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120x60 - Hotels JOHNNY JET'S
June 8, 2004
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HOUSE KEEPING: Remember when you click on the pictures in "Where's Johnny Jet," they will open up in another window. Just click the "x"(close) in each picture to get back to the newsletter. This should alleviate complaints about closing Johnny Jet. Thanks again for your support, and remember: If you book trips on the web, please go through johnnyjet.com (we get a commission and it doesn't cost you any more money). "If you want Johnny Jet to continue I need your support and the support of your fellow travelers".
In the last two weeks I have received a record number of emails. I have published some of them in the Reader Air-email section (I apologize for being unable to post them all). Thanks again for all the kind words and support. I really appreciate it.

As you probably guessed, last week was rough. I will try not to burden (or bore) you anymore with my relationship problems, but I had to get it off my chest. It was killing me -- yet I don’t feel much better. I haven’t seen Amber Airplane in over a week, but we’ll meet up next week on an exotic “work" trip we arranged long ago. That should be a lot of fun, and I look forward to it.

For now, sit back and relax because we’re off to the East Coast. I took an 11 a.m. flight to JFK from LAX. Mid-morning is a great time to travel, because congestion on the roads, in security lines and on runways is usually at a minimum. When l boarded the Boeing 767 I got talking to my seatmate. Within a minute I knew he was really cool. He turned out to be a Johnny Jet subscriber! It was pretty funny, because after our “small talk" introduction he said, “You’re not Johnny Jet, are you?" I was both surprised and flattered that he read my weekly newsletter. It turned out he was a pilot for a cargo airline, and we talked almost the whole flight. You can learn so much about travel from pilots -- or any airline employee, for that matter.

When we landed in NY at 7 p.m. I took the AirTrain (for the second time in a month) to Manhattan. This time it took exactly one hour to get from baggage claim to my apartment. It was much easier to navigate as a “veteran." In fact, I even showed first-time passengers how to make their way. Look at that -- I’m already an expert! It cost only $7 ($5 for AirTrain from JFK to Jamaica Station, $2 for the subway from Jamaica Station to midtown). A taxi would have cost $45, plus tip and toll. You can’t beat saving both time and money!

I love being in Manhattan this time of year. The warm weather brings so much excitement to the big city. Everyone is happy that winter is over.

After dropping off my bags I met my sister Carol and a bunch of friends from NY and LA at a hip club called Suede Lounge. You should have seen the crowd waiting to get in (and the tons of paparazzi). I was there to celebrate my movie star/cousin-in-law Jamie Lynn’s birthday. It was a fun night, because I caught up with a bunch of old friends and met some new ones. A couple of days later, though, the NY Post totally dissed my cousin AJ in this article. I was standing right next to him when he made his now-infamous gesture, and it was nothing like they portrayed. In fact, it was really funny, and everyone (including the photographers) laughed. Suede Lounge, 161 W. 23rd St.; tel: 212-633-6113.

The next day I went to Agata & Valentina -- one of my favorite grocery stores in the city -- and bought a tasty mozzarella, basil and tomato panini. Ummm – they’re delicious. I scarfed it down in Central Park, another of my favorite spots. Agata & Valentina, 1505 First Ave.; tel.: 212-452-0690.

What’s surprising to me is that there are sections of Central Park where you can literally -- I mean physically -- get lost in. I proved it. After seeing a sign for Belvedere Castle I thought to myself, Hmmm, I don’t remember there being a castle in the park. I took a short stroll, and soon found the castle perched up on Vista Rock. Did you know Belvedere Castle is the second highest natural elevation in the park? I didn’t either. There are some pretty nice views from up there. If you look straight across you can see the Public Theatre, where each summer Shakepearean plays are produced. Maybe I will catch one later this summer. Belvedere Castle, Mid-Park at 79th St.; tel: 212-772-0210.

I got lost when I left the castle. I wanted to explore some more, so I went down a quiet path which led to more paths. There were so many choices, I eventually forget which way I had come. It got kind of scary back there, because I felt like I was in the middle of the woods (which I was). The only difference is I could hear cars in the distance. It got more frightening when I ran into a few sketchy people hanging out on the benches. For a second there I thought, Holy cow, I’m all alone out here. These guys could shoot me and no one would ever know what happened. To make sure that didn’t happen I started walking around like I was Jackie Chan rehearsing a fight scene.

Later that day I took subway to Grand Central Station, then the train to Connecticut. NYC trains are pretty vulnerable to terrorists. Last week I traveled numerous times on the subway and trains carrying two big bags, and not once did anyone even look at me funny. In fact, I hardly saw any police officers. Those bags could’ve been filled with anything. The city needs the presence of police officers, who should quickly search people with large bags to make riding the subway and trains safer. I know I don’t fit the profile of a terrorist, but I saw many people who did and no action was taken about them either. I’m not trying to be a pessimist, because I feel we should continue doing our thing, but come on! With so many threats out there, trains are prime targets. It wouldn’t take much effort to make them more secure.

But back to the fun stuff. When I arrived in my home state of Connecticut, I was picked up by my sister Georgette. I stayed at her house. It’s fun sleeping there, because she lives near the beach and has a whole bunch of animals (including two cats that are not allowed out of the house). That’s because one of them is a big bully. Would you believe whenever the cat escapes it runs over to the neighbor’s house, walks through their cat’s pet door, beats the hell out the cat -- in its own house -- and then takes off? That cat has some serious issues.

I was in town to attend a wedding celebration for Matt and Todd (they are brothers, not lovers). I grew up next to them, and we used to be really close. We were fortunate to be raised on a cool private lane that was totally safe to play on (cars rarely drove by). In addition, almost every house had kids, so there was always someone to play with. We did every game and sport all day long, from kick the can to baseball.

Matt just got married and Todd was recently engaged, so their parents held a dual celebration. We lost touch after high school, and my first thought upon seeing them last week was, “Damn, what happened to your hair?!" I’m sure they wondered the same thing about me.

My dad and his fiancee Nancy also came into town for the party. I hadn’t seen them since Erie, PA a month or so ago. It was my dad’s first time in Connecticut in a couple months, and just before I headed out to the party Nancy called to say his car wouldn’t start and he needs help. My buddy Mike and I rushed over, and sure enough his car was flooded. While we (well, Mike – I’m not very mechanical) worked on his car my dad went into a Jamaican bakery across the street. When I went in to tell him we (Mike) got his car started the owners (who knew him too well) were yelling at him in a friendly way: “Frank, stop eating those pies!" Have you ever heard someone get yelled at by bakery owners for eating too many of their goods? Only my dad. Brown's Caribbean Bakery, 14 Belden Ave. Norwalk, CT; tel.: 203-866-9169.

The party was at the Stamford Yacht Club, which is right on Long Island Sound. It’s quite nice. It was cool for me to see a bunch of old friends and neighbors, most of whom I haven’t seen since high school. Before dinner they asked if anyone wanted to give a toast. Of course I had to stand up and roast my old friends -- especially since one of them scarred my chin during a rock fight many years ago. Stamford Yacht Club, 97 Ocean Dr. W., Stamford, CT; tel.: (203) 323-3161.

The following morning Matt and Todd’s parents had a brunch at their house for the out-of-town guests. It was my first time on the old lane in a long time. After breakfast Georgette dragged me across the street to see the house we grew up in. I didn't want to go for two reasons: I didn't want to disturb the people who live there now, and I thought seeing my old house would make me sad. I grew up there, but after my mom passed a few years ago my dad sold it.

Have you ever read the book “Fahrenheit 451"? I don’t remember much about it, except when the main character returns home after something major happened. Someone else lives at the house, and his family is gone. That thought always scared the hell out of me as I kid, and I thought that by walking over there I would feel the same way.

However, I didn’t get any of those feelings. The man who bought the house was working outside, and he was so nice. When Georgette asked for a tour of the backyard he said, “Of course. You can come see it anytime you want. This is more your house than mine." How awesome is he? Because of his friendly attitude, I had no pangs at all. It was actually cool walking around the yard. So many happy memories flooded back. I pictured my mom going outside to feed the birds (she loved cardinals). Walking on the patio reminded me of all the childhood birthday parties my parents threw for me. It was really comforting being back.

The only difficult part was that the new owners are making some drastic landscaping changes, and adding another level. When it’s done it might be hard to picture our old house. That’s okay, though, because they have young kids. Knowing the family will create magnificent memories, just like we did, made me feel great.

I guess I’m being so sentimental because it was my birthday over Memorial Day weekend. That’s the reason that weekend was my favorite growing up. Now it’s my favorite time of year to visit there (I grew up in South Norwalk, and hung out mostly in Rowayton) because it’s the first (unofficial) day of summer. The beaches open, boats go in the water, trees are full of leaves and everyone is happy. Not only that, but there are all kinds of parties and barbecues, and most of my friends I grew up with come out of the woodwork.

The Sunday before Memorial Day is always the highlight of the weekend. Around 11 a.m. the pre-parties begin; then at noon the parade starts. It’s actually a tiny parade (it lasts about 20 minutes), but it’s America at its best. The dedication to all the soldiers at the end of the parade, next to the cannon, is always very moving. I get goose bumps every time they play Taps, and raise the flag to half mast. This year there was even a fly-by by two military helicopters. That was a really nice touch.

After the dedication everyone runs over to the firehouse for free hot dogs. People go nuts over free dogs. After filling our bellies, my friends and I head to the field where we played stickball every day. Nowadays this is the only time we play all year: old-timers vs. the young guns. Of course, we’re not that young and the old-timers aren’t that old. Just a couple of years separate the teams. However, we young guns won bragging rights for the rest of the year. In fact, we always win.

After the parade I went to another fun annual party at my friends Sarah and Rebecca’s house. Not only do they have really good food, but they too have an annual baseball game. This one is not competitive. You don’t need a glove, and it doesn’t matter how young or old you are as long as you can swing a bat. They use a softball that normally doesn’t travel very far, but this year it did (at least for me). I forgot the rule that hitting the ball over the fence is an out, not a homerun. After belting the first one over the fence, I felt bad I made an out. But no one seemed to care, since each team gets six outs. It felt so good to see the ball sail over the fence that I went for the fences every time. Man, it feels so good to hit a homerun -- even in a short field.

On Monday, May 31 (my birthday) the weather turned cold and rainy. I went to a late breakfast at the Sherwood Diner in Westport with my dad, Nancy, Georgette, Cam (my brother-in-law), Frank (my bro) and cousin Marie (on my mom’s side). After our meal I heard Frank whisper something to Georgette, who then excused herself to go to the bathroom. When she returned I said, “Georgette, I saw you talking to the waiter. Please tell me you didn’t ask him to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, because I would be really embarrassed." Who sings “Happy Birthday" at 11 a.m. at a diner? Of course, when the cake came Frank, Georgette and Cam sang extra loudly. The packed diner looked at our table like we were freaks. But I got them back, because when they handed me the cake I held it out in front of Georgette, so everyone thought it was HER birthday. It was pretty funny. Sherwood Diner, 901 Post Rd E., Westport, CT; tel.: (203) 226-5535.

After the meal my cousin Marie wanted to show me the nearby Sherwood Island State Park, which was recently renovated. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid, so I thought it would be nice. In particular Marie wanted to show me the 9/11 memorial, honoring victims who were from Connecticut. It was a beautiful tribute to those innocent people. I was especially moved to see a plaque of my old pal Cesar Murillo, who I used to hang out with in high school. Sherwood Island State Park, $9 to park; tel.: (203) 226-6983.

I don’t get to see Marie very often, so it was nice spending time with her. She always tells me fun stories about growing up with my mom. It's important for people to connect with each other, and spending time with her reminded me of a valuable point Tony Robbins made at the seminar we attended a few weeks ago. He asked everyone in the audience of 3,500 to do him a favor. He said: “Go to an elderly folks’ home and ask the front desk if there is anyone there who is really lonely, with no one to talk to. Find that person, and spend one hour with him or her. Ask questions about what it was like growing up, or talk about whatever they want. They will be so happy -- and you will be too, for giving back. You will see life brought back into that person’s face." For a listing of assisted living places near you, click here.

Later that evening my dad invited everyone to his place to celebrate my b-day. It was fun, and we got to watch one of my favorite movies: “Old School."

Next week I will finish off my trip to the East Coast, and tell you about my travels to Boston. Getting there was half the fun. But before I go I gotta tell you something bizarre that happened to Frank and me. I was sitting in my brother’s house working on my laptop, when I heard a bird chirp. I figured it was outside. Then minutes later Frank came in and asked me to help him get a cardinal out of his house. It was the first time a bird had ever flown in -- and it was a cardinal.

Frank slowly walked up to the bird, and grabbed it with his bare hands. I never saw anything like that (except on Animal Planet). The bird never flinched. Frank walked outside with it and opened his palm, but the bird didn’t move. It just wanted to hang out. After five minutes it finally flew away. I immediately called Georgette to tell her what happened and she said, “Oh my gosh, I was just thinking about Mom and her feeding the cardinals. Maybe it was a message from Mom!" I like to think it was her way of wishing me Happy Birthday.

Happy Travels,

Johnny Jet

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  • *If you heard about us somewhere else or have the link to the story please email Johnny Jet media and let us know where!
  • I feel like I'm watching Ross and Rachel break up all over again! Not to say your life is unreal like a TV show but I found myself getting very sad for you at the end of your email. I wish you and Amber the best because you truly do seem like a match made in heaven. But I have learned myself and by watching others that sometimes time apart is the only thing that can make us truly appreciate what we have in our lives. I hope that you and Amber find this to be true. Christine - Boston, MA
  • I'm so sorry to hear about your and Amber. I hope that after a short period of time apart, you'll be able to work it all out and be together. It's really incredible how personal your website is and I'm sure you're feeling especially fragile exposing yourself so openly to us readers. I know I speak for thousands when I say you have our support and hope you'll keep sharing with us. Your website is great, I've gotten some terrific travel tips and I have booked some things through your links to help support it But your personal points of view are what make it so unique and interesting. Don't stop trying to figure us girls out, we're really not that complex......just a bit more complex that you guys! :-) Best wishes for all good things. Candice in New York City
  • I just wanted to write and tell you that I was so sad to hear the news about you and Amber. I hope that the two of you can work thru your issues. Life is too short and if the LOVE is there for another, you surely can work this out. I have been through alot in my lifetime, and the one piece of advice I can give you is, there is nothing in life more precious than the love of two people. Relationships are not easy. Everyone has to work very hard at it and I hope you and Amber can find the road back to one another. My best wishes to both of you. Terry - Hollywood, FL
  • Johnny, I just wanted to tell you that it made me sad when I got to the end of your email and read that you and Amber will be going your separate ways soon. As I was reading your new email, I thought that the outcome would be that you and Amber would be back together and engaged again. I truly hope you both find what you are looking for but will miss the two of you as a team as part of your emails. May God Bless You Both. Sunny P - Austin, TX
  • Your last newsletter was both wonderful (what a nice story of how you and Amber met) and sad! I know you've been getting a lot of e-mail from folks saying how sad they were to hear about you & Amber breaking up, so I wanted to put my 2 cents in, too. You said you were going on a trip together again, but then will be going your separate ways. How do you know the next few weeks without each other won't just clarify that you need to be together? Is there any hope left? Sorry, I'm a bit of a romantic (ok, not a "bit"), and I don't "know" you, so I shouldn't make any assumptions. All I know is that you two looked so cute and happy together. PLUS you travel well together! Now THAT is a big plus when finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with! I hope there is still hope!! But I'm all for separate "soul searching," if that's what you each need. BEST OF LUCK & HAPPINESS to you and Amber both whatever happens!!! P.S. THANK YOU too for sharing all your fun adventures & funny insights all this time. :) Sincerely, Maileen V -
  • Hey Johnny! I just wanted to say that I am terribly sorry to hear about you and amber airplane. I was on an emotional roller coaster for the past 10 minutes reading your story. I loved the part how you remembered every last detail of the first time you met! That is serious points when it comes to woman! But then when I got to the end I was quickly saddened to know that you both are going your separate ways. I also emailed Amber after reading last weeks newsletter. I really hope you guys work things out you too are sooo cute together and I love each of you to death. Take care of yourself. We love you both! Sabrina & Malik - Virginia
  • I am so sorry! Are you going to seperate Please dont ! Or is my english to bad to undertand the last words in your letter. You two look so nice as a couple I do hope Amber will come back, may be Amber just had too much travel and need to stay a little more at home. Traveling always make you tired and upset after 3 days. To live together the same place, and have a kind of rutine and everyday life. Is may be more easy. For my Amber and Johnny is a beautiful couple. And I am so sorry Amber, I do hope you will return to Johnny one day. Hanna - Denmark
  • I know you've received hundreds of notes these past few weeks regarding your pending breakup with Amber Airplane....I just want to tell you how sorry I am. I try to read your column weekly...but missed it last week. I was shocked! Hope you can resolve your problems. All the best! Alex M. - Endicott, NY
  • Johnny - I read this week's story and I must say it moved me. Life is hard, full of tough choices. But having the guts to make life changing decisions will give you more answers (and subsequently a sense of knowing that what you did was right) than questions and doubts. If it was meant to be, you will end up together - I'm hoping you do. Hang in there and think good thoughts. Luis - Santiago, Chile
  • Glad to read that you and Amber were able to spend time together. Find yourselves? I think this is a life-long process and if you separate, you may end your relationship. Why can’t your “find yourselves” together? Maybe you’re both afraid you’ll miss out on some part of life but I can assure you you’ll miss out on each other. If you really love each other, get married and you’ll find all those emotions gone and will have a happy life together. Life is short, too short to risk losing each other. Maybe you need to call Dr. Phil for help. Geoff - San Diego REPLY: Thanks Geoff for the continued support. Dr. Phil would have a field day on us. (His people actually asked us to go on the show last year but we turned it down).
  • I, too, am saddened to hear of your relationship difficulties. ( Assuming it isn't a ploy to increase readership.) But, I also recall your comment about the film " Mona Lisa Smile." The film is about the choices and consequences young women had to make in the 1950's. And, although one would think that since the " Woman's Movement " the same choices ( and consequences ) would be easier to live with , they are not. In my life time ( I'm 64 ) I've seen the same woman prefer independence to conventional marriage and vice versa at different times, usually depending on their perception of their own ability to financially sustain a life style. Maybe you should see the movie again, and pay particular attention to the compromises each woman makes. P.S. I live vicariously through your newsletter. Peter -
  • Wow...just so saddened by your news. I wanted to tell you about Cursillo...it is offered by the Catholic and Episcopal churches. Have you ever been on one? If not, both you and Amber should take a shot at it. It is amazing! It will change your life. Keep up the great work. Muffin - San Antonio, TX
  • Just wanted to let you know I really enjoy your newsletter/website, and am telling people about it. You definitely have talent. And like the rest of the world, am very sad about you and Amber. Crystal - TENN
  • Hi Johnny, I'm sorry to hear about you and Amber. I waited for this weeks newsletter, hoping for good news, and while it didnt seem terrific, you seem to both have good strong heads and hearts about this, and I'm sure all will work out for the best. Though that's not much consolation! You are a wonderful writer! I enjoy and look forward to reading about your life/adventures every week! I really feel your pain and excitement each time! Hope that your days are getting brighter! Take Care and keep smiling! Tracey L. - Stamford, CT
  • I was reading your newsletter at 5 am this morning, in tears about your break up with Amber. Don't usually pull the age card but I have been around the block a few times and its my observation that a weekend "seminar" is a good uplifter but NOT a problem solver. You and Amber need at least some couples counseling together. Even three sessions of "exit" counseling would help you to have some persepective on what went wrong or what did not go right. You DO NOT get points for toughing this out without help. Its your life. If you want some recommendations, let me know. (PS I am not a therapist but have benefited enormously from therapy in helping my relationship of 22 years to survive). Veronica -
  • I’ve been married a long time – 38 years next week. We were married in our very early 20’s and have literally grown up together which has been fantastic. We have three wonderful children whom we adore – I just hope you and Amber can make it work – you seem to really care about each other. Marriage is just the beginning of a long and loving relationship. Make it work! Geof - San Diego
  • You will be fine and she will return! I am new to your Newsletters, And I enjoy reading them. My wife Byrd and I travel travel 2 to 3 times a year and have done so for over 15 years. It is great to read about your "sudden journeys" and the info you relay back in your weekly E's is fun to read and informative. Byrd and I live in Southern Maine and if you find yourself in New England, hook up with us and we would love to take you out in Casco Bay in our boat. Good luck and I hope you and Amber get together again.......Cheers.... Mike And Byrd - South Portland,
  • I enjoyed reading how you and Amber met. With that said, I'm sorry to hear that you are parting ways. Keep your chin up, David - Vancouver
  • G-R-E-A-T Amber story! I feel for you guys. Scott - Alaska
  • What a nice tribute to Amber! Carol - PA
  • My curiosity drew me straight to the 'About Johnny' section where I read your tribute to your Mom. Although we are total strangers, I was so moved by your story (to tears to be perfectly honest - which is not cool at work!) and the tremendous love you shared with your Mom that I just had to write and tell you. I lost my Dad suddenly 2 years ago - he was my best friend in the whole world. This seems to be such an unusual thing these days... but here's your site with this honest and beautiful story about a wise & wonderful woman and her son who truly were 'best friends'. You posted it for all the world to see - which is courageous, unique, and most of all very telling about the depth of this relationship. A relationship that clearly goes on long after her death. You are so lucky to have had time to say goodbye and give her things you always wanted to. You were blessed in this way, but I think you already know that. So..again I apologize for sending you this random email, but sometimes life moves you and you are compelled to tell someone your feelings (stranger or not!). Reading about your Mom made me sad, happy and inspired all at the same time. She was clearly a special person - and clearly instilled something incredible in you. Tara D - Greenwich, CT
  • I'm a johnny jet too and I really love the site. It makes me proud now, when everyone else doesnt "get it" that i have it - the travel (and plane) bug. Keep up the good work. johnny b
  • FROM JOHNNY: Friends of mine are going to be on Cold Pizza which is a TV show on ESPN2. Tune in on June 10th from 7am-9am (ET) to see Marvin and Jerome Tomlin talk about their new prodcut: GARSH Sports Equipment. The show runs from 7am-9am eastern time

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Folk Remedy for hot-weather health challenges. They work wonders, even if we don't always know why.


Always use sunscreen. But if you do get a sunburn...

Take a cool shower as soon as possible.

Steep six regular tea bags in one quart of hot water. When the tea is strong and cool, drench washcloths in it and apply them to the sunburned area. Repeat until you feel relief.

Burned your feet from walking on hot sand? Apply tomato slices to the soles of your feet, and secure them in place with ace bandages or handkerchiefs. Elevate your feet for 20 minutes.

Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen of New York City. The sisters are authors of Chicken Soup & Other Folk Remedies (Ballantine) and Folk Remedies That Work (Harper). They grew up in Brooklyn, where their mother and grandmother had folk remedies for almost everything.

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  • New Virgin-branded airline to base operations in San Francisco
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  • American Airlines to pay $2.5M to settle FAA cases
  • Big Bags Banned at Heathrow : Travelers who check into Heathrow Airport with individual pieces of luggage weighing 70 pounds or more will be asked to repack their belongings into smaller, lighter bags. The policy is effective immediately, and is intended to reduce injuries to baggage handlers. The limit applies only to individual pieces of luggage, and does not affect overall baggage weight limits set by the airlines. SOURCE: BTE
  • Star Alliance adds three: South African Airways, Finland's Blue1 and TAP-Air Portugal have joined Star Alliance, beefing up the reach of the world's largest airline network. The Star Alliance includes Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways. The alliance allows carriers to combine frequent flyer
  • programs and sell seats on each other's routes.
  • United now flies one daily round-trip flight between its Washington Dulles hub and Zurich, Switzerland. United operates the flights on Boeing 767 aircraft, and is the only airline to offer daily non-stop service between the cities. United has also resumed non-stop service between Chicago O'Hare and Honolulu.
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