Theresa and I decided to do something different this Valentines' Day, so we abandoned the tired old cliches such as heart-shaped boxes of candy and Hallmark cards in favor of a relaxing four-day weekend in San Francisco.
We arrived at Los Angeles International Airport a couple hours early, on the off chance that our flight was going to depart on time. We got our boarding passes, and proceeded to the security checkpoint. My carry-on was the lucky winner of a more thorough inspection because I was bringing along "Wheezer," my CPAP machine. I have no problem with the extra scrutiny, because safety is the first priority and you never know when Al-Qaida will start disguising bombs as sleep-apnea treatments. During the examination of my bag, the TSA officer also confiscated my shaving cream, which resembled a can of plastic explosive or something.
Here's the funny part. I don't mean "ha-ha" funny, like Sarah Palin getting hit by a bus, this is more like "how the hell does this happen in post-9/11 America" funny. Later on, when we got to our hotel, Theresa discovered that she'd left her three-inch locking blade knife in her purse rather than in the checked baggage. That's right, folks, the knife made it through the security checkpoint undetected. Apparently, TSA believes that a woman in possession of a knife poses less of a threat than a 6'3" guy wielding a can of Barbasol. That, my friends, is profiling and I strenuously object.
No trip to the L.A. airport would be complete without a celebrity sighting. At our gate, I saw an old lady that used to be in commercials. You guessed it, it was the corpse of Margaret Hamilton!
Not really. I still can't remember her name, or the commercials she starred in, but believe me when I tell you if you saw her, you'd immediately point and call out, "HEY! IT'S THAT LADY FROM THAT COMMERCIAL!" Actually, it's been driving me batty that I can't remember what she was in. I've run every Google search I can think of, but it's no use. It wasn't Josephine the Plumber, and it wasn't Mother Nature. If you could help me out, I'd be eternally grateful or at least be able to sleep at night.
So anyway, our flight out of Los Angeles was, in theory, scheduled to leave at 3:55 but here's a big surprise -- we were delayed. At about 3:00, the following announcement came over the loudspeaker:
"Flight 1582 to San Francisco is being delayed until 4:55. However, do not leave the gate area, as the flight may actually depart prior to that time, or even at the originally scheduled departure time. There is also the possibility that the flight will have to be delayed further."
Did you get that? Either the flight was going to be on-time, delayed, or delayed even further. Why not just make the announcement, "We are pretty sure that flight 1582 will be departing at some point in the future."
We left shortly after 5:00.
We arrived in San Francisco without incident, which is to say "late, tired, and hungry" and took a cab to the hotel. We stayed at the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf, which I highly recommend to any of you who may be traveling to the Bay Area. Since we hadn't eaten, we decided to walk down to the wharf, where we had dinner at a very nice restaurant called Neptune's Palace. I had the shrimp alfredo, which was delicious. However, when I asked for a glass of water, the waitress informed me that they were having a problem with their plumbing so all the water was, and I quote, "yellow". I told her to forget about the water, and I spent the rest of the meal trying not to think about where the carbonated water in my Diet Coke had come from.
We slept in on Saturday, and then took the cable car to Chinatown for lunch. For those of you who have never been to San Francisco, I'd like to point out that the city's landscape resembles Magic Mountain's famous roller coaster "Colossus." So we got off the cable car and walked down Clay Street, and by that I don't mean that we walked in a certain direction on Clay Street, I mean that we walked, literally, DOWN Clay Street at approximately a 70-degree angle.
We ate at a lovely place called The Oriental Pearl. During our meal, we noticed two women at the table next to us enjoying an appetizer consisting of, as far as I could tell, eyeballs. At another table, there was a family who really should've opted for a more suitable restaurant like, say, McDonald's. The four-year old boy, who clearly did not possess an "inside voice," insisted on using his chopsticks as drum sticks and his chair as a jungle gym. This continued until his father gave him his cell phone so Junior could talk to, I'm guessing, his grandmother. Obviously, I couldn't hear Grandma's end of the conversation, but everything she said prompted Junior to reply, "I'M EATING CHICKEN!"
We finished our lunch, and I must tell you the food was outstanding, and walked UP Clay Street to catch another cable car. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, sight-seeing, and relaxing back at the hotel. That evening, we went to a comedy club called Punchline, and saw the hilarious Dana Gould.
Sunday morning, we had brunch with my brother Eric and his girlfriend, who live in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco. We ate at Crepes on Cole which, despite its "hole in the wall" atmosphere (or maybe because of it), turned out to be our most enjoyable dining experience of the weekend (no disrespect toward Neptune's Place or The Oriental Pearl intended).
The rest of our trip included a walk down Lombard Street (also known as "the world's crookedest street"), a bay cruise that took us around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge, and a visit to the Aquarium of the Bay.
I don't know who came up with the idea of serving clam chowder in a bowl made of sourdough bread, but he is a genius and should receive a Nobel Prize.
END OF MOMENTARY DIGRESSION.
On Monday we took a cab to the airport two hours early, in the foolishly-optimistic hope that our flight would leave on time. It didn't, of course, so we sat around the airport reading and partaking of over-priced snack foods.
All in all, Theresa and I had a fantastic weekend, and we'll definitely be returning to the City by the Bay in the near future. And next time, I'll remember not to pack my suspicious can of shaving cream in my carry-on bag.