Saturday, July 05, 2008

Planes Trains & Automobiles

We arrived in San Francisco last night and hadn't realized how much this country had missed us.

As we wound our way down the Peninsula on CalTrain, a professional fireworks display would go off every few miles, a display of pyrotechnics usually saved for national holidays and Super Bowls.

Thanks for the warm welcome, U.S.A., but no thanks - we're just here to get our visas and get the F back out. For real this time.

Don't take it personally. But you know shit stinks when going through US customs and immigration is a better experience... in Canada. We've flown home via Montreal, one of many Canadian ports of entry where you actually go through US customs and passport control, and the experience was sublime. Professional passport screeners who don't feel the need to ask 400 questions. Polite security personnel manning the X-rays and the conveyer belts. None of the "baggage cart rage" I usually feel when going through the process at SFO or LAX or JFK or whatever... So Zen.

Which is necessary during a week like this. Right now, Alannah and I are at San Jose (CA) airport, waiting for our flight to Seattle, after which we will hop on another flight to Spokane.

This is after waking up at 6:30 in the morning to drive my parents' barely-roadworthy car with bald-ass tires to the airport. After arriving on CalTrain at 10:30 the night before. Which we caught after the BART ride from SFO to San Bruno and back to Millbrae.

Before BART, there was the five hour flight aboard an Air Canada Boeing 737 from Montreal. Two hours before that was the long 767 haul from Paris. To get to Paris, I had to drag a gigantic, 27-kilo case through one Métro and one RER line.

Only three days earlier, we had taken the high-speed TGV train back to Paris from Montpellier, where we'd ridden Velo M'agg bikes, taken shitty local trains (TER) and nice regional trains (Corail Téoz). About the only modes of transport we haven't used in the last seven days are a) the TAM tramway in Montpellier; b) taxis; c) horses and/or camels.

Oh yeah, that whole Montpellier thing. It was pretty awesome. I suppose I'll have to make a retroactive post about it, as I was blissfully away from the internet for a long weekend. Maybe I'll work on some pics and write it up on one of the next flights...

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