Real Life On Hold - these are the adventures of California native Travis Emmel, as he takes time off from the rat race to travel and see the world.

Journal Entries

Let The Parties Begin!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

With my pseudo-retirement but a week away, the socialized 'mourning' has begun; in other words, the goodbye parties are now underway. The celebrations kicked off with an unofficially sanctioned work happy hour, last night. We went to a relatively new restaurant in the area called 'Miami Grill'. It's a place that I've eaten at a number of times, as the food (Cuban/Floridian) is quite good – I highly recommend the Churrasco Chopp; however, every time I've been there, the bar has only had about 5-10 patrons in it. A fact that would help explain the server's shock and look of horror when people from our group started arriving and told him there would be approximately 30 people joining in the festivities.

There was a very solid turnout from the office, which always feels good. At the same time, I was a little sad knowing that I've developed all these great friendships over the years and I wouldn't be seeing everyone for quite a while after I leave. At least we have the internet to keep us in touch, now.

Next week will be the official goodbye party at work and then I'll have to get to planning some more informal get-togethers before skipping town.

First Travel Disaster of the Year

Friday, January 05, 2007

I can only hope that the rest of the year’s travel goes smoother than my first official trip of the New Year. I am currently on the road to San Francisco from the Oakland airport, having just spent 2 hours leaving the airport.

I drove up to Hemet last night so that I could join my dad on a mid-morning flight out of Ontario. We were headed up to meet my mom and sister in San Francisco to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Her special day is on the 7th and my sister’s birthday is on the 12th, so I thought I would stay up here for a few extra days and squeeze two celebrations into the same trip. My mom had come up a couple days earlier to spend time with my sister and a few friends in the city.

Getting to the airport was drama free, as was checking in and going through security; it was when we got on the plane that the pleasantries ended. I let my dad make our seat selection because he was very keen on sitting on the right side of the plane so that he could follow the topology below with a map that he’d brought along. What can I say, the man finds the Weather Channel riveting. It was a windy morning and as soon as we were in the air, that fact became ever more present. Thank goodness that it was only a 1 hour flight, because it was probably the roughest plane ride I’ve ever been subjected to. It was so bad, that the flight attendants were not allowed to get out of their seats for the duration of the flight.

Eventually, we touched down in Oakland; jostled, but no worse for the wear. We made our way to the baggage claim and grabbed our luggage. Not surprisingly, my mom was running about 10 minutes late (ask me about being the last kid standing on the corner after school waiting for her to pick me up), so we took a seat in the baggage claim area to kill some time. Within the first five minutes or so, a police officer came by and asked us to leave the terminal because the airport was being evacuated due to a security issue. Moments later, we, and everyone else in the airport, were being escorted out the doors and asked to gather around the parking area across the way from the terminal. Naturally, my mom calls at this point to let us know that she can’t make her way down the street in front of the terminal to pick us up because it’s been blocked off. Now we’re all within a few hundred yards of each other, but with no means of meeting up.

About 30 or 40 minutes pass and we’re still stuck in the parking lot with no signs of the airport resuming regular service. By this time, my mom has been forced to leave the airport and is parked in the Economy Lot, just outside the airport. Sick of standing around (and, not to mention, quite hungry), I decided that I’m not going to wait for things to return to normal and my dad and I should just make our way out to the auxiliary lot where my mom is sitting, provided this is a realistic option. Totally unfamiliar with the layout of the airport, I get on the phone with my mom to determine her approximate location and to see just how long this death march is going to be. We found a mutually visible landmark and from where I was sitting, the walk seemed doable provided there was a traversable path between the two parking areas.

After a little convincing, my dad agreed to the plan and we set out for the far parking lot. Over the next 45 minutes, we covered three parking lots, crossed two main thoroughfares, hopped a couple barriers and dragged our luggage to its untimely demise (about half-way through, one of the wheels on my dad’s luggage locked up; given his emotional state at the time, my father opted to just drag the bag to the point that the wheel in question was worn down to a semi-circle by the time we stopped).

Exhausted and certainly worse for the wear, we eventually rendezvoused with my mom at the auxiliary lot and I could finally begin my 10 day stay in San Francisco.

Copyright 2007, Travis Emmel