Tuesday, 12 July 2011

I'm Going Home!

I decide late last night not to take the BART to the airport. I have lugged my suitcase now for far too long. It just seems a whole pile easier to be picked up from the hotel by an airport shuttle advertised in the hotel.  for the relatively cheap price of US 15.00 .

Check out of my room is at 12midday and I am off down the road to have my last bagel and monster size coffee. It is lovely to sit at the cafĂ© and take the time to watch the locals and tourists go by. It’s easy to tell them apart.
In the wonderful way the body and mind works it tells me I am ready to go home. I am looking forward to my own surroundings and sleeping in my own bed. I haven’t thought about it until now but just know I am ready for home.

I decide on a few last minute gifts obviously thinking there is still room in my bag and walk back to the hotel to strategise.  I have tried not to alter  the contents of my suitcase from when I last had it weighed at JFK Airport so I have a bit of an idea of what more can be added. I know …not much. All of my power adapters and cords are stuffed into my jacket pockets along with anything else that is heavy and will fit. My jacket is super heavy. The plan is to casually drape it through my handbag. Once I sort out what is going where I make my carry-on luggage (a plastic zipped bag that weighs nothing itself) try and look half empty. I estimate it to be at least 10kg. Yikes, I just hope they don’t want to weigh it. Nothing else will fit into my now expanded suitcase. I just hope I get away with not having to pay excess luggage fees.

After checking out of my room I store my luggage downstairs in a locker (a great idea but hotels should also have some luggage scales) and go for a last walk around this wonderful city of San Francisco.

It is a stunning day with clear blue skies and the temperature is probably the highest it has been while I have been here. The trademark steep hills and cable cars are well known features of this rather serene city that has heaps going for it.


I love some of the sculptures that are scattered around Chinatown but there is definitely no room to take them home.

 I return to the hotel and have a couple of hours to write some more of this blog and catch up on some news from home. My shuttle arrived on time and as I climbed in I handed the cash over to pay for it. The driver reminded me that it didn’t include a tip! Oh don’t you just love America for that. Arriving at the airport I see that the counter is due to open in 15mins. I decide to meet my fate earlier rather than later and end up second in the queue. As the counters prepare to open I eye up the staff and decide on which one has got the friendliest looking face. I chose a young tall black American guy and thought about how best to humour him if my bags were over the limit. My suitcase weighed in at 23.6 kg and I asked him quite straight faced if I needed to take something out. He said “I am sorry madam” and with that my face must have dropped and he said “just kidding”. What a relief! Even more of a relief is that he didn’t ask to weigh my cabin luggage.  Phew I made it through with no extra charges.

It was an Air NZ flight and it was lovely to be able to relax in an aisle seat and settle down for some in-flight entertainment, a meal and then a lovely long sleep courtesy of the little blue sleeping pills that really do the trick. I was sitting next to two young people who were ski instructors running a camp for 60 American kids on their way to Wanaka. This was their second season and they could not speak highly enough of NZ and its mountains. Fortunately the” big chill” had just swept the country and they were really excited about the huge snow dump. Especially as the week before there was no snow and the parents of the kids coming were putting the pressure on.

It was a great flight and a great sleep and we seemed to touch down in no time at all. Home at last and straight through customs. It was lovely to be greeted by Brent and Charlotte especially as it was only 5.30am and early mornings and my daughter do not go together easily .It has seemed at times a long time to be away and it feels great to be here.

I am amazed at the number of people that have been reading my blog and have been encouraged by the lovely comments that I have received about it. However the blog was intended as a personal record for me to capture the parts of my travel that will jog my memory and  to remind me of the absolute blast that I have had.  I just chose to share that with others. Thanks for sharing my journey.

                                                        THE END

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