looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Catching a Plane

Well, we've arrived in California, despite a few setbacks during the journey. We are staying at Michelle's parent's place in Santa Rosa.

Our good friend Mitchell took us to the airport on Thursday. We left about 1:30pm and stopped in NewMarket at a deli called Zarbo's, which is an alternative source of bagels in Auckland. It is run by a jewish woman (at least we think she runs the place - she _seems_ to) who knows food. The food there is simply great, and the deli generally is a good source of kosher stuff, which is a good sign. It's not that we pay any attention to eating kosher, but it is a good sign. That the bagels were going to be acceptable, for example <g>.

After lunch, we were dropped at the new Auckland International Terminal (which is much improved over the old one) and checked in for our flight. We were early (like about 3 hours early) but we wanted to check in fast and early to avoid queues. This we did - there were only one or two other people checking in for the same flight. We knew that we could go through the customs gate immediately and sit in the United Airlines Red Carpet Club (we now have a membership) and relax with our laptops, coffee, and magazines <g>. However, we were informed that flight UA842 was delayed due to heavy fog in Melbourne, and as a result would not be boarding until 6:00pm! Argh. We knew we had a shuttle to catch from LA to San Francisco at the other end... we figured if we ran and got through customs at LA reasonably quickly we would still make it.
(This is not an unreasonable assumption - last time was amazingly quick for some reason. I guess our flight was the only one coming in at the time.)

I rang Matt at Cornerstone from the Red Carpet lounge, because I had doubts that I had left the car locked. I remember disabling the car (pulled fuses our from under the bonnet and hid them inside the house) but I couldn't remember for sure that I'd locked all the doors. I asked Matt to go home via our house and double-check.

We finally boarded at around 6:10pm.

It was a fairly monotonous flight. We watched one of the films - _Two if by Sea_ starring Sandra Bullock, who was her usual watchable self. I did manage to sleep for some of the flight, but felt pretty uncomfortable for most of it. Got a pounding headache for most of the rest of the day. Lisa wasn't any better, and seemed to be running a fever for some of the time. We touched down at about 11:15am on Thursday (flying one day into the past across the International Date Line).

We missed our shuttle, but managed to re-ticket for "on call" on the next available shuttle. As we left the ticketing counter and walked to the gate, we heard our names being called out! That was quick. We boarded straight away and experienced a very full flight from LA to SFO.

From San Francisco airport we had to catch a shuttle bus to Santa Rosa, which goes over the Golden Gate bridge (yay! A welcome sight. I _love_ that bridge) and up Highway 101.

We had a minor delay just before we got on to the GG bridge. The bus detoured _under_ the road, and back up the hill to the Presidio, to meet with another bus! This one had a man-shaped indentation in the front of it and a shattered windscreen. Ouch. It turned out there had been a five car accident on or near the bridge, and we had to collect the passengers that had been travelling on the other bus. Luckily no one was hurt, although some of them had helped with the aftermath of the accident.

I wonder if we would have been in that bus if we had caught the earlier shuttle from LA? Who knows.

The bus trip was quite pleasant. I remembered lots of scenery from our previous trips between San Francisco and Santa Rosa. It was looking a bit yellow and parched... apparently it has been quite hot here recently. Quite a change from Toronto! A month later and quite a bit of latitude makes a difference.

The bus stopped in Santa Rosa at a hotel, and then we caught a taxi to Michelle and Paul's. Derek met us at the door. Yay! It was good to see him again, and he was happy to see us! Paul and Michelle's children were there too.

Then Josh turned up at around 6.00pm , and we decided to go to the China Room for dinner, all 9 of us. Yummy food.

Then we came here, and settled in. Derek is staying with us - he is camped out on the living room floor in a sleeping bag, and we're in the guest room. Ah - a shower at last...