Sunday, December 18, 2005

Chapter 9: Going Home

The drive back to Sunnyvale from Yosemite was without incident, although it was terribly boring and just a little stressful. The development out in the San Joaquin Valley is really out of hand. Too many cars, trucks, houses, malls. And after you make it through, you still have to deal with navigating through the Bay Area (Livermore Valley, Santa Clara Valley). In years past, I was always happy to get back home to the city (San Francisco) and out of all that suburban freeway traffic mess.

Once at Cheryl’s, I took a badly needed shower and started up some laundry. I e-mailed Cheryl at her office to let her know I was back, and asked if she had anything specific in mind for dinner. She replied with, “You obviously haven’t looked in the refrigerator.”

I dutifully went to the kitchen and opened the fridge door. On the door shelf was a bottle of white wine with a post-it note stuck to it that said, “Drink me!” I chuckled, then noticed that inside the fridge was another bottle with a post-it note: “No, drink me!” As they say on the internet, I was LMAO. Cheryl had also made up a tray of what she calls “thing-urritos.” I’m not sure how to spell that. Cheryl’s traditional thing-urritos are tortillas filled with whatever can be found in the fridge, rolled, topped with sauce & cheese then baked. They’re like burritos, but with stuff like chicken, broccoli, you get the idea.

Next, I got started packing for the trip home.

I was on my second glass of wine when Cheryl pulled into the garage and announced that she was working (ha!) at home that afternoon. We finished the second bottle of wine as the thing-urritos came out of the oven. We had a great time, cleaned up, and too soon it was time to hit the hay. I left the next morning about 9:00 after an emotional good-bye and headed to the airport for my 12:30 pm flight to London. I snuck this photo of the first class lounge at SFO while sipping champagne:

The flight was long (11 hours) but comfortable, even though I developed a sore throat about halfway through. At Heathrow, I found the arrivals lounge and had a nice hot shower, changed clothes, then headed to the subway into central London to catch the train for France. Here’s the crowd at Eurostar waiting for an earlier train:

I had a long wait at the station since I had built in a good time cushion just in case the flight was late. A cup of tea and a lot of people-watching later, I was on my way through security and boarding the train. Waterloo station is pretty big and is a bustling place on a Friday morning:

The train rides went well – I changed trains to the French TGV in Lille for the ride directly to Tours, thus bypassing Paris, and it went without a hitch. Ken met me in Tours and soon I was back home. My sore throat became a full-blown cold and I was glad to eat something and go to bed.

The trip was over. Nearly a year of planning and anticipation had come to an end. I had a great time, and wish that I had had more time to spend seeing more people. But you can’t do it all, eh? Writing this account of the trip has been fun as it’s given me a great opportunity to re-live the entire adventure. I had fun working on the photos, too.

So then, I am suddenly faced with what to do next on this blog. Stay tuned...

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