snap's MRY Do - more airline screwups, then weather

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by violist, Nov 8, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    US2027 BOS DCA 0900 1030 319 3A was 1C was 2F was 1C

    US Air always assigns me 1C these days, despite my asking
    for 2F, and I always go on line and cancel 1C in favor of
    2F, and when I go to print my boarding pass, it comes out
    1C anyhow. I went up to the desk and alerted them to my
    very first-world problem; I was informed that 2F had been
    snapped up, oh well.

    The guy in 3B was this guy Mark whose job was to interpose
    himself between factions of Unitarians fighting over nothing
    and try to mediate. We had a conversation, mostly about
    stress and how to avoid it. I suggested not dealing so much
    with Unitarians. Hard when one is contracted to UUA I guess.

    A FA whom I remember from way back, Mary Kay, gave us great
    service, keeping us in snacks, but Shane, who was working
    the back, came to visit and gave us a few laughs.

    I had an hour to kill and had the choice of lunching yet
    again on ribeye at Sam & Harry's or at the club on bagels
    and red wine. I opted for the wine, Canyon Road Cabernet,
    which was perhaps a bargain at free and a buck tip.

    DL2339 DCA ATL 1200 1351 M90 25B

    As used to be the case at United, boarding zone 1 is really
    the 4th zone to be called. Lame and halt first, then first
    class, then Sky Priority, then zone 1. Until recently, Delta
    thought I was MVP Gold (I am in fact ordinary MVP) and gave
    me Sky Priority. Now they've tumbled to the truth, I board
    with the lowly silvers, and I wouldn't give a dime for my
    upgrade chances. So I reserve whatever thrones I can get.
    This seat is by itself by the overwing exit, and I don't
    understand why the elites don't jump all over it, as it has
    great legroom, double-size carry-on space, nobody next to
    you yammering in your face. It doesn't recline, though, but
    that's not a big deal, as I don't recline except on
    Continental, whose seats are way too upright for a sloucher
    like me.

    The grumpyish DTW-based crew was not a factor, as I slept
    through the flight, except twice this black-haired lady woke
    me, the first time to scream about the Sky Miles American
    Express card, the second to whap me on the shoulder, saying,
    "seatback forward," which I wouldn't have quibbled at so
    much but that not only was my seat not reclined, it couldn't

    We landed 10 early, and I was tempted to go find some fried
    chicken but decided to wait for a Schweinshaxe later.

    I hate ATL airport. I'm not a great fan of the city, but the
    airport is about as nasty a one as I know. There are
    obnoxiously huge airports and obnoxiously crowded airports
    but few obnoxiously huge and crowded airports, and this is
    one of them. I closed my eyes and ears and hurried on to my
    next gate, which, though it was only one terminal away, took
    almost my entire layover to get to, as the train was as
    overloaded as could be, and the tunnel reminded me more like
    New York at rush hour than anything else.

    DL 792 ATL DSM 1456 1610 M88 33A

    This might be the best seat on the plane for those who have
    the foresight to carry earplugs - if you really stretch out,
    you might be able to play footsie with the occupant of the
    jumpseat, but it is about 2 feet from the engine intake,
    which has its disadvantages.

    The CVG-based crew was much jollier than the previous one.
    We had snacks and Cokes served with a smile, plus they were
    much less obnoxious about hawking the credit card than the
    other crew had been.

    A pretty decent flight, not too bumpy despite many clouds.
    We landed a little early.
  2. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    It's walking distance to the Days Inn, sort of. I'd checked
    on Google Maps, and it looked feasible but uncomfortable,
    but 10 minutes' walk as opposed to a half hour wait for the
    shuttle, that seemed sensible. Just to make sure, I asked
    the nice lady at the information booth, and she sort of
    blanched. I took that as a cue to ask if it was safe, and
    she said, of course it's safe, this is a safe part of a safe
    city, and I said, I meant trafficwise, so she enumerated her
    misgivings - one, there wasn't a sidewalk, so if I didn't
    mind walking through a bunch of grass, that was okay, and
    two, I'd have to cross Fleur, four lanes of traffic. I said
    I'd be okay with that, and if not, I'd just call the hotel
    shuttle, which assuaged her issues. Well. It's a slog, as
    the grass isn't particularly mown where there's no sidewalk,
    and where there is a sidewalk it's old and broken up and
    worse than no sidewalk. Thought I, I'll take advantage of
    the shuttle next time, even though it's only about 10-15
    minutes' walking.

    The accommodations were satisfactory, as good as a Hampton,
    and the room was bigger.

    It seemed sensible to walk up the way another half mile to
    Skip's, where at 5 pm the joint was jumping. I was shown
    to a corner table in a room dominated by a large and festive
    party, so the service I got was sort of afterthoughtish;
    but though slow it was by no means bad.

    A Sam Octoberfest, the best of the draft offerings, took
    maybe 15 minutes to arrive, so I was kind of parched, and it
    was extra welcome.

    The pork shank is one of the dishes for which the house is
    known, along with the walleye, which was my second choice.
    The shank, which was advertised as coming with a delicious
    demiglace sauce, came, bizarrely, over rice pilaf from a
    factory; the bell pepper flavor from this rice really did
    not go, but the shank was pretty tasty. And enormous. It
    had been brined heavily in what tasted like a salt and brown
    sugar solution, so of course I had another Sam. You get
    another side, and I'd overheard someone in the large party
    say that the cheesy potatoes were really good, so I had that
    - reminded me of the Betty Crocker au gratin potatoes from
    childhood, only less salty, though salty enough. Delighted
    at a rekindled memory of the 1950s, I ate most of it.

    The table next to me got filled by a family that seemed to
    come here regularly, so we chatted a bit, and it came out
    that the girl child loved the creme brulee, so I ordered
    that. It was pretty good, the creme extremely eggy with
    what are called farm fresh eggs, with not so much vanilla
    (boo), the brulee crisp but not tongue-slashing glassy.

    Big city prices, but not unfair.

    Back to the hotel, downhill, and sleep.

    The wake-up call came 5 min early, so I got up and checked
    the mail early: uh oh - Delta had delayed my flight and had
    rebooked me to arrive in Washington at 7 pm, which would not
    do at all. So I got myself re-rebooked on the 0700 and
    hurriedly checked out of the hotel.

    The desk guy was sort of helpful but didn't see why I was
    not eager to wait for the 0630 shuttle. I had him call me a
    cab, but they couldn't guarantee pickup before 0630 either,
    so I said I'd walk. The guy pointed out that it was cold
    and rainy, and "are you sure you want to do that?" Of course
    I'd rather not, but this was the only way I could possibly
    make that flight.

    Running along the sidewalkless street was no fun and was
    fatiguing as well; as I turned into the main entrance of the
    airport, a shuttlebus driver found me and picked me up.
    He said that he'd already helped two other people on the
    same flight and in the same situation. Seconds later, I was
    in front of the terminal. I asked the guy if he would accept
    a tip, and he said no.
  3. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    DL3345 DSM MSP 0700 0808 CR9 11A
    DL3346 DSM MSP 0810 0925 CR9

    When I got my boarding pass, the info said that we were
    boarding. I hustled up to security, which took all of 3
    minutes, and at the gate discovered that we weren't boarding
    yet. Again I was #1 of 1 for 0 seats in first. It was an
    okay flight, quite bumpy. We landed within delta of on time.

    Guess what. Checking up later I find they reinstated my
    previous flight, and I would have been in first class.

    DL5813 MSP IAD 1010 1334 E75 4D

    Hah. This time I got the last seat, 4D. Lest I exult too
    much, hah, there was a screaming baby directly behind. She
    screamed most of the flight.

    Lunch offered a fruit appie of quite good fruit, with sweet
    apple wedges, very sweet pineapple, and intoxicatingly
    sweet grapes. The choice as usual was chicken or chicken. I
    got the chicken sandwich with Thousand Islands dressing on
    a slightly stale sort of pretzel roll. Dessert a blondie,
    which I thought to save for later but which I left aboard
    after it and my water bottle managed to slip behind or
    under my seat. The food was semi-tasty and quite abundant.

    I tried the white wine, which was maderized and probably a
    lot better than it was when it was fresh. For afters, a
    Jack Tennessee Honey Whiskey, which reminded me mightly of
    maraschino cherries with a bit of an oaky back. It did,
    however, blunt the effect of the noisy baby.

    We came in between 30 and 60 late owing to dodging weather,
    but even with the interterminal trek I still had 2 hr at the
    C7 RCC. At first the club was pretty empty, but anticipating
    the bank of Europe flights, it filled rapidly.

    The TV at the bar some presidential candidate or other,
    spouting inanities as presidential candidates do; I muttered
    "they should muzzle that guy"; the lady next to me gave a
    huge grin. I didn't have the energy or brains to follow up
    on that.

    The Cabernet tastes like sweetened urine that has been
    stored in an oak cask. Word to the wise.

    UA 731 IAD LAX 1730 1946 777 9J Ch9^:td: Empower^

    We loaded up lengthily - I wonder that no clever person has
    formulated a better method, but it seems that every way that
    has been tried is worse than the last. Not a biggie, the APU
    had failed, so even after boarding, we sat around for a
    while. Good thing Channel 9 was available to stave off

    Just as we were ready to go, though, we were given a pretty
    lengthy reroute owing to what was said to be excessively bad
    weather in the midwest, which put us on the edge for fuel,
    which necessitated reprogramming the computer, which lost us
    our slot, which meant that we ended up taking off 90 min
    late; a few directs were cancelled by a couple more weather
    reroutes, so we gained only a little and pulled in around
    80 late.

    Lots of weather, with periodic lightning shows. Partway
    through the flight, round about the Arkansas-Texas line,
    Channel 9 went off for the remainder of the flight.

    The wines on offer were okay but not thrilling - Round Hill
    Chard or Trapiche Malbec. I had Courvoisier instead, several
    of them.

    The meal (no choice).

    Smoked salmon rose - one slice of fish artfully done up in
    flower shape - nice to look at, hard to eat. The salmon was,
    as usual, pretty good.

    Chopped salad - fairly fresh but remarkably for its ugliness.

    A nasty main course - in order of best to worst, dried-out
    carrot batons, buttery but gray green beans, gnocchi that
    had seen better days, hockey puck chicken, acrid cacciatore
    sauce redolent of artifical tasting green pepper and black
    pepper. I must say that the best potato gnocchi I have ever
    had were on United. These weren't they, but they were at
    least recognizable, which the chicken was hardly. Put it
    this way - my seatmate's serving was twice mine, and I felt
    sorry for him.

    After a decent interval, hot fudge and/or cold strawberry
    sundaes, with okay ice cream. Coffee, tea, or Courvoisier.

    And 90 minutes before landing a snack - bananas, Clif bars,
    Emerald nuts, Cape Cod chips, Toblerones.
  4. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    We landed at 2107, which meant that if we hustled to the
    gate I had a chance of making the connection. Sad to say,
    they didn't have a gate for us (despite our having been
    expected hours before), so we sat in the alley for ten or
    more precious minutes, then we waited a while for the doors
    to open. The upshot being that we deplaned around 2128, so
    our chances of making the next flight were not good. A bunch
    of us (I was 6th, and I am not all that slow, so there may
    well have been others) ran to the next gate, where the gate
    agent had closed the flight to get his on time stat, no
    doubt. I hope he dies young. So we stood in the window and
    jumped up and down and waved (this Russian couple did the
    jumping up and down, I just waved) at the pilot, fat lot of
    good this gesture did.

    Reaccommodation: The LAX RCC got me a room at the Hilton
    and a couple food coupons; the latter I pawned off on
    some other folks. After a beer or two and signing the sheet,
    off to the shuttle, which took me right to the hotel.
    The check-in girl commiserated with my plight and gave me a
    quite large room, which I didn't pay a whole lot of
    attention to except for the bed part and not long enough
    at that. I had to leave before breakfast, which starts at 6.

    The time had long passed for me to cancel, so I called the
    Ramada Limited from the airport and had the night manager
    note that I'd be there from 9 to 12 for a shower and a nap.

    UA5350 LAX MRY 0707 0833 CRJ 3B was
    UA5352 LAX MRY 2134 2244 CRJ 2A (previous day)

    Security at T6 was pretty lengthy, so I ducked under the
    tape that closed off the priority line (I was taught to do
    this by a security guard once, and apparently it's the
    standard practice). Cut off 15 min, which I spent with
    cheap and rather bad muffins and really cheap orange juice
    at the club, which I often choose because the wi-fi is
    better than at the T7 club.

    A good workout crossing the two terminals; mindful of the
    previous evening's debacle, I allowed extra time and so
    sat around a while before boarding.

    A rather nice flight; it was pretty clear and the scenery
    was worth looking at. On landing, I picked up a taxi and
    was blindsided by the $3 airport surcharge, which meant
    that my 2-mile trip ended up costing $13. I guess that
    the airport needs fixing up, and they have to pay for it

    I was welcomed by the night manager who had taken my call
    the previous night, which meant he'd been on at least 12
    hours. I commiserated with him, and he invited me to
    partake of breakfast (which I was entitled to anyhow), so
    I had more crummy muffins and metallic orange juice. At
    least one of the muffins was chocolate.

    The Ramada Limited reminds me of the places I stayed when
    I was young and poor. Not that it's all bad; it was clean,
    though a mustiness had been corrected with far too much
    carpet cleaner. The bed was ample and comfy enough in a
    firm sort of way. Small bathroom, small shower, minimal
    amenities. Not a huge deal, as I was only there for 3 1/2
    hours. I did the e-mail and snoozed a couple hours.

    About quarter to noon I got a call, wasn't I going to
    check out? I said that the night guy had given me an extra
    hour, which news was news to the day guy. Well, he said,
    there's a young lady down here waiting for you. Five
    minutes, I said. The young lady of course was snap, and
    by the time I got there she was on her way to the sushi
    joint I had suggested, having heard good things.
  5. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Oh Sushi is next to the Travelodge, where I had thought
    about staying, so within a block. It's nicer than I thought
    it would be, an attractive enough room in an attractive
    enough building. A large menu including Japanese and Korean
    favorites. I was going to order sushi, but right in front
    of the menu there's a list of $8 specials, for which you get
    miso soup, a little salad, two main courses, and rice; quite
    a good deal. The miso soup was really good, too.

    snap had the beef teriyaki with shrimp and vegetable tempura
    combo hold the shrimp; I tasted the beef - it had been
    cooked too wet on a not hot enough grill and was a little
    bit gristly. The tempura looked fine.

    My tonkatsu with spider hand roll was a generous amount, big
    enough for me to forget my original plan to augment the
    meal with a small assortment of sushi. The pork was a bit
    thinner than I am used to (what does one expect from $7.99?)
    but quite lean. As a result it was a little dry. The spider
    was half a small fried softshell crab augmented by a scoop
    of California roll mix (shredded surimi and mayonnaise) and
    a couple thin batons of vegetable. Moderately good on the
    whole, and plenty of food.

    I had a bottle of Chamisul Jinro soju; this was an alcoholic
    bargain, as it provided a 21% punch for not much more than
    beer. So I relaxed for a considerable time with this -
    chugging would have been a mistake, I think. As a result,
    we missed the bus downtown by seconds - saw it whizzing by,
    on time, while we waited to cross the street to the stop.
    Why are buses on time only when you're late? Well,
    eventually we found a bus that took us pretty near where
    we wanted to go (the stop we wanted was closed for
    renovations, which brings up the question of why would you
    need to renovate a bus stop?).

    On the way back to our hotels, the Parker Lusseau bakery
    beckoned. We had a chocolate pear tart and a little two-bite
    raspberry almond macaroon. The former featured a sandy
    pastry shell with chocolate and caramel, poached pear slices
    on top; the latter was pretty much what you'd expect, except
    the custard holding the two halves together tasted to me a
    bit like mayonnaise. Both were sufficiently decadent and

    I had two nights reserved at the Days Inn Downtown (fka the
    San Carlos Inn) on Abrego St., chosen for its relative
    cheapness and proximity to downtown. snap was at the Clarion
    and then the Travelodge, both within a few blocks of mine.

    My room was bigger and nicer than at the Ramada, but it also
    cost $20 more a night, putting it into almost real hotel
    territory. I was pretty happy with it. Some idiot rapped on
    my door just as I was getting settled in: "oh, just wanted
    to make sure your room was all right." I wondered if this
    was some misguided housekeeping supervisor or if it was a
    thievery reconnaisance. I told them to go away and had an
    hour's shuteye.

    We re-met at Peter B's in the Portola Hotel complex for a
    few brews. Joining us were bdnyc and wcrhkd and +1 Larry.
    We had a rollicking conversation; I ordered a calamari
    appetizer for the table, as Monterey Bay is well known for
    its squid. These were excellent, and I convinced Larry and
    bdnyc to taste a little of the ugly little things. bdnyc
    tolerated them; Larry enjoyed them, so we split the dish.
    The rather malty, mild amber ale and the exceedingly
    coffee-flavored stout, both brewed here, tasted pretty good
    and did the job. As it got time for our dinner reservation,
    Larry highjacked the bill. I think bdnyc and I convinced him
    that we should put in the tip, but I am not sure.

    It's only a couple blocks to Montrio, one of the hot dining
    spots in town. When we arrived a couple minutes early we
    found that the rest of the party was already there:
    SanDiego1K and George, ErthCrclr and Joe, desamo and Rick
    and her mother Cheryl, around a long skinny table toward the
    back of the room.

    I was convinced by the pleasant waiter to get a bottle of
    Morgan Twelve Clones Pinot Noir 10, a quite nice wine,
    exemplary new-style Pinot with cherries and plums but a
    slight minty undertone and a good rich mouthfeel. Good
    choice, not my own.

    Having eaten more than half the plate of fried squid, I went
    for several tastes rather than a big meal. I started with
    bacon-wrapped prawns over slaw; the two shrimp were firm and
    tasty though pretty heavily brined, which actually forced
    me to drink a bit of water. The bacon, done to fatlessness
    but not very crisp, added a smoky aspect but no richness;
    I'd have liked a bit more lard. Lobster mac 'n' cheese was
    an anomalous choice, but I wanted to see what the big deal
    was about this fashionable dish, and it was not very
    expensive. What came: a biggish casserole with al dente
    mac, a Cheddar-milk sauce that tasted pretty okay, and some
    bits of claw and knuckle meat, just enough to make you
    realize you were eating shellfish: they suffered by contrast
    with the recent memory of the much more assertive-tasting
    shrimp. I finished with a dish I forget the description of,
    but it came as a shot glass of shredded pork rillette-like
    substance, a few slices of baguette toast, and obviously
    artisanal sweet but not too sweet bread-and-butter pickles.

    I was pretty satisfied all in all with this, and I believe
    that the others around the table liked their food as well.

    The waiter was unsuccessful in selling dessert.
    tom911 likes this.
  6. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    A gorgeous day. I thought we were supposed to meet at
    Trader Joe's before our events, so I showed up there and
    spent ten minutes wandering around peering myopically into
    various shoppers' faces, which must have spooked out the
    local population, but this is California, and I guess that
    they are used to crazies doing stuff like that. I didn't
    find anyone and wandered out.

    Our official meeting point was Colton Hall, California's
    first capital. I was looking across the street at a large
    gaggle of teenagers dressed in work clothes, not finding
    anyone familiar, when I was shouted at by deirdre. Our
    group had parked in front of the hall waiting for it to
    open. deirdre's husband Rick gave a California history
    background lecture, from the days of Junipero Serra to
    General Vallejo all the way to the provenance of the Moon
    Tree on the grounds (grown from a seed taken into space
    on the moon mission in 1969).

    At opening time we trooped up various sets of stairs - the
    front ones are steeper, and there are more of them, and
    they haven't figured out how to make an appropriate
    accessible ramp on this historic building and into the
    room where the state constitution was written and signed.

    An enthusiastic but somewhat nervous docent gave us the
    two-bit lecture and took our group photo. We also paid a
    brief visit to the jail, which held a strange fascination
    for some of us.

    Next stop: the Earthbound Farms, Carmel Valley, harvest
    festival, which featured a corn maze, demonstrations of
    various crafts, and tastings. As the popper smelled so good,
    I bought a bag of popcorn, which smelled better than it

    Cafe Rustica was our lunch destination; SD1K and George were
    already there when we arrived - they'd been sitting
    valiantly shooing others away from our assemblage of three
    tables, quite a task as the place was otherwise full.

    The soup of the day was lentil - a delicate vegetable broth
    flavored with thyme, a few lentils thrown in. Elegant but
    not exceptionally nourishing. I enjoyed it but should have
    figured it out and got something heartier.

    The fried calamari with chili aioli wasn't quite so nice as
    at Peter B's. It was a bit overfried and resilient, and with
    a strangely Indianish-spiced batter. The sauce was good but
    a bit on the mild side.

    bdnyc doubted he could eat a whole pizza margherita, which
    cost about as much as a large New York pie. When it came,
    its thin crust and modest size made it look more manageable,
    but he still couldn't finish it. I had a slice; it was good
    - crisp crust, fresh mozz, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil.

    Silvestri Bella Sandra Chard 09 was well oaked in the style
    I am accustomed to (I did a lot of my drinking in the 1970s
    and 1980s), which turns the natural fruitiness into a
    brambly quality. It's said that wine is too oaky when you
    can notice the wood, but I tend to disagree.

    ErthCrclr and I shared tastes; she wrinkled her nose at my
    choice, which is fine as we then didn't have to share; the
    Giesen 09 Sauvignon Blanc was more rich tropical fruity and
    less acidy than normal, so that was good.

    Our next stop, at my request, was the Talbott tasting room.
    I kind of like Talbott wines, though their fashionableness
    makes them a little pricy for the admittedly considerable
    pleasure that they give. We had a pleasant stop there and
    followed it up with a relaxed, less commercially visit to
    Morgan, whose tasting room, if I get it right, is close to
    where snap's family business was, something like that.
  7. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I wonder how many capitals this state had back in the 1800s. Benicia was the state capital for 13 months between 1853-1854, and even Vallejo next door was the capital for a time. General Vallejo had an estate over in Sonoma County. My father worked on the nuclear submarine named after him that was launched from Mare Island in the 60s, right across the water from the city of Vallejo. Benicia is named after General Vallejo's wife, Dona Francisca Benicia Vallejo.

    Benicia Capital for those that are curious (can only tour on weekends now due to budget cutbacks):
  8. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    There was some discussion between the docent and our local historian
    on this subject - no consensus, as what constitutes a capital of
    California is not completely clear. Benicia did come up on both lists,
  9. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    The vote was for visiting the Carmel mission, whose proper
    name is, I'm told, San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo.
    Founded in the 1770s, it was the headquarters of Junipero
    Serra, the founder and president of the missions of Alta
    California. I was pleasantly impressed in it, though its
    art and architecture don't ring my chimes in period, style,
    symbolism, or implications. Oh, they were letting everyone
    in free as there was some kind of reception going on in the

    snap had built siesta time into the itinerary, but I forwent
    some much-needed rest in favor of trying to change to an
    earlier flight, as mine was scheduled to come in around the
    same time as the hurricane. The system must have been
    overloaded, as I was unable to do anything on line and kept
    getting cut off while in queue on the phone. I tried both
    methods simultaneously, as two chances are always better,
    only 2x0 remains zero. It was eventually time to meet
    ErthCrclr+1 and snap to go to dinner, so I put my quest
    on hold for the time being.

    Dinner was at Passionfish in Pacific Grove, an apparently
    trendy and certainly hopping oddity near Lovers' Point,
    though it was hard to tell that as it was dark outside.

    As I had to save my pennies for change fees and/or hotel
    no-show penalties, and I wasn't all that hungry anyhow,
    I got two appetizers - the grilled sea scallop with caper-
    raisin-walnut relish, artichoke risotto cake - a fresh, dry,
    expertly cooked, quite big chunk of meat that unfortunately
    was not the be all and end all of scalloppy goodness and
    exhibited that jellylike nothingness that people have come
    to associate with the name. The relish had way many capers,
    so I pushed at least half of them aside. The starchy puck
    was tastier than the shellfish but had tons of unadvertised
    cheese in it - cheese is bad for me in specific and not all
    that great for seafood in general. The Europeans wisely
    avoid pairing flavorful cheeses with flavorful fishy things,
    but then some clever soul wrote oh, it's okay to cover your
    lobster with Parmesan and Romano, and people started
    parrotting that contrarian opinion, much to the detriment
    of good sense and good taste.

    Dungeness crab salad with avocado, spicy ginger vinaigrette
    came in this odd tower arrangement and looked to be rather
    small for the price; it turned out to be quite mightier
    than it looked and pretty satisfying. The base was avocado
    slices, which formed the bulk, with shredded crab body meat
    in a light egg dressing, mizuna greens on top. The crabmeat
    was hollowed out (cheating) to accommodate more greens. The
    dressing was more soy than ginger and less spicy than I
    would have expected; some bites had a little zing but others
    had none at all. Plenty of flavor and enouth calories, but
    at $5 cheaper they'd still be making a hefty profit on this.

    The Alfaro Lindsay Paige vineyard Chard (Santa Cruz) 10 was
    pleasant, well oaked to add character to the scallop but
    still bright enough to do nice things for the crab and

    A happy, chatty 3-hour meal, but I wa kind of glad to get
    back to my quest; I started working at 11:15, on the phone
    after determining that .bomb wasn't going to cooperate.
    After a couple of dropped calls after huge waits on hold,
    I got through to an agent sometime after 1 am. She sounded
    really stressed, so I figured it had been a hard day at the
    office. Becoming apprised of my situation, the agent went
    to work; we chatted cursorily as we both typed away,
    checking the various options. It came out that she was in
    HNL and was supposed to be going home, only she couldn't
    because of a tsunami warning. Apparently it was a day for
    rare occurrences; the Giants won their third in a row, and
    there had been a 7.7 earthquake north of Vancouver, causing
    ripples across the Pacific.

    Around 2 she fixed me up with my original itinerary, only a
    day earlier,

    So I missed lunch at The Bench, Pebble Beach, the Monarch
    Butterfly Grove, Pacific Grove Point Pinos Lighthouse, the
    oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast,
    and the C restaurant. I hope everyone had fun.
  10. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

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    I managed a couple hours' sleep before calling a cab. I
    actually went down to the office to check out and have
    them call me one, but it was shut, and I was thankful I
    hadn't left my key in the room, as I had to troop back and
    call from there. The taxi came in about 15, and after a
    10-minute ride from the Days Inn (which was a couple bucks
    more than the ride to the Ramada; they charge the airport
    tax both ways) I was checked in in plenty of time. Security
    was genial and a breeze.

    There's free wi-fi and ample outlets in the gate area, which
    is good. The toilets are one-holers, which is bad.

    Loading up took just a few minutes, and we were on our way
    a couple minutes early; we landed a couple early as well
    but had a lengthy, anxiety-producing taxi around the airport
    and to the gate. I'd slept through the flight but presume
    it was fine. The last thing I remembered was that the FA had
    been quite pretty in a Russian mail-order bride sort of way.

    Extra hustle got me to gate 74 in the midst of zone 4 or 5;
    naturally, all the storage around my middle bulkhead seat
    (ugh) was full, so I stored one bag above row 9 and my other
    above row 14, endearing me to all and sundry.

    A very agreeable and accommodating cabin crew.

    Breakfast was very familiar: fruit appie, egg puck, potato
    au gratin, and that horrid mechanically-separated sausage.
    Pink yogurt and a margarine-baked croissant on the side.

    Audio was a mess of static; video pulled up on all channels
    the unwelcome black screen of death with the invariable
    caption "This channel is not available Please select another
    channel," in Microsoft safe mode font.

    It wasn't a bad flight, but I was still itching to get out
    of there.

    Nothing exciting back at the house - I arrived a day before
    the storm actually hit, and when it hit, we were pretty much
    spared: wet basement, a few branches down, only momentary
    power outs - quite a contrast with previous lesser storms,
    when Pepco took its sweet time getting things back in order.

    Not so lucky the house cattycorner across the street - it took
    a tree to the roof and remains uninhabitable weeks later.

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