San Francisco Day 1

After years of doggedly chasing the cheapest way to LAX (bus shuttles from Joshua Tree and rides with friends) I finally broke down this year and bought a year’s membership to Wally Park, a huge spotted parking structure a mile from the airport. They provide free shuttles, complimentary water, and round-the-clock service for $12.95/day (rooftop special).

Of course now I discover that there is public transportation to LAX via the Metro Rail green line for a mere $1.25. And the all-day pass is only $3! As much as I believe in public transportation, I had some kind of strange belief that there was no such thing in Los Angeles. I dunno – it just seems like such a car city and everything is so far apart from each other… In any case, we stayed with Chad’s sister who currently lives in the city of Hawthorne, just south of the airport. We woke up at 4 am to walk to the Metro station (40 min) – the airport was only one stop away.

All went well until we were actually circling the Oakland airport an hour later. The cloud cover was too low: 1000 feet and it needed to be 1200. We circled for half an hour and then because we were running low on gas we were flown to Fresno. Yes, Fresno. We sat and waited and sat and waited some more. We were not allowed to disembark for security reasons, so we just sat and waited for the fog to lift. Two hours later, the captain gave us the welcome news that we were ready to leave. And then almost immediately some engine sound became ominously silent… The captain let us know that the back-up generator that had been running our air conditioner had died and needed to be checked before departure… This is the kind of situation that validates my habit of being a compulsive food hoarding freak because we ate every apple, corn nut, nugget of cheese, and even the day-old del taco bean and cheese burritos I had brought. We finally made it to San Fran after 4 1/2 hours. Whew. I suppose that it’s just a matter of odds when you travel, that you will run into weather and plane glitches.

We rode the BART into the city (Songbae had unfortunately driven out to pick us up earlier that morning…) We went directly to the visitor’s center at the Powell stop to get our 3-day muni passes ($18 – unlimited) and began hoofing it to Songbae’s work at the TransAmerica Building. Songbae works on the 21st floor and we were rewarded with an exclusive and amazing view of the city. We witnessed at least a dozen poor bastards asking the security guards if they could go up for the view. Apparently lots of tour books still list the TransAmercia Building as a good place to get a free view, but it has been closed to the public since 9-11.

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