View Full Version : Way Out West - Day 1 – The Journey

30-10-2008, 08:10 PM
We were both up early this morning as we had decided to start the holiday off with a buffet breakfast. We went down to a practically empty restaurant where Dad started off with some fruit and an orange juice while I ploughed straight in with an apple juice, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and fried bread. Dad had a similar plate full after his fruit and we had coffee each. The total cost was £35 (£17.50 each).

After breakfast we went back to the room and watched TV for a while before bringing our luggage down and checking out at 8:00. We had booked a taxi for 8:15 to take us to the airport but we were told that if we went out to the entrance of the hotel there was somebody there with a clipboard who would be able to check us off and put us in a taxi straight away. We went out to the entrance and sure enough there was a long line of mini-cabs and a lady with a clipboard who checked off our room number and pointed us towards the first cab in line.

The driver had his foot down and we were at the airport by 8:15 where we proceeded to drop our bags off. The first “doh!” moment of the holiday came when the check-in clerk asked us to put the first bag on the scales and asked “Who’s bag is this?” to which Dad replied “Mine”, the poor check-in clerk of course not knowing which of the two names she had in front of her was his.

We were quickly through security and I was pleased to see the signs stating that I didn’t need to take my laptop out of my bag. We had a quick browse around HMV and Dixons and waited for our gate to be announced.

At 9:40 the screens showed that we would be boarding at Gate 35 so we wandered round there and discovered that our plane for the flight was to be Lady Penelope. Once called we boarded the plane and settled back in the new purple leather premium economy seats with our glass of welcome champagne. Pushback was a couple of minutes early at just before 11:00 and after a looong wait at the runway we were airborne at 11:30.

The drinks run came around an hour later with Dad choosing a white wine and I had a whisky and ginger. Due to problems with the system the entertainment did not come on until around two hours after we had taken off.

Just as the films started lunch was served, which was a choice of chicken in Madeira sauce, beef or vegetable stroganoff. We both had the beef and dad had a red wine and I had a white wine.

During the course of the flight I managed to watch almost four films: Be Kind Rewind (not as great as I had heard it was), The Bucket List (good and sad at the end), 21 (good) and The Bee Movie (Good but I missed the end as the entertainment system was turned off ready for our descent into San Francisco). During the course of all these we were served with vanilla ice cream, a chicken and honey mustard wrap, and a cheese and pickle roll with a chocolate cookie.

We landed ten minutes early at 1:40 p.m. local time and a word of advice to nervous fliers – San Francisco airport has one of those approaches where right up until the last minute it looks as though you are going to be landing in the water, so if you are a nervous passenger don’t look out the window. We had another long wait for an aircraft to pull out in front of us so we weren’t at the gate until 2:00.

Once we got off the plane we went to immigration, which is a single queue system and walked straight up to an immigration officer with no wait. He did our fingerprints and photographs and then proceeded to give us the longest grilling we have had on any of our trips. He asked how long we were staying, when we had last been here, what relation we were to each other, how much money we had brought with us and how often we come over and even asked to see confirmation of our hotel reservations and return ticket. Once he was satisfied he let us on our way and we went through to baggage claim where our bags came up within a couple of minutes.

We then went out to the arrivals area where we met our driver from Execucar and after a nice comfortable drive we arrived at our home for the next four nights – the Best Western Tuscan Inn and were checked in by 3:00. We went out for a quick walk around Pier 39 before going into the Safeway next to the hotel to admire the American groceries. Is it just me that wishes we had some of the crisp flavours the Americans have – Margarita Lime or Baja Bean dip flavour anyone?



We then went back to the room to have a quick break ready for the complimentary wine tasting that the hotel offer every night between 5:00 and 6:00.

We went downstairs just after 5:00 and had a glass of wine each. There were no checks on whether we were guests or not so if you ever find yourself near the Tuscan Inn between 5:00 and 6:00 and fancy a glass of wine, just head in and have one for free!

After our wine we left the hotel again and went for another walk around Pier 39, where I discovered a shop specially for people just like me – Lefty’s the shop for left-handed people. They do the usual kind of thing for lefty’s – scissors, knives, spiral notebooks with the spiral on the correct side – but they also did shot glasses so I made a note to go back and get one before we left San Francisco. We also spotted a Mexican restaurant that we decided we would return to tomorrow as neither of us wanted much to eat after all we had eaten on the plane.



The pier was actually a lot more crowded than this, these pics were taken the following morning.

From Pier 39 we walked back up towards the hotel and returned to Safeways, where we bought some nibbles and root beer before returning to the room. We watched a bit of TV but, disobeying all the rules of avoiding jet-lag, we were both in bed by 8:30 ready to hit the ground running tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Day 2 – My number one recommendation for San Francisco

30-10-2008, 08:17 PM
A shop for left handed folks, that would be me. I'm amazed and shocked at the same time.

07-11-2008, 07:23 PM
Thanks for the tip about the Tuscan Inn wine tasting lol I will try to remember it if ever I'm in that area between 5 and 6pm :lol: