Friday, February 13, 2015

Chelsea in San Francisco

Well, vacation has officially begun! I am writing this blog on my international flight from San Francisco to Seoul, but the story actually begins yesterday. After a hard, long last few days at work before vacation, I finally left the office at around 11:30am. I stopped at Thundercloud Subs to get a sandwich before heading home to finish packing. While I had started packing Saturday, with my mom’s arrival I hadn’t had the time to finish up. And anyway, its hard to pack when you actually need to use half of the stuff that you also need to pack.

I finished my packing pretty quickly, and while I was nervous that I had forgotten something, I didn’t have that sinking feeling in the back of my mind like I did actually forget anything. My friend Jason picked me up to take me to the airport and I was off! Austin’s airport is awesome and there is rarely a wait for security. I had a bit of time, so I made sure that my phone, iPad, and computer were all charged up.

My first stop was Phoenix. The Southwest flight was pretty uneventful there. Although, when we were landing at Sky Harbor, we did go over the ASU campus and I thought about how HAPPY I was that I wasn’t at work! (We do a lot of programs with ASU). 

We landed 35 minutes early, and while I was starting to get hungry (my body said it was 5pm, the clock said 4pm), I held off getting anything to eat there because I was going to have dinner with my foodie-friend, Jenny, in San Francisco. 

My second leg of my flight was supposed to depart at 5:15. Even before I left Austin, I had seen that it was going to be delayed. So, arrived early, departing late. Oh well, I was able to connect to wifi and - don’t give me too much crap for this - check my work email. In my defense, I had worked that morning, so I felt like I should make sure there wasn’t anything urgent before the end of day. I did a good job of making sure my “affairs were in order” at work - who was going to take care of what programs while I was out, but I still felt the need to be sure I wasn’t needed urgently.

By the time I wrapped that up, the flight was starting to get ready to board. It was set to depart at 6pm - only 45 minutes later than scheduled. Well, a few minutes before we were supposed to board, we were delayed again for another 20 minutes. Finally we started to board at about 6:20. After sitting on the plane, not going anywhere, for another 20 minutes, we were informed that there was an issue with the radar on the plane but it should be a “quick fix”. Another 15 minutes later, we were told that they couldn’t fix the plane and we would be de-boarded and moved to another plane. What a fiasco.

We got off the plane and headed to a new gate. Without the boarding passes telling everyone where to line up, it was a bit mad. We stood around for another 20 minutes or so, everyone in a general state of disgruntlement, and then finally were told that we would be departing at 7:45pm. This is now 2.5 hours late. By the time these promises actually came true, we left at 8pm (my body’s 10pm). 

I landed at San Francisco Airport only about 3 hours later than we’d originally thought. Lucky for me, Jenny’s fiance works at Uber and she was able to get me the hook up on a ride from the airport to her place, about 20 minutes away. When I got there, I was starving (around 11 hours since I’d had a sandwich, which had been my only food of the day) and tired, but determined to make my trek to San Francisco worthwhile.

We grabbed an Uber to the Mission district, and Jenny told me all about the area on the way over. Although I can’t keep all the information Jenny told me completely straight in my head, my general impression was that it was a bit of a ghetto area. We found out that the burrito place they had wanted to take me was closed, so we went to their second-favorite burrito place which wasn’t too far away.

Calling this place a restaurant would be a bit of a stretch, but I trusted them and there was actually a wait out the door so it must be good! When we got inside and took a look at the menu, they told me that the Super Burrito was the most famous item on their menu. It was $1 more than the regular burrito, but had so many more ingredients in it - including avocado. I was sold! I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat all of it - I had seen them making others and these things were huge! But, I figured - when in San Francisco! 

We found a table recently vacated and waited on our food and caught up. I met Jenny when she couchsurfed with me in Korea, and she has since become a friend to me. Jenny and Matt founded this supper club in New York called I Forgot It’s Wednesday - when they moved to San Francisco about 8 months ago, they brought the supper club with them and it has become a huge success. I was very excited to get to chat with them about everything they’ve been doing since I last saw Jenny almost 2 years ago.

Our food came and my eyes were certainly bigger than my stomach, but my stomach thanked my eyes profusely. I was starving and the delicious al pastor burrito hit the spot. Bonus, since we are in California, they use ACTUAL avocado! Not guacamole paste. So good!

When we left there, we all agreed that after my harrowing incident in Phoenix I deserved a vacation cocktail! We headed to a bar on Haight called Alembic. Matt, who creates all the cocktails for their supper club, ordered us drinks and it was definitely an experience! I couldn’t even tell you what mine had in it, but it was tasty and stiff! Once that settled in, my exhaustion hit me. While it was only 11pm in California, my body was feeling the 1am of Texas time. We headed back to the apartment and got some sleep.

This morning, I woke up early, which felt like waking up late. We got ready and Jenny & I went for breakfast at a place called The Mill, which does all kinds of delicious breads. We got toast called Bird Bread that had butter, almond butter, and cinnamon sugar on top. It was the best toast I’ve ever had. Absolutely delicious!

Once we were properly fed, Jenny took me on a driving tour of the city. The only spot I was determined to make it to was the Golden Gate Bridge. You can’t go to San Francisco without seeing the bridge! Jenny drove me though some interesting neighborhoods and along the marina and we were able to get out and walk along the beach and take some pictures with the bridge. It was a really fun experience! 

By then, it was time for me to gather my stuff and head to the airport. Jenny dropped me at the apartment and headed to work, while I got my suitcases and called an Uber. On the way to the airport we hit some traffic and I checked my Google Maps and saw it was going to be a little ways before it cleared up. When the driver asked me if I wanted to go another way, and described the way he was thinking, I was able to follow on my map and I’d like to think I came off as a local in our discussion of the best route. (Not an important detail, but it was cool to me!)

Finally I got to the airport and checked in for my flight. I’m flying Singapore Airlines, which I read was one of the best airlines. So far, so good! The staff are very nice and everything has been smooth. One of the best parts about flying on an Asian-based airline is that you get literally plied with food on the flights The menu I was given when we took off has two options for lunch, many snack options, two options for a “light meal”, and a plethora of drinks. Currently I’m sipping on a vacation-chardonnay and about to get my first meal! 

Despite my hangry frustrations with the flight yesterday, it has been an awesome vacation so far!! And, when I land in Korea in 12 hours, its only going to get better!!



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