Aviation Buffalo California San Francisco Travel Trees

August 9, 2012 – a stranger in a strange land

(This is the second of four written on the iPad while in various stages of being in transit, and only now being published with images. This one was written on 9th August)

Transitions are good when they are finally over.

Yesterday was a transition day. We checked out of our excellent accommodation in West Seneca (Buffalo), the Staybridge Suites hotel was the best hotel of our journey by far.

We braved the morning rush on I-90 and then highway 33 to get to the fine modern airport at Buffalo. Return of the rental car was quick and uneventful. I couldn’t help noticing, in contrast to the rapacious policies of NZ airports that the first two hours oif parking were free.

Our flight back to San Francisco was a two-hop journey via Cleveland Ohio. The first leg was on a Dash 8, but that was only 50 minutes or so.  It was amusing to me, that United think the Dash 8 is too small to allow actual carry on bags. They let you check in with them and then take them off you on the ramp. They do give them back when you get off.  The journey from Buffalo to Cleveland was low enough to give a good view of the freeways and interchanges that characterise travel across this vast land. You have to wonder at the strange diversions and kinks that occur on otherwise flat terrain. Southbound freeway kinks somewhere between Buffalo and Cleveland

Our only experience of Cleveland was United’s departure lounge.

The next leg was on a B737-800. Why do people choose window seats if they want the blind shut all the way? Grrr. He opened it at my (polite) request on the final approach over the San Mateo bridge.

San Francisco was brilliantly clear, but a modest 65 deg F or so. Just a beautiful day! An early walk along the waterfront produced some interesting plant life including this cheerful specimen . yes a pohutukawa, Metrosideros excelsa in full bloom. I know there are more than 50 varieties of Metrosideros, but there is a lot of evidence for genuine pohutukawa being introduced around San Francisco.Pohutukawa in Burlingame, CA

Our hotel was at the harbour’s edge in Burlingame, close enough to the airport that we could see the markings and registration on every incoming aircraft. Of course, that means we were close enough to hear them too. But for an aerophile like me, this was magic. Emirates B777-31H

In the haze just ahead of Emirates’ beautiful B777 is Candlestick Park. The needle atop the second skyscraper from the left is the tip of the TransAmerica Pyramid. Just amazing to me, was the seemingly endless stream of aircraft arriving and departing. Four concurrently active runways makes for some interesting juxtapositions.  The long lens got a good workout. Delta B737-800 and British Airways B747-400

We needed some shopping, so set out to walk to the Safeway on El Camino Real, but found what we needed in Burlingame’s Broadway, about 40 minutes away. The return walk was along a pretty path beside the harbour with good views of both shore birds and air traffic.

And thus ended the last day of our most enjoyable trip. Today we are on our way home.

The vagaries of air travel and the international date line mean that, for us, there will be no Friday the 10th of August.

See you on Saturday.