Day 99

Thursday, September 1, 2005San Francisco, CA
Miles: 11437I Left My Heart in SFO

Keath worked half his day in the morning before Ceridwen got up. We finished packing, tidied up the van a bit, threw out things that would smell bad a week later, and head out to SFO. It took us a while to find the parking lot that had the good deal, but after three time around (maybe four or five) we found it. Since San Francisco International is right on 101, instead of a loop road they have a system of terrifyingly interwoven exit and entrance ramps that don't all link up with one another. We ended up heading up the highway a couple of exits to turn around and approach from a distance. Apparently our hotel was too close to the airport to allow us to actually get to the parking lot. Never did we think Newark would seem like a brilliant design, but right now even Logan looks brilliant. And they reroute the roads while you're inside.

Once inside the airport, things were a little better organized. Lufthansa's San Francisco staff are far more capable than any domestic airline's crew. They weren't able to fix the fact that Expedia lied to us about when to ask for a vegetarian meal (Call the airline more than 24 hours before your flight; not within 24 hours of your flight!) but they made sure that Ceridwen was all booked in through her connection in Germany. They were also very friendly when she failed the "will your bag fit in this box, ma'am?" test. We did a test poke while in line and were certain that it would, but it seems that we underestimated the squishability of the her belongings. Fortunately, she packed a smaller bag with the essentials she would need on her person in case she become separated from her backpack. And Lufthansa only allows one carry on anyway - no "personal items" - so she'd have to check something anyway.

Ceridwen has been having a hankering for bagels since before the North Bend Round Artisan Bread Debacle, so we set off to find some. Surely a big city airport would be able to suit her needs, plus she could stash some extras for the flight. After a brief but unfulfilling search, a nice old man at the info booth informed us that there are no bagel shops in the international terminal, though he could not say for certain if there would be any after security. We had ourselves some delicious penne with cream sauce instead and Ceridwen took some extra cash for post-security opportunities.

Then it was time for the big, sad goodbyes. We hugged and kissed a bunch and didn't want to part ways, but it would be a very silly reason to miss an international flight, so eventually Ceridwen had to get in line to go through security. Keath hung out at the barricade with a half dozen other guys trying to keep an eye on their loved ones as they passed through the corral to security. Kisses aplenty were blown. And then Ceridwen's head popped up one last time when she waved back to Keath before passing through the metal detector in to lands unknown to non-travellers.

Keath was sad. He briefly tried to bury his frustrations in collecting all the abandoned carts and turn them in for some extra laundry money, but, just like Terminal, an airport staff member thwarted his plan. With nothing else to distract him, he headed out to the BART terminal to get in to town to find his hostel.

As luck would have it, Ceridwen was boarding just as Keath approached the hostel and she called to say goodbye just as the front desk clerk was letting him in. So after a very confused and chaotic goodbye, Ceridwen got on her plane and Keath got checked in to the European Guest House. After checking in, Keath set off to his company's San Francisco office to pick up a key and work the second half of his day. He spent much time checking in on the flight status of Ceridwen's flight, but learned little more than the fact that it was running about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. (Which will hopefully be a relief to his father, who was worried that a 45 minute layover in Frankfurt was cutting it too close.)

Keath finished up his day and then headed out on the lonesome walk home (back to the hostel). After doing some blog updating, checking on Ceridwen's flight a few dozen times, and meeting some other folks staying at the hostel, he turned in for the night. Meanwhile, at 30,000 feet, Ceridwen was unable to get much sleep at all.

Thursday, September 1, 2005Bucharest, Romania
Miles: 17885...

After my one last goodbye wave to Keath, I headed on through the metal detector. I didn’t set it off, so I grabbed my hoodie and my shoes and made a beeline for the nearest secluded spot to put myself back together. Oh, crap! My backpack! I ran back through the end of security and grabbed my bag just as it rolled out of the x-ray machine. Yeesh. Think I travel alone much?

An hour or so later, I boarded my flight to Frankfurt. It was uneventful, which is really the best thing for a flight to be. I had some pasta, which, luckily, was vegetarian since we’d had some problems getting me a vegetarian meal for the flight across. I read a lot, I tried to sleep and I watched Fever Pitch, which made me oddly homesick, considering I’m not from Boston, but I do know plenty of people who are positively rabid about the Red Sox. It was a good movie, even though it didn’t help me sleep. I was in one of the seats that didn’t recline, which meant I spent the flight sitting completely upright with the seat in front of me about 4 inches from my face. Ugh.

Somewhere over the Atlantic, it became Friday.