Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Typhoon and heat. Standby to SFO. 3 hour delay. Would you like to sit in First Class?

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

I am sitting in San Francisco airport waiting for my United Airlines flight to Calgary.   I have been “on the go” for the past 30 hours and I am looking forward to arriving in Calgary at midnight tonight.  Fortunately I was able to sleep well on the flight from HK to the US.

Yesterday morning started at 4.15am because I had an early morning training session in the simulator.  The training went well and I was able to get home around 1.00pm and take a shower before doing the final packing and catching the bus to the airport.

A typhoon had been “brewing” in the seas to the East of Hong Kong and the pre-typhoon heat was oppressive.  I am glad that I took a shower and some time to get organised before I returned to the airport.

I was listed on flights to Vancouver and San Francisco and when I arrived at the staff check-in they informed me that the flight to SFO had more seats available – I took the option of SFO.  The flight was still “open” so I had to wait for a short while before returning to the check-in.  It was nice to get confirmed in a Business Class seat when I returned.

The flight was due to depart at 4.35pm so I made my way to the gate and arrived with a little time to spare.  However, due to maintenance problems with the aircraft we boarded around 5.00pm.  It was nice to get onboard and settle into my seat however, the maintenance problems and weather added up to departing three hours late.  Thankfully I was able to recline the seat into a lie flat bed and get nearly two hours sleep at the gate!

After getting underway I enjoyed a very nice supper and watched a movie (Duplicity – Julia Roberts) before being asked if I would mind moving to First Class.  Apparently one of passengers in Business Class had a faulty TV in his seat and they wanted to give him my seat.  For the privilege of giving up my seat they upgraded me to First Class.  Now that is the way to fly!!  No complaints for the late arrival into SFO and missing my earlier connections to Calgary.  The comfortable seat (bed), warm blankets, Shanghai Tang sleepwear and the space was worth it.

I am about to head to the gate for the flight to Calgary so I will log off, pick up some water and get back to reality by checking into an economy seat for the flight to my Princess.

More to follow tomorrow morning when I wake up!

Well, it was not tomorrow morning when I woke up – it was tomorrow afternoon.  Indeed, this afternoon around 1.30pm!

I arrived in Calgary on US6414 from San Francisco.  I managed to “squeeze” into my little seat at the back of a CRJ700 and enjoyed the sunset flight to Calgary.  The inflight service was great (two cabin crew who did a fabulous job) and the flight arrived on time (11.30pm) in Calgary.

My Princess was waiting for me when I came into the arrivals hall – a lovely welcome kiss and cuddle and a few tears too!!  It is so nice to be back with my Princess.

After hiring a car we returned to Jill’s house (Princess’ Mom) then drove to the Delta Hotel and checked in.  We arrived in our room around 1.30am – a long, long day.  Needless to say we were both exhausted and “collapsed” into bed after getting our things organised.  I didn’t stir all night and, as mentioned above, we finally “surfaced” around 1.30pm.  Just perfect.

We had a light “brunch” before getting ready for supper.  We drove around to Jill’s house, picked her up then drove to Earls for a lovely outdoor dining experience.

We enjoyed the wonderful evening sun, some lovely Australian red wine and great service.  A nice way to get back into the Canadian way of life for a few days.

After a short stop off at the local grocery store we dropped Jill off at home then returned to the Delta for an “early” night – earlier than last night!

We hope this finds you all well, happy, healthy and living in the moment.

Roey and The Princess

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Dinging Our Way To The Haight(s)

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Not enough sleep!!  Woke up feeling a little “groggy” – should have stayed in bed for another hour or so.  However, the very noisy garbage collector that comes through the streets at 7.00am is not drowned out by the ear plugs so we reluctantly eased out of bed and in to the shower.

Another yummy breakfast in the hotel before setting out for Union Square and some window shopping.

It was a bit cooler today as we walked through the streets but we were prepared today with our jackets and jeans – much smarter attire for the breezy Californian wind.

We found the Westfield (an Australian company) shopping mall and had a short walk around there before exploring the “underground”.  San Fran’ is not blessed with an extensive underground rail system however, when combined with the plethora of trams and tram buses (electric buses running off overhead power) the public transport is not bad.  It is call the MUNI (short for municipal) and we learnt (on Day 3!!) that you can buy quite a cheap day ticket and travel unlimited on the buses, trains etc… – wish we had of worked this out on Day 1.  However, the day fare concept is very poorly advertised (maybe they don’t want too many people knowing about it!).

After buying our tickets we went in search of the Apple Store.  Being Apple converts we searched like two groupies attending a concert.

This was our first intro’ to an Apple Store and what an experience!!  You have to hand it to Apple for making awesome products and giving you the opportunity to “geek out” and try them first hand.  We had some “play time” with the new iPODs, the iPhone and the ITouch.  We could have quite easily walked out with some new toys and some really neat software but….. we didn’t.  We restrained ourselves and kept moving in search of a place to have a coffee and a hot chocolate.  Roey needed to have a quick nap and recharge his body with some caffeine.  I am happy to report that the quick nap did the trick and I was good to go until 10.00pm!!

After waking up in the coffee shop we hit the street and headed for the “F-line” tram (trolley car).  We were in exploring mode again.

A short walk had us at the tram stop and, after a short wait, we boarded the old tram (one of many dedicated to the trams of yesteryear used in the US since the 1930’s.  They are very comfortable and they are a great way to take in the sights of the outer reaches of SF.
We got off at the end of the line – a place called Castro.  Castro is the “gay capital” of SF. They say that if you drop anything around here then you should kick it until you get to Oakland (the other side of SF bay).  Needless to say we didn’t stop here for too long (not much to see anyway).  We started ANOTHER uphill walk to a place called Haight Ashbury.  This suburb is….. well……. interesting.  It is a part of SF stuck in the hippy era and a place where all the misfits and alternative people hang out.  It is full of some very interesting (and not so “low end”) shops.  Some of the shops have the most bizarre paint schemes and even more bizarre window dressings.  A sight to see.

We stopped in HA for a quick bite to eat (learnt our lesson from the last two days – eating to late).  The meal was very nice but typically huge US servings. We need to remember to order for one and eat for two!!

After lunch we headed for the nearest bus stop (no more walking the streets of SF – they already have more than enough street people!!). We took the bus to the nearest tram stop then re-boarded the tram (the F-line) for the long trip around to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Again – a comfortable trip and a very pleasant way to see the remainder of the city and the beach front leading down to FW.

We went back to the wharf to see one of SF’s famous sites – the sea lion colony that has inhabited one of the marina’s docks.  At times there are over

1000 of these Californian sea lions (at different times) that inhabit these docks.  Most of them are males and they are very noisy!!  They bark continuously and never seem to be satisfied with the position that they have taken up.  Very funny to watch although a little noisy.

After our last visit to FW we worked out the bus route back to North Beach (little Italy). We went back to NB for a coffee and a little bite to eat.  This was our last dining experience in SF as we went back to the hotel after NB and “hit the sack” around 10.00pm.  The Princess was a little peckish before falling to sleep but I figured we had eaten enough food to sink an array of battleships so we fell asleep after eating a healthy apple and banana. Mmmmmmm….. pleasant dreams were had by us both.

End of Day 3 – off to Salt Lake City tomorrow.

A final word from the cute little bear that they sat on our bed in the hotel – “I left my heart in San Francisco”.  We also left quite a bit of our energy, some hard earned cash and a few dollars in the pockets of the 100’s of homeless people.  It is not all about holidays you know.

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Basking In The San Fran’ Sun

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Well, we arrived in San Francisco after an uneventful flight from Hong Kong with United Airlines.  There was no in-flight entertainment so we read and relaxed (about 2 hours sleep for Roey and 30 mins for the Princess).

The weather in San Fran’ was exceptional on arrival – we were able to get a wonderful view of the Californian coast line and Silicon Valley as we approached SFO from the south.

After a painless customs clearance we caught a cab into downtown SF.  We arrived at our hotel (Nob Hill Hotel) around 11.30am.  Unfortunately we were not able to check in so we stored our bags and went in search of the nearest Starbucks.  The nearest SB wasn’t that near, although it was in a downhill direction (I think the only downhill direction we have taken since we have been here).

Roey realised that his traveling attire was not cut out for the streets of SF so we returned to the hotel and promptly changed into some hiking gear.

After re-stowing the luggage we hit the streets again and headed off in search of adventure.

First stop – the famous cable cars and Lombard Street (the “crookedest street in the world”).  We didn’t ride the cable car (thought we would leave that for tomorrow) although we did walk down Lombard Street. It is crooked and it is quite steep!!  It is beautifully kept and very busy.
After a long walk we arrived in the Fisherman’s Wharf area and we were quite surpised.  What we didn’t know was that the US was celebrating Columbus Day and they were celebrating.  There was a huge parade down the main area of Fisherman’s Wharf and there were literally thousands of people around.  Something we are used to living in Hong Kong.
One big bonus for Roey was the celebration of Navy Week and a special airshow.  This show included the Blue Angels – the US Navy’s elite aerobatic display team.  After a brief walk around the Wharf Area we settled into a bite to eat before taking up our position for the airshow.
In short the airshow was incredible.  Seeing low flying (very low) aircraft fly aerobatics around SF Bay was amazing.  They flew under and over the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz Island and over the suburbs of SF.  Incredible stuff and a once in a lifetime opportunity!!
After the airshow we escaped the crowds and started what we thought was going to be a “short stroll” back to the hotel.  Not so.  The walk was pretty much uphill the whole way back.  We did get to see a lot of SF city and soak up a lot more sun (rather tanned from Day 1!).

On the way back we took a walk through Union Square (a high end shopping area) and collapsed at Starbucks for a short break.  Roey fell asleep for about 10 minutes and we knew that it was time to return to the hotel.  We were physically and mentally exhausted.  We had basically missed a full night’s sleep, walked half a marathon and spent the day in the beautiful sunshine.  To say that we slept well was an understatement.

We managed at least 11 hours of solid sleep.  Ahhh…………..  What a day!!

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