Travel

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Note: This article was started August 4, 2008.

So I went and got a TomTom 930. I travel enough to warrant one, which means I travel every month. Half my travel is abroad, or to cities bigger than mine own, which is not a boastful achievement. The out of the box experience was pretty good, not iPhone good but it is nicely packaged. It feels good in the hands and is slick looking. Updating the maps went well except that I had to backup and delete the current North America map before installing the updated one, at a size of 1.8GB. First off this made me a little nervous, in the event that the new map did not work and I could not replace the old one. There is an SD card slot in the 930 but I have not yet purchased a card for it. Having used my iPhone for almost a month now the TomTom’s screen does not feel as nice, probably because it is a resistive touch screen and you can feel the plastic cover over the screen. The 930 is roughly the same size as the Garmin nuvi 780 but the 930 is curved across the back while the nuvi is a consistent width, it doesn’t seem to really make a difference. The TomTom Home application for Mac OS X works well, though it is limited what you can install to the TomTom without Plus Services.

Now to finish this thing. Only 5 months later, but with much more travel experience with it.

So using the TomTom. Where were we? Well really I bought two of these things and the nuvi 780. I have exclusively used the 930. A coworker took the TomTom and the nuvi to Napoli, Italy. He was using the TomTom being as it was the supposed nicer of the two and he got a ticket. If you haven’t been to Italy let me restate this for you. HE GOT A TICKET. I really can’t imagine how bad you have to drive to get a ticket in Italy but he did thanks to the TomTom. TomTom directed him to drive up a street that was in fact not a street but a pedestrian walkway, turns out the Italians take this offense seriously. He wanted to toss it out the window but he understood there are sometimes map mistakes. The next day traveling back to the hotel in after work in Napoli, TomTom decided he should drive to Salerno or Sorrento, not sure. So TomTom about went out of the window. He elected to use the nuvi for the rest of the trip.

I have had a much better experience with my TomTom. The only real problem has been that my car adapter did not work. After calling TomTom and explaining this they promptly sent me a new one. Great customer service. I had much better experiences overseas with my TomTom. It worked great for me in Germany, France and Italy, including Napoli. I did get very VERY lost in Rome around the airport one day while looking for the Parco Leonardo but that was my own fault. I left TomTom in the hotel. Be advised, if you think you can get to the Parco Leonardo from the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and you are not from Italy rethink your strategy. TomTom has no Japanese maps, this is unfortunate.

Day to Day I never use the TomTom. I honestly don’t know where it is right now, whether it is at work or still in my travel bag. With the new baby, new house and piled up work it is very low on my list of things to keep up with. Don’t think that I am knocking the 930, when I am going someplace that I am unfamiliar especially away from home I carry it and rely on it.

Updated: 27 June 2008 Added some new links and menu ideas.

I am back in Hawai’i for two and a half weeks, I know it is so hard to be me. Honestly the weather has been rather dreadful. Last week it rained every day with a Typhoon-like storm on Wednesday taking down trees and powerlines, flooding, it was a mess. Driving from Waikiki beach in Honolulu to Wahiawa is not terribly easy with no working traffic lights. During the height of the storm on Wednesday morning at 2am HST, I was woken by the furniture blowing over on the lanai, the hotel swaying back and forth, the wind was tearing through my room, curtains flapping out my open lanai door. If I wanted a hurricane I would just hang out at home in SC. Anyway, we survived.
What this is really about is that I found a CoCo’s Curry House in the Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu. I have had CoCo’s numerous times in Okinawa, Japan and was delighted to find one here in Hawai’i. I only wish now they would make their way to the mainland, though making it to the east coast and SC would probably just not happen. CoCo’s is differnent from what you may think of as curry from an Indian curry standpoint. One is not better than the other, they are just different. CoCo’s is basically some form of fried meat cutlet, white rice, delicious curry souce, and a spiced radish eggplant on the side. Make sure you order yours with cheese and spinach, it is awesome. They have some non-fried dishes, but the preponderence of them are cooked so.
Thank goodness for the high population of Japanese and Japanese tourists in Hawai’i to make CoCo’s available here. That is one of the beutiful things about Hawai’i is the heavy influence of not just Hawai’ian culture on the local food, but the asian, pacific islander culture as a whole. Here you can have Thai, Japanese, Hawai’ian, Vietnamese… I know these restaurants exist all over the mainland but here they seem more authentic. Maybe because English is the second language at most of these restaurants. The only thing missing at CoCo’s here in Honolulu is that they do not have mango lassis. I love a good mango lassi.
Also I would like to mention that the food court in the International Market is back open again. When I was on O’ahu in February 2007 it was closed, I believe for some kind of renovation. I do not see any renovation having taken place, though a few places are boarded up, most are open. My favorite is a Korean barbeque place that is there. It is not the Yummy BBQ, which is not even comparable to this place. It is awesome. Definately worth trying, and wash it all down with a Kona Brewing Company beer. In season right now is the Kona Coffee Stout and the Oceanic Organic. One is a 100% Kona Coffee brewed deep rich Stout the other is a Belgian style wheat that is very close to what you would get in Germany. So if you are on O’ahu, be sure to check these places out.