After the cousins were gone, I took the next couple of days to relax and hang with my parents. I got to see my friend from high school for lunch and played "Pickleball" with my brother-in-law. It was surprisingly fun - when would i get to play something called "pickle ball" again?
We drove down to catch my flight from Ithaca, which was actually disappointing. First of all - no traditional Olive Garden lunch. Secondly, apparently Ithaca is good for the way in, but not out. The check-in lady was not friendly and they opened my suitcase and took EVERYTHING out and repacked it (incorrectly) - I didn't know this but my dad saw this and it screwed up the ease of traveling at my hotel that night. Then, when I went through the security gate, they asked me to remove my sweatshirt and I said I would rather not as I was wearing a strapless dress and my bra would show. This hasn't been a problem for me before - they just pat down my top area and let me through. This time however, they gave me the FULL pat down. In front of everyone (to be fair they
asked if this was ok, and I said yes thinking it would be like the other times). For about three minutes I was throughly checked out in my dress in full view of the sitting area - I may as well just have shown my bra straps!!!! It would have been less invasive. Then we were stuck on the taxiway for 35 minutes before being allowed to take off. Oh Ithaca, how the mighty airports have fallen..... When I redo my list, I expect this will be middle of the road....
My bad luck continued as our Detroit flight was also delayed (thankfully, since I had to run to make it) and when I got to LAX it took a while to get my bag then even longer to wait for the shuttle to my hotel, meaning our shuttle was packed and I had to stand the whole time. I had stayed at this hotel (Four Points Sheraton) before and it was ok but I really should have forked over the extra cash for the Radisson... I was put into a strange room which looked like it was an old outdoor motel but enclosed, meaning my window was adjacent
to the door and I got to look out on to a hallway. The room was sorta clean but had a strange smell. And as had happened previously, the restaurant was completely incompetent. All I wanted on this "relaxing" evening was to stay in a nice room, get some room service, including a big glass of wine. I had to call the front desk three times because the room service line was not answering - I tried for a half hour. Oh well. I should have just gone straight to ventura.
The next day, I took the Ventura Airporter and Bruce picked me up so I could borrow his truck. I drove down to Malibu to see my old coworkers and applicants and have lunch with a few of my favorite people at Coogies. It was so nice to see everyone and weird to see how little everything has changed. It was comforting, but made me feel happy with my decision to go to the other side of the world. I relaxed the rest of Thursday.
Friday, i watched the March Madness with Ron and Bill, with Corrales breakfast burritos, then did a bunch of errands. I had
lunch with Shonna (Spencer Mackenzie's fish tacos are the best!). Went to the bank, post office, store, and went to visit my old coworkers at Fugro, which included packing my boxes so they would not toss valuable references. Then I went to get my hair cut. My usual girl had moved but another woman did a decent job, though I think she cut more off than I requested. I had dinner with Robin and Amber to catch up with them, which is always fun. Finally poker night number two where stupid Ron busted my trip kings with his straight. Grrr!
Saturday was the pub crawl to Santa Barbara. Seven years ago, seven us randomly decided to go to Santa Barbara, taking the train up. We missed the first one because the boys were late picking us up. We were bored and literally sitting on the sidewalk in front of the house, with brass monkeys, wondering what we would do for the rest of the day. After our first brass monkey, we came to the conclusion we would go ahead and take the next train, even though it only gave us a few hours. Thus, a tradition was born and we have done this every year since. We take our traditional poses at both stations and hit the bars on the lower end of State Street, drinking at least one drink at each place. Wow - we've gotten old and I don't drink anymore hardly, so it was not as crazy as previous trips have been. We ran into an older group of women who were on their own pub crawl like trip. Needless to say, they beat us. On the train ride back, they were still going strong, while half our group was sleeping.
Sunday was another day of errands, mostly shopping for supplies that I don't have in Qatar. Then I got to see Loree and her new baby! That afternoon, I got to watch my Rebels play in March Madness - they wound up losing... Then Bill caught me up on the new Survivor season. Yay! Monday was more errands, packing and lots of resting. I went to see Reina in T.O. and visited Miranda at her work in Westlake and went to happy hour (delicious berry mojito!). Tuesday, I had breakfast at Pete's with Mike, went to the bank, a final visit to Fugro, before Shonna took me to the FlyAway so I could catch my flight back to Qatar. I will miss my friends! They are my family and Ventura was my home for 9 years. It is weird to know that I most likely will not be back.
I had spent the extra money again to get a good seat on KLM. I got to the airport with plenty of time and had a beer and pizza while waiting for my flight. I wound up talking with a woman who will probably be me in twenty years. Well, I hope to get married one day, but she makes it sound fine if it doesn't happen... I had a quick layover in Amsterdam, no time for exploring, and was back in Doha six hours later. The customs line in Doha was about as long as I'd ever seen it and they didn't have one of my bags (the one with ALL my clothes in it). My coworker came to meet me at hotel to give me my car and the drive home was pretty smooth from there. The main road by my apartment is close to completion and the traffic has eased significantly. i got my bag late the following night and now I'm trying to adjust to the time change. Good night from the Middle East!
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