Running out of Time

We have been on the road now since the 23nd October and as our time is growing closer to a return to home, there are more observations to be made on Oaxaca and Mexico.

Facebook posts have included some of what I will probably write here.  Too lazy to check, really and that is because it is warm and sultry here today and we shopped for gifts for friends and family today.  Rayman is in repose on the bed and I’m sitting on the couch by the open window which is allowing smells to come wafting in…corn, chicken, familiar wonderful food smells.  Should I call them scents?  It sounds nicer.

But I digress.

Yesterday was day two of Dia de los Muertos.  As in Gaul, there are three partes…Gallia est divisido en tres partes…as I sort of remember my latin lesson from high school a million years ago.  But be not impressed by my memory.  I googled it.  Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.  Okay, I stand corrected.  This may explain why I have never excelled in foreign languages!!

Again I digress.

The first day of the dead is for people who died too young.  Day two is for people who died in accidents.   Today, day three, is for everyone else who has succumbed.  Well thought out, I think.  The first day was joyous and over the top with parades, bands playing songs that didn’t seem to be well rehearsed but perhaps that is their style…not sure.  Alters are devised and festivals are held.  The one festival we attended (everything is free) included a group of young people singing Mozart’s only dirge in Spanish.  It was both recognizable and beautiful.  3IKraxsATvaKjj6fxD1AYQMarigolds are the flower of the festival.  They are everywhere and they help the spirits find their way to their alter.  Incense is burned to help the journey…the spirits can smell their way home as it were.  When they get to the alter, they find food and drink and trinkets that represent what they loved when they were in this world.  The candles placed on the street help light the way.The alters are fascinating and all over the city.  As Teddy Roosevelt used to say, “Delighted!”. 

Some observations.  We have been touring by wandering around and have met many, many gringos.  From Washington, D.C., Houston, Chapel Hill, Arroyo Grande (yes, our friends Liz and Robin were here and we met up for mezcal margaritas last evening…small world).  Met two Docs from SF, two women from Portland one of which has a friend that lives blocks from our skinny house.  Also a man from Harlem who once lived in LA.  The list goes on and one.  Most Mexicans we met speak muy poquito English and since we have limited Spanish, I cannot give the same details.  Suffice it to say they were all lovely, helpful, warm, welcoming people with rich histories.  

One of the most interesting things I’ve seen is a hat holder in the restaurant.  It sits on the floor and can be mored around.  Here’s a pic.  GSQMc+ViRb6Z+pZHhEf21QWhat a great idea.  Can also be used for purses.   A revelation. 

After touring some of Italy, this vacation is almost free.  The exchange rate is so favorable, it seems unfair.  Many Mexicans live on a dime but their clothes are clean, their children are beyond well behaved which doesn’t surprise me in the least.  Once we went into the interior of the Yucatan and the women all wore white dresses that were spotless…how did they do it?  Don’t know but they did.  Another thing we saw was the base of the old trundle Singer sewing machine with a glass on top instead of the machine.  We are going to try to replicate that for the skinny house.  It was really cool.  No picture because pictures were not allowed in the art gallery.

Our hosts are wonderful.  Donna comes from the east coast.  An architect by training, she moved her 20 years ago.  Carlos is a native and he is a super host.  They have el perro (a dog), Gabby who was abandoned at 4 months (a rescue dog).  She attends obedience training and is a fast learner.  Sweet, sweet bowwow.  Makes us miss Beaumeister more. 

This region of Mexico is known for the mezcal that they make.  It is a cousin to tequila…from a different agave plant.  There are two methods of making mezcal.  One is similar to tequila.  The other is smoked and you can taste it.  It is delicious in a drink such as margaritas.  We are enjoying it.

Today while wandering around looking for the store that sold a man on the street a blue linen hat that Rayman liked, we happened into Oaxaca’s market which takes up almost a city block (blocks are not big here).  Snapped some pictures.  Fun time at the market.




purchased so many things, we must buy another suitcase to get it all home.  A rug and a Oaxacan piece of art (an opossum which has great significance in this culture).  Can’t reveal everything because they are mostly gifts and my dear readers won’t be surprised when they receive them (laboring under an assumption they read my blogs which is silly on my part). 

Rayman was not looking forward to this trip.  Now he doesn’t want to leave.  Quite an about face.  He is delighted with the scene, the food, the people, the tradition of the holiday.  Pretty cool.  And he is practicing his Spanish which sounds more French than Spanish.  The other thing he is practicing is leaving an establishment with his credit card.  Twice he has left it on this trip.  Just sayin.

The other tourists we have encountered have been from France, England, Ireland, Italy, Canada, Australia. It’s very metropolitan for such a small city.

Tomorrow we visit a World Heritage sight.  It is Mount Alban.  The oldest mesoamerican city discovered.  We are taking a bus (no rental cars for us on this leg of the trip).  It is situated up the mountain from here and promises wonderful views of the valley.  We are stoked.

More later.    

Dia de los Muertos

On a big, bright, sunny, north-of-the-equator-a-bit kind of morning, a pause must be taken to drink in all the delights of Mexico. I know many of my friends would not and will not come here for all sorts of reasons. For them and for my memory, I comment on this area of Mexico.


Oaxaca City is a city nestled in the mountains of southern Mexico in the state of Oaxaca, about a six hour drive down to the Pacific Ocean…yes, that Pacific Ocean. Not far from the center of town is the ancient place known as Mount Alban. We plan to visit it. A ancient site inhabited by an estimated 40,000 people from about 1 A.D. until 400 A.D. I give you this info from memory. It might be all wrong!! What is known as that the city was abandoned. What is not known is why.

Modern day Oaxaca is a poor city by our standards but it’s culture is rich. Much of it as you drive in from the airport looks impoverished with tagging on walls, many buildings appear boarded up. When you get to the center where we are staying, things improve. It’s lovely in the center. The weather is lovely, a warm 83 high today so we will visit churches and museums of which there are many of the latter. I’m not sure what the Catholics do here. It seems the religion is infused with the local customs and it makes it a hybrid which has an interesting feel. And Dia de los Muertos, day of the dead, is a perfect example of what I mean. The pictures do the talking so I’ll not wax on about it.


In the morning, the music starts. Did de los Muertos permeates everything. Beautiful songs in Spanish start up about 7:00 a.m. along with the jets coming in and taking off…the old and the new, the ying and the yang. As I gaze out our window down to the street, people walk by briskly now and then. Everyone seems to be working very hard in preparation for tonights activities which include visits to cemeteries to hold all night vigils. We are anxiously awaiting the evening…it should be spectacular.

The locals set off some type of fireworks that go BOOM. Really loud BOOMS. Part of the celebration one suspects. Not as pleasant as the singing and instrumentals that grace the day.

The city is choked with traffic. Cars and buses everywhere idling as they wait fo the lights to change. The drivers here are very courteous. Actually, the people here are lovely and gracious. The Mexicans are as wonderful here as they are at home. Perhaps more so because most don’t speak English and my Spanish is at the level of a two year old…but try we might to exchange ideas. It is really fun to try.


Food here is extraordinary and the region is famous for it’s moles. Many of us don’t even know a mole from a gravy so I provide an article for your enjoyment since I cannot transmit the actual mole over the internets. Redolent in spices with a hint of chocolate in many moles, they tickle the tongue and delight the taste buds. In our two nights of eating here, I’m not sure what we are going to receive when I order. Last night I thought I ordered a ensalada (salad) Cesar, but no. A broccoli based ensalada arrived instead and we were thrilled. It was fabulous and really, I cannot describe it. We also ordered something that had corn fungus in it and it was a soup that was out of this world delicious. Then there was the trio of tacos, small fish tacos with melted cheese of some kind topping them off. My, oh, my. We were in food heaven. I washed it down with a local dark beer. Rayman went for a Mexican white wine. We started off with a smokey mexcal which came with the thinnest of chips and a great salsa.

As we were finishing up, a woman plopped down next to us and we engaged. Molly is from Kansas City, MO. Well, that was a segue to the fact that my grandmother (on my mom’s side) was born there. She asked for her maiden name. I had to explain that she did not know who here father was and that I had a friend, Dorothy Buck, that had researched the genealogy without much luck because the name rumored to be Noble or Nobles came up a bit blank so (My explanation to Molly was more concise than this rendition) that was that. Molly had a few fascinating stories of her own family history. We loved her. And we had a rousing conversation while also meet her friend, Jerry, a designer of museos (museums) and a winemaker in Kansas City. He has 42 varietals at his winey…perhaps a world record. What an interesting conversation was had with him. All this ended in my gathering Molly’s name and email and phone. She invited us to K.C. to visit her, she has a golden doodle, a civil rights attorney husband (who stayed in Mexico City while she came to Oaxaca…love it…the freedom they share), and a group of friends that were enjoying the heck out of Mexico too. This is when traveling becomes so rewarding and enriching. A excellent meal followed up by meeting interesting people.

But I digress.

An alter.

An alter.

Oaxaca really stands out in the color department. The art is beyond colorful. A feast for the eyes as it were. If there is anything a kin to reincarnation, I must have been a Mexican. I love the colors, the art, the architecture (though, I must admit, it was heavily influenced by the Spanish after the conquest), the food. EVERYTHING IS COLORFUL!!

Need to close for now…must go visit the old church that was once taken over by the government, the alter destroyed and just recently replaced with a new one as part of a restoration project. Need to learn more about that…reminds me to the museum in Turkey that began as a Christian cathedral, was taken over by the Muslims and is now a museum. Different parts of the world, but the same theme.










We are back. Did not make inside the church because we were so enthralled with the museum. By the time we finished up with the Museo, it was time for some food. So we meandered up to the apartment. On the way I saw an internet shop. We went in and met some Aussies and he helped me get a copy of the LA Times Sunday crossword puzzle. He and his wife had been in Mexico for a month wandering around Mexico. They are currently on a travel visa to Canada where they are living in Vancouver. Lots to talk about.

Wall art in the restajrantl . A bicycle shop was behind the barl .

Wall art in the restaurant . A bicycle shop was behind the bar .

Today is a holiday and we could not get into a popular restaurant so we ducked into the restaurant next to our apartment. For $6.85 we got two chicken enchiladas mole, and a beer and we tipped generously. It’s almost free here.

The bands are playing now in preparation for the festivities. Our hosts have created an alter downstairs that includes pictures of their loved ones, chocolate kisses, two bottles of booze, flowers, and mementos. A bittersweet tradition as one of the pictures was of her friend that just died about 3 months ago. She was an artist and some of her pottery was on the alter.

Bought a painting for $15 and a small mask of a tiger for $20. More shopping to do. The crafts, textiles, pictures are wonderful.

So, it’s about time to head to the cemetery for tonight’s Dia de los Muertos celebration.

Woman making chocolate at a food stall.

Woman making chocolate at a food stall.


Vendor roasting corn. Lots of these stands.

Vendor roasting corn. Lots of these stands.


El toro anda great example of the art of Oaxaca.

El toro anda great example of the art of Oaxaca.


One of the festivals in the courtyard of a church.

One of the festivals in the courtyard of a church.

We are back and did not find the cemetery but we saw many festivities. Tomorrow night affords us another chance and we are going to try to get a tour so we don’t miss it. We have never been to Mardi Gras but it must be similar. Lots of music, parades, costumes, fireworks, food stalls and fun.


Deep in the Heart of Texas

Uthj0ap0T%irKB6FNEcUtQAirplane time offers up an opportunity for blogging, reflecting…not necessarily in that order.

Traveling in Texas was altogether interesting.  And having the advantage of friends and family to be our tour guides was invaluable.  Yes, we still had to schlepp our bags which as thus far only resulted in one mishap as yo jumped on the escalator in Mexico City.  I lost control of my carry-on for my computer/iPad  and it tipped over head first so to speak and landed pointing down the escalator two steps below me.  Snatched it up at the last second with a jujitsu move that was quite impressive if I do say so myself. 

But I digress.


Back in Austin, the refrain was always the same…no taxes.  We don’t pay state income tax.  They think we Californians are crazy.  This is reflected in their political TV commercials as well as in conversations with strangers in stores, in queue at the airport.  “You can have it”, the younger man said when we mentioned that we were from California.  This bares considering.  How can they have such wonderful roads and good looking modern schools and pay no income taxes?  We wonder.  We did notice a lack of safety features like handrails on steep grades in the public park.  But is that all?  This must be investigated as soon as I get a signal and log on to the internets.  I am jealous that it only take a $72 registration fee to drive your car.    Is there a breaking point, I wonder?  A place where the rubber meets the road (as good as they are)? 

We have arrived in Oaxaca and have a fabulous little apartment in zona centro.  It is a dream. So, we are tired.  Have been on quite a journey and I’m taking a little breather to do some Texas research.  GTS is a new acronym that means Google That Shit.  So, I looked at education which is near and dear to my heart.  Here’s what I found.  They  beat out California K-12.  Yikes.  Okay, what else?   California outperforms Texas in healthcare, ranking 1 in public healthcare in the nation.  So there is that.  Our economy outperforms theirs which puts the idea that taxes kill business in the dubious claims department.  We are neck in neck in opportunity but we are both at the bottom of the barrel in that category.  They rank higher in infrastructure and that does not surprise me.  It is great.  Public safety is lower for Texas despite a cop behind every tree.  We saw mucho grande police action in Texas.  The only thing they had more of was bars.  They ranked higher on fiscal stability which makes me question these numbers from the U.S. News and World Report.  So…it is was interesting to look at the study.  And I’m glad I live in California and glad to have visited Texas!!


On to other observations.  Johnnie, Rayman’s bro, reports that Austin had 90 days over 100 last year.  Ouch.  And they just had a record breaking rain storm that has locals boiling their water before drinking.  So, Texas has some pretty awful weather in my estimation.  Born lucky, I’ve ended up on the Pacific Ocean which is mild year round.  Isn’t this priceless?  Probably unless you are in a service job and have two kids.  Dollars are stretched for those of that circumstance. 


It has a diverse population with lots of Mexicans and black citizens.  A smattering of Muslins based on observations of women’s outfits.  Some Asians.  It is very young.  We left feeling ancient. 



Texans pride themselves in their “Texiness”.  Lots of boots and cowboy hats.  Lots of flags flying.  American flags.  Texas flags (the one with the lone star).  Theirs is an air of superiority over all others (from other states).  Egos, perhaps as big as that star of Texas.  Vast amounts of the state are covered with sagebrush and appear uninhabitable (think West Texas).  Around the hill country there are loads of oak trees and rolling hills make it a very pretty place.   Lack of water is a problem.  They have been in a drought.  Just like California.  Texans don’t qualify as cult status but they sure are enamored with themselves…(generalities here.  Our friends and family are not included!!).


The food is good but I love authentic Mexican food.  We ate well.  And enjoyed it very much.  Did I mention how much I like authentic Mexican food? 



Trucks are everywhere.  My heaven’s.  Never seen so many trucks.  Gas guzzling trucks that get by on $2.39 per gallon.  After all, it is oil country.  So they stimulate the economy by driving around in big honking trucks.  Prius cars are an endangered species.  May have sighted one
Tesla.  Few hybrids.  In the countryside, it’s all trucks all the time. 


Texans are very friendly and so are we.  So we got along famously with everyone we met.  Yes, sir.  No, Mam.  Lots of that going on.  Sweet really.  

Boiling Water

As we jet off to Mexico City, I sit here in the exit row with plenty of legroom.  This makes blogging a much easier task as I have plenty of room to spread out all my electronics.   And there is no eating of knees.

The last couple of days have flown by.  After leaving the Visellii’s Texas castle, we rented a car from Enterprise and it was so smokey in the car, we had the attendant spray the car.  And then we headed south toward Austin, TX to meet up with Rayman’s brother of the step kind.  They have know each since about 1950.   Johnny and his wife, Dianne, met up with us at a lovely resort where I cheaped out and reserved the “courtyard view” which was really a parking lot view.  They were smarter.  They got a lake view of Travis Lake. QkE2gq17RJacs9gXBVSxcg

There was wine tasting in the lobby.  Met some fine folks one of which knew the winemaker at Robert Hall.  The Viognier was quite good…and free.  As we were exiting the lobby on our way to dinner, someone asked us if the car in front of the door was ours.  Actually, yes it was.  Seems when we drove up the bellhop grabbed us, Rayman threw the keys on the front seat and off we went in search of our room.  Forgot all about the car, the claim check etc.  So, our car sat in front of the from door for about an hour and everyone going in and coming out apparently was asked if the car was theirs.  There was a sign in the middle of the driveway…No   Parking.  And there was no valet.  We howled.  And then Rayman moved the car.

Johnnie and Dianne were fabulous.  They drove us all over the place starting the first night they  escorted us to the Oasis Restaurant on Lake Travis.  A multi-story restaurant that featured a dinner bell that rang at sunset.  Fun time was had by all catching up on all our mistakes, mishaps, and the like!!  It had been 2003 the last time we saw them.   Here they are with the Rayman.


The next day we were treated to a wonderful tour of Austin, home of the Texas Longhorns.  Thank goodness they weren’t playing at home on Saturday.  As it was the roads were jammed in downtown Austin.  The Japanese Gardens was our first stop.  We walked the property which was delightful.  That was after Dianne, Rayman and moi charged from the car to the entrance and managed to lose Johnnie who does not have a cell phone.  The search was on.  After 10 frantic minutes, he was located by Dianne and then we were lost.  Once found, we roamed the gardensIMG_5264 and as we were about to leave, a woman sauntered by and told s there was going to be a butterfly release in another part of the park.  So we followed her there and witnessed a butterfly release with a group of about 50 people.  Timing is everything.  It was great fun too.   Johnnie and the Rayman above.

Leaving the gardens, we headed over the Barton Springs.  It is a huge natural swimming hole fed by springs usually. H5iPQyT5SaCLRBzw3eEGMQ Because this was the only the second sunny day Austin had had following 2 weeks of rain, the Springs were higher than usual because of the river that was at flood level washing down the ravine.  Quite a sight.  On a somber note, there are signs all over certain neighborhoods of Austin telling residents to boil their water before drinking it.  Yikes.


Then we drove through downtown which was having a book fair and caught a glimpse of the state Capital building.  Beautiful.  Lots of shenanigans go on there and it reminded me how much I missed Molly Ivans, the intrepid reporter for the daily newspaper.  Texas politics is a hoot and she captured it in all it’s quirkiness. 

On to the LBJ Library.  When whipping out his wallet to get the credit card, Rayman discovered that he didn’t have it.  Panic ensued.  A full blown search was embarked upon.  He called the restaurant from the night before.  Nada.  So, we put it aside, Johnny bought the tickets and we took the tour.   That was the highlight of Austin for moi.  I have read 3 of Robert Caro’s books on LBJ so it was great fun for me.  Not as fun for the ex-Vietnam vets I was with…Rayman and Johnnie.  Rayman is still pissed at LBJ about that war.  But his Great Society was such a success that it has endured until the Republicans got control of all branches of government and they are busy trying to dismantle the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Civil Rights Act.  The juxtaposition of Johnson and Trump is instructive.  This was my first visit to a Presidential Library and it was fascinating. 


After the tour, we went to the Muddy River for lunch where Rayman managed to get stung on the neck by a bee which activated his arthritis in his knuckles.  Really.  The bees ignore me but the mosquitos didn’t.  I look like I have chicken poxs.  Just saying.   Even have a bite or two on my fuselage.   

We returned to the Lakeway Resort and rested (I washed undies).  After an hour or so, we went up to their room and sat outside enjoying the view.  And we started talking about old family stories.  Johnny had the funniest one.  He lived in Laguna Beach in his 20s and one Thanksgiving he went to dinner at Ray’s mom’s house, his stepmom’s house.  Before entering he threw his white clothes into the washing machine with soap and clorox.   When it was time to cook the turkey, it was discovered that the bird with in the washtub which the washing machine drained into.  How was he to know the turkey was there?  The very bleached bird was discarded.  A friend had an extra bird defrosted and it saved the day.  He’ll never forget it.  And neither will we!!

Always something to learn.  Always something going on.  Great visit. 

Some things in Texas are completely unsurprising which is surprising in and of itself.   

Our trip to Texas originated in San Luis Obispo and took us first to the TSA desk, and then the x-ray machine, then off to the belt that moves your possessions through a curtained box, and then the stuff comes out the other side and all piles up like a herd of sheep running up against a wall.  Then all pressure is on, isn’t it?  Picking up your belongings and putting them in your purse, wallet, on your wrist, in the carry-on..and you have to do it in a flash.   Which can induce a feeling of panic and discombobalation.

After that we got in the plane and discovered that we were in the last row.  So, in the last row and on a plane that was so narrow, I could not roll my carry-on down the aisle.  On the flight to Phoenix, I ate my knees and worked a crossword puzzle. 

We transferred at Phoenix and took another flight to Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.  Very bumpy ride with belts on the entire time.  Geez.


It was agreed that we would meet Larry in baggage claim.  And sure enough …there he was.  With his silver white locks, he is hard to miss.  We jumped in the car and headed to Granbury, TX.   A bedroom community 45 minutes southwest of Ft. Worth.  They live in a big one story stone home.  On a big piece of land.   Complete with waterfall feature and as much outdoor furniture as indoor furniture. 

Larry and Laurie invited old friends Jeff and Donna to dinner.  Steak and potatoes…so Texan in my mind.  Great evening with great people and great food and wine…Oh, and the fig and pr0sciutto salame.

Wednesday was spent getting the lay of the land.  In the rain.  In a fancy car that hit my head every time I climbed into it (yes, climbed is a verb, and an apt one at that).  Once I hit my head and then managed to poke myself in the eye with the straw that was poking out of the top of the styrafoam cup that I had in my left hand.  What a klutz.

In our drive-by ride, we stopped in at Larry’s country club.  While walking by the bar, Laurie noticed some women she knew so we dropped in to meet them.  One woman introduced herself as Nita Dick, a very pleasant lady.  The other woman had started the intro handshaking session by introducing herself as Fonda Peters.  Okay.  Really.  The first people we had met in Texas in a bar.  And that is saying a lot because I think the Texas has a lot of bars.  They have bars inside bars.  It is a lifestyle I really hadn’t expected.  So, when I say we met Fonda Peters and Nita Dick…well, that is just special, isn’t?   These women were a stitch.  A good time was had by all.

When we returned home the TV went on and we learned about the bombs being mailed to Democrats.  And we were hooked watching with probably everyone else in America that had a TV and time …the news about the bombs. 


Today, it was Ft. Worth.  They took us to the Stockyards which is an area if town.  Lots and lots of bars.  The pic above is us at Buffalo Butts.   Of beef restaurants.  And a fabulous boot shop. 


Boot shop

Here are some pics.  I saw a pair of boots that were on sale for $1650…the salesman said that they were only $825 each.    IMG_3683It was a fabulous store filled with about$300,000,000 of pure luxury.  Oh, and there were saddles sitting on saw horses here and there.  A sign said to talk to the staff before mounting.  Okay.  Really.  So I told them I wanted to mount that saddle.  He was going to give me a boost but then declined by implying I wouldn’t do it.  “You don’t know that”, I retorted.   And we bantered back and forth.  The guy was a hoot.  Did not expect that in Texas. 

There was a cold wind blowing.  Lots of clouds in the sky.  We stopped for a coffee to warm up.  Had fun wandering the streets and looking in the stores and the windows of the stores.  Lot’s of Halloween merchandise in the windows. 

But. I digress.

The people of Texas have been friendly and with humor galore.  We have had a great time because our friends have gone all out to entertain us.  We didn’t have to rent a car.  We have been chauffeured from here to there.  All the while, catching up with all the news since we had seen each last…a couple of years ago.   That was not my best English sentence but I am not sure how to restate it.  No ( perhaps)   interest to restate the sentence.  You may finally be witnessing me boring myself. 

Other random thoughts.  Texas is pretty flat.  It has very nice freeways.  And I’ve never seen more law enforcement in my life.  I have seen Police, Constables, Sheriffs.  Everywhere.  And get this.  Texas does not air condition their prisons.  You don’t want to get on the wrong side of law here, I’m suspecting.

And the last thing I was say is the visit was way too short.  We leave tomorrow for Austin for the weekend to visit Rayman (you remember him, right?) family members. 


Then it’s hasta la vista, baby. 

Customer Complaint

In the time honored tradition of sharing my view on a myiad of topics, I submit to you my complaint to Chase Ultimate Rewards department which ruined my tranquil morning.

Hope you enjoy.  I didn’t.

Oct. 18, 2018

CEO – Ultimate Rewards

While I sit on hold with your people, I thought I would give you an account of my dealings with Chase Rewards today.

At 10:43 a.m. I placed a call to cancel a reservation that we made for a hotel.  It is now 12:23 and I’m still working on this issue.  This in itself is absurd.  Rewards takes on a whole new meaning…perhaps it should be called “Punishment, Inc.”.

But I digress.

The problem was that your people could not find my reservation despite the fact that I had an email confirming the reservation.  The second problem was that we have two accounts (Sapphire in the process of becoming a Freedom card and a Chase Reserve card).   Which rewards points did I use?  I had no idea.  It was decided I had used the Sapphire/Freedom points.  Okay.  But the reservation could not be located.  After about a hour and five or six transfers, the mysteries were solved.   

The next problem was that my reservation had to be cancelled because of American Airlines changed our travel plans.  So, I tried to get my points back.  That took another round of phone transfers and instructions to call the hotel, get the name of the manager if that manager approved of refunding the money.  I did this.  The manager agreed.  Then I had to again enter the labyrinth of your Rewards department.  Again, it took three transfers and 40 minutes to get the mission accomplished. 

Heck of a job, Brownie. 

Two hours later, Pius ( your employee) got it done. 

There were multiple opportunities to have done a better job.  One person helping me throughout the process would have cut the time by 50% or more.  How hard can it be?  Our rewards with the two cards apparently exist in two separate universes…A call back number could have been given to me so that when the manager approved a refund, I could have called back the person that told me to get that approval.  A case number could have been assigned for easy reference and that would allowed me not to need to repeat my account info, my zip code, my boat’s license number (just kidding) twenty times (not kidding).

Two hours of my life gone with this mischief.  For shame.


Ray and Dianna Jackson

Morro Bay, CA