The New Travel Thread: Now with write ups in the OP

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Jax Teller, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. PJP3

    PJP3 Well-Known Member
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    Just got back from my honeymoon last night.

    Started with 3 nights in Porto: Enjoyed the vibe of the city. Definitely cheaper that a lot of places in Europe. Felt that 3 nights/2 days was enough time to see it. Went to the port caves and drank more port in one day that I'm sure I have in the rest of my life combined. Also walked one day out to the beach area called Foz. Foodwise, definitely recommend Patio do Duque. I think we only spent like 35 euros for food and drinks. The server spoke great english and was really enthusiastic about sharing Portugal and their food. Also went to a tasting menu at a place called Eskalunda Studio which is talked about possibly getting a michelin star in the future. I'd say it was only ok. Food looked really good but nothing taste wise blew me away. Still was a good deal compared to many tasting menu type places, and they do a beer pairing if you want, which was a nice change compared to the normal wine pairing.

    2 nights in the Douro Valley: Splurged a bit here and stayed at 6 senses, which was rated one of the top hotels in the world. Everything there was top class. Was good for a little recharge in the middle of the trip. Food was pricey but really good. Did the chefs table one night where is was just the two of us in the kitchen for 13 courses. The Chef had previously worked at El Bulli, so had some serious chops. Also used a guide my friends had recommended who was great and I'd recommend to anyone visiting the area. Picked us up in Porto and spent the morning and afternoon wine tasting at multiple vineyards before he dropped us at the hotel.

    5 nights in San Sebastian: Everyone I'd talked to that had been to San Sebastian before I left raved about it and it totally lived up to the hype. Top 3 place in Europe for me. Loved the pinxto bar culture. For anyone not aware, pinxtos are kinda like the basque version of tapas and every bar had tons of food laid out and more stuff to order that are small bites and the tradition is to just spend enough time at each bar for a drink and a pinxto or two then move on to the next one. Most places have a specialty. We actually took a pinxto tour and was really glad we did because we learned how to do everything and correct etiquette and terminology. Most tourists do it wrong, so we were more comfortable checking out places after we learned. The guide also gave us a list of all the best bars to hit, so spent multiple nights just hoping around to tons different places grabbing a drink and a bite. I have a list if anyone wants it. By the end of the trip we had probably been to 20 different places. It was my favorite part of the city and I could have spent more time there just for the food. Went to Arzak one night, which has 3 michellin stars. It was very good, but preferred just pinxto hoping personally. The city also has crowded, but very nice beaches. Did some surfing and hitting the beach a few days and there was a big free music festival going on so had ton to fill the 5 days and easily could have spent more time. Definitely will be coming back here again and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

    1 night in Bilbao: Just went here to make flying home easier. Main attraction is the guggenheim museum which we saw, and the old town. A day was plenty here.
     
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  2. Lyrtch

    Lyrtch My second favorite meat is hamburger
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    Yes please to San Seb recs

    It's probably my top want to go place
     
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  3. Pasta88

    Pasta88 Canes, Bruins, Raps, Jays and Sunderland.
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    I’m also interested as I just arrived to San Sebastian this afternoon. Definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
     
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  4. Pasta88

    Pasta88 Canes, Bruins, Raps, Jays and Sunderland.
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    I stayed at Luka’s in 2017 and liked it well enough, though my room definitely had AC so maybe that’s changed. I can also see it being hit or miss since it’s pretty small and therefore dependent on the crowd. One good thing was that they have a volunteer to organize night activities. I travel solo often enough so that’s always appreciated.
     
  5. PJP3

    PJP3 Well-Known Member
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    I'd recommend taking a tour with Ania at Devour tours if you go as we definitely didn't know how to find the best places and made a bunch of mistakes when we tried to do it on our own before. Felt totally comfortable doing our own thing afterwards. It is 100 euros but totally worth it as it does include food and drink at 6 different stops. She only recommends local owned places. There's a lot of places that are not high quality. Generally, resist the urge to get stuff off the counter and order the hot pinxtos off the menu and always stop after 1 or 2 pinxtos so you can try other places. A lot of people will just load up at one place and miss out. If you don't see the menu on the wall, just ask. Speaking Spanish is very helpful, but a decent amount of places spoke some english, at least in the old town. She also said a good go to is look to see if there are crumpled up napkins on the ground by the bar as all the basques just throw the napkins on the ground so thats a good sign that its a locals place. I'd say of all the places we went the highlights were muscles at Mejillonera, prawn (gamba) at Goiz Argi, mushrooms at Ganbarra, Veal cheek at Cucharra de San Telmo, and multiple things at Fuego Negro (also had the trendiest feel if looking for a younger vibe). Also, for drinks, look at the terminology in the email. You don't order a "beer/cerveza" or "wine/vino". You order the beer by size (zurito or caña) and the wine by region/type (Rioja, Crianza). Highly recommend trying out the txakoli, cider, and patxaran (kinda like a really sweet old fashioned) as well.

    Hola amigos!!!
    Thank you so much for joining me last night! Please take a minute (or 5) to read this email and find out about more great bars in San Sebastian.

    In this email you can find a list of recommendations for San Sebastian and surroundings.


    Where we went on our tour:

    La Mejillonera- Fresh steamed muscles and dry cider.

    Bar Goiz Argi- Prawn skewer with vinagreta,
    Mari Juli smoked salmon, smoked anchovy, and fried pepper
    A glass of Txakoli

    Atari- Beef cheek on a bed of potato puree and a crianza wine

    Gandarias- Grilled beef tenderloin and a Navarra red win

    La cepa- a slice of pantxineta and a glass of sherry, and a patxaran


    What to drink in San Sebastian and Basque Country:


    · zurito - very small beer 0,15l

    · caña - 0,3l - 0,4l beer

    · txakoli - slightly sparkling white wine from Basque Country

    · sidra – cider

    · red wine - crianza (1 year in a barrel), Rioja (region) or Navarra

    · gin&tonic - beautifully prepared Spanish classic

    · patxaran - anisy Basque digestive

    · marianito - small vermouth with orange and olive



    THE BEST in town:

    · Best tortilla patata (spanish omelette): Bar Ciaboga (Centre) - my favourite!, Bar Zabaleta (Gros) - a classic! Bar Nestor (Old Part) - they prepare them only twice a day: 1pm and 8pm!


    · Best calamari: Bar Antonio(centre - calamares) , La Mejillonera (Old Town), Casa Urola (Old Part - txipiron de potera - baby squid) and Bar Sport.



    · Where to try Vermouth: Bar Casa Valles (try vermouth with gilda - this is where this first ever pintxo was invented!), A Fuego Negro (try their delicious homemade vermouth or olives marinated in vermouth), Sirimiri and my FAVOURITE: Bar Roberto in Gros - real treasure and amazing vermouths!



    More pintxos in the Old Part:

    · Bar sport - for their fantastic prawns or foie gras (open on Monday)

    · A Fuego Negro - very modern and very Basque pintxos, try their olives in vermouth, brownie that is actually oxtail or MacKobe burger

    · Paco Bueno - try gambas en la gabardina (fried prawns in dough) and cider of course! (open on Monday)

    · Txepetxa - anchovies!!!

    · Txuleta – txuleta is steak and they do it very well so their award winning pintxo is pintxo de txuleta or croqueta de txuleta.

    · Borda Berri - excellent hot pintxos, try their risotto or kebab.

    · Cuchara de San Telmo - everything is amazing but the specialties include: veal cheek and suckling pig.

    · Haizea - excellent croquetas and seafood pintxos, very local place. (open on Monday)

    · La Viña - cheesecake



    Some of the bars in the centre close on Sundays - check google pls!

    For pintxos in the centre:

    · Bar Ciaboga - order platillo (potatoes with garlic oil!) or tortilla

    · Bar Zazpi - order any of their specialities (modern and delicious)

    · Bar Antonio – famous for pintxo igueldo but their hot pintxos are excelent too, locals favourite

    · Bar Espiga - one of the oldest bars in San Sebastian, great seasonal pintxos and their classics: chorrera and delicia

    · Bar Valles - another classic in Reyes (local's favorite spot for drinking), excellent salt-cod tortilla, baby squid, sandwiches



    For food in Gros - surfer's neighborhood:

    · Bergara - try txalupa and delicia!

    · Hidalgo 56 - volcan de morcilla - black pudding volcano :) and many more

    · Bodega Donostiarra - order completo (bonito, mayo, anchovy and marinated pepper) or prawn&octopus skewer

    · Bar Ricardo - local's favorite

    · Matalauva - modern Basque cuisine


    · Mala Gissona – Basque craft beer

    · Kañabikaña - Basque craft beer

    · Gintoneria - very best bar to have an amazing g&t

    Remember!


    Enjoy your stay in Basque Country/Spain and remember to never be afraid to enter to tiny, busy bars full of litter on the floor – those are the best ones!

    Safe travels,
    Ania
     
  6. PJP3

    PJP3 Well-Known Member
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    You're gonna love it. How long are you there for?
     
  7. Pasta88

    Pasta88 Canes, Bruins, Raps, Jays and Sunderland.
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    Until Wednesday night. A bit different than your trip as I’m here solo but will definitely hit up some of the places in your post.

    Hiked up to the castle this evening for the view and plan on doing beach and free walking tour tomorrow.
     
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  8. Pasta88

    Pasta88 Canes, Bruins, Raps, Jays and Sunderland.
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  9. PJP3

    PJP3 Well-Known Member
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    Since you’re solo Fuego Negro probably had the best vibe for meeting people that I saw in the old town of the pinxto bars. Mala Gissona in gros was cool too.
     
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  10. tjosu

    tjosu This is kind of like the breakfast club, huh?
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    Went on a company tour to the North Slope yesterday. Got to step into the Arctic Ocean and saw tons of caribou, unfortunately no bears even though they had seen a polar bear a couple days ago. On the way back to Anchorage the plane circled Denali so got some amazing views from just over the summit

    4532DEF9-5BEB-484D-A2F2-2CD587D550FC.jpeg
     
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  11. Lyrtch

    Lyrtch My second favorite meat is hamburger
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    INSANE old bump but you sure on this?
     
  12. The Banks

    The Banks TMB's Alaskan
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    Pilots do this so often, I wonder if it's built into their flight plan or if they just kinda wing it, pardon the pun.
     
  13. tjosu

    tjosu This is kind of like the breakfast club, huh?
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    It was part of our flight plan weather permitting. I wondered if we’d be fine doing it in a 737 with all the small planes in that airspace but quickly realized we were still way above everyone
     
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  14. BamaNug

    BamaNug Want to retire right MEOW
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    Our solar system has another planet and it's called Jasper National Park. Absolutely unreal. We were planning a return trip on our drive back.

    Didn't even make it to Banff or Lake Louise because of the crowds. Could not get out of Lake Louise Village fast enough, it was overrun.

    Between driving there and camping, our trip came out to less than $500 total: $160 for two Canadian park pass, $70 for 3 nights of campsite and fires, ~$100 for gas and ~$100 by bringing our food. Will post pictures later this evening.
     
  15. BamaNug

    BamaNug Want to retire right MEOW
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    Jasper write-up:
    Drove through the night on Wednesday, was surprisingly easy. She drove until about 2 AM, I took over and we got there about 7 AM. Ate breakfast in Jasper, drove into the park and found a camping spot about 25 miles south of Jasper, right next to a river. Was awesome being so close to it while sleeping.

    First day drove to Wilcox Pass, moderate trail. Was incredible
    [​IMG]

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    Went to sleep early after driving through the night.

    Next day intended to check out Banff/Lake Louise/Moraine Lake. Got to Lake Louise village, about an hour north of Banff, and it was so slammed. Tried for an hour, but all shuttles were full and wouldn't let us bring large backpacks. Left after getting frustrated, went to Emerald Lake and inflated the SUP:[​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After that drove a bit up the Icefields Parkway to Bow Lake, which is right off the highway. Brought a 6 pack and SUP'd around the lake for like 4-5 hours, it was absolutely incredible:


    [​IMG]

    Weather sucked the next day, so we just drove around and checked out Jasper. Drove back on Sunday.

    Random thoughts:
    -super cheap if you camp, and so easy.
    -the Icefields Parkway is rated by NatGeo as the best drive in the world, and I see it. It's unreal. All along the side of the road are towering mountains, with 100s of viewpoints. It's about 150 miles between Jasper and Banff, and is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Even if you're not a camper/outdoor person, it'd be an incredible trip just for this drive. Just view after view:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    -So much wildlife, had a medium size black bear walk right in front of our car:
    [​IMG]

    We're absolutely going back next year. Amazing.
     
  16. CTownND

    CTownND Well-Known Member

    Yep, we wanted to check out Memento Park but just ran out of time because it was out of the way. The Bolt app was super helpful for getting us around the city, however.

    Hungarian food was great. Had a ton of goulash and schnitzel. Also don't know if its specific to Hungary - or just Europe in general - but a ton of duck dishes and split a duck liver dish with my buddy one night. Mazel Tov wasn't Hungarian per se, but lived up to the hype I've heard about it being one of the best restaurants in the city - killer Mediterranean dishes.
     
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  17. Lyrtch

    Lyrtch My second favorite meat is hamburger
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    they just changed this flight to their new A220 so I don't know whether to be irritated I paid for an upgrade I'd have never done if this was the original plane or happy I got into a really nice first class for cheap
     
  18. CTownND

    CTownND Well-Known Member

    If you had to build a 10-day trip around the Iberian Peninsula and have not been anywhere other than Barcelona, how would you build it? From Friday of one week to Sunday of the next week. Only catch is you need to be in Barcelona Thursday to Sunday of the second week.

    My gut says you'd do Fri-Sun in either Lisbon/Madrid/Porto, Mon-Wed in either Duoro Valley/San Sebastian/Mallorca, and then Thurs-Sun in Barcelona but would be interested in hearing everyone's thoughts. Imagine the trip is for a couple in their early 30s.

    (I went to Primavera Sound in Barcelona in 2017 and want to go back next year; the festival is Thurs-Sat and I'd fly home Sunday from Barcelona.)
     
  19. mc415

    mc415 Well-Known Member
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    Porto/San Sebastián
     
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  20. PJP3

    PJP3 Well-Known Member
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    San Sebastian would be my one must. Of the other places I’ve been (madrid, valencia, porto, douro) id go Porto.
     
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  21. ohhaithur

    ohhaithur e-Batman
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    Arkadin has very strong opinions on this topic
     
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  22. Where Eagles Dare

    Where Eagles Dare The Specialist Show On Earth
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    :huh:
     
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  23. ohhaithur

    ohhaithur e-Batman
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    cards.png
     
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  24. Weedlord420

    Weedlord420 Jabooty Football
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  25. Why?Pokes

    Why?Pokes Surf Wyoming
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    3 days in Honolulu and I can’t do jack besides hit a killer Musubi joint that caught my eye last time.

    And rape the priority lounge at HNL. Ima have Maui Brew Co cans bursting outta my zippers on the flight home.
     
  26. Weedlord420

    Weedlord420 Jabooty Football
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    Which musubi place?
     
  27. Oranjello

    Oranjello Well-Known Member
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    Heading to Seattle to visit bamanug tomorrow and was looking forward to going on a hike to some of the picturesque alpine lakes he frequents. Of course, while moving into a new house this past Saturday, I make a misstep while carrying a heavy box down a flight of stairs and sprain my ankle and maybe break a bone in my foot.
     
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  28. Where Eagles Dare

    Where Eagles Dare The Specialist Show On Earth
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    Was sarcasm that he has strong opinions on one certain thing
     
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  29. BamaNug

    BamaNug Want to retire right MEOW
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    So going back to airport layover times...

    Our flight from Barcelona to SFO is scheduled to land at 7:20 PM. Two flight options from SFO to Seattle: 8:53 and 11:05.

    Booking separately, so we'll have to go through customs in SFO, then exit terminal, check-in, and go back through security.

    8:53 is way too tight, correct? Think we just have to bite the bullet and leave later at 11.
     
  30. Lyrtch

    Lyrtch My second favorite meat is hamburger
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    have you looked at the transfer process for international to domestic at SFO? sometimes thats a pain in the dick but I don't know anything about that airport
     
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  31. Jimmy the Saint

    Jimmy the Saint It's like the Weimar Republic in that place
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    Why would the airline not give you enough time?
     
  32. Whammy

    Whammy Well-Known Member
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    He's buying two separate tickets dummy, not on the same itinerary
     
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  33. BamaNug

    BamaNug Want to retire right MEOW
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    Booking separate tickets.
     
  34. Jimmy the Saint

    Jimmy the Saint It's like the Weimar Republic in that place
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    It was tongue in cheek from this debate weeks back. Relax.
     
  35. Whammy

    Whammy Well-Known Member
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    Ahh ok fair enough....been spending too much time reading the political threads

    Carry on :bananallama:
     
  36. BamaNug

    BamaNug Want to retire right MEOW
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    Booked the later flight, just didn't want to risk it.
     
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  37. Lifeiskilingme79

    Lifeiskilingme79 Well-Known Member
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    Do you have global entry?
     
  38. BamaNug

    BamaNug Want to retire right MEOW
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    Sadly, no. Never gotten around to it.
     
  39. Lifeiskilingme79

    Lifeiskilingme79 Well-Known Member
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    Good call on the later flight. Too many variables between random delays (mx, weather, etc) and then you still have to consider customs.
     
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  40. ohhaithur

    ohhaithur e-Batman
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    lmao are you serious?

    YOU don't have global entry?
     
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  41. Room 15

    Room 15 Mi equipo esta Los Tigres
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    I got denied :-(
     
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  42. BamaNug

    BamaNug Want to retire right MEOW
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    I'm not proud of it. When I was in Alabama, there were no close airports, and when I finally made my appointment there was a 3 1/2 hour wait.

    Don't really have an excuse for why I haven't done it in Seattle.
     
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  43. BamaNug

    BamaNug Want to retire right MEOW
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    Really?? Did they give a reason?
     
  44. ohhaithur

    ohhaithur e-Batman
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    I feel like you have a credit card that will pay for it too
     
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  45. Room 15

    Room 15 Mi equipo esta Los Tigres
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    Some past legal transgressions
     
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  46. 941Gator

    941Gator TMB's resident beach bum
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    They deny for DUI conviction so let’s just assume that
     
  47. bwi2

    bwi2 Not affiliated with BWI
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    Mobile Passport is possibly better than Global Entry in terms of cutting time in Customs.
     
  48. Lifeiskilingme79

    Lifeiskilingme79 Well-Known Member
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    In my experience, close but not quite. Global entry has been walk up and go through for me. Mobile passport has still had a line but much shorter than the normal line.
     
  49. WC

    WC Bad Company, till the day I die.
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  50. Room 15

    Room 15 Mi equipo esta Los Tigres
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    FALSE

    It was negotiated down to reckless driving.