (Made in Honduras!!) and got my dinner there too. Kept the dinner receipt to get it refunded later. Oh and I got a cellphone too. The cheapest I could buy was one for $15 with no minutes on it, had to also include a $15 recharge card. The good thing about it is that all calls to AT&T numbers were free, convenient since most of the people I would call in the US had AT&T service. The drawback is that there was a $1 service fee per day for that. All other calls were 10 cents each.
It took me about an hour to decide on buying the phone, my boss didn't push for it but recommended I get one. It was a total of $30 for the phone and the first $15 of funds. Comming from Honduras where phones include a ton of minutes when you buy them I wasn't happy spending that much money on a phone for two weeks. Eventually I decided that I might not have an emergency but that if I did I would really like to have a phone with me to call my boss or my friend. And I got it from AT&T because I knew I could later unlock it and use it with any of carriers in Honduras and because of the free calls to all AT&T customers.
That was tuesday feb 24, wednesday and thrusday were pretty much the same except I didn't go out to buy more stuff as I had already bought most of what the girls and wife had asked me to buy.
On friday I was to fly out to my friend's house in Springfield, MO and return monday night. The original plan was for the both of us to fly there. But since he had lost his flight on monday he stayed there. First there was the issue of the car, then the other issue was transportation to the Mesa Airport which even on the map looked really far away. It was all solved when the company told me to keep the car over the weekend and just park it at the airport and keep using it next week. It was cheaper than paying a shuttle over there.
The night before I had printed my boarding pass and had read that there was an extra fee for checked luggage (my friend had bought the ticket for me, he's a really good friend plus the tickets were relatively cheap). So I packed a few clothes on my notebook's backpack and on a small carry-on bag I had brought with me and left my big luggage  at the office. I had thought about leaving my luggage in the trunk of the car since it had nothing of big value
So at noon on friday, after making sure I had done all the urgent stuff for the day I started my trek to Mesa Aiport. It was about an hour long drive and I was still within the larger Phoenix metro area!! I arrived with plenty of time to park and make my way to the gate. I bought the expensive food at the airport and took it with me on the plane. It was interesting to see how many elder adults are on those flights. It's very different from flights to or from Honduras where most of the people are either young or middle aged adults. I guess it represents the balance of the population age of both countries.
Interesting flight. There was no music or video onboard, and they sold food and drinks but the funny thing is they also raffled out stuff, you could buy tickets and participate. They did two raffles. I didn't buy any tickets but found it amusing just to see them do it.
I arrived at Springfield way ahead of time. called my friend and waited about half an hour for him to show up. It was very close to freezing point and that was the coldest weather I had experienced so far. I had a light wool sweater which worked really well in keeping my torso warm, but my head would get really cold and I felt pain in my hands after spending a few minutes outside the terminal. It was going to be only a weekend so purchasing cold weather clothing was going to be a interesting decision to make. Specially since there was snow forecasted for later that night. It would be my first experience with snow.
Up to then I think I had done well in spending the least possible during my stay. The cellphone was the only thing I felt was something I should've gotten for a lower price but after reviewing other stores (like best buy and fry's electronics) I couldn't find anything cheaper.
The weather was cold and there was a breeze, and this blog is free.


deena said...

Question? How do u unlock the phone? If you want to share that is. I enjoy your adventures. Also, previously you mentioned the magicjack, are they safe? After i read your entry I went to look for them. There were articles that claimed how unsecure they are. Can u please go over. Thanks in advance

LW said...

The reason for all of the senior citizens leaving from the Phoenix airport is that they are "snowbirds." People from further north that spend the winter in the Phoenix area. They are starting to go back home now.