SF to Reno!

Written on 1/15

I would like to start this blog by saying that my mother, the most organized and put-together woman on earth, went out with a bang in San Francisco by almost missing her flight home. We were sitting in the bed in our pajamas about 9PM last Monday (we love the nightlife) talking about going to the Farmer’s Market before leaving the next day. Dad called Mom to hear about our day, and then said, “Wait, aren’t you supposed to be home tomorrow morning?”  So mom double-checked her e-mail and we freaked out upon realizing that her flight was supposed to leave in two hours.

She threw her stuff together, got dressed, and repeated, “I cannot believe I did this…” as I called a cab for her. She ended up making her flight so I feel comfortable saying that it was hilarious.

I did a little exploring by myself the next morning before catching a (free – thanks Uber!) cab to the Greyhound station at about 3:00. After a brief incident involving my iPhone, a homeless man, and the security guard that I had thankfully befriended, I was on my way to Reno. Greyhound is not exactly the most luxurious mode of transportation, but it was certainly the cheapest at just $15.

I wondered if I would feel safe, but our bus driver was such a large and sassy lady that I was confident she could kill a man without even pausing to pump the brakes. I read for about an hour until it started getting dark, then my neighbor and I turned on the overhead reading lights so we could keep reading. Apparently sassy bus driver didn’t like lights, because she said, “TURN THEM LIGHTS OFF,” which we obeyed without question. My iPhone was dead, so I ended up just sitting there for about 4 hours since I can’t sleep on a bus/plane/train/anything but a bed. I didn’t mind too much, though – after 8 or 9 days of constant movement it was nice to reflect and be still a while.

My (accidental) quest to rescue old people in their peril continued in Sacramento. We had a 15-minute rest stop and I was standing next to the sink in the bathroom to charge my phone, minding my own business. A very old and tiny Chinese lady came out of a stall, tripped over her backpack, and was sailing face-first for the corner of the sink when I caught her in my arms and stood her back up. She didn’t speak English very well, but she said “Ohhhhh you help me!” and had me help her with her backpack and make sure the straps were un-twisted. She then proceeded to try and exit the bathroom via the handicap stall. When this did not work, she looked at me quizzically and said, “Outside?” and I pointed her in the right direction.

We finally made it to Reno a little after 9:00PM. Hailey, one of my dearest friends from my semester abroad in Spain, picked me up at the station. It was so wonderful to see her after a year of trying to dream up a reunion! I spent barely any time in Reno, but I don’t have much good to say about the “biggest little city on Earth” or whatever it’s called. Hailey and I headed straight to Lake Tahoe; Incline Village to be exact.

To be continued!

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Atlanta to San Francisco: A weird day in the best way.

I am working on a big blog about Passion but I just need to chronicle the events of today. Most days are an adventure, and today was a travel day so it was an extra-special adventure.

I woke up in Atlanta, GA and my dear friend Laura drove me to the MARTA stop so I could catch a train to the airport. I am pretty proud of myself, because I packed for 15 days in 3 different climates in one backpack and one carry-on suitcase. Shortly after getting on the train, they announced that, “There has been an emergency at the Airport Station and no trains will be running to the airport.” Alright, good, cool. Luckily, I had left with plenty of time to get to the airport, so I hiked my luggage back up to the road and called a cab. The cab I called didn’t come, so I hailed another cab that was passing by. So I hopped in with an old, hard-of-hearing man named Oscar who was blasting Jesus music and had been driving cabs in Atlanta for 34 years. He was 12 hours into a 48 hour shift (is that legal?) and we set on our way. Little did I know, the cab I called was pulling up and the driver saw me get into the other cab. So he followed Oscar and I to the next intersection hanging out the window yelling “Aye yo girl, you got in the wrong cab!” To which Oscar said, “Ohhh he just want all the money,” and I smiled and shrugged like I was confused and had no clue what was happening.

So Oscar and I had a good chat on the way to the airport, we fed a homeless man with some snacks we grouped together, and giggled at other people with road rage. He loves the Falcons, the Braves, and doesn’t like the Hawks because they can only win on the road. It may have been $30 more expensive than my original plan, but the company was much better.

My flight was direct from Atlanta to San Francisco, and I was in the middle seat between Jill from Florida and ? from India/Palo Alto. We were the best of airplane friends and they gave me all kinds of suggestions about where to go around town…so much so that it was on the edge of overwhelming, and ? told me all about his recent engagement and Indian Wedding customs. I slept exactly zero seconds of our 5 hour flight, and spend most of my time trying to read but not being able to hold my eyes open, but not being able to fall asleep. We’ll call it sleep limbo.

I left the terminal to catch the train to the other train (BART) where I was meeting Mom, and as I was approaching the escalator I watched as an older lady about halfway up tripped backwards over her suitcase and started tumbling down. I dropped all my stuff and sprinted up to the Emergency Stop button and helped her up. Many people on/about to board the escalator seemed annoyed that they now had to carry their baggage up a large flight of stairs, but when she said, “Oh, thank you for saving me!” I didn’t feel too self conscious about the glares. She went on her way and I used the courtesy phone to call the non-emergency police line so someone could come turn the escalator back on. What I didn’t realize was that calling the police means you have to give them all your information (?) , so my, “Hey, someone just needs to come turn the escalator back on…” was met with, “Ok, but we’ll need to get some information first.”

Anyways, my mother and I finally reunited and after wandering around in confusion for a little trying to get on the right train into the city. The BART is by far the noisiest/squeakiest mode of public transportation that I’ve ever used and it was also where another incident of good citizenship happened and I helped a lady shove her giant designer suitcases out from under a seat as she panicked/almost missed her stop and lost her son on the platform.

We arrived at our hotel in Downtown San Francisco and the elevator was broken. We were on the third floor, so the man at the front desk said, “Hold on, we’ll get you someone to help with the bags!” Out came a TINY Chinese man – literally 4’11” and at least sixty years old. I didn’t even want him to pick up my bag because I thought he might get squished. I started to protest but he threw on my backpack and hoisted my luggage ONTO his head, and charged up three flights of stairs. I wanted to say, “You’re just like a little Sherpa!” but I wasn’t sure if that was offensive, so instead I just kind of stood their looking stunned.

We “yelped” for some cheap dinner as ? recommended on the plane, and ended up at little hole in the wall Middle Eastern place that reeked of weed (we think it was drifting in from outside). Sound charming? We made friends with the owner at as we were ordering she looked out the window and said, “Showtime.” Apparently from 4-6 in SF, in an effort to speed up after-work traffic, you can’t park anywhere or you’ll get towed + a $500 ticket, or something like that. We satt with her as cars were towed and a clever homeless man took a glance around before picking a parking meter with a paperclip.

The whole day seemed like some kind of weird but definitely scripted reality show. Tomorrow Mom and I are renting bikes and riding all along the Bay and across the Golden Gate bridge. Today was such an adventure and we didn’t even try to do anything fun, so I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week holds.