There and Back Again12 Jul 2010
For those of you who don't follow us on the Twitters, we spent the last two weeks on our annual US trip, which this time included stops in Phoenix and San Francisco before visiting my family in Minnesota.
I suspected when booking that flying outbound through both Paris and Atlanta would be a mistake. Air France departed 3 hours late from Paris on a cramped an aging 747 (the only thing good was the food), and the last place on earth you want to miss a connection is Atlanta. Delta managed to find room for us on the last flight of the evening, so we got into Phoenix 6 hours late, with moods to match.
Arizona was our last US station (1989-90) before coming to Germany, and is always a nostalgic what-would-have-been-if-we-had-never-left experience. We love the heat and the desert, but the politics and economy leave a lot to be desired. We caught up with an old friend and soaked up some 115°F heat,
San Francisco is a station from my childhood (we lived in San Jose from 1st to 6th grade until 1974), and my wife's running joke was that I never took her there. It's not quite like I remember it. We stayed 3 days, time enough for the touristy things (stayed at Fisherman's Wharf, biked the Golden Gate Bridge, rode the cable cars, visited Alcatraz and the Exploratorium) but leaving much to explore should we ever return.
Then in Minnesota we paid a visit to Target Field (stadium is nice, Twins suck at the moment) then spent a beautiful and quiet week at the lake. Christopher had a blast, and we could tell that he's now old enough and competent enough at English that we could send him alone to Grandma and Grandpa for some upcoming school vacation.
Technically we connected an old unlocked iPhone to AT&T pay-as-you-go to stay in touch. We forwarded our business calls via Skype to ignore most of them and return the important ones, and a 100MB data package handled our email when we were out of WLAN range (for iPhone use unlockit.co.nz to set the APN). My wife succumbed to the lure of the iPad, and we were able to manipulate the waiting list at the Apple Store to get her one in Minneapolis on her departure date.
Our Delta flight home via Amsterdam was the opposite of our Air France experience (bad food, everything else OK), and if it weren't for the jet lag, we'd be ready and raring to go. But who left the heat on outside in Germany? Shut it off!