I tried to take as minimal time off as possible (because working marf) while still ensuring a decent, fun stay abroad. This meant picking flights that worked with my schedule and opting only for one day (Friday) off. I won't bog down with the details, but due to timeliness of working a 9-5, the flights at the closest airport, San Jose, were.... limited and costly. Thus, Fly out of SFO Thursday night at 10 pm (with a layover in Vegas at 1:30am, arriving in Dallas at 6am) and return to San Jose Sunday night (leaving DAL 6pm).
San Bruno BART station: Surprisingly exposed to rain. Result of a brief train transfer means photographic potential.
Theoretically speaking, this is doable. I mean, the Bay has decent public transit from work to ports (even if it takes 90 minutes), and I had more than enough time to make it solo (with a brief stop to pick up my bags from a local fur). This would've gone smoothly, and it did, rainy day and all.... until I arrived at SFO.
One major caveat I learned about flying to/from San Francisco: Unless it's international, expect your flight to be late. My flight was stated to be delayed by an hour, which wasn't too bad...
...until 11pm became 12:05...then 12:30....
Apparently that plane was coming from equally rainy Seattle. Needless to say I wasn't going to make that connecting flight, and was left with either rebooking for a 7am departure and staying all night in the terminal, or I could risk being stranded in Vegas (or I could've demanded my money back and bailed because who flies to Dallas?).
SFO's Terminal 2, in all its shiny glory.I was crazy and opted to rebook. This in itself turned out to Sleeping inside the Terminal was a unique experience that one should be fortunate not to go through if they can. Those benches, laid with armrests, aren't the comfiest to sleep on. I ended sleeping for an hour, moving to the next bench, sleeping for an hour, repeat. Eventually, around 4am, I gave up and roamed around....and then found the most ideal spot to rest.
The surprisingly comfy IKEA-esque display between terminals... aka brief folf bed.
Come 6:30 am, my beautiful Virgin America plane awaited. I was barely awake and running on a mere danish as I boarded the lavender backlit interior to the dance club airline. The flight itself was uneventful, but I managed to get some on and off sleep between looking out the window and staring at the map.
Despite the fact I have traveled many a time in the past to much further places (Manila, Amsterdam, Liverpool), the fact I was flying over Utah and New Mexico, several thousand miles away from home over the course of three hours, all solo, just left me in awe. This was something I've never done before myself. Sure, I did take the train to Seattle two years ago and flew back, but actually going beyond the West Coast for something that wasn't a group or family occasion, and the fact that I did this on my own and without a guide... I was very much not unlike this:
The plains gave way to more clouds as the plane touched down onto the teeny, yet pleasant Dallas Love Field. Upon the sight of a Dunkin Donuts, Whataburger, and the sound of very obvious accents, I knew immediately that I was in Texas.
Phone booths and 3D Microsoft Office interfaces are totally Texan!
If anything, from a Californian who's hypocritical about stereotypes, Texas is pretty honest about being Texas. On the (rather confusing) super shuttle to the Hotel Intercontinental, there was just something about the windy roads with tan, concrete ramps towering above the low-level buildings with tall, slim signs sparsely layed out on otherwise flat, lush green fields, to the old-fashioned houses of aged suburbia and clear picket fences. This haphazardness with that feeling of "open" in an otherwise sprawl just screamed to me: "Welcome to Texas".
Evidently the only photo I got to prove my case. It's pretty.
And yet, everything wasn't too far. Despite the traffic, I was soon in the very fancy lobby of the Intercontinental. Immediately I can spot the 6-foot-tall fuzzy canines and deer walking in the distance. After a brief stop at concierge to get my key, I went up to the room....
There's a furry con here?
.... and flopped, if only for a refreshing moment. There's a con to be had!
Lesson of the day: Try to avoid SFO if given an option.
San Jose is much nicer.