Sounds simple, right? Go to the west coast, have a day to see the sights, take a few classes, enjoy the parties and after parties at night before returning to the east coast. Ha!
Let me just say I will seriously think twice before I ever venture to the west coast again. Let's start with the plane ride there, shall we?
My plane had a departure time of 7:15 with an arrival time of 9:55. After I checked in and made it through airport security I noticed my flight was delayed. I thought ok, I can grab a bite to eat to burn the extra hour. One hour later and the departure time was still not updated and no gate agent or person at customer service to speak with. As people continued to arrive at the gate, we heard three different departure times and still no gate agent. Around 8 the screen updated our departure time as 8:25, which would have been great if there was a plane at the gate for us to board.
As everyone sat there wondering if this plane would ever arrive and if we would indeed make it to the west coast the time changed on the departure to 9:21. At this point even the pilots and flight attendants seemed irritated. Finally around 8:15 a gate attendant arrived and had no clue the flight was delayed. She made no announcements on why we had an extra 2 hour wait nor did she offer an apology for our wait time. What she did do around 8:45 was announce the flight was extremely overbooked and they were offering round-trip tickets to anyone willing to fly the next night. Uh...you're kidding me, right?
The question then became if the plane was overbooked (it finally arrived at the gate around 9ish) why were they assigning stand-by tickets? To add insult to injury, they practically forced people to check their bags because they ran out of overhead space. As we finally made it to the tarmac we knew it was bad sign when planes were taking off around us, our pilot announced we needed to return to have maintenance check out the flotation device but we had no gate to return to. At this point it was almost comical and everyone was expecting Ashton to poke his head out to say we were being punked. I think we finally left the airport around 10:30 - from a 7:15 departure time. Which put us behind in the arrival time, which meant the rail station system was closed, which translated into a very expensive cab ride to the hotel at 1 in the morning west coast time. Did it get better? I'll let you be the judge...
The next morning it was rainy, cold and nasty outside. Considering our schedule, this was the only day we had to see the sights so my group decided to walk the hills to Fisherman's Wharf. We figured the rain would let up. We were wrong.
This was the bottom of the 'hill' and this photo is very deceiving. We thought it would be okay until we got to the middle:
This is how far we walked up in the rain, cold and nastiness. There was no way I was going into the middle of the street to get a great photo since the cars were trying to tag us like a game of Frogger:
This was the view after we got to the top:
The view was worth it but we decided to get a cab. The rain slacked up a little and I ended up having the best cup of clam chowder in my life at a street vendor. That was after we were given the cold shoulder at a restaurant. I guess she figured we weren't dressed well enough to get a good table. There is a such thing as Southern Hospitality.
We ended up at another restaurant with a view of Alcatraz for a clam chowder bowl, expensive appetizers and dessert. Let me say that everything in San Fran is expensive, even the cab rates triple at night. We took a van cab back to the hotel down the hill (which felt like an amusement park ride) for about $12. We took a cab to the store that night which was a lot closer and it was $20 round trip!
It rained every day we were there and got colder by the day. I caught the west coast crud and tried my best not to get anyone else sick. I was over the rain by day 2 and refused to go out in it again. The sun decided to come out on the last day and we did venture out into the city. Did I get my photo taken in front of the bridge? No. I did not get to go to Chinatown either. It was Chinese New Year and according to the taxi driver it would take hours to get in and impossible to catch a taxi back to the hotel and we were performing that night. The one thing I wanted to do was no bueno. I feel a theme...
By day three I was over the entire experience. The classes were over-crowded and you could not see the instructor. Either the classes were freezing or someone had the bright idea to prop open the door to the freezing rain for a breeze. Needless to say by the end of the festival almost everyone had the sniffles and was coughing. Even the parties at night were packed beyond comfort level.
The savior to this trip was the actual performance. The performance was the best one yet and since we knew the DJ MCing the event he played "Walk it Out" as we exited the floor and yes, we walked it out southern style and left it all on the dance floor.
Of course the flight back was over-booked and once again they forced you to check your carry-on. At least the delay was only one hour back to the east coast. I have never been so happy to be at home. My first stop was the pharmacy for a decongestant and then to pick up the furry one.
Would I ever go back to the west coast? That is a BIG fat no. It will take a LOT for me to go back. I sincerely think once is enough...but judging by the standing ovation we received as we walked it out I think we might get invited to perform next year.
Until Next Time,
Peace & Blessings...