Monday, 14 June 2010

Trips, travails, and triumphs…

Once again the adorable husband and I tread into the wondrous land of vacation. Once again there are stories of wonder and angst.

This trip BEGAN with the angst! In the ‘isn’t that wonderful but what about ME?’ category: our lovely housekeeper Jamie had a healthy beautiful baby boy three days before we were to leave. She had assured me she had someone to fill in for her, but all week and no one showed up to clean and I began to fear for the lives of all my plants and my garden as her fill-in was scheduled to take care of my dears while we were gone. I began to come up with Plan B. That resolved nicely when I called her on Friday and she assured me that her husband would be driving her niece over to look after the plants while we are away. Whew, one down.

We departed for the airport on Saturday morning with great anticipation. I love San Francisco and I love the idea of having the adorable husband all to myself for a week. He is excited to be away from the stresses and time clock of work for a week. We arrived the airport, put in the time one must to pass security and wait… Once on the plane the adorable husband who is a window sitter; I am an aisle sitter by virtue of my legs and frequent bathroom sojourns, both to empty my bladder of the large amounts of water I try to consume on the flight, and the chance to circulate some blood through my legs! I have compromised the past year or so and sat in the middle as the adorable husband lets me lie all over him and use him like a big cushion, and he entertains me toward the end of the flight when I get antsy and ready to ‘be there!’.

On this flight, he had been chivalrous and put me in the aisle seat, which in turn landed him in the middle for as he said, “I always sleep away the flight anyway.” Well not this one! Oh we had one of those, thank the gods seldom, but nonetheless regularly occurring horrid seatmates.

In the beginning it did not appear so, as he appeared to me a nice young man, and crawled into the window seat with good grace. The moment he was seated the adorable husband turned his face to me and mouthed, “B.O.!” The young man stank of unwashed flesh and during the entire four hour flight he fidgeted in odd ways, coughed (without covering), and passed wind shears of foul smelling flatus so potent that I had to get out of my seat on several occasions and run for relief at the rear of the aircraft.

Arriving in San Francisco and being thrilled to be off the airplane we were downhearted to find the temperature was almost 90 degrees! One of the main reasons we came here was to escape Houston’s heat. And not everything is air conditioned here; it’s like the old days in London when it just never got that hot for that long…

Our next unpleasant surprise came when the adorable husband called the manager of the condominium we had rented. This is our first time trying this instead of a hotel, but it looked really great over the Internet. We had already had one bad episode when the manager charged us the rather large fee twice once he had the credit card data. He did however correct that ‘error’.

Instead of saying he would meet us at the apartment and show us about, as we expected, as he had said he would, he directed us to a petrol station in a dodgy part of town to meet him and pick up the keys, after that we were on our own.

Our one piece of luck so far, as there are truly only five taxis in all of San Francisco, is that we had lucked out with Ricardo – a lovely young man who was both helpful and efficient.

We stepped inside the apartment and the adorable husband asked me to get his computer and set up the wireless so he could find a hotel. I did go ahead and unpack, thinking like the Hotel Dieu (see Paris trip 2009) we could make it work out. He found a couple of hotels around Union Square and I suggested we go for lunch first as we were both hungry and tired, not a good time to make a decision.

We walked over to 685 Market Street (one of my favourite little squares in The City as it has Merrell, Bvlgari, Tiffany’s, Saks, etc. all in a contained area) and went to the top of Macy’s which houses the best Cheesecake Factory restaurant I know; Q and I used to eat here often when out shopping. Did I mention there is a bookstore near by?

Lunch was relaxing, delicious, and informative. When Joel queried the bartender (while waiting for our table we were lucky enough to snag two stools) about local hotel and restaurant data, he recommend the Prescott Hotel over on Post street which apparently also houses a brilliant restaurant. Loaded with data, relaxed with 18-year-old Macallan and a Moscow Mule, we made our way to the Prescott where Lydia, the adorable and informative clerk/concierge not only quoted us a price for a room or suite, but took us on a tour of the hotel before we said, “Oh my yes, give us the suite please, now.”

We returned to the mistake at 118 O’Farrell, # 315 (and yes, consider this a warning; the website is - don’t), REPACKED our bags and after tucking the key under the door and kissing our $1800.00 goodbye – we happily and with great relief, took a taxi to the Prescott where we are so very happily ensconced in our little suite.

Part II later today as we are off now to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge!

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