Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Return from Europe

Yesterday morning (Iceland time) after checking out of our hotel, we walked the short distance to Bus Stop 3. It's a good thing it was a short walk, because Lisa was in terrible condition. The minibus arrived spot on 13:00 and took us over to the bus terminal.

BSI Bus Terminal

Here's our last static view of Reykjavik, from our seat on the FlyBus from the BSI Bus Terminal just before it set off for the roughly 50 km trip to Keflavik Airport.

In retrospect, I wish we'd gone on an earlier bus, because it would have given us more time at the airport, and we could have used it.

Saga Lounge Reykjavik

After working our way through the check-in and Terrorization process (once again helped by our Saga class upgrade), we moved into the shopping mall that is most modern airports these days. Lisa had a purchase in mind, but she was too fuddled by being so sick so we merely took some notes and may see if we can figure out how to get what she had her eye on later. We then headed for the Saga Club, which is very nice.

Saga Lounge Reykjavik

Unlike the other lounges we've been able to use on this trip, the Saga Lounge is huge, as you would expect of the VIP lounge at Icelandair's hub.

Saga Lounge Reykjavik

There was plenty of room. We grabbed a table and got lunch and beverages.

Berry Bear

Kuma Bear turned his nose up at the pickled herring on the buffet, but took an interest in this berry muffin.

We ended up having only 45 minutes in the lounge, and frankly, I would have been happier with a longer stay here. Lisa was relatively comfortable here.

After a too-short stay, we headed to the gate, where we first were rushed through a gate and then made to stand for maybe ten minutes waiting for a shuttle bus out to the plane (for some reason, while there was a jetway, they weren't using it, and we boarded from air stairs). This was hard on Lisa, who was woozy from lack of sleep and stress and coughing.

Eventually we made our way onto the plane. Lisa got as comfortable as she could, but it wasn't much, and neither she nor I got much if any sleep on the flight to California.

Bear Chair

Kuma Bear used my neck pillow (when I wasn't using it) as a special seat of his own between Lisa and me.

Thanks to the real-time map of our flight, we saw that we were passing to the north of Pyramid Lake, Nevada, and that meant spotting Nevada's temporary large city.

BRC 2019

There's the Black Rock Desert below.

BRC 2019

And there's the 2019 incarnation of Black Rock City, site of Burning Man, as viewed off to the left of our plane at the maximum (4x) zoom my camera phone can do. We waved to Doug and Kirsten and any of our other friends participating this year and turned back to the task of starting to police up our seats, as at this point we were less than an hour from arrival.

We landed at SFO around 7 PM local time, and we apparently were the only international flight arriving around then, because we had the Immigration and Customs areas pretty much to ourselves. That's just fine with us. The arrival process was surprisingly quick, although that might be because being in Saga Class, we were among the first people off the plane. We were among the last to leave baggage claim, though, because for some reason they unloaded the "priority" baggage (Saga class and air crew) last rather than first. Again, this was hard on Lisa, for there is a whole lot of walking involved and almost nowhere to sit. We really should have asked for a wheelchair. Lisa could just barely walk, leaning on me for support, with me carrying as many of our bags as I could.

SFO International Terminal

I would have liked to have called the hotel while we were still at Baggage Claim, but I've learned that they won't send their bus until you're already out waiting at the curb under this sign, and that usually means waiting another 30 minutes or so for the bus to get there. It's annoying, but I understand why they do it.

The shuttle bus dropped us off outside our hotel room at the El Rancho Inn and handed us an envelope with the keys to the room and to the Astro, which was parked right outside the room.

The room itself was pretty nice, and quite large. In fact, I bet we could have fit all three of the rooms we had in Dublin, Belfast, and Reykjavik into this room at once. This gave us the luxury for this one night stay of just tossing bags around and unpacking somewhat sloppily. Lisa was on an express journey to bed ASAP, while I needed to run over to Walgreen's and Safeway for more medical supplies for Lisa and some food for me. Lisa ate some on the plane, but with her constant coughing, has had difficulty keeping food down. I got her some fruit smoothie drinks, which she did manage to stomach.

I had a brief fright at Walgreen's when I couldn't find my wallet. I went back out to the Astro and found that I'd dropped it in the back of the van while unloading things from the van to our hotel room earlier. For a brief time, I was worried that I might have left it on the airplane!

I got to bed about 10 PM and suspect I was asleep before my head hit my pillow. But I did wake up at 4 AM. Jetlag, ho. On the other hand, my normal alarm clock setting on an ordinary work day is 4:45 AM, so I didn't worry too much about this. I took my time getting up, showered, dressed, and was down at the complimentary breakfast buffet when it opened at 6:30. Lisa didn't want to eat anything and tried to sleep an extra hour.

After we checked out around 8 AM, I took her to Sutter Health (Mills) Urgent Care in San Mateo. There they examined her, took a chest X-ray (no sign of pneumonia), administered some medication through a nebulizer, and took a flu test swab just in case. We pointed out that she'd not shown a fever to speak of. The doctor said that last year, they had a surprising number of cases of a form of influenza that didn't have appreciable fever, so they keep checking people. She was leery of prescribing antibiotics because she figures the bronchitis is viral (common cold; essentially con crud from Dublin/Belfast) and thus not reachable with antibiotics. She did prescribe an asthma inhaler which we picked up from Walgreen's on our way out of town.

Finally, observing that from the way Lisa described how and what she'd been eating (and keeping down or not) for the past few days, the doctor agreed that her electrolytes were probably out of whack. "Eat something salty," she told Lisa. That's probably the first time we've ever had a prescription to go eat at In-N-Out burger and add salt to the fries, but that's what we did.

Getting away from the Bay Area was a challenge. Traffic was heavy; certainly heavier than I expected for mid-day Saturday. Making things worse, a brush fire on Altamont Pass closed most of the lanes, and traffic snarled in all directions. I finally managed to get off of I-580 and find my way around to Old Altamont Pass Road. At first I feared that too many other people had the same idea I did, but it turned out that eastbound was relatively clear (westbound was nearly stopped the whole length from end to end).

With all of the traffic plus the time spent at urgent care, and with Lisa being way too wrecked to be able to share the driving duties, and this being the end of a three-week trip, I concluded that trying to get home today was a Bad Idea. One of the reasons we planned on arriving at the start of the long holiday weekend than at the end was to give us some recovery time, and we're going to use it. I booked a room at the Crowne Plaza in Sacramento where we've stayed before. They couldn't upgrade us to a suite this time, but they tossed in breakfast tomorrow. Whether Lisa can eat it remains to be seen.
Tags: burning man, health, hotels, lisa, travel

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