The most expensive cheapest flight to Germany

Man, this is weird. I booked a really cheap flight with United to go to Germany – it was $464 (313 EUR). But I learned some days later that I am supposed to attend an important meeting at the Oak Ridge National Lab … which is scheduled to happen during the first two days of my planned trip *argh*. We went back and forth and were not able to change the meeting time (due to very weak reasons in my opinion). So I had to change my travel plans – which turned out to be a week-long odyssey. Man, those airline ticket pricing policies are *totally* weird. After hour-long online searches, I found a flight from Knoxville to Dresden to Indianapolis for $495 from the 3/18 to the 4/7. Believe it or not, round-trips from Indianapolis were more expensive (I don’t get it). The change fee was $200 + fare difference so still acceptable.

Yes, my ultra-cheap ticket turned out to be $695 at the end … oh man … don’t remind me of this fiasco. And I lost the excellent seats that I reserved for the original flights. I’m now sitting in middle seats :-( . And I could not change the itinerary online (even though it worked yesterday) – so I had to call the hotline. I was even able to talk to somebody after 30 min music … the lady was really cool. A 3rd generation US-Japanese living in Hawaii – she even spoke Japanese (more than I do). And we talked for 30 minutes about Wakame soup (there is apparently some kind of canned Wakame that goes well with cucumber :-D ). I tried to leave positive feedback, but United hung up :-/.

Food is getting better …

if you do it yourself and make sure that you’re not ripped off!

I’ve been to the Saraga market in Bloomington – yeah! I am so proud of myself. I was actually the only non-asian in this market and people looked weird at me :-) . And of course – I had no idea what I bought (just asked other customers). But I got excellent Chinese green tea and original Japanese green Tea leaves (not tested yet). I guess I’ll go there more often, I even found this weird Japanese “Bonito” (or so) fish stuff.
… and then Kroger wanted to ripp me off … forr the 4th time. So I had an item that was labeled as “2 for $5″ and was charged $6.27 (obviously an error – such a strange price) at the cashier. I am beginning to develop the habit to remember all prices and check them afterwards. They gave me the money back without any question … but still! It is the 4th time … this is no coincidence (actually, I’ve not seen anything getting cheaper yet).
And, I finally cooked wakame soup with the (excellent)  ito wakame (dried seaweed strips) that Jungjin gave me last year. And it is excellent! I have to do this more often (looks like more Saraga mart). It’s easy too … I just took lots of water, soaked and rinsed the seaweed, added 2 cans of tuna, 1/2 celery “head”, 3 carrots, 7 mushrooms, soy sauce,  pepper and the ultra-hot Korean seasoning that I found in my cupboard (courtesy of Miho, some months ago). And yeah, it’s really easy (just wait) and tastes very good (and is nearly fat-free (only the fish)). This is the pot after I ate half: