Johnny Jet's Travel Blog

Travel blog featuring best travel sites, travel deals, travel guides, effective travel tips, daily stories with up-to-date travel information, travel pictures, travel webcams. For more, visit my travel portal, www.johnnyjet.com.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


OH CANADA!
From Toronto Pearson Airport I took the airport bus to downtown. It costs $16.45 Canadian ($14.25 USD) one way, $28.35 ($24.50 USD) roundtrip and took 45 minutes. Unfortunately my hotel wasn't downtown, and the airport bus didn't travel to Yorkville (where my hotel was located). So I got off at the Royal York (the most famous hotel in the center of the city), and jumped in one of the many waiting cabs. There was lots of traffic, and the 15-minute ride cost $12 Canadian ($10.37 USD). The next time I stay in Yorkville, I'll save all the hassle and time by taking a taxi straight from the airport for $20 more. FYI: Everyone accepts USD, but they give cash in Canadian dollars. Airport Express: tel.: 905-564-3232.

MARRIOTT ON BLOOR
The Marriott on Bloor is perfect for business travelers working in the area (not downtown Toronto). The hotel has 258 spacious (265 square feet) guest rooms, and has been awarded 4 stars by Mobil Travel Guide and 4 diamonds by AAA. The best part of the room is the new Revive bed. It's Marriott's answer to Westin's Heavenly Bed. It's almost as comfortable, and I slept well. I also got some work done, as the room had high-speed internet connection for $10 a day (or free if you turn on your wireless button and snag a signal from the lobby or a nearby office). Marriott Bloor, 90 Bloor Street East, Toronto; tel.: 416-961-8000; toll-free: 800-859-7180.

TECH TV
For Tech TV's two travel segments, I talked about the best travel newsletters viewers can sign up for, and which frequent flier websites they should log on to. The show airs nationwide in Canada and Australia. I love doing it because everyone -- the producers, crew and hosts -- is so cool. The studio is close to downtown, in the Queens Quay/Bathurst neighborhood. When the studio broke for lunch, co-hosts Amber Mac Arthur and Leo Laporte said they were taking me to the best restaurant nearby. There are not a lot of good food options. But Guirei Restaurant is straight out of Japan, with polite, attentive waiters, fresh seafood and really good sushi (or so I hear). I went with the chicken teriyaki, served in a traditional box plate. It came with miso soup, salad, rice and tempura ($10). Yum! Guirei Japanese Restaurant, 600 Queens Quay W., Toronto; tel.: 416-977-6111.

TOMI KRO
Another restaurant worth noting is Tomi-Kro, on Toronto's East Side. Friends took me to this non-touristy area for dinner. The exterior didn't look like much, but once inside I felt like I was in an upscale New York City eatery. The place was hopping, the vibe was good. We tried an array of tapas and mains (entrees) that were either Mediterranean-style or Japanese fusion. I even tried braised bison which tasted just like beef. The average entree was $22. Tomi-Kro is worth the drive. Closed Sunday. Tomi-Kro, 1214 Queen St. East, at Leslie, Toronto; tel.: 416-463-6677. For more click HEREPosted by Picasa

Monday, February 27, 2006


OH DELTA!
I got invited to go to Canada for two reasons. The first was to return to Toronto to tape more episodes of "Call For Help" on Tech TV; the second was to go on to Montreal, to check out the city. My ticket was arranged for me, and the travel agency they used must have had a deal with Delta. They booked me on that airline, even though there were other carriers available with nonstop, cheaper flights. Don't you hate when corporate travel agencies pull that kind of nonsense?

Don't get me wrong: I love travel agents. I hear (far too often) from my corporate friends how their in-house travel agencies have to use certain airlines on a specific fare code which is usually much more expensive than other fares, and involves undesirable routes. But I didn't complain or get upset. After all, I got a free ticket, and besides I don't mind hanging out in airports (most of the time). In addition, I recently became a Gold Medallion member in Delta's Sky Miles program (I flew at least 50,000 actual air miles in 2005 on Delta and its partners).

This was my first time reaping the benefits of an elite flyer on Delta (I usually get them from United or American). Being upgraded for free without even asking was a total surprise, and new experience for me (United and American don't normally do that). I love the fact that Delta upgrades elite members if space is available -- and that they don't wait till the last minute either. My upgrade went through 72 hours before departure!

LAX-ATLANTA
That made my 6 a.m. flight to Atlanta much more enjoyable on the two-class 767. The plane looked kind of old, but the wide blue leather first-class seats were comfy. Each seat had a bottle of water, headset, pillow and blanket. I was impressed with the friendliness of the flight attendants as they served a hot breakfast on the quick 1,940-mile, 3-hour,15-minute flight. The Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport was crazy as usual (in 2005 it was the busiest airport in the world, with 980,197 takeoffs and landings). From Atlanta I took a 50-seat regional jet to Toronto. Fortunately, it wasn't packed. Having an open seat next to me made the 2-hour, 741-mile flight pretty nice. For more click HEREPosted by Picasa

Saturday, February 25, 2006


CHINATOWN
A must lunch stop for Chinese food lovers is Empress Pavilion. Located in the heart of Chinatown (near downtown L.A.), it features Cantonese cuisine and dim sum. The restaurant is on the second floor of Bamboo Plaza, where there are many Chinese shops. On weekdays Empress Pavilion is packed with corporate America. On weekends the place is filled with area residents celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and weddings. To beat the mad rush, get there a little early -- around 11:30 a.m. -- like Tim Winship (editor of FrequentFlier.com) and I did. But even if you don't it's okay. The place is huge � it seats around 400 diners -- and the tables turn over quickly. That's because you don't have to wait long to order or get your food. Chinese women constantly cruise up and down the large, ordinary-looking banquet hall-like room with metal food carts, carrying an assortment of hot and cold delicacies. My favorite was the BBQ pork dumplings (one of several dishes we shared). The bill came to only $20. Is that awesome or what? Empress Pavilion, 988 N. Hill St. (located in Bamboo plaza); tel.: 213-617-9898. For more click HEREPosted by Picasa

Friday, February 24, 2006


LOS ANGELES' MINI WORLD
It�s funny: I don't think traveling somewhere by plane for a short period (like going to Hawaii for dinner) is a huge deal. But when I get back home I rarely leave my beach community, because everywhere in L.A. seems so far. I realized this past week it is a shame not to go out and explore. As is true of most major U.S. cities, L.A. has so much to see it could practically be its own little world. A number of ethnic neighborhoods are prime time spots for really good cuisine. Within 16 hours I had meals in two places I am ashamed I had never been to before. Now I feel like I've traveled to those two countries -- without long plane rides.

L.A.'S THAI TOWN
First I had dinner in Thai Town, in East Hollywood. A friend brought me to dinner at Palms Restaurant. It not only serves authentic, inexpensive Thai food, but has entertainment that in itself is worth the trip. Every Wednesday through Sunday night, "Thai Elvis" performs. Just the thought of a Thai Elvis is funny. But this impersonator -- dressed to the "t" -- sounds great as he sings the King's hits. Palms Thai Restaurant, 5900 Hollywood Blvd., Suite B; tel.: 323-462-5073. For more click HEREPosted by Picasa

Thursday, February 23, 2006


GROUNDHOG DAY
We left Nadi at 11 Saturday night, and arrived in LA at 1 p.m. that same Saturday -- 10 hours before we left! Don't you love going crossing the International Date Line? This is one chance for travelers to pretend they're in the movie "Groundhog Day." For more click HERE.  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


SYDNEY-LOS ANGELES (VIA FIJI)
We flew Air Pacific (Fiji's national carrier) home from Sydney, which meant a 3-hour pit stop in Nadi. The layover didn't bother us; in fact, it was nice to break up the flight, because we were in coach. When you think about it, if you lay over in Fiji you know you're going to or coming from someplace grand, right? The flight back is much quicker than going, because the jet stream carries the plane along. Both legs were an hour quicker than going. Sydney to Fiji took only 3.5 hours, while Nadi to LAX was a mere 9 1/2. We could have eaten dinner in downtown Nadi, because it's only 5 minutes from the airport. But Nadi is not one of our favorite places, and we didn't want to deal with lugging our bags or going through security and customs again. Instead we wandered around the airport, and checked out the inexpensive stores. They are actually good places to pass time in, and pick up last-minute gifts. If I am ever fortunate to pass through that airport again, I hope it will have wireless internet available, and many more electrical outlets so travelers can log on to the net while recharging their batteries. For more click HEREPosted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


TRAVELING WITH MY DAD
I wrote earlier that I was a little skeptical about traveling with just my dad for so long and so far. Now that we're back, I am so happy we had that opportunity. It was one of the best trips I have taken, and one I will never forget. My dad is an incredible man. He is one of the funniest and smartest people I know -- he is basically a walking dictionary -- and traveling together really brought those qualities out in him. We (especially he) made friends everywhere we went. He must have handed out a hundred of my business cards to everybody: grocery store cashiers, hotel clerks, and of course any pretty girl he saw. The guy has no problem talking to anybody. It's almost embarrassing -- I can't get him to stop! On the flight to Fiji there were three good- looking single girls traveling together. He reached in his pocket for my card as they walked down the aisle. I whispered, "Dad, please put my card back in your wallet. You are NOT going to just hand them my card. They'll think I'm an idiot, and desperate!" He said, "Oh no son, they won't think that at all." I realized I couldn't stop him, so I jumped up and went to the bathroom. But the man is a charmer. Sure enough he had them laughing at all of his jokes; then they got teary-eyed when he recited some of his poetry. I think I need to bring my dad on more trips! For more click HEREPosted by Picasa

Monday, February 20, 2006


Greetings from freezing cold Canada (brrr!). Last week we left off in Sydney, Australia where it was summer. What a contrast, huh? It's amazing what a country can do to you. Doesn't the word "Australia" make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Sydney is where my dad and I finished up our incredible father-son vacation that also took us to Fiji (as well as my home in California). After a few days relaxing in L.A. my dad went back to the cold (and snow) of the East Coast. I followed shortly, to the cold of Canada. For more click HERE Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Congrats to our boy "Jimmie Johnson" for winning Daytona 500! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 11, 2006


On Thursday night I drove down to San Diego to congratulate Jeff and Rochelle on their 100th show on World Talk Radio for their show �The Travel Hub�. Here's the link http://www.TravelHubRadio.com  Posted by Picasa

Jeff and Rochelle Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 10, 2006


The Olympic games kicked off tonight in Torino, Italy and I was fortunate to tour the marvelous city and the Piedmonte area last March. For my stories and useful links click: part 1, part 2, part 3.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

JohnnyJet.com makes it in today's NY Times

Thanks to the NY Times' awesome business travel writer Joe Sharkey, JohnnyJet.com makes it in today's paper! Check it out (link is above).

Monday, February 06, 2006


I have wanted to stay at Namale ever since my brother dragged me to a Tony Robbins Seminar (that's a whole other story ). For those who aren't familiar with the name: Tony is a famous self help guru/motivational speaker. Toward the end of the seminar Tony talked about the advanced classes that take place at his incredible Fijian resort. After realizing we shared passionate feelings about the island, I wanted to see what he has done as a hotelier to make his property unique. Now I had my chance. To read this week's newsletter click this link.
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Thursday, February 02, 2006

This Week's Newsletter is now online


Ni Sa Bula! This week we continue our dream vacation to Fiji's second largest island: Vanua Levu. We begin by visiting a local village, drink some kava, then check into a moderately priced adventure resort as we follow the bands at the 2nd Annual South Pacific Music Festival. For more click the link abovePosted by Picasa

Like every guest, we were given a quick familiarization tour of the resort. It is located on 17 acres of a former coconut plantation, overlooking the peaceful waters of Savusavu Bay. There are 25 bures (thatched bungalows) throughout the property, which resembles an authentic traditional Fijian village from 50 years ago. Most bures have one king-size bed, and one day bed. The mattresses, all custom-made and the linens are the same as the Four Seasons hotels. Calling the beds "comfortable" is an understatement. The bures have a South Pacific feel -- except the bathrooms, which are done in Italian tile. The bath products are made by Fiji�s own Pure Fiji, a local company that produces an awesome array of eco-friendly soaps, shampoos, lotions and body oil.
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