Leaving San Francisco
Posted on 2010/11/28 11:30:55 (November 2010).
[Thursday 18th November]
The first couple of days (when Chie had been in San Francisco too) had been sort of fun, and I guess it was nice to have had a bit of late Autumn sunshine, but by today I was very much ready to leave. When I go to Japan now I feel very much at home, and I love to travel around Europe, but somehow I just can't feel relaxed in America, and I'm always itching to get back to good old Blighty as soon as possible.
I managed to get myself a seat in upper class on the way back, which meant a chauffeur driven car at either end as well. Although this wasn't quite as glamorous as I'd hoped - both ways they were pretty ordinary looking cars, a bit grubby around the edges, truth be told. The chauffeurs weren't wearing caps, either.
When I'd booked the car, they'd pretty much just told me the time they were going to pick me up based on my flight time. I ended up arriving at the airport far too early and so wiled away the time in the upper class lounge. I'd flown back from San Francisco once before in upper class, so had been to the "Virgin Clubhouse" at SFO once before, and as such it wasn't so much of a novelty. Still though, it was markedly nicer than the usual experience of waiting around in airports, and I availed myself of a rather nice bowl of mushroom soup, and a succession of non-alcoholic cocktails (somehow the whisky last night had unusually given me a bit of a hangover) - a Shirley Temple, a Virgin Mojito and a Virgin Bloody Mary (the virgin here being non-alcoholic, not the airline's branding). The Shirley Temple was particularly nice - the bloody mary was marred somewhat by the difficulty in explaining to the not-very-worldly American girl working there what I actually wanted (at some point a guy who looked like the chef took over this painful dialogue, and was a marked contrast in terms of professionalism).
The flight was OK I guess (anyone who has been reading my blatherings for a prolonged time will note this is the best I ever say - I really do hate flying you know). Last time I'd flown upper it was on a much bigger plane (maybe it's a seasonal thing) and the bar - six stools - had been occupied the whole time. On this flight the bar only had three stools, and there was only one other guy sitting there for a while before dinner, and then a quick drink after dinner. We exchanged the standard clichéd business trip anecdotes - techniques for combatting jetlag and the relative merits of different international airports - as appears to be expected in this situation. Not long after dinner though, everybody in upper was asleep. I know full well there is zero chance of me sleeping on a plane, no matter how big the seat or how flat it goes. I hung on in the now deserted bar for some time - even the staff had gone and hidden somewhere else on the plane - save to occasionally return and offer a sympathetic "ohhh, can't you sleep?". The range of drinks was
I did eventually retire back to my seat, and knowing full well it would be unsuccessful attempted to get to sleep. I wasn't surprised by the outcome. It seems as soon as I am about to drift off, my brain helpfully interjects with "OH MY GOD I'M ON A PLANE AAAGGHGHHHH!" and no actual sleep ensues.
Watched a couple of films whilst getting increasingly irritated by being surrounded in a dark, lifeless dormitory of my fellow passengers. None of them were any good.
As always I was quite deliriously happy when we came to land, and managed to whizz through customs, security, etc, to where the chauffeur was waiting to take me into central London. I went straight to the office.
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