Monday, 24 October 2016

A final lazy day in the sun and the dreaded return to Mordor (SFO to YVR) (Rant Warning)

After 6 hours of sleep I still feel exhausted, weak, and drained.  Coffee doesn't help in this instance, but there is that old saying 'Hair of the dog ......'.

My hung-over and not quite awake face probably says all that needs to be said about waking up in a sunny and warm climate

We check out of the posh Courtyard Marriot hotel in Sunnyvale and head for a breakfast Pho in Milipitas.  

The place is HUGE, busy and I am the only white person in there. So you can probably guess how good my Ox-tail Pho tastes ;-)

At 2 pm the lack of sleep hits me and I have a 2 hour nap.

And then it's almost time to eat again (Lazy Sunday Afternoon Living). Hot Pot is on today's menu and now I realize why Alan bought all that stuff in the supermarket on the drive back from Mountainview.

The food is amazingly yummy and the feast is crowned by an abalone that has been sitting at the bottom of the pot until the very end. The second time in my life that I am eating Abalone and this one is MUCH better than the one I once had at Kirin Restaurant in Vancouver !
Gabriel, Jocelyn, Alan, Glenda wielding the instruments 

Need to get me one of these !!
On the other hand, I probably had more than enough of the content of the above bottle; just look at the next picture ;-)
No idea what inebriated accident led to this picture, but Glenda is such a nice and gorgeous and fabulous host that this picture will be included here!

It's a working day on this Monday for my hosts, so I'm getting up at 6 am.
A change in the weather ?
 There is also that matter of a plane to catch.

The plane is schedule to take off at exactly noon, so I arrive at SFO at 9:15, despite severe delays in the BART system due to a Medical Emergency/Police Situation (Both explanations are offered over the PA system; The cops shot someone?). And I can understand how BART passengers would blow a fuse or a valve; the system is HOPELESSLY unable to provide enough capacity for the demand.  

After I stand in the line for my door for a while, I am lucky to be able to enter the almost full train, but I think the people at the end of the line weren't so lucky.  The situation gets much worse at the following stations, where the lines are just as long but the number of passengers that manage to squeeze themselves on the train is close to Zero. And for some of them this is not the first train that they couldn't get on. No wonder everyone drives a car here ...;-(
The weather is definitely changing!
Anyhuu, I'm at SFO at 9:15, head for check-in, the self-check-in machine does NOT recognize my passport (that worked at YVR), have to line up again, get lectured about the expired PR card AGAIN, whereupon I am informed that my flight is delayed by 2 hours and 20 minutes. WTF?   Gotta LOVE Air Canada !!!  As I said before: Why bother trying to be world-class if you can get by with small-town mediocrity ? On the other hand, maybe that REALLY FAT Air Canada pilot I witnessed on the way here, the one that almost needed oxygen after getting out of a chair, finally blew a valve and is responsible for the delay.  How in the world an airline can allow a bloated pig that should not pass the most lenient of health checks to pilot an airplane with hundreds of people is beyond me.

Anyhuu, I am at SFO, 4 hours before the take-off of my plane; Thanks Air Canada !  What to do?  The obvious answer is to eat, since I've only eaten one chocolate biscotti so far today.

I finish my meal and when I walk by a display board am informed that the delay of my 2 hour flight has increased to 3 hours. Oh Joy! It is also telling that the only airlines suffering from delays are the likes of RyanAir, Wow Air, and Air Canada.  Go Canada Go !

I whine about my fate to Denise by e-mail, and she just dryly replies that there are no Public Transit buses running in West Vancouver.  I check it out and it turns out the bus drivers are on strike.   Go Canada Go !

What will they think of next ??????  Putting the Beaver on the National Flag and turning off all electricity (The internet in my hotel already SUCKS) ?????

Ah,here is more wine.  No more whining ! 

Actually, there is NOT ENOUGH Wine in this airport to stop the Whine !

At the security checkpoint I feel rushed because there is NO line-up.  There is more security personnel than people being checked. OMG, it IS possible to NOT treat people like cattle. YVR, PLEASE take note !

A carton of Pall Mall cigarettes costs US$ 28 versus US$ 44 for a carton of Camel. Both of them contain nicotine, so guess which one I got (o.k. a lame riddle). Another two weeks and I will be buying fabulous Cambodian cigarettes for US$ 5.00 per carton. Yes, that's RIGHT! US$ 0.50 for a pack of cigarettes, i.e. 2.5 US cents per cigarette !   WHY do they call this place of running buses, mostly on-time flights, and cheap cigarettes the Third World? I'm not quite sure but maybe I have been getting the rating system wrong all these years. Maybe it's like stars for hotel rating. A five star hotel is supposed to be much better than a 2 star hotel, is it the same with the # worlds?

It's when I sit at the gate when I come to terms with the next insanity, namely why I paid $28.25 for my cigarettes instead of $28.  I am NOT allowed to walk through the terminal with my freshly bought cigarettes.  NO NO NO. Imagine what could happen !  They will be handed to me at the gate by an airport employee. In a plastic bag.  You don't have the choice about getting your purchases handed to you in a bag.  HOWEVER, they charge US$ 0.25 for the friggin bag.   

What's next ???  Go ahead, bring it on !!!

At the gate I mention to some of the Air Canada Gate crew that it would be kinda nice to provide the passengers with an explanation or even a pro-forma apology for the looong delay. I'm not sure whether the evil glare or the hissing reply shocks me more.  Now THAT is world-class service. They should FORCE EVERY Air Canada employee to take a flight with a Japanese or Korean airline so that these peasants of the air can understand what a world-class airline feels like.  How about making that an issue of National Pride ?  (Stay tuned: Next week I will be able to report on the flight experience with China Southern Airlines)

This is not my picture, but at SFO I witnessed about 10 Korean Air stewardesses walking through the airport DOUBLE-FILE !!!   And when Korean Air stewardesses enter the plane's washroom it is most likely to clean it and to provide fresh free tooth-brushes (every half hour or so). Air Canada? No, but I once witnessed a steward who was handing out food opening the toilet door with one hand to throw something into the loo garbage container. Needless to say, he did NOT in any way wash his hands.

What's next?   We finally get into the plane by 3:10 pm (I can't believe it, but when I asked for the special emergency exit seat the woman at the desk actually gave it to me ;-) and the last thing I remember before passing out in my seat is something about a Gate Lock. The violent acceleration of the plane taking off wakes me at 4 pm.  Seems the Gate Lock was effective for 40 minutes.  Good thing I slept through that; I'm known to easily foam at the mouth in such circumstances.   

As by now is tradition in Canada's Flag-Carrying Airline, there is ZERO (Air Canada Zero, the DIET airline) free food on this 2 hour flight, not even a tiny bag of Pretzels. But you can BUY food with your credit card. Of course, I knew this already, ever since Air Canada let me go hungry on a 5 hour flight from Montreal to Vancouver in 2014.  Go Canada Go ! 

HERE, click on this LINK ( Air Canada has to PAY for the advertising link ;-).  It reads "Exceptional Service starts on the Ground".     What they don't tell you: That is exactly where the Exceptional Service also stays, because if Exceptional Service has any common sense it ain't flying with Air Canada !

What else is there?  On the way from the Gate to Immigration Control, American passengers step onto one of those moving walkways they have in airport to shorten the sometimes ridiculous long distances to be walked.   When the Americans decelerate rapidly and look at their feet because the moving ground is not actually moving, my inner devil gets the upper hand again and I just have to say it: "Welcome to Canada".
Not a YVR walkway and not my picture
That little devil also does not rest until it has said to the immigration officer who asks me whether I'm ever going to renew my Permanent Resident Card "I guess I should, but I'm never here long enough because it takes you guys 8 WEEKS to get me a new one".   THAT not only is the truth but apparently it is the correct answer, because for the 2nd time in 5 weeks, no secret message ensuring a secondary search are coded onto my customs declaration form and I can walk right from passport control to cigarette smoking outside the terminal without any obstacles.

No comments:

Post a Comment