My first day back at work after the car accident a week ago, was an all day trip to San Diego on Monday morning. Steve (DOS) and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport on Sunday night, and as always had an enjoyable stay. We always request a runway view with balcony on the 10th (top floor) and I awoke to a beautiful view of the sunrise with a Southwest plane taking off seemingly over the sunlight, before we headed down to breakfast. We then enjoyed the buffet breakfast at 7:30am in Hemisphere’s Restaurant on the 9th floor of the Hyatt, which also overlooks the runway with an identical view as seen from our room.
My flight to San Diego was two legs; the first one to DFW on an American Airlines Boeing 767, and after a short connection in Dallas, on to San Diego on an Airbus 321. On my first flight I was in First Class on an older model 767, although it still had lay flat seats in a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration. I actually slept for a good portion of the 2 1/2 hour flight and skipped the onboard meal as I had just had a large breakfast at the Hyatt. I used the push-button controls to recline my seat to a lie flat bed.
As the first flight departed Orlando a bit late, I had a short 35 minute connection in Dallas, but still managed to walk from the end of terminal C to the very end of terminal A. DFW has a nice people-mover tram, but I prefer to walk for exercise if I have time. Unlike the first flight to DFW, my second flight found me in the rear exit row section of the aircraft and I felt so crowded it was quite uncomfortable on the three hour flight. I did get my complimentary Executive Platinum snack kit though. I’m not a flight snob, but anymore coach is so horrible I’ll really can’t stand being back there; it doesn’t help that I’m a bit claustrophobic. Domestic First isn’t the great experience of yester-year , but it’s still much better than the cattle-car experience in the back of the ‘bus’. The exit row seat on the Airbus 321, (seat 22B) was actually 3 inches narrower than a standard seat (according to Seat Guru) but had a bit more leg room. And even though there were only two seats in this row, I was competing with the large man next to me for the center armrest, which he managed to take over the entire flight. I was so glad to finally get to sunny San Diego!
I then took the combined airport rental car bus to the rental car facility. While I’m not a fan of these consolidated buses (Baltimore’s is the absolute worst as far as bus availability), San Diego’s was not bad and had several buses with an orderly queue and no wait. (BWI Airport take note – taking the rental car bus at BWI is always a horrible experience, and I’ve been doing it for several years – consistently slow, always a long wait, way over-packed and generally horrible!)
I rented a Hyundai Sonata (no SUV’s in the National Executive lane today), and was off to my hotel. I was a bit nervous driving again in a major city after the accident, and even though it wasn’t my fault, it’s the other maniac drivers you have to watch out for. Fortunately my co-worker offered to drive each day to work and dinner, and somehow he finagled a sporty Lexus car for the week from National Car Rental, so we rode in style.
We are working about 20 minutes a way from here, and it’s not a bad commute. The San Diego weather is absolutely blue-sky gorgeous this week, and like California in general, no humidity. The Hyatt House hotel where I’m staying is very comfortable and the suites are spacious with huge work/eating desk, full size fridge, microwave, stove-top and best of all quiet.
I had a good dinner with my co-workers last night at the Karl Strauss brewery near the hotel. I had a beer flight and huge salad with Ahi Tuna and the fixings, and they were both delicious!
The indoor/outdoor setting was so peaceful and pretty, build around a Koi pond with Japanese type gardens, topiaries, fountain and wrap around deck. We sat outside enjoying the beautiful evening and gardens.
Tonight (Wednesday) we went to a sports pub which was only so-so, but had bargain happy-hour prices on food and appetizers at 5pm. Since it felt like 8pm back home, we made an early dinner stop there, taking advantage of the $2 domestics and $5 appetizers, which turned out to be a double cheeseburger dinner with fries for me and a wings and veggie dinner each for my two co-workers.
Now I’m back at the hotel having a quick nightcap brewski while I finish up this post. I’m checking out in the morning, and then switching to a Hilton Hotel close to the airport as I have an early flight on Friday.
Now I have to head up and pack for the hotel switch. Good night from San Diego!