Saturday, April 07, 2007

San Francisco

Man I love iPass. It's a cool little application that automatically connects us to an available hot spot in airports around the world. It just works, which is more than one can say about just about every piece of software we use today. And it works well, far better than the ad hoc system in Dublin that charged me $10 and never delivered on one of the 30 minute segments I paid for. And that's not to mention the multiple calls from the Capital One fraud department wondering (once again) why I was using my credit card at a place other than Corrales Chevron. Oh wait, they suspected fraud on that one too.

So now I'm sitting in my favorite Japanese place - Tomokazu - in the international terminal working on a bottle of water and a big, scalding bowl of Chicken Udon. Stopping here for a pre-China-flight bowl of soup has become a ritual for me. I'm always amazed at the people playing Cullinary Roulette by eating a big plate of sashimi before boarding what is probably a 10 hour flight. I stick to the basics, clear soup hot enough to burn the roof of your mouth off.

A moment of peace, quiet, sustenance and great people watching makes the airport ambience tolerable. All my Intel pals are outside the security zone partying at the SFO Donut House, working their way through big stacks of pancakes. I demurred, not being able to stand another trip through security.

Speaking of which, I had another great security experience this morning. The place was pretty empty at 6:45 and people were doing the limbo under the security lines instead of walking through the complete 3/4 mile serpentine entrance. I picked a fairly empty line behind a middle-aged couple. It was clear within a couple of minutes that he was caught in a lack of control death spiral. As I walked up his first words to me were "why don't you go ahead!", note: it was not a question.

Sidling in behind him, I grabbed my requisite 3 bins and began to unload. The 6 or so he and his wife were using didn't seem to be enough, so he huffed his way behind me and grabbed a couple more. When he finished unloading, he said, staring at the conveyor, "dammit, I had another bin. where did it go!" He was apparently failing to grasp the fact that conveyors convey things, and in their zeal to do their appointed task, they often convey empty bins. His wife, went back and grabbed another, her demeanor indicating that this is a regular "situation." Filling that one and grabbing his cup of coffee, he approached the metal detector. He placed his paper cup on top of the x-ray machine and pushed it through. The guard said, "that's not coming in here" and the guy was simply stunned. Stepping back, he grabbed the cup and proceeded to chug the entire contents. Yea, like he needed more caffeine. His wife went through in the meantime and once done, he stepped in. Of course, it went off. The guard asked the regular questions and told him to take off his belt. He insisted it was not his belt and so he stepped in again. And again it went off. He was then relegated to the Double Failure Zone for the next level of abuse.

I went through, no problem. We loaded on time and as we pulled away from the gate, a light snow was beginning to dust the airport.

The flight over on the "almost airplane" was as expected. I dozed my way through all 4 Bach Orchestra suites and then we were there. Or here as the case may be.

Not much else to report, just another day on the road.



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