Home On The Range

Thursday, August 2, 12

Monday night I dropped by the CIVAC and had a good time chatting with the nine guys who had come by that evening.  When it came time to seek out a bite to eat, I suggested that perhaps La Fórcola would be a better option than London Cafe.  Everyone agreed and so I called up Susan and invited her to join us.  It was a slow night at the restaurant and they were glad to see a party of ten walk in unannounced.  They quickly set up a table for us and we all took our seats.

We decided to order some clóchinas for the table and then everyone would order their main dish.  Michele was on duty on Monday and he was kind enough to start us off with some tellines (baby clams) that were on the house.  Next came the clóchinas, followed by a variety of pizzas and pastas depending on who ordered what.  Then came a round of dessert followed by coffee and the ever-present chupito.  During the course of the meal we consumed three bottles of wine, a number of beers and in spite of the additional cost of alcohol the bill for the ten of us came to 160 Euros.  We said our goodbyes and by the time we got home and went to bed it was 12:30.

Tuesday morning we were up at 7:00 AM and out the door a little before 8:00.  We walked to the cabstand where there were several cabs waiting and we were at the airport by 8:20.  A while back we had made the decision to fly back in business so that I could avoid further problems with the knee and so that we could be more comfortable during the twelve-hour flight.  Check-in was a breeze and we spent our waiting time in the VIP Lounge where we helped ourselves to all sorts of beverages and goodies.  Our flight to Zurich boarded on time and after a light breakfast we sat back and relaxed and in less then two hours we had landed and were making our way to the connecting flight.

We spent more time than usual at passport control because the agent saw that our last entry into Europe was in March and more than 90 days had passed.  He then asked if we had a residence visa, which we did and do and he informed us that we need to show that when entering and leaving Europe.  In spire of the slight delay we made it to the connecting flight in a timely fashion because they have eliminated the security check for passengers on connecting flights since the only option available is to go the appropriate terminal.  We boarded the flight and settled into our comfortable business class seats, which recline fully and have ample legroom.

Swiss is the best international airline we have flown to date.  Delta, United and Air France would have to improve greatly in order to reach the level of sucking badly.  We started our flight with champagne and in the course of the flight we had a lovely lunch that offered us a salad, a choice of a smoked salmon dish or a chicken terrine, a veal dish as our main course, a cheese plate, fresh fruit, pastry, a hand scooped ice cream cone during movie time and a light supper consisting of meatballs, a pasta salad and zucchini.  Swiss pilots keep their passengers well informed about take off and landing, the cabin crew is extremely attentive and all announcements are made in German, English and French.  Time passed as quickly as it can on a twelve-hour flight and we touched down at 4:50 PM in Los Angeles.

We were second in line at Passport Control and our bags were waiting for us on Carousel 3.  We breezed through customs and we were out on the street at 5:00 PM waiting to be picked up.  Traffic was extremely heavy until we got to the Pasadena Freeway and it was light from there on.  When we got home we discovered that the high winds of December and January had caused a great deal of damage to our electronics and those appliances that depend on circuit boards.  The list of casualties consists of the overhead fan and light pack in the den, the heat function of our heating and air conditioning unit and our Sharp TV.  Also, my car wouldn’t start and after getting it jumped three times, I finally replaced the battery.  The good news is that everything is relatively easy to fix with the exception of the TV, which we will not replace for the two months we will be here.

Yesterday we were up early thanks to jet lag and had breakfast at The Diner on Main.  Susan had pancakes and I had the breakfast quesadilla.  Susan had tomato juice and coffee and I had coffee.  In spite of having ordered two of the breakfast special the bill was $20.  Welcome back to the USA!  We had lunch at Gus’s and Susan opted for the Brisket Sandwich and I had a good old-fashioned burger.  Lunch was late in the day and for the rest of our waking hours we basically did nothing.

Today we had an early breakfast.  The electrician was here at 9:00 and told us that we need to replace the fan and light pack and the heating/air conditioning guy came by an hour later and told us that the circuit board for the heat function had been fried during a power surge.  We will visit Home depot for a replacement fan and at 1:30 the circuit board will be replaced.

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