Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I've arrived in California.

Today was such a long day. I spent 10.5 hours travelling---the self-portrait is how I was faring 3/4 of the way through. (Exhausted and with disastrous hair, but energetic enough to get out my camera to capture me waiting for the BART train.) Since I had an early flight, I didn't end up sleeping at all Sunday night. I just packed and organized and lazed about.

Here's a run-down of all the modes of public transportation I was on today. I was out the door before 6:30am and soon was on the subway. Took two of those. Then the bus to the airport. Escalators and movators don't count as public transportation, right?

The lineup at the newish terminal 1 at Pearson was enormous! It was fairly fast-moving, but partly because me and a couple other people got pulled ahead a few times. Seems we didn't get to the airport as early as some other people did. In the end we got on the plane in time, but others didn't, so our departure was delayed by a few minutes. Some people got left behind because they didn't manage to get through customs on time. Craziness. I think it's something about Monday morning travelling. I was at Pearson more than an hour ahead of time. While waiting in line I chatted with a woman on my flight who works as a sommelier and was off to tour the wine country . . . for work! Nice.

The flight was fine. I slept through much of it. About 30 minutes before landing, I opened up the window, and discovered that the view was absolutely amazing. We were flying over the Nevada desert, and then some mountains, and then could see the Pacific. Wow. Too bad I was so exhausted that I really couldn't stay awake to sightsee. The landing views were pretty neat, too. San Francisco is certainly not Toronto, as one of the kids in the row behind me pointed out! I'm now sad that I'll be leaving on a red-eye.

One of my seat-mates on the flight was a young guy from Waterloo who works in the tech industry and lives in Palo Alto. We decided (at my suggestion) to take the train out to the 'burbs together, but then he got called away to work so that didn't end up happening. I almost had my very own Ethan Hawke, FN! He was totally cute, too, in a 21st century hippie kind of way. We had matching shoes and thinness. He went to the Comic Arts fest in Toronto; I went to a Trek fest. Anyways, he was a nice guy. Oh, and he had a great 'fro. ;-)

The trip out to Palo Alto was totally uneventful. I think I've now travelled on enough public transportation systems that they don't phase me in the slightest. Three trains later, on three different systems, and I was in downtown Palo Alto. A friendly woman pointed me in the right direction once I got off the Caltrain, and I found the bus stop a few blocks away without any difficulty. What I saw of downtown was nice, if much richer and cleaner than I'm used to. The bus was late, but it came eventually and before long I was at my new home. It did take me about 2 hours to get here from the airport, but it was cheap and meant I got a bit of a feel for the place. This way I will be much less nervous about going out to the archives early tomorrow morning.

I took a nap later in the afternoon, and eventually dragged myself out of the house to get some groceries. Again, super easy. I know I'm anal about planning things ahead of time, but this is why I do it. So that when I'm exhausted and carrying heavy bags around a strange place I don't have to use up a lot of brain power worrying about how to get where I want to go. I fully recommend taking advantage of trip planners on public transportation websites. They are seriously a great, great thing. The TTC website will be getting one soon, I hear. About time!

Well, speaking of trip planning, I should figure out how I'm getting to the archives in the morning.

I promise to take and post pictures at some point. Was too out of it to take any today. But anticipate palm trees and terracotta-coloured buildings.

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