San Francisco

August 15, 2009

Note I wrote, on August 15 2009, a few parts edited, a few links added:

Yesterday had its high points, but what an awful day.

Up early in Kyoto, breakfast, some final packing, checked out, across to Kyoto Station, finally finding Track Eleven (think it was), and after some time, on my shinkansen. …

Fast! I watched Japan blaze by at amazing speed. I considered not riding the shinkansen one of the regrets of my time in Japan (like not seeing Kyoto), and now I’ve done it. Took a few photos and short videos.

After a few stops, eventually Tokyo Station. … I had to wander a bit, … eventually finding the connection to Narita. Bought my ticket, ... watched as a train arrived, getting on the wrong car, wrong seat, but there was lots of room and thankfully the ticket collector didn’t care.

Kinda cloudy and never saw Mount Fuji. Eventually to Narita. …

…, found where I needed to be. With bad memories of Fukuoka, changed all my Japanese yen for US dollars, getting a few coins in yen as they only deal with whole dollar amounts, and hobbled through customs, immigration, whatever. Paid 500 yen for a wi-fi connection, did a few things, ...

Eventually got on my flight. Big flight. I didn’t want to move. Eight hours to San Francisco. I slept a little, but mostly did nothing, as usual on flights.

San Francisco ... walked a ... distance down to get my luggage. Later realized I left my copy of Edgar Allan Poe on the plane – had had that since high school and not happy about it, but those things happen.

I was thinking, no hurry, as luggage clearly hadn’t shown. I kept waiting.

I chatted with two women who commented, “I remember you from Tokyo.” I looked at them like, “Who are you?” I sometimes can be the face in the crowd, but at time seem to be a person who is noticed. They grabbed their luggage and left. I continued to wait. And wait, nervous as I knew my connection in San Fran was tight. No luggage. Finally nothing new coming down the pipe.

The short version is I talked to the luggage people and learned it was never checked in in Tokyo.

Fuck. I wandered to my connecting, ... I realized the tightness of my connection (11:37?), finally accepting, but when I saw the length of the line at security I knew it hopeless.

I would miss my connection in San Fran, and my luggage was still in Tokyo. … to a customer service center.

I try to be mellow and polite, but by then my irritation was probably showing. To their credit, the United people were quite polite. I was placed on “high priority standby” for a Portland flight at 2:07, and granted a ticket for the one at 4:59.

But Colleen and Marvin. After buying some lunch, at some United counter I called Colleen, leaving a message. The 2:07 flight was clearly overbooked. I was top of the standby list, but never moved to having a seat. Bye-bye, 2:07. I had a guaranteed ticket to the 4:59. Was told to wait a while, supposed to be at something like Gate 69, ... Like Tokyo, wi-fi cost, but unlike Tokyo, did not pay for it. Result was I stared at nothing until sometime around 3:30 I found the flight was to leave from a gate at least close, across the way, near 69, so … over there.


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After a flight somewhere over eight hours, waited & waited for my luggage in San Francisco International Airport. And waited, aware of the tight connection in SFO. No luggage.

Turned out luggage never got on the plane in Tokyo. In San Fran missed the 11:37 to Portland, Oregon. For the 2:07 was placed on “high standby,” top of list, but flight was full. Finally on 4:59 to Portland. At PDX, off to file a “missing luggage” report. “Oh, your luggage might be here.” There it was. Took a shuttle to my brother Marvin’s house.

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Camera location: 37° 37′ 01.39″ N, 122° 22′ 59.87″ W.

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