San Francisco Voyage

My brother Kent got married last week in Cambria California, which is in wine country in between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I flew into San Francisco, and then caught a ride with my cousin and family down to the wedding. It ended up being a fantastic weekend all in all, but the first day of my trip alone was pretty incredible.

First of all, as I was headed to the Airport I got a call from the Orbitz automated Traveler Update telling me that my flight into O’Hare was delayed due to bad weather, but when I got to the airport and checked in, I had already been re-routed through Dallas/Fort Worth. Amazing! It’s never that easy when you fly! I especially appreciated the re-routing since throughout the afternoon I kept getting calls from the Orbitz automated Traveler Update telling me how much more my original flight was now delayed.

The flight was packed. They had oversold it by something crazy like 18 people. It was a small plane that had just two seats on either side of the aisle. I sat down and tried to get organized and situated quickly since I knew that the seat next to me would fill up any second. Amazingly enough, when we took off there was only one empty seat on the whole plane, and it was next to me! Time to stretch out and relax. I put the armrest up, and thoroughly enjoyed the extra room.

Perhaps the one thing that didn’t go my way on this trip was food… although it kept almost going my way. When I got to my gate in Dallas I had a few minutes before boarding, I was a little hungry, and I knew there would be no food on the plane unless you bought it. Just so that I would have a goal I decided to think of what I really wanted to eat before I went out in search of it. “A sandwich. That would be the perfect thing.” I thought. I looked up and to my right, and there was a sign that read, “Sandwiches”. So I went up the stairs to the sandwich shop only to find it closed. “Ok, what’s the next best thing? A bagel.” I walked around the corner and found myself face to face with a giant sign for Einstein’s Bagels… and it was also closed. “Ok, the next best thing… ice cream!” Six more steps around the next corner and I found a Ben and Jerry’s stand. The cheapest thing on the menu was $5. The cheapskate part of me was not into paying $5 for two scoops of ice cream when I could get a whole pint of the same stuff at home for $2.50. At this point I decided to just get the snack pack they had been pushing on us on my last flight. For $3 you got a nice grab bag with chips and M&Ms and crackers and all kinds of stuff.

Just as I had hoped, the flight from Dallas had a movie: Dream Girls. I hadn’t seen it, and I wanted to, but I was really hoping for a movie that I wanted to see more. As it turned out, just as the movie started, I got to chatting with my row-mates Jean and Bob. They were Australian, and were headed home after attending a teaching conference where Jean was a participant. We had a grand old time talking about accents, Scuba, and all kinds of stuff. It was far more interesting than the movie.

At some point the snack guy rolled up and asked if I wanted to purchase some snacks.
“Yes please, I’ll have the $3 bag.”
“Which one?”
“The snack bag that is $3 please.”
“They’re all three dollars.”
“Ok, I want the one with the assortment of chips and M&Ms and stuff.”
“You want one of each?”
“Um… what?”
“They’re all $3 each.”
At this point I finally understood that there was no grab bag. For $3 you got chips or M&Ms or crackers etc. I didn’t really want to be limited to just one of any of the choices, but at this point I felt like there was no backing out, so I asked for the chips. From where I was sitting it looked like the chip container was about three inches tall, and although it was a terrible deal, it was about as many chips as I wanted anyway. When the guy handed me my chips though, it was a giant stack-o-chips in a big tube. WAY more than I wanted. So now I was stuck not only with chips I didn’t really want, far more than I didn’t want in the first place, and I had to carry around this stupid tube. Jean and Bob were no help with eating them either.

After the plane landed I was waiting for my luggage when a gorgeous metal case dropped onto the carousel. It was a brushed aluminum-looking case that was a little larger than a briefcase, and it had rows of circular polished areas that looked kind of like small CDs on the sides. It was beautiful. As it went around the carousel every single person stared at it. I could tell where it went just by watching the turning of people’s heads. As a yo-yo guy and an entertainer I am always on the lookout for great cases, so I watched to see who picked it up. Much to my surprise it went right past the hip, young, stylish couple, and was picked up by the rather ordinary, overweight white guy. I walked over to him and asked him what sort of case it was. He leaned way in, and I actually thought he was going to hit me so I pulled back.
“I’m going to tell you, I just don’t want everyone to hear.” He said in a low voice as he leaned in again. “It’s full of bull semen.”
“Nice.” I said. “And where’s the case from?”
And that was it. He walked off, and I continued to wait for my bag.

I caught up with the bull semen guy again in the little train that was taking us to the main terminal. I explained that I was a yo-yo guy and I was curious about the case because yo-yoers are always on the lookout for a cooler way to carry yo-yos around. He told me a little more about where he got it, he made some bull semen jokes (real groaners too), and we had a nice little chat.

I planned my trip so that I could see my friend Cynthia that evening before connecting with my family the next morning to drive to the wedding. My flight re-routing was great for not getting stuck in the bad weather in Chicago, but it did get me in later than I planned. Fortunately there was still time to go to Cynthia’s favorite restaurant: Sushi Kazu. Cynthia had been talking about how great this place was, but I didn’t realize that she had also been flirting with the two young, good-looking sushi chefs. We sat down at the bar, and the sushi guys just made us stuff. Some of it on the menu, and some not. It was SO good. Unbelievably good in fact. Going for sushi can be hard for me sometimes since I’m a vegetarian and don’t eat fish, but these guys really knew what they were doing. I’m now worried that I might be forever ruined for sushi; nowhere else is going to be able to measure up.

To top off my awesome day, Cynthia and I went back to her place and sat in the hot tub, looking out over the valley, and up at the stars for a little while before we headed for bed. It was an incredible day, and the perfect start to a great trip.