Cincinnati: 27-31 January 2015

I'd only been to the US once. It was 8 years ago. I recall the long flight, hardly being able to sleep on the plane despite flying on business class and jet lag. So when I heard that I had to make a trip to the US to a quiet city again, I was not delighted. However, I'm the "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" sort of person, so I researched the free stopover flights and other places to visit. I went to San Francisco after my business meetings on my previous trip. This time, I selected Los Angeles and Las Vegas and soon enough I found myself looking forward to the trip! I'll write about those cities in my next posts but I did have some fun in Cincinnati, Ohio too.

27 Jan - 23-hours flight

I flew economy class this time at 6.55am. I had to transit twice - at Tokyo Narita airport and Detroit airport. The total flight time including transit time was 23 hours. A snow storm had just hit New York city. I was hoping my flights would not get delayed by it.

All 3 flights were full and thankfully only the last flight from Detroit to Cincinnati was delayed by half an hour. It was pleasant flying on Delta airlines. Service was good and the food was surprisingly nice. I brought biscuits and muesli bars with me because the meals on flights are never frequent enough. The safety videos are the most interesting and humourous that I'd ever seen. It was the first time I looked forward to watching the next safety video!

I'm not sure what the occasion was at Tokyo Narita airport.

US$4 to use the trolly at Detroit airport. Welcome to Detroit!!

The lights would change colour at this long tunnel at Detroit airport

Thankfully there was free wifi at Narita and Detroit airports so I could catch up on my emails and check the weather while waiting. I popped many Melatonin pills but I barely slept (total of less than 3 hours split into naps of less than 30 mins each and I didn't have a full night's sleep the previous night because of the early morning flight). When I was washing my face at Detroit, I felt faint and terrible - as though I had shortened my lifespan by a few months!  I finally arrived at Cincinnati at 5.30pm. There was snow on the ground. It was about 5 degrees Celsius here. I took a taxi to the hotel (it took about an hour). There was free chocolate chip soft cookies at the reception and 24-hour free flow of coffee and tea too. I had the cookies for dinner, sent an email informing my boss that I'd arrived and went straight to bed. 

28 Jan - work

I woke up feeling hungry at about 3am, as expected. I had my biscuits and muesli bars. I was so looking forward to breakfast at 6am though!

Hampton Inn Suites Springboro (USD89 with breakfast before tax, USD100 with tax) was nice and quiet, and the bed was very comfortable. I know I can always depend on American beds! They are all soft enough for me. There is a fridge, coffee maker and microwave oven in the room. The free wifi was dependable and fast.

This hotel is rather out of the way. I would have to depend on colleagues to fetch us around. It would be possible to call a taxi or the regular driver which my company uses but I would need to wait or pre-book.

Met my bosses at 7.30am and we went to the office right after that. No rest for the wicked! We worked the entire day till 5pm (lunched in - I had a huge fish sandwich which I split into my lunch and snack) then we left to meet our client for dinner downtown at  Mc Cormick & Schmick's. The food there was good and they even prepared special orders for vegetarians. It was 10+pm when we reached the hotel. I was feeling ok but really looking forward to enjoy the coziness of the bed. It was about 0 degrees Celsius and I felt my leggings weren't enough to keep me warm. Thankfully, I didn't have to be outdoors much apart from walking from the building to the car and back.

29 Jan - more work

It rained in the morning and it was really cold again. The ground was wet so I wore my trekking boots. I won't want to fall down on that cold, wet ground! We went downtown to our client's office for meetings. Someone shared that she slipped and fell the hotel - poor thing! Dinner this time was takeaway Indian food. It was very spicy and nice. I don't usually eat Asian food when I'm travelling outside Asia but this was going to be a 2-week trip so if I don't eat Asian food then I might not be able to survive till the end of the trip. Also, I was glad to have some leftovers to eat for my 3am pre-breakfast meal (thank goodness for the microwave oven).

30 Jan - some work

My bosses had other meetings today so I did not go with them to the office but worked from the hotel. I was grateful that my friend had some time in the late afternoon so he drove me out for food and some sightseeing. I felt rather crippled and stranded in the middle of nowhere! It was like living in a luxury prison without gates and bars.

We went to the premium outlet mall. It was very cold! That's why I had 1 hand in my pocket. Perhaps I was just too small because the shoes and clothes were all too big for me. I didn't buy anything here.

This shop stocks lingerie, adult and fetish gear. It seems the guy who opened this shop many years ago got shot because the conservative people weren't happy with having such a shop here. I didn't buy anything here either. Everything was so expensive and it's cheaper to buy stuff on the internet. 2 of the salesgirls here said that they loved my dress. I thought they were just trying to get me to buy stuff but my friend said it's probably because the women here don't usually wear dresses so people tend to notice when a woman wears a dress.

There wasn't any other place to visit so my friend suggested we get a drink at the Miami Valley Casion. My friend put in a dollar to teach me how to play a game and won $5.60 - just enough to pay for 1 drink.
For dinner, I walked to a fast food restaurant near the hotel. It was a 3-min walk but it was sooo unbearably cold  (about minus 2 degrees Celsius) that I had to get into the first restaurant that I saw.

31 Jan - skiing

Here's the fun part!

I moved to a hotel, Hampton Inn CVG Airport South (USD99 with breakfast before tax, USD110 with tax) , closer to the airport. They have a free airport transfer so I could be able to get to the airport easily for the morning flight the next day. It is also closer to the Perfect North Slopes where I was going skiing. The room wasn't ready then so I deposited my bag at the reception.

They provide tampons in the hotel's public toilet

The Perfect North Slopes are about 30 mins away from the airport.
I was lucky to have perfect weather. But what comes with perfect weather are the crowds! By the way, the snow that you see is fake snow.

This was my first time skiing so I was glad there were free lessons. I was here alone and did not know where to go or how to put on my skis. I had to ask "how to do I put it on" and "how do I take it off" but the people there were helpful and nobody laughed at me.

The ticket price (of about US$80 plus rental) includes a free ski 1-hour group lesson but nobody keeps track of how many times you go for the lesson so you can repeat the same lesson or parts of the lesson if you wish. It was quite a struggle to even get to the spot where they held the lessons. It was difficult to walk in the boots or to glide on the skis at first. In the lessons, I learned how to walk and glide with the skis, how to break/stop and how to turn. 

People taking free ski lessons

An instructor conducting free ski lessons

I could ski after 1 hour and went to try the easiest slope - the one in the background on the right side of this picture below. It was a challenge was getting onto the seats and getting off them. The lift operator at the top of the slope was sadistic. The area was small so there was always many people blocking the path. I fell many times there. Even when people are sprawled on the floor he wouldn't stop the lift until the floor had enough people's butts on them.  

Queue for the ski lift

I didn't fall on my first glide down the slope but on my second try, I was on the steeper side and fell. After I few times, I got the hang of it and didn't fall anymore. I tried parts of the intermediate slopes and I was fine there too. I would have tried more of those if I didn't have another 1 week to go for the rest of my vacation. I saw a few skiers brought away on stretchers and I didn't want that happening to me.

Lunchtime at the lodge cafe

I lost my one side of my gloves after this pic

I was here till it got dark. I could still continue but I figured it might be difficult for me to get a taxi if it got too late. There is free wifi in the lodge. I used the uber app to book a taxi. There was a free US$30 credit for new users. The trip was US$36 so all I paid was US$6. 

The room was ready now. The bed was soft and the room was comfortable. I was glad to be "home". I was feeling tired and hungry.

There are a number of restaurants beside the hotel. I went to a place (the closest) called Cracker Barrel Store for dinner. The US$9.50 meatloaf was delicious! Or was I just hungry? I feel my mouth  watering when I look at this picture.

Crowded so it must be good?

Fireplace in the restaurant
Cracker Barrel Shop. Gotcha!

For sale at the Cracker Barrel shop
I slept very well at night. I must have been exhausted after skiing. I did not wake up at abnormal hours. I think I had gotten over the jet lag. BUT now I'll have to go to a different time zone again!

Las Vegas, here I come!


David said...


You were at DTW! And not an email from you! :-(

I've flown into and out of CVG.
BTW, why skiing in Indiana, that's where Perfect Slopes are located. Across from Cincinnati which is in Ohio.

You likely started skiing on the run called Broadway, as that's Perfects easiest slope.

Michigan, where DTW is located and I live a mere 32 miles from, or about 45 minutes driving on our express roads, has a larger variety of ski areas than Indiana or Ohio.

I'll assume the business part of your trip involved a client in the Cincinnati metro area.

So close, yet so far.

Such is life.

Happy to read you had a good time.

Impressions of winter aside from it being cold?

Spring has sprung here, all the snow is melted, overnight temps are around or near 0C and today the high will be +18C, which is actually warm for this time of the year.

+8 to +10C are typical daytime high temps.

Looking forward to more about your second trip to the States!

Safe and happy travels!