For the second day running I feel I need to preface my account of the day with a statement. A number of people have expressed sympathy and regret about the disappointing nature of both the Tahoe, and particularly Vegas, legs of our trip. I am grateful for that, but they really should not worry. I hope that by the tone of my reports, they detect a certain measure of irony and gallows humour, and, after all, this blog would have been very boring if everything went smoothly wouldn’t it? And, on occasions, I have exaggerated a little for dramatic effect, which I think is defensible.
As my “fellow Californians” would say – it’s all good.
We met Janet’s parents for breakfast in the hotel before bidding them adieu and heading off to McCarran Airport for our 1.05 Virgin America flight to San Francisco.
After checking in at around 11.30am, and paying $25 each for our two large cases, we proceeded to security (Janet had to endure the screening booth whilst I breezed through the traditional barrier!) to the gate. There were a handful of delays, though all – bar one – did quote an estimated time. Yes, the one exception was ours, “possible weather delay”, later described by the captain as “one small cloud in the Bay Area”. It was rather like waiting for a Southeastern train back home – no information whatsoever until an announcement to say we were boarding. Anyway, we left exactly an hour late, around a quarter of which we recouped on the journey.
Although, as regulars on Virgin Atlantic, we were disappointed with the pre-flight service of its American cousin, the in-flight service was better than that we had experienced with Southwest (though there was not a lot wrong with that) between Reno Tahoe and Vegas. The flight was a little more relaxed with seating that was more comfortable. Furthermore, there was a decent,mini version of the Virgin in-flight entertainment system.
A day couldn’t pass at present, howver, without some minoir catastrophe befalling one of us. On arriving at SFO we were directed to bagage claim number 9 which appeared to be nothing more than a locked cupboard. After around a quarter of an hour a Virgin representative breathlessly rushed onto the scene, profusely apologising for the delay, and opening the cupboard to reveal a small baggage claim area. In the excitement, and seeing our bags about to escape my grasp and begin yet another lap of the carousel, I lunged for them only to slam my shin against a solid metal block sticking out of the conveyor belt. Whilst it was very painful at the time, and exposed a bloody gash, I thought no more of it until I was changing my trousers at the apartment a couple of hours later, when I discovered that it was not only badly bruised but had blown up to the size of an adam’s apple. Fortunately, as I write this, virtually 24 hours later, antiseptic cream, plasters and rest have reduced the swelling dramatically, and I experience only mild discomfort rather than any pain.
I am trying to keep my rants to a minimum today, but collecting the hire car we had booked and already paid for was the usual battle to hold on to our money against a concerted attack to prise it from us. Every time we travel to Tahoe we are urged to upgrade to a four wheel drive because an alleged storm is on its way, even when the forecast, in the past, has been for fine weather. Today, we were pressed to upgrade the compact car, despite explaining that we had purposely booked a small vehicle because the garage space at the apartment could accommodate nothing bigger. Equally, it was suggested that we buy personal items and passenger insurances, despite the fact we had already had them.
We found the apartment easily enough at 5.30pm and had no difficulties gaining entry and parking the car. We had expected, from both the written details and photographs, a spacious and fully equipped home, but it immediately surpassed even those expectations. I will write much more in subsequent days about its features and facilities, but surpass to say that we are already thrilled. By the time we had gone to bed I had carried out our first shopping expedition to the local Lucky supermarket, which I was also pleasantly surprised by, completed the previous day’s blog on the PC supplied by the owners and “cooked” our dinner of lobster ravioli with roasted garlic sauce (plus two bottles of wine, of course). Janet had done all the washing that had acccumulated in Tahoe and Vegas (we could be clean once again!), and we had watched three episodes of Celebrity Apprentice on the 40 inch digital TV.
The rants are / may / should (delete as applicacble) be over – San Francisco has opened up its Golden Gate and returned our hearts! And after a wet weekend, the sunshine is going to arrive with a vengeance!