Long ago, my mother had taught me to imagine what people were doing to keep from being bored. It could result in all sorts of flights of fancy. Was the man a drug smuggler? Was the bag full of marijuana or cocaine? Maybe it had classified documents and it was a “drop” for another spy to pick up.
As I sat waiting for my sister to come along, the man came back. This time, he was accompanied with a woman and a little girl. They acted like a family and he picked up the bag and they left. I guess he figured I had an honest face and wouldn’t run off with his belongings while he went to fetch his wife and daughter. I felt both relief and a little letdown.
Just about that time, I saw a woman walking across the baggage area and recognized her as my long-lost sister. I ran to meet her (as fast as my chubby legs would let me) and we hugged, kissed and oopsalutied over each other. I’d already claimed my luggage so we went to get hers.
The shuttle would take us to the next stop. Being over 60 miles away meant we’d have to pay the shuttle company to take us. This wasn’t a complimentary airport shuttle and if the hotel had one (which I doubted) it wouldn’t come out that far. I still wasn’t too sure about the hotel. The shuttle driver was much more courteous than the one I’d encountered in the airport parking lot. He chanced a double hernia and loaded my giant suitcase into the bowels of the shuttle and even managed to shut the door.
On the way to our interim destination, we talked non-stop. I don’t know if the other passengers appreciated our conversation or not and right then, I didn’t care. It was the first time I’d seen my sister (and she had seen me) in going on four years.
We saw the Golden Gate bridge and oohed and aahed over our good fortune. The head of the corporation operating the hospital had told me we should go to a restaurant located near the bridge. No time for that. We were on a Mission.
I knew from the Internet that the shuttle station was close to the hotel but I hadn’t realized it was almost right next door. We got our luggage (which thankfully had wheels) and steered them over the sidewalk to what would be our home for the next few nights.
Pleasantly surprised, we went through an archway of jasmine in full bloom—it smelled heavenly—and into the lobby. It wasn’t big but it was beautiful in that old adobe way. The desk had an intricate mosaic design on the front (and yes, I took pictures but it would take me far longer to locate them than the time I have to tell about this). There was a genteel air about the place. It was very clean and to say it was attractive would be an understatement.
All checked in, we went to find our room and divest ourselves of our burdens. The next order of business was to get a rental car.
We’d have to take a taxi to the rental place where we’d reserved a compact car. The taxi was called and the driver turned out to be a middle-aged woman wearing a huge hat. We crawled into the back seat and settled in. But not for long. The woman announced that it was a bad time of day to try to take the shortest route so we would go a little farther but get there more quickly.
Off we went like a bat out of you-know-where. She talked as fast as she drove and when she talked, she liked to face us. She had one hand on the wheel and the other one was on the end of the arm she lopped over the back of the front seat. She spent more time looking at us than she did the road. Always, when I thought we were going to end up in a ball of jumbled arms, legs and metal, she would pull us out of harm’s way at the last moment. It was the most hair raising ride I’d been on, bar none. A roller coaster at Disney World had nothing on her.
We thankfully got to our destination, paid the fare and got out of the Speed Demon.
The rental car was a jaunty little white one. I don’t remember the make but it was the latest model. My sister nominated me to do the driving. I don’t know that she was always satisfied she had decided for me to be behind the wheel but I was ready, willing and able.
Going back to the hotel by the more direct route given us by the clerk at the rental place, we found that it wasn’t terribly busy and it was lots closer than we were made to believe. The woman had run up the meter in addition to robbing us of our equilibrium. We were safe and for that, we were on the plus side.
Our room wasn’t anything fancy but it had everything we needed. It was attractive and there wasn’t any kind of unsavory critter in sight. We changed our clothes and sallied forth to find something to eat.
There was a restaurant between the shuttle station and the hotel so we figured we might as well make use of it. The name of it was Pairs and we found that it wasn’t as in Couples but it specialized in pairing wine with the different courses. The menu was a little intimidating so I relied on asking the waiter to recommend something for me. I explained that I was a vegetarian.
We started the meal out with a delicious bread and dipping sauce and then went on to spring rolls with more dipping sauce. I don’t remember everything we had but the food was outstanding. I was in hog heaven. If there was something I could do and do well, it was eat. The waiter offered to bring us wine with our food but neither of us indulged.
Walking back to the hotel, we agreed that we’d hit the jackpot on a place to stay. It was reasonably priced, comfortable and attractive.
Filled with good food, we changed into our nightwear and flipped on the TV. I’d called DD to let her know we’d made it okay and would be out to see her the next day. We’d gone a few days early so we could do some sightseeing.
Climbing into bed, I had no idea what the next day would bring.