As I was looking over posts from Oct 2017 – I realized that lack of cheap internet access on the NCL Sun meant that I never got around to posting pictures from Fleet Week, the Blue Angels, the Bridges, San Francisco, or the SF Bay. Since I finally found the old photos on a back up hard drive (and yes, sorting by year, month, date is the only way to go), I decided to share. It is not like otherwise there is a lot of thrill in seeing garter stitch scarves or listening to me whine about lack of progress on those papers still hanging over my head.
is just starting in San Francisco. In the back of my head, I sort of had filed the information away along with all the other local events that are interesting but don’t elicit any personal interest in participation.
Then I noted some rather low flying, fast, expensive aircraft buzzing the Golden Gate Bridge.
Right – Fleet Week – when Navies get together and show off – their ships, their abilities, and, in the case of the US Navy – the Blue Angels.
I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing last year – but I remember 5 Oct 2017. I was headed round trip through the Panama Canal on the NCL Sun in the company of good friends from Australia. We were due to pull out from San Francisco at a reasonable time of the afternoon. And then the fun started. It was a Friday afternoon. The tannoy announcement informed us that we were going to be delayed secondary to the Blue Angels rehearsing. Along with dozens of others, I went and staked out my territory on the upper deck. Up at the bow with a good camera and excellent lens. I checked the old post to discover that I hadn’t uploaded pictures at the time. And since I have changed laptops since then, I have to find the connector, pull out the backup drive, and find the photos.
Anyway. It is Friday. And what started out this whole train of thought was seeing what I thought was a low flying aircraft out of the corner of my eye. George’s window mostly faces another section of the Long Building. I can see toward downtown (East) if I look out and too the right between the two wings of the building. Huh? Walking to the lounge at the end of the hall, I had a clear view of the stretch of Bay which separates San Francisco from Marin and includes the Golden Gate. Contrails slowly dissipating. Oh – ok, Fleet Week, Blue Angels.
Back to my audio books and knitting.
I mean. Seriously.
I returned the rental car this morning at San Diego Airport. Picked up a physical boarding pass from Southwest Airlines and worked my way through the usual disorder of TSA. Of note is that the USO is at Terminal 2 (which makes sense as the “International Terminal). I decided it just wasn’t worth the hike over and back. My flight was on time and I arrived in Oakland with more than enough time that I could have gone home.
But since there was about 3 hours to this evening’s game; the final homestand of the 2019 season it just didn’t seem worth the effort. Instead, I hung out in the terminal long enough to make sure that my phone was charged before heading on the mono-rail to the Coliseum BART station and the overpass to the Stadium with plenty of time to locate both food and drink.
I lasted till about 2100 when it was obvious that this game was going to take forever. Two hours in and we were not even out of the 5th inning. Managing to miss the Richmond train by seconds (I just love people who block stairs, escalators with their intense conversations or cell-phone huddles) so had to wait 25 minutes for the next train.
I was home in time to watch the 9th inning. To watch the As lose to the Royals, perhaps the second worst team in the league. In good news – the Twins won. If the A’s can get it together, they actually may hang on to their wild card slot.
And tomorrow is another day. Another drive to UCSF.
and before you make any comments about Golden Bears – yes I know this bear is not brown. Get over it.
My backer kit from the PDX Broadsides kickstarter arrived.
This is a Filk/Folk group from Portland Oregon which I first heard at WesterCon a few years ago. I have a number of their other albums (electronically from BandCamp). The best track on the album is Rewind. I suggest you take a listen. Not that thrilled about the rest of the tracks – excellent quality, I am just not in my 30s. The t-shirt is from an earlier album/track Ultimate Riot.
I mentioned, did I not that the DC Metro doesn’t start till 0800 on Sunday mornings? That the first meetings start at 0800? That just because the Metro opens at 0800 doesn’t mean that corresponds to the time the first train rolls through my particular station? End result is that I made it to Dupont Circle and up the hill to the conference location in time to discover that there was a definite lack of coffee on site. Listening to people discuss dry academics without caffeine in my system is not necessarily my idea of a good time.
My working group is dispersing back to their home countries (Australia, Austria, France, Canada, India, UK, US) with plans made for future conferences and collaborations between.
And then it was time to head for the airport (closing ceremonies are never my things, especially when the last speaker in the conference doesn’t end on time). I was flying Delta. Arriving at the airport early wasn’t a problem. Finding a location where I could sit down was, especially after a gate change.
Did I mention that all the flights were so seriously over booked that the airlines were offering hotel vouchers, meal vouchers, $600 in flight coupons and rebooking to 0600 in the morning. Was not seriously tempted, but it thought about it for all of 30 seconds.
Then the delays started. Slight delay of plane arriving from Atlanta (duh). Followed by mechanical on the way out to JFK. Then the flight arriving in? Medical pickup followed by 20 minutes of deplaning before loading for La Guardia. So we were only 20+ minutes behind for my connector to Detroit. Which was packed. Which was filled with all of the above mentioned passengers attempting to bring their entire life possessions with them on the plane in suitcases obviously too big to fit anywhere other than the baggage compartment. It meant that the boarding process had to be stopped part way through to take cases back out of the plane and check them.
Detroit is just a short flight away. We arrived with 45 minutes till my next flight (not the 90 that I had planned). And the fun started all over again. Announcement – this plane is completely booked. We are looking for volunteers to delay travel till tomorrow morning. Ok – not happening from the looks of things. And…. we need 37 roller boards checked as there is not going to be room on the plane for all of them. !5 minutes later – Folks – we still need 32 large pieces of carry-on checked. If you are in Main 2 or Basic boarding, there is not going to be cabin space for anything that doesn’t fit under the seat in front of you.
And on it went. There were a few intelligent people, but the majority once again had to be stopped on boarding and handed luggage tags. The flight from DTW to SFO is almost five hours. Add in packed plane and turbulence, I was glad for my window seat and head phones. It was after 2300 when we landed at SFO. Looking at the BART.GOV website – the very last train headed toward the city was scheduled for 2354…
Taxi in, escape the plane, hustle to the Air Train, bail out and dash down the steps to BART. The train is there: Antioch (with connections to all stations but for two). The doors are closed. The train is partly full of passengers waiting. Suitcases, lot of suitcases. And the doors are closed. I am at one end of the train, watching unbelievingly as someone at the other end boards. One open door – down at the other end.
Not stupid here, I head down the platform figuring the worse that happens is the train departs and the best is that I can board. Once on, I head up the train three cars and find a seat. Then the doors open for about 2 minutes, close and we leave. I change to Muni at Civic Center. Unlike during the day with hustle and bustle, the station is mostly inhabited by various people who view the station as their home away from home. Muni is much the same. Not many of us taking the various trains, but interesting people watching while I wait for the N-Judah.
I am the only one getting off at UCSF facing the challenge of figuring out which door I may enter, then finding I have to sign in with security. It is just short of 0100 when I get to George’s room. I will not bore you with what passes for a “family sleep chair.” Just to note that I can stretch my legs out if sitting down, or I can curl up in fetal position. But the night will be short….
(date altered so that it comes out on Sunday. Because I feel like it is still Sunday….
rather than continue to confuse myself and everyone else around me with trying to determine which day it is. Yes, Saturday. As apposed to either the third or fourth day of the conference depending on whether or not one actually counts Wednesday.
Of course, it was this morning that I discovered that the DC Metro doesn’t open till 0700 on Saturdays. What is worse, the station nearest my hotel, like the rest of the Metro doesn’t open till 0800 on Sundays. Once again, a system which is designed for white collar office workers on a Mon-Fri schedule and discounts everyone who works shifts and needs to present at 0700 on a weekend or holiday.
The lectures and symposiums ranged over all age groups and types of travels with, still, an emphasis infectious disease. Probably the highlight of the morning was the presentation by the Smithsonian on their “Outbreak” exhibit (which is on epidemics in a connected world).
they fed us lunch – (who says there is no such thing as a free lunch)
And for those medical types – ABCs of resuscitation? Airway, Breathing….camera….
After attending the business meeting, I skipped the reception to get back to my hotel before it became dark. My congrats to any Texans–the As just didn’t have it and lost both games of the double header.
George is holding his own – minus platelets and white cells.
This is a 7000 series train. Followed by where it is going and the next station. Of course, not all seven thousand series trains are created equal on the Washington DC regional Metro. Some have internal electronic signage. Some don’t. The trains are all shiny silver without any of the advertising wraps that are now becoming much more common on the BART system. The insides –
some of interior design is the same as BART. But there is a noticeable difference; both are there sidewalls which create compartments, but also blocks free movement of passengers. I also noted the complete lack of space for bicycles. Apparently, no one in the DC Metro area uses a bike for commuting.
where my hotel is located. There are various bits and pieces of that particular leaf (Oak?) around the station.
That was just the getting to and from the conference portion of my day. Otherwise, I went to a number of excellent presentations and a couple in which I was all too easily distracted. On me, maybe. Our military related symposium went extremely well as did our working group meeting. Surprisingly, the Canadian contingent outnumbered the US. Otherwise, we had representatives from Austria, Australia, India, Taiwan, UK, France, and a few who never said anything,.
I had a chance to FaceTime with George who is getting extremely bored (watching the eucalyptus sway and paint dry). Otherwise, there is news on the TV which is not necessarily thrilling. And of course, there is baseball and on some nights, basketball. (The As almost managed to toss away their win against the Rangers.)
Ok, title coding first. This is the Conference, International Society of Travel Medicine, #16. This afternoon was dedicated to the pre-conference workshops. Those included to take examinations could have spent the morning on the Certification Exam. I decided that I didn’t want to do years ago. I enjoy the meetings and I have a network now of fabulous people. But another exam? Done with those, thank you very much. And if I had, had even the smallest temptation, UCHastings and legal exams have thoroughly cured me.
I successfully made it from the airport to the Metro to the meeting hotel. I am still contemplating whether it is better to walk 4 blocks up hill from Dupont Circle, or 8 blocks downhill from Woodley Park. Such hard decisions are the bedrock of life.
The pre-course, mostly organized by my French colleague ran smoothly, so that is one critical item checked off my list. After thinking carefully, I bagged the opening ceremonies and reception in favor of heading to my hotel (the cheaper one a few stops up the Red Line Train to ….
Pictures at some point, promise.
Yesterday while I was waiting for the NCL Bliss to dock (and Mary to get off the ship) I wandered along Pier 27, checked with one of the guards to find out that the end of 27 was closed off, but I could walk out to the end of Pier 29. Just in time as it turned out as the Bliss came around the corner from Pier 39 accompanied by her pilot boat. The guard was charming and on the way back I stopped again to thank him for pointing me in the right direction in order to take photos. A second gentleman was standing there. As it turns out, he was the Port Engineer. After attending the Maritime Academy followed by interning on several of the NCL ships he decided that enough travel was enough. Returning to home to the Bay Area at just the right time, in 2014 he became the engineer for the brand new Pier 27. More interesting than ships’s boilers, steadier land beneath his feet and not much more interaction with the general public.
At some point, I transitioned from the general public, and I am not sure why. But I was offered the opportunity to go up on the roof. Yes, the roof of the Pier building to take photos. Inside the industrial portion of the building, then up stairs, then up a ladder. No elevator, but then you don’t want anyone up on the roof who can’t get there themselves. Part of my view was blocked by the ship, but being able to see the rest of the city without vehicles and pedestrians in view? Wonderful. Now I just need to figure out a thank you for the next time I am in the area.
Parking at BART costs $3US for the day. You have to pay if you park anytime between 0400-1500. No exceptions or it can cost a lot. With a regular BART card it is just a matter of tapping your card at the park station on your way to the tracks. For those of us on any kind of discount, a cash payment is required. Cash. Not credit card, not debit card. Cash. Change up to $4.95 provided. Hit the “cash only” button, enter your parking space number (oh, right, there is a space number stenciled on each parking space enabling the good folks to match payments to slots) then feed the machine. Most of the time, I have either one dollar bills or a five dollar bill. The second is the worst option since change is provided. In change.
On my way in this morning I checked various car locations and found …. QUARTERS! I was able to actually, when including the four quarters from my bedroom, to rid myself of change which otherwise just seems to accumulate dust and be aggravating.
My trip to SF this morning was strictly for fun. One of the lovely people with whom I did the NCL Bliss maiden voyage last April was on the repositioning cruise. I enjoyed watching the ship sail in to Pier 27. Mary and I met, walked up to Pier 39, then along the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building before I really had to head home and go back to studying.
I have more photos, but they are still on the camera.
Several years ago as I was driving Daughter #2 and her dog from the D.C. area to Chicago we stopped in Indiana. At least I think it was there, although it could have been Ohio for all the difference it might have made. Our La Quinta was across a major road from a shopping center and I elected myself as hunter of dinner. Asking at the front desk, I was given driving direction to a location which I could see from my office.
“Can’t I just walk?”
“Oh, why would you do that?”
and it was obvious that, to this young woman, no one ever walked anywhere. There were no sidewalks in evidence. There were no pedestrian signals at the traffic lights. There were no cross walks.
This morning, on our way to the North Berkeley BART station I noted that we were “in the city” as evidenced by sidewalks and crosswalks. Pedestrian signals abounded including along Shattuck Ave. at a couple of locations where cars could not turn but pedestrians commonly crossed the street mid-block . Then I started to think of the various locations where I have lived. In childhood, suburbs did not have sidewalks where city blocks–even residential areas did. In rural areas, there was absolutely no point to having sidewalks. After all, who is going to be walking 8-20 km along a state highway in order to go to work or visit a friend. Wheeled transportation is assumed when the distance is more than a few blocks.
Another characteristic of some cities (as apposed to suburbs or rural areas in the US) is the presence of public transportation. It is something that I took for granted while living in Germany and the U.K. Admittedly, it wasn’t always convenient, but it was by far more cost effective than driving, paying tolls, burning time and coughing up money for parking. Especially when looking at meetings in London which not only were difficult to reach via car but then there were outrageous parking costs + congestion tax.
(for those who are following the debate about congestion tax in NYC – this article pretty much makes it clear. Congestion tax doesn’t harm the poor. If you are poor in NYC, you don’t have a car. If it cost (in 2017) an average of $430/month for a parking space and the subway cost $2.50 …. it doesn’t take a genius to realize that public transportation is the way to go. For the cost mentioned above, you can take a lot of taxis, or Lyfts or Ubers when shopping.)
Which takes me back to living in a city. Berkeley is not a large city; population around 123,000. The estimates vary depending on whether or not you count students. We have buses, we have sidewalks, and are connected to San Francisco, two airports, and a chunk of the East Bay by BART. Compared to childhood, it is lovely to walk sidewalks rather than dirt along roads, to have cross-walks where it is more safe than not to navigate to the other side of the street, and to have shops within walking distance.
Not to mention a husband willing to get up in the morning to drop me off at BART. Of course, that means he has access to “the” car for the day (single car family here) but still…..city living can be pretty good.
It is Pi day.
For all of – us who are not math-geeks, in the American date system today is March 14 aka 3.14 which is the start of Pi. Geometry? Circles?
Or, as it better to think of – Dani provided the alternative photo from Pi Day at work –
And, while tasting – you can go to BandCamp and listen to PDX Broadsides – here
Taken 1 1/2 weeks ago, returning to OAK from Long Beach.
Watching the coast of Southern California recede from sight. Flying over land, ocean, and mountain range rarely out of sit of civilization. And then there are the shapes and patterns of communities and buildings.
leaving me to wonder if architects imitate life
It was about this time last year that I went to Northern Sweden on a photography junket. Put off from the year before (2017) but that is a completely uninteresting story.
What brought back the memories and a relook at photos was a lovely notice from the Svenska Turistförenningen (Tourist Office in case you hadn’t guessed). They thanked me for my support last year and invited me to renew my membership. Even sent the form for the standard bank giro. Now, I enjoyed my time. Might even do it again. But voluntarily renew for 295kr + 185 kr Porto? Not likely. In case you needed the exchange – that comes to about $53.75 give or take a few cents depending on the exchange rate of the second.
They try to make it easy – I can pay on line by credit card, I can send a bank check. I can wire money. They won’t (any longer) take Euro Checks.
While it is true that the monies help their economy by supporting sustainable mountaineering and other valuable programs, I think I may keep my money a bit closer to home. But I did send them a polite email saying that I won’t be renewing, so please drop my name off their hard copy mailing list to save a few SEK.
It most thoroughly was raining when I crept out of the house this morning, down to the car and drove over to North Berkeley BART parking. In fact, I was pretty damp by the time I had dashed the short distance between the back parking lot and the entrance. The only positive thing I was feeling at that point was a bit of relief that there were still a few open seats when I boarded BART.
Disembarking at Civic Center, the sky was overcast but the rain had ceased hours ago. Merchants were setting up for the Wednesday market. The usual overtones of human were absent in the air, instead the scents of coffee and oranges were teasing the nose.
I repeat – it was not raining.
I remember when we lived in Washington DC and experienced the Beltway phenomena. And no, I am not referring to all the bandits (excuse me, contractors) who lurk just outside DC proper just waiting to feed… Rather, I am referring to the influence of the actual physical beltway (think M25 motor way for you UK types) on the weather. It can be raining in DC, you cross under the Beltway on Connecticut Avenue going north and immediately run into a snow storm. The heat of the city plus all those cars create a micro-climate.
I actually made it through to the end of the day without a drop of rain in San Francisco; it would have been nice to have been able to say that as well as I dodged rain drops on my way home.
There we all stand like good little soldiers in a row. Or sailors, airmen, or marines depending on the individual background. The white woman next to me is fashionably dressed, hair professionally styled, and make-up impeccable. The African American woman next to me on the other side wears a warm down coat, furry trimmed hood tucked closely to her head. There is a white guy in a wheel chair which should prove interesting. I am standing sixth in line, waiting to board the Metro bus headed to the SFVA at 0800 this chilly Friday morning. The diversity in race, age and dress extends behind me as well as forward. This is San Francisco, it is not the white bread of the mid-west.
All together there are 18 of us joining the dozen or so who are already on the bus. The stop prior to ours – the Trans-Bay Terminal picks up riders from Muni, Cal Train, several shuttles and along haul bus or two. The earlier runs are busier. By the time 0800 rolls around, most VA workers are already hard at work.
The elderly vet with the wheelchair carefully hauls himself up the front stairs to the first row of seats while the driver places his chair in one of the lower storage compartments. The young woman with crutches hops up the steps on one leg while keeping a death grip on those same crutches.
From the 5th and Powell stop it is 30 min to the VA. Since I am headed to the Dental Clinic I don’t stop for coffee, donut or muffin no matter how tasty they look. By shortly after 1000 I am at the bus stop waiting for the 38R to get me back to a BART station so that I can work my way hom
after midnight, I was more than ready to get some sleep (oh, let’s say…~200).
So why did I wake up at 0430 in the morning?
At least I didn’t have any trouble going back to sleep and staying out cold till close to 1000.
I will not claim that I did anything useful for the rest of the day, other than taking the family out for dinner in late celebration of Dani’s birthday follow by cake at home. The theme was unicorns, candle, hooded blanket and general smiles even after the kettle gave up the ghost for good. Now something else on the list to be replaced. (grouch).
And it was back to bed early.
Seeing a pattern here?
a bright idea. After all, an hour on the bus has got to be better than 2 ½, right? Easy peasy, I had changed my flight to depart from Orlando, the closer airport. The USO was lovely and welcoming. The terminal is cheerful, shiny, but a bit too Disney. The challenge started when the flight before mine leaving gate 124 had an issue.
The dominos started falling. Because the flight to where-ever was delayed, the inbound plane was diverted to 105, meaning that all of us got to stream from one end of the terminal to another. Plane pulls in. It takes over 30 minutes to unload. By the time we are 70% boarded my 60 minute window for plane change in Austin is down to 10 minutes. Not realistic. Then the stewardess pages me along with another passenger. Sara and I look at each other and shrug as we are “invited” to grab our luggage and get rebooked from here.
So queue another hour in the airport. Did I mention that I have been up for over 12 hours with no end in sight? Thought you had guessed.
New boarding passes in hand along with a credit voucher, I finally board. I don’t miss the two ladies with whom I had chatted in the first boarding area who were more than happy to sit with me. Instead I had the opportunity to sit next to a lovely young man on the way home for the holidays. He had been in the row behind me, but when two parents came down the isle with their adult child toward the end of the boarding process, he promptly offered them his row and moved to the middle seat in mine.
Arriving in Denver, at first I panicked when I didn’t see my connecting flight on the board. Double checking by flight number, I was not surprised to find it delayed. For that matter, so is the flight to Los Vegas as well as the young man’s flight to Salt Lake.
So here I am in the Denver airport, now scheduled for departure @2305 Mountain Time and will arrive as close to the scheduled 0035, which of course is Pacific Time. 18+3+? Up too long, that is for certain.
As I mentioned, our destination is now Port Canaveral. We will be docking in the morning at the new Terminal 1.
Except in the distance, we haven’t seen rain (unlike what I have heard from various friends in the Tampa area). From mid-morning on, we were able to watch the Florida Coast in the distance off the port side.The winds have been strong enough to have the outer decks closed off to passenger traffic which meant the Solarium was more than a bit crowded for most of the day.
After reviewing the bidding (free drop off at Orlando Airport, Tampa Airport or Tampa Cruise Terminal) I decided to check on Southwest fares. For minimal more I was able to change my reservation to Orlando and cut my bus ride considerably. I will be still connecting to the same flight in Austin which means no change in my arrival time in Oakland. It also means that I don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn (unlike every other day on this cruise when I have been awake by 0330) but will have time for a leisurely breakfast.
Packing took but a few minutes. I made my last forays to both the knitting group and the coffee machine. I am contemplating an early bed time as soon as I place my bag in the hall for pickup. I could haul it off my self, it isn’t either large or heavy. But considering how many people are planning on doing walk off, the elevators are going to be packed. I find the idea of carrying it down four decks not all that thrilling.
So there you have it – BCN to Tampa on the Rhapsody with detour to Port Canaveral.
AKA – non-frolic and detour.
The Rhapsody is scheduled to dock in Tampa on the 22nd.
Or should I say, it WAS scheduled to dock in Tampa. It seems like there is lousy weather headed into Tampa with the resulting rough seas making it a bit more than challenging to get under the bridge and into port.
Instead, our Captain informed us this evening, we will be steaming up the East Coast of Florida (not the Gulf side, just so there is not any confusion) and we will dock in Port Canaveral. Only a short 2 hour jaunt from the Tampa Airport. They are providing free transfers to all the airports (including for those who had paid for them before) as well as to the port of Tampa for those who just happened to have a car waiting for their return.
For a few people, this will be a positive change – for all those who live near Coco Beach, Canaveral and other points East. For those who had actually been heading to Tampa or points west, it might be a challenge.
Me? My flight isn’t till 1800, and I am more than glad I was so cheap as to book the late, cheaper fair. Of course, it comes with a plane change in Austin. Now, I wonder what this is going to do to plane flights….