Daily Archives: 2015-02-13

Snow to Sun

I went to bed too late and woke up too early. After getting into SFO at 5pm, BARTing home to Alameda, sorting through 3 months of mail, we decided to head to Park street to grab a bite to eat. There was nothing in our fridge so it was either that or order in. In hindsight, we should have ordered in. We have a months worth of packing to do before bed and travel days are hard enough. Travel nights are worse. After some way too spicy Mexican food, we padded back to the house to begin our effort.

I was too tired to be smart and efficient about it, so I am sure I overpacked. Well, I threw stuff in a pile for Michael to Tetris in our big pink hard sided luggage. The luggage that United baggage handlers manhandled, cracking the sides and losing several feet off them. The handle will never be the same either. I normally would never bother complaining, since my experience with airline customer service agents has never been a positive one. But we trudged over to ask, just to see. To my surprise they were very receptive. They also said that had it been domestic, there is nothing they could do. But when your stuff is damaged on an international flight, they have options, such as fixing the broken pieces. They made a report and now we will wait until they email us. Most of all, it was just nice being acknowledged and heard.

So when we thought we had it all done, we both fell into bed for the short 5 hour nap before we caught a Flywheel to the airport. I was groggy and too exhausted to fight, so when I saw that the driver’s meter was already past $4.30 as we got in the car, I didn’t say anything. He was pleasant enough and chattered on about his upcoming trip to the mountains. At the end of the ride, he seemed to forgot to turn off the ride charge so it kept charging us. When I was standing in the security line, I finally called the guy and he said he was having trouble with his phone. In the end, the fare was double what it should have been. He told me to contact Flywheel to rectify the problem. Ugh. Not a great day to start the day.

I waited at the boarding area while Michael went to fetch some coffees. He was hungry so I caved and let him get the overpriced $10 subpar breakfast burrito. He purposely went out of his way to get Peet’s which is more local than the Starbucks looming in front of our gate. We were proud of ourselves for not getting on that wagon until our first sip of Peet’s. No joke, it was so bad I almost spit it out. Three minutes later, I barely made it to the restroom. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Dizzy and 10 lbs lighter, I made it back to Michael just as he handed the boarding pass to the staff for scanning. We both left our barely touched coffees by the trash before getting on the plane. It was a rough morning to say the least.

Southwest doesn’t assign seats so we were lucky to get to sit together. I really needed to be able to sprawl all over Michael. A couple hours later, we landed in San Diego. It was sunny and warm, which lifted my mood instantly. We opted to try Flywheel again on this end, especially since they had a $10 off your ride promotion running this weekend. Well, the first attempt failed when the airport traffic police aggressively accosted our would-be driver, threatening him and us with tickets and fines if we went through with the ride. Apparently Flywheel is not allowed at the San Diego airport. Uber is. I guess they have paid the 2 million dollar fee to be allowed. We walked down the terminal where the traffic police were not, and tried again. This time it worked. Kinda.

Our Flywheel driver decided to take us on the very scenic tour, despite our protests, and ended up charging us more than $15 more than the ride should have been. Then he tried to convince us to pay him in cash because his app wouldn’t charge us as it was broken. I could see he was lying because it was still charging us as he spoke! It was heartbreaking to realize as we were being ripped off, that there was nothing we could do about it. Since these companies already have your credit card in the system, and you get automatically charged, you can’t argue the fare. Not without hours of emails, tweets and Facebook complaints. Which is how I spent my morning in San Diego. I wasn’t going to hold my breath though, but I had to try. I absolutely hate being taken advantage of by smarmy tact drivers. And twice in one day? I was seething.

As we rocked up to our Airbnb house, we were both overwhelmed with how close the plane was that flew over us. The house is directly under the flight path and you can see right up into the bottom of the plane. I could see a rock stuck in the planes tires, it was that close. It reminded me of Airport beach on St. Maarten. Michael and I were excited, as we are both nerds for this kind of thing. As we were walking up the steps, the next plane plowed by practically scraping our heads. It was awesome.

Our Airbnb host, Michael, was so very friendly and kind. He showed us around and let us store our stuff since we were there hours before checkin time. He gave us the house tour and we were in awe of the love and care he has put into the property. It truly is a labour of love and we were in one of the best rooms. Our second floor Blue Room had a view of the city, the harbor and the planes were now even closer as they flew down. We had a fireplace and our own private balcony. Life was looking up!

We made our way down to the waterfront and walked along absorbing the sun. My whole demeanor changed and suddenly, it was easier to breathe. The atmosphere in San Diego is very relaxed and I could actually feel the stress melting away. We found our way to the famous Fish Market, where we had our lunch. The place is gorgeous in dark wood decorated very tastefully. We slurped up some fresh salty oysters, had a delicious plate of sashimi and shared a light flakey fish entree. The sushi master, Teiji, came over and gifted us with a sample of his favorite fish. It was a very sweet gesture and we were impressed with his generosity and deep knowledge about all things fishy.

We walked along the waterfront and then had a coffee break at Lion Cafe. My feet were very sore by this point, as it has been a while since I have worn sandals. We decided to hit the mall that was close by to hunt for an alternate summer shoe. We tried on a lot of different styles in several different stores, even getting a digital foot analysis done. In the end, we both ended up with a new pair of Reef sandals. And I found some funky new knee high socks in every color of the neon rainbow. Their bright vivid hues matched my mood.

Next, we hit CVS to pick up some sunscreen which is not my normal way. But 30 days in the South Pacific, I don’t want to take a chance. After much deliberation and smelling of all the different offerings, we settled on a bottle of sport spray 30 SPF. We also picked up a travel size jar of Noxema, just in case the burn does happen. Noxema is my favorite after burn care and works wonders at healing sore skin. I was getting tired so we made our way back in the direction of home, when we stumbled upon a place called Spike Africa’s. They had really good happy hour specials so we decided to dive in for a snack. Michael seems to always be hungry and if he doesn’t get some food, he had the tendency to become hangry. After chowing down on some more fresh oysters, fish taco, calamari and delectable mussels, we gambled on the free Yelp dessert. When you check in here, you get a free dessert but I don’t put a lot of hope in a butterscotch pudding. Really? Who has pudding for dessert in a restaurant? Well, I was so very wrong. My one bite turned into a lovefest with the creamy sweet pudding topped with thick warm caramel balanced with just the right amount of sea salt flecks. I was high off the yumminess of it. We thanked our server Bryan who was ever so gracious, and continued our trek home.

After some more walking, Michael started complaining about how heavy the bags were. I decided to give up my old sandals that were no longer needed to a homeless girl sitting on the curb. She was really thankful especially since she was pregnant, she informed me. It felt nice to be able to give someone a break. We stumbled up on a local mexican dive where Michael picked up his supper from. It was super cheap and quite busy, so I guessed it was going to be yummy. Even though, I decided not to get my own, and only have a few bites of his giant chimichanga. I wish I had gotten my own. When we tucked into it back at home, it was clear I had made a big mistake. Taco Rey is some of the best mexican I have had in a long time, maybe ever. I vowed to head there in the AM for breakfast burritos. We ended the night lounging in the big jazuzzi tub and watching the Imitation Game. I felt asleep exhausted but happy.

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