The Traveling Steve's

We Left the Ship, . . . In San Francisco! Touring around and heading home. Yikes – We got COVID!

When I left off on the last post, we were staying in San Francisco a couple days, after our continuing 4 night cruise segment to Vancouver on the Caribbean Princess was canceled. The ship’s explanation was it needed more time to do the repairs that were scheduled in the dry dock session after the Vancouver cruise. From the looks of the hull seen from one of the tender boats, that would be believable, but we like most of the passengers suspected it was due to the many case of COVID aboard for both passengers and crew.

We made the most of this sudden change of plans and had a nice and quick visit in San Francisco, while we figured out what to do for the next week now, as we had another cruise scheduled out of Los Angeles in a week. Fortunately Steve (DOS) and I both felt well at this point, and enjoyed a nice day in Fisherman’s Wharf among other places. The weather in San Francisco was excellent; low to mid 60’s F in the daytime, and no rain or heavy winds which had originally been forecast.

Beautiful couple of days in San Francisco; an unscheduled delight!

We had lunch at the famous Boudin Bakery, where DOS had been longing to have their signature clam chowder served in a delicious sourdough bowl. Believe me, he ate the whole thing too, while most people just left the edible bowl it’s served in!

DOS loves eating the Clam Chowder out of the sourdough bowl at Boudin on Fisherman’s Wharf.

This short clip below offers a lively look at the Fisherman’s Wharf area, all while waiting for a traffic light!

Our Hotel in San Francisco: The Grand Hyatt, Union Square area

For dinner, DOS and I walked a short 3 blocks from the Hyatt to Sears Fine Food Restaurant, a legend that’s been in San Francisco since 1938. DOS had eaten there almost 40 years ago, and actually remembered it for its famous pancakes they serve for breakfast.

On early Monday morning, (6:30am Pacific time) I got a call from our pool tech in Orlando confirming the repair appointment for Wednesday of this week. There had been a mixup in the scheduled May 7 date, (it was actually for April 7) but I didn’t notice the earlier email of the change, or get the voice mail as we were on the Caribbean Princess cruise. We were planning to be back home by the May 7th date when I had booked the pool leak repair work to be done, but now they were coming this week instead. I didn’t want to reschedule as repair appointments were hard to come by, so we decided to fly home to be there while the work was being done. The pool contractor said he could get the work done without us there, but would leave the pool shut off, and we could add water and restart the pool when we got home Wednesday night or the next day.

Pool level at home had been down about 3 inches due to leak, which was repaired, but then needed to be filled back up to middle of the diamond.

We once again rescheduled our hotels and flights, before going to breakfast. We then had a late 10:30am breakfast back at Sears Fine Restaurant, (they serve breakfast until 2pm) where we had the delicious pancake special of 18 miniature pancakes, beautifully arranged in 6 stacks of 3 on the plate.

We spent the rest of the day in San Francisco, before flying to Los Angeles Tuesday morning. As we had yet another change of plans to go home for the pool repairs, we could only get a last minute flight home from LA on Wednesday, so we flew to LAX, overnighted, and then traveled home on Wednesday.

We took an XL Uber to the San Francisco Airport on Tuesday and fortunately all of our luggage fit in the Uber. At the airport we got a luggage cart to help navigate the terminal to the check-in area, vowing to never again take so much luggage! (But then again we say that every trip! LOL! ?)

Fortunately check-in was fairly quick and easy, and San Francisco Airport even had CLEAR (expedited airport screening). We then had a couple hours to browse thru the terminal, and even go to the Admiral’s Club. I saw this unique coffee chandelier on the way to the Admiral’s club, and knew my sister Jenni would love this, so here’s to you and all the other coffee lovers out there!

After a short hour’s flight from SFO to LAX, we landed just in time for mid-afternoon traffic in Los Angeles. DOS had arranged a private shuttle van for us as we had so much luggage, and also as we were staying out near John Wayne Airport (SNA), which is an hour’s drive from LAX, as we have a flight back to Orlando from there tomorrow. At LAX, we were picked up on the lower level, outside baggage claim area 5A. The airport at LAX has been undergoing major renovations for the last couple years, and from the looks of things, it will take another couple years as well. The idea is great in concept though, as it will remove much of the vehicular congestion at the terminals, and have a remote parking/drop off/pick-up area which will ultimately deliver passengers via a tram or train to the terminals.

Surprisingly (and with traffic), the journey from LAX airport to the SNA Hyatt Regency Hotel only took about 45 minutes, as the driver had initially told us it would take an hour. The Hyatt Regency at SNA Airport was very nice and modern looking, although being a Tuesday night it was rather slow and quiet; which was fine for us.

Unfortunately I started feeling like I had a slight sore throat after the flight from SFO, but that is not uncommon for me as I had that many times when flying for work. There wasn’t a bellman on duty, so DOS used one of the luggage carts to wheel the luggage up to the room.

The hotel was right across from the airport but was very quiet, no doubt due to soundproofing, but also due to the very stringent airport noise rules for the immediate area which restricts commercial aircraft from 10pm to 7am (8am on Sundays). We had a pub-type dinner at the hotel, and rested well for the noon-thirty flight home the next day.

The next morning, I still had a sore throat, but took a couple Tylenol before going to breakfast, which seemed to help. My breakfast parfait was beautiful and yummy while DOS enjoyed his omelette and fruit.

We took the airport shuttle to the airport, and once again check-in was easy. Because we had so much luggage and were not landing in Orlando until late at night, DOS arranged to have the luggage delivered to the house, using the luggage valet service offered by American Airlines for an extra charge. Believe me it is so worth it after a cross-country trip, not to mention not having to wait at the airport late at night for your luggage nor hoping it will fit in the Uber or Cab, much less dragging it into the house at nearly midnight.

After we checked in, we went to the Admiral’s Club for a bit before boarding our first flight to Dallas. I took this cute pic of DOS on the way to the club; California Dreaming!

On the first flight, shortly after take-off, my ears started hurting and I thought my eardrums were going to burst as the plane ascended, causing a decrease in air pressure. We had a 2 1/2 hour flight to Dallas (DFW), and fortunately my ear pain subsided as the plane leveled off for cruising. We had lunch aboard the flight, and we each watched a movie on our iPads, before landing in DFW. We took the intra-terminal tram from the C-Terminal to the A-terminal, and briefly stopped at the Admiral’s Club there.

We had a beautiful sunset on our side of the plane as we took off from DFW for Orlando.

By the time we got home to Florida, it was 11:30pm, and I was sneezing a fair bit, and felt miserable. I felt like I had a cold or sinus infection, which I used to get two or three times a year from flying so much for work. Thinking back to the cruise and the COVID cases aboard the recent Caribbean Princess cruise we took, DOS and I both took home COVID tests when we got home. Sure enough, I tested positive for COVID, while DOS tested negative. Welcome Home – now stay indoors and don’t go out!

Tired from the trip, I showered and went to bed, while DOS used the other bath and guest bedroom; not like it would matter at this point as we had both been exposed to COVID, although DOS didn’t have any symptoms. Yet.

The next day I slept until nearly noon. I didn’t feel horribly sick like you hear in the news about some COVID patients, rather it felt like I had a cold. I was also really tired, coupled with the late 11:30pm night arrival home and the 3 hour time difference from California to Florida. I slept on and off most of the day, and only had soup and crackers for dinner. Our checked luggage arrived at our doorstep in the morning as we requested, but we didn’t unpack it, at least for now. In the evening, DOS and I both did another home COVID test as he said he had a bit of a scratchy throat, and we used a different home COVID test in case mine was a false positive. Well, sure enough, this time BOTH of us tested positive for COVID! (Both DOS and I had previously received the 3 Moderna shots, including the booster shot, so we were fully vaccinated prior to the trip.)

On Friday, we both had to get an official (monitored) COVID test for the Discovery cruise leaving two days later on Sunday (which we obviously couldn’t take now), so we went to Walgreen’s Pharmacy for an 11:30am drive thru appointment. We both tested “officially” positive, and got a phone call from the Pharmacist, within the hour, as well as an official “Positive” email. We contacted Princess Cruises, and they canceled our trip for us and issued us full future credit for another trip; quite fair and reasonable for us, even though we must have caught COVID on the Caribbean Princess just last week.

We were supposed to meet some friends (2 couples we had met on the Enchanted Princess back in November 2021) on the Discovery, but we contacted them and explained the situation and we wouldn’t be coming on the cruise unfortunately.

While I/we didn’t feel terrible, I did a tele-visit with a Doctor out of caution. He assured me since I was fully vaccinated and not running a fever and had only slight symptoms, I should be fine in 5 days (meaning non-contagious and feeling better), but to still self-quarantine at home for 5 days, and wear a mask up to 10 days. After 10 days, I/we should get the 2nd booster shot as it has now been six months since DOS and I had the last Moderna booster shot.

Now were are self quarantining instead of taking the Discovery cruise, and relaxing at home for a change which is good. We should have better self-antibodies once this virus runs its course in the next two or three days, and especially when we get the next booster. To us it’s really just like a cold; neither one of us has lost our sense of taste or smell like the original COVID symptoms that were mentioned back at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Oh, and we did remember to add water to the pool, which took several hours just to raise the water level a few inches. We then turned the pool pump and solar heater back on for 24 hours to let the pool filter out any of the dust and other particles from the tile and leak repairs. Now a couple days later the pool looks like it’s holding up fine now and not leaking. Here the pool is slowly being filled by a black garden hose (NO – it’s not a snake! Don’t scream! LOL!).

Anyway, we had a WONDERFUl cruise in spite of the abrupt ending. This week I’ll upload a gallery of photos from the Caribbean Princess. Stay healthy and safe everyone!

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