ANC MR 6/2013

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by violist, Jun 29, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

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    UA 12 IAD SFO 1537 1825 738 7A

    I arrived early enough to have a shower and lunch at the
    LH lounge. It was a pleasant surprise that downstairs was
    serving ample food mostly the same as at the Senator
    lounge upstairs and was less crowded.

    Tomato basil soup was heavily basiled but undersalted;
    my protein needs were fulfilled by a large serving of jerk
    chicken with plantains: holy crap this was good, partially
    because it wasn't really jerked: it tasted like my mother's
    tarragon chicken from fifty years ago but slightly hotter.

    There were sandwiches available - curried chicken salad
    and asparagus and brie - and an assortment of desserts;
    I just had a banana.

    Martell VSOP, which the young bartender didn't recognize
    when I asked for brandy, then Cognac, then I had to point
    out the bottle. He poured too much into a highball glass.

    Some guy began transacting business loudly on speakerphone
    in the center of the lounge. This mostly related to some
    Scrabble software that he had bought and that apparently
    didn't work right, and by golly, he wanted satisfaction
    immediately if not sooner. I could have had his name,
    personal details, and address if I'd been listening. As it
    was, that seemed to be my cue to go to C and check out the
    inadequate boarding area with its eau de restroom from
    across the way. Preboard was already happening.

    The flight was perfectly decent; my seat had a cutout that
    could accommodate a full-size carryon. The aisle seat was
    taken by a youngish Chinese woman with whom I chatted
    briefly before my seatmate showed up, a taciturn but not
    unpleasant brunette a few years younger than myself. There
    was AC power on the flight, so between that and looking
    out the window, which I still enjoy after all these decades,
    time passed quickly.

    At the next gate, there were some familiar-looking folks
    talking about familiar-sounding subjects: theblakefish,
    scott6067, and rob_flies_ua, exploring the ins and outs
    of mistake fares and airport lounges. It turns out we
    constituted row 2.

    UA 609 SFO ANC 1957 2350 752 2A Ch9^

    I chatted with theblakefish for a while, with some
    Courvoisier to loosen my tongue and confound my brain.
    Then the somewhat nasty Mediterranean meal, which looked
    less nasty than usual; even so, I didn't regret my refusal
    of it. It was a wide open flight, and we eventually spread
    out throughout the cabin to snooze.

    I decided to wait at the Boardroom until desamo's flight
    came in and said goodbye to the others, who were heading
    off for some shuteye at the Crowne Plaza. Catering was
    unstellar: blueberry muffins aren't my first choice of food
    in the middle of the night. Alaskan Amber, however, is.

    For some reason desamo was on US Air from PHX, and the
    flight was a bunch late; nonetheless as I wasn't too tired,
    I stuck it out. Saw her off as well at the CP and then
    repaired to the Sheraton, where I asked for a room that
    they didn't need until 4. I got put in a perfectly fine but
    unprestigious room on 4 that had a wonderful view of some
    construction equipment. The clock and the desk lamp were
    inop, but I was more interested in the bathroom, pleasant
    and functional, and the bed, very comfy.
    Jett Rink likes this.
  2. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    I was told that it would be 20 minutes to walk downtown.
    It took 5. Being a bit early I stopped in at the Arctic Rose
    craft shop and chatted with the artist-clerk, trading
    cardiac insufficiency stories; I excused myself at noon,
    promising to be back later.

    Club Paris is a classic downtown establishment, if Anchorage
    can be said to have classics: it is housed in the same
    building as before the 1964 earthquake, so just for that it
    is a bit of a rarity. Despite its name, it is reputed to be
    one of the best, if not the best, steakhouses in town. My
    mealmates were again desamo and rob_flies_ua, and of course
    the conversation ran toward travel if not miles.

    I ordered marinated sirloin tips extra rare; the waitress
    came back with the canonic witticism, "still mooing, right?"
    which is actually a bad sign, because the order never comes
    out less than medium when the staff takes that tone (which
    is not unpleasant, just a harbinger). The meat as expected
    came medium-plus, and I sent it back, keeping the rice pilaf
    with not so much zucchini in it and a big serving of veggie
    medley that was mostly broccoli and baby corn; the corrected
    order came out the way it should have the first time, just
    browned outside, raw inside. I'm pretty sure I specified
    exactly this at the outset. Ah, well, the food tasted pretty
    good. Rob left to do some work, and I waited for desamo's
    friends to whisk her away and show her Alaska; they came by
    presently, having been confused by the one-way streets and
    pay parking in the big city. We convinced them to stay for a
    round of root beers, and then they all went off to wherever
    and I back to check out.

    I walked back to the Arctic Rose to chat some more with the
    clerk, but she'd just gone off; the two manning the counter
    now, one artist who sort of knew the register training
    another who must have been a better artist than clerk, were
    entertaining enough company.

    Off to Humpy's to meet Rob for drinks and dinner. I had a
    King Street blonde, mild and good with half a dozen native
    oysters (very briny and without that odd cucumber/cantaloupe
    flavor that many west coasters have) followed by a citrusy,
    moderately hoppy Deschutes red something on nitro with a
    pound of golden king crab legs. A pound isn't much, given
    how big and sturdy the shells are, but my budget isn't all
    that much either.

    Afterwards Rob decided to go straight to the airport, do not
    visit the waterfront, do not pass go; we took the #7 bus,
    cheap and convenient, and then made a beeline for the
    Boardroom where a couple of glasses of rough red were in my
    future. desamo showed up shortly, having decided that the
    charms of free Alaska Airlines booze exceeded the costly
    ones of Anchorage.

    Blueberry muffins aren't my first choice of food in the
    later evening. desamo pulled out some chocolate-coated
    coffee beans, fresh from Turkey; I had my emergency
    provisions with me, a bar of Christopher Elbow's No. 13,
    61% dark chocolate with crystallized ginger bits, which
    was well received.

    And so to the gate.
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  3. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    UA1729 ANC ORD 2216 0715 739 2A

    The guy in the next seat was strangely obstructive and
    belligerent, sitting on his armrest with his legs partially
    obstructing the flow of boarding. This he blamed (oddly) on
    the FAs' not collecting his coat. It is true that they
    didn't seem particularly forthcoming or helpful; they stayed
    this way for as long as I was conscious; but it is not a
    great thing to antagonize the FAs, so I wondered what was
    going on. Eventually they ignored him, and eventually he
    got his legs out of the way, and eventually they collected
    his coat, and eventually he said thank you, after which
    everything seemed hunky-dory.

    I asked for a Courvoisier and was told "they must have drunk
    it all on the last flight." I didn't feel like anything else
    and actually had had enough to drink during the day, so I
    just zoned out from then on for most of the flight.

    Oh, I was asked if I wanted the "tapas plate," and I turned
    that down, figuring it was that Mediterraneanoid thing from
    distant unpleasant memory. The obstructive guy got one, and
    it looked at least more nicely plated than in the past. Once
    that had been determined, it was beddy-bye time.

    Around 5 Central I woke up and messed around on the computer
    for a while, including putting details into this report.

    We came in a bit early, so I went to the B club before
    checking to see if there was room on an earlier plane, but
    there wasn't, plus some of the flights were delayed due to
    the severe weather of the last half day.

    I hunkered down at the wayback of the club, which was quiet
    until some guy started railing on the phone to one of his
    employees about how it was time to decide the future of his
    company and get rid of the people who didn't fit into the
    plan and another guy pacing around behind me started whining
    (at least rather quietly) at someone named Joanne, obviously
    in a child custody situation. My head started to hurt.

    There was an e-mail from my brother saying that he didn't
    want to be taken out for his birthday and also that the
    basement was flooded and there was no Internet at the house.

    I was happy to go catch the next leg.

    UA 333 ORD DCA 1058 1346 320 7A Ch9^

    Having bad feelings about the fullness of the plane and the
    availability of bin space I actually swam to the front of
    the line and boarded with my zone. I found that the door
    to the bin just aft, having suffered indignities such as
    slamming on oversized bags, had given up the ghost, so I
    felt justified and just a little smug as I settled in. Turns
    out my seat had a cutout that could accommodate a full-size
    carryon, which negates any downside that bulkheads may
    otherwise suffer.

    We were delayed half an hour by some mechanical stuff not
    including the bin problem, which was solved by a mechanic
    armed with a screwdriver and some duct tape.

    The flight was perfectly decent though extremely bumpy at
    times; my seatmate was an attractivish, initially chatty
    blonde of about half my age. We made some small talk before
    I admitted I needed some sleep and receded quickly into the
    land of nod. We didn't make up much if any time en route, as
    we had thunderstorms to dodge, but that was fine with me.

    As we disembarked, there was a knot of people conversing
    in front of the gate, SMI/J among them. I had nothing to say
    to him so stepped past and went directly to the club to get
    my e-mail. The place was overutilized, with lots of flights
    delayed from the front that was plaguing the eastern part of
    the country, and the Internet was dead slow. I didn't linger.

    The sky was getting a bit lowery, so I hot-footed it back to
    the house and got there just as the skies began to open up.

    end of short report
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