Flying to San Francisco

2 December 2017

I should probably write the date in the American style, now that I am in the country, but I will be doing that enough, I guess. The first time was for the customs form handed in as we passed through San Francisco International Airport. “Passed through” is not the correct term. We queued for an inordinate amount of time to have our passports stamped but still better than than Los Angeles Airport. Pat on the back for the strategic move of avoiding that this time, Shani.

I had forgotten how arduous these long flights can be. I booked it back in April when the flight was meant to arrive early morning local time but then Qantas change its scheduling and we were robbed of a few hours. Another few hours vanished with rescheduling made on the day, presumably due to some volcano in Indonesia. I slept a little, I watched all of the first series of Top of the Lake, enjoyed it immensely, and Atomic Blonde which I also liked a lot. However, I picked the little plot twists too early and easily in both productions.

I hated the food. I’m not normally one who complains about airplane food but this was truly disgusting. The breakfast omelette was like rubber, not being helped by the fact that the last omelette I ate was prepared freshly in front of me at the QT in Canberra. The dinner, though, was most foul. I thought chicken would be a safe option but it was lost in a glutenous mess and the putrid broccoli offended the nostrils when it was still rows away from arrival.

Another disappointing aspect of the flight was that due to an “upgrade” the in-seat entertainment didn’t include a map showing where we were in the world and all the calculations of time and distance. Adding to this technology fail, the promised “digital key” at our hotel is so far failing to work. I was looking forward to opening my room’s door with a mere tap to my phone. Our hotel comes under the umbrella of the Hilton name but is rather below the Hilton standard I know but it is comfortable and has a grand view of the city from the 25th floor. It took an agonising 10-15 minutes to work out how to operate the shower properly though. We then embraced American culture immediately by having an early dinner from Burger King and buying pyjamas from Gap for Griffin who forgot to pack his own.

Technology can be amazing though. Just an hour ago, I caught the tail end of the Induction Service of my school friend, Phil, as minister to my local Uniting Church in Turramurra, via a live stream video on Facebook. Over the years we have become rather infrequent church attenders but with Phil at the helm we may acquire a more regular habit. We will also be only walking distance away when we move into our new (rental) house upon our return in January.

It is 9pm Saturday here in San Francisco and 3pm Sunday back home. I’m thinking of Emma with her grandparents at Wahroonga Fair, cursing my personal trainer for my sore muscles exacerbated by the flight, feeling for my teacher friends as they finish up the school year and know how lucky and privileged I am to be on this journey. I will sleep now and conquer the jet-lag because tomorrow the real fun begins.


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