Friday, January 9, 2009



Our driver picks us up at 5:00 and our flight leaves on time from Houston. However, United Airlines did not win us over as new loyal customers. The two ovens in first class were out so they were running the length of the plane to heat up our breakfast. We were not served until nearly two hours into the flight and then there was no salt and pepper for the eggs and they had to scrounge up jelly for the bread. We land in SF a little ahead of schedule and wait nearly an hour for our one checked bag!

Yes, I wound up bringing an extra carry on size bag that we have to check. Dick wanted a pocket knife and there were a few little extras we wanted to have for the first part of the trip. We will have to ditch the bag in Africa, but by then we will have used up much of the stuff we have now. So that will work out.

We check into the Mandarin Oriental hotel and the staff could not be nicer. Our bridge-to-bridge room is spectacular and the view is of the Golden Gate to the left, Alcatraz in the middle, Richmond San Raphael Bridge in the distance and the Oakland Bay Bridge to the right! The weather is clear and cool with little or no wind and there is a beautiful blue sky. The bay is calm with sailboats out in force from shore to shore.

We walk to China Town and have a nice lunch at the Oriental Pearl Restaurant; good food and attentive service. As usual we order way too much food! We then walk on over to Fisherman’s Wharf with a swing by the lower end of the crooked stretch of Lombard Street just to watch the cars drive down it squealing their tires.

We walk along the Embarcadero as far as Pier 39 and then catch a cab back to the hotel. We watch a gorgeous sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge from the room. As I write this, the sun has been down for about 30 minutes and the bay is growing dark rapidly but the lights are coming on all over and the air is so clear that they are beginning to twinkle. There is a full moon rising over the Bay Bridge. A very special way to start our trip!

We are both very tired so we go down to the bar for a cocktail and have three items off the appetizer section of the menu and some ice cream for dessert before calling it a long day. Tomorrow, lunch in Sausalito and then on to New Zealand!


Tom Neal said...

Around here we call Wester Union the courtesy Desk @ HEB. Send pesos anywhere

Tom Neal

Dana Hext said...

LOVE the sunset picture of the Golden Gate Bridge! Glad to get your email that you are in New Zealand safe and sound. All is well here. Have a great time. We look forward to seeing more pictures!! Love, Dana