The title of this post comes from, yes, I’m in California now, Beach Boys and all that, but mostly b/c I surfed here. We flew Virgin Atlantic and had free WiFi, so that meant Facebook status updates and web surfing alllll the way across our nation. Steve worked much of the way across–he finds the fact that he can work most anywhere equal parts blessing and curse.
We flew out of Dulles and had plenty of time before our flight so we went to find some grub. I got to see the cool tunnels where the mythical trams will someday run from terminal to terminal. Right now, they’re still using the “mobile lounges.” Steve loathes them as they slow him down right when he wants to be d o n e with his journey, but I find them kind of charming, swarming around out there on the tarmac with their weird dorsal fins that make them look like upturned yachts. Also, I love the name “mobile lounge.” Apparently, they used to be more lounge-like, with drink service (because a moment spent not drinking during air travel is a moment wasted. Or, not wasted, as the case may be), but the name lingers to distract from the fact that their really just Thunderdome buses.
We ate a surprisingly decent meal at the Tequilaria (the waitress seemed stunned that we didn’t want a margarita. People, it has TEQUILA in the name!) and were in the bathrooms when we heard the “Passengers on the Virgin Atlantic flight to San Francisco please report to the gate immediately.” That was ALSO the moment that I realized I was standing in what I assume was human feces. I’d chosen that stall b/c the seat was up, suggesting that it had just been cleaned by the attendant I’d passed on the way in. Perhaps she only does toilets and not floors. Union rules, or some such. But there was definitely poo on my shoe. Which I didn’t have time to do more than give a wipe, before trying to sprint to our gate. I do not sprint often ever. So I didn’t get far before I had to make the miss the flight/barf on the concourse decision. I chose the former. Steve was able to push on so I just wheezed along at a mall walker’s pace. I hate being that lady who is clearly too out of shape to run for a plane but must anyway. Luckily I don’t fly much or I’d have to consider getting into shape.
Of course, once we reached the gate, we stood in line to board the plane for 15 minutes. A saunter–after a good thorough shoe cleaning–would have done fine. As it was, I just wiped my foot a lot on the carpet of the waiting area. Sorry, Dulles! It wasn’t my poop!
We had bulkhead seats, which was lovely. I’d never flown Virgin before, but it was niiice. Steve gets reimbursed for his flights, so we were only buying mine. I’m grateful that he didn’t just plop my butt on a JetBlue flight “so that we are on separate flights. For the children.” I’d shoved all my devices and headphones and books and stuff into my computer bag, forgetting that it would have to be stowed for take-off. Then the air was choppy, so we couldn’t get up for more than an hour. So I had to watch my little seat-back TV with no sound. There was a foreign film channel, so I figured that’d be a safe bet, since there would be subtitles. First, I picked a film about South African comedians, but apparently it is mostly in English since there were only occasional subtitles. I hoped for Bollywood, since those are awesome just to look at, but there were none. I chose a movie called “Opera Jawa,” figuring that at least the Indonesian scenery would be lovely. it soon became clear that it was, in fact, an opera and all the dialog was being sung. An opera on mute. But even with no sound and clunky dialog (opera lyrics, especially translated, are seldom lovely on their own), it was captivating. So when I was able to get up and get my headphones about 20 minutes in, I did. And I loved that movie. It was so of The Other, so…foreign. Really it was something I’d never seen before and that is always such a treat. But on top of that, it was beautiful and the dancing blew my mind. Art in motion.
I recommend reading a bit about the plot first (it was a pretty big deal, apparently, so there are plenty of places on the web that will tell you the rough outline), but even without knowing what on earth was going on, I really enjoyed it.
But after the movie, we were STILL over Nebraska. Nebraska takes about 4 hours to fly over. Steve and I were talking about what it must have been like to do that on a horse. What kind of bad-ass would you have to be to make that cross-country journey on horseback and foot and wagon? I figure the reason anyone ever settled Nebraska is that after 3 months in the same terrain, they just said, “This is clearly never going to end. Screw it. I’m building a house.”
We finally landed and got a cab to our hotel. Our driver was an old dude of some Slavic heritage. He had that short fuse that comes with your taxi operator’s license. When another taxi blocked his way for about 5 seconds as we left, he let loose with a stream of something that was probably Czech or Russian, but sounded like “RAARRAARRGGHH!” and then hurtled to our destination. Seriously, it was like the car had been fired from cannon.
Our hotel is lovely and we have a nice view: Which I’d show you if my connection wasn’t such crap. Later then.
We went to coffee Mecca this morning. Blue Bottle coffee. They have turned brewing coffee into Science. I’ll upload a photo later when the connection is less bolluxed up. Today, I’m trying to find some cool craft shops/museums. I’ll keep you posted.