Travel Diary

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  • Mar 02, 2012 – Going to Canada!
  • Mar 03, 2012 – Welcome to Vancouver!
  • Mar 04, 2012 – Coming Home

  • When I had friends living in Taiwan, I visited Taiwan (and Hong Kong, and Vietnam, and Thailand). But since they moved to Seattle, East Asia seemed a little out of the way. Thus, I decided to visit Canada (and the Seattle area, I suppose).

    The first thing that I needed was plane tickets. Well, this was after finding a suitable time to go. With work being so busy and rehearsals every weeknight, then only real time would be a weekend. And that was fine. A short trip beat no trip at all. Plus, I could always go back for another longer trip later.

    I checked my usual site: www.farecompare.com. The site simply queries the others sites and finds the best fares. Trust me, I haven’t yet found a better method. Virgin America had the cheapest tickets or roughly so—at least for the time I wanted to depart. I also chose them because I had a great experience on Virgin Atlantic once and figured the American version would be just as good. More on that later.

    The flight would be out of SFO. That way, I could ride BART and not worry about parking. I’m not sure if I’ll do that again. At least not for short trips. More on that later. Shoot, seems like more on everything later. But what about more now?

    Well, I’ve found that “flight days” are usually lost days. Not just for the time of flying and arriving at the airport, but in general, it’s just hard to focus and work when you’re going on a trip. I took the full day off work, mainly just packing my stuff and doing a few small things. But then I grew restless and went to the BART station.

    The ride to the airport wasn’t problematic, just long. The BART time is almost 1.5 hours and about $12 each way. But it does work and one incurs no parking fees.

    I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Security was fairly quick. And I had about an hour to kill. A glass of wine helped kill the time. It was only $10 with tip.

    Since I booked early, I chose a rear seat at the window. In doing so, I was able to board early and avoid the backed up lines. Usually, I elect for the aisle seat, but since it was a short flight, there was no need for easy bathroom access, and no one would be climbing over me every 15 minutes.

    After takeoff, I found that one nice feature from Virgin Atlantic was not offered on Virgin America (VA): free entertainment. They had basic cable going (yay for commercials), but all movies cost about $10—and it was doubtful that one could even finish the movie in time. Not fun.

    Incidentally, this was my first continental flight in over 13 years.  I wasn’t used to not showing a passport in the airport checks.

    The flight was smooth and I got some nice photos of the sunset. Again, it pays to be savvy when booking ahead. I had even checked out the seating charts to ensure that I as far back as possible, but not in the last row, since those do not recline as much. I listened to an audio book for a while and then dozed off. Soon, we were preparing to land.

    It was early twilight when we were above the clouds, but after descending through them, it was dark underneath.  We were almost immediately immersed in a Seattle evening: cloudy and a little rainy. I guess it’s always sunny above the clouds.

    My friend Terry was there to pick me up and we were soon heading to Bellevue. After a short time at their home, it was supper time. We went out for MOD pizza, which is pretty cool: you can choose whatever toppings you want on it, and it’s only $7. Not a bad deal. Even the beer was dirt cheap. It wasn’t a huge pizza, which was a good thing, since I ate about half of it there, and took the other half home.

    Afterwards, it was a trip to the mall. I forget what it was called, but it was nice. Lots of interesting shops, but with the usual suspects too. Nevertheless, they all pretty much look the same to me.

    Once back home, we chatted for a spell and I crashed in the guest room.

    Oh, yeah, I also ate the other half of the pizza. I guess it was binge weekend.

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