Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Planes, Trains & Automobiles (2011/12)

And south to warmer climes

I woke up at 7am having spent nearly 11 hours in bed, of which I reckon 9 were in a state of sound sleep. (I remembered having a bit of a gap some time around 2am.) There was absolutely no need to hurry this morning, but I decided to get up and eat the all-important first meal of the day at a sensible time. I was able to upgrade my complimentary continental breakfast to a full American for USD3 and had a nice omelette cooked to order.

As it was dry outside, I decided to take a short walk and try to find the light rail station. This wasn't exactly a tall order: it turned out to be directly across the street, although hidden from view in the hotel lobby. It was decidedly chilly out there, so I spent the rest of the available time relaxing in my room and catching up on the notes that I was keeping for this diary. I checked out as planned at 1130 and caught the 1145 shuttle bus for the short ride round to the airport terminal.
I had some problems with the self-check in machines, basically because I had booked an American Airlines codeshare and the underlying Alaska Airlines flight number had changed, so I had to use one of the old-style desks. The TSA agents at the Security checkpoint were remarkably friendly; I thought that, to paraphrase Basil Fawlty, perhaps we should have them stuffed! I quickly found the Alaska Airlines 'Boardroom' lounge and again was given a most friendly welcome.
The slightly odd-sounding combination of a bowl of soup and a glass of champagne helped me to pass the time while I watched the comings and goings on the apron outside. In due course I made my way to Gate N9 in the satellite building.

ABOVE: A sea of Eskimo faces at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

(Link to flight log in side panel) 

Some sixty hours after leaving home, I had finally achieved my first genuine objective: San Diego. I had only been standing by the carousel for a couple of minutes when Bruce appeared on the scene and in no time at all we were heading outside to the car. It was a little cooler than I had expected, explained entirely by some mist and fog that was rolling in from the Pacific, just as it tends to do around this time of day during summer in San Francisco. But this was winter in San Diego and it wasn't a particularly welcome development! I briefly pondered the chaos that might have ensued if conditions had been bad enough to affect operations at the airport, then quickly banished the thoughts from my mind.

We made a brief stop at the Whole Foods Market in Hillcrest to pick up some fresh bread, and I recognised it instantly from a previous visit in February 2007. I recalled the recent news that the same company had opened a branch near Glasgow. We were soon back at Bruce's North Park apartment and it felt like no time at all since my previous visit in September. We spent the evening generally catching up and enjoying a delicious meal of home-made curried cauliflower and parsnip soup; rocket, pear and walnut salad; and a selection of cheeses. More or less in line with September's precedent, we somehow managed to dispose of a bottle of champagne and a bottle of wine. We didn't let the celebrations run on too late, though, as Bruce had to be up for work the next morning.