Saturday, July 19, 2014

A new adventure...

July 17 – Today was the start of an adventure. I flew down to San Francisco to help someone sail a yacht from Bodega Bay, just north of SF, to Vancouver. I’m hoping to add a few posts about the trip along the way.

After leaving Amsterdam in May and Toronto at the end of June I made my way back home to Vancouver to spend a bit of time with my family. While there I needed to find something to do next until my next job comes along. Colleen has done several yacht deliveries over the past few years and it always sounded pretty interesting, so I decided to give it a try. I responded to a few posts on and had a discussion with one person that was about to do a trip from the Carribean to Chile, but it wasn’t a great fit for me, so I declined. I then had a call with a Dutch guy named Cuno Landman, who was looking for crew to assist in a San Francisco to Vancouver delivery. We had a good call, he seemed to appreciate my experience, although somewhat limited, and invited me to join him and three others on the trip.

The boat is going to leave on the 19th from Bodega Bay, an hour and a half’s drive north of San Francisco. So I flew to SF today to get a chance to visit some friends and pick up some sailing gear tomorrow. The Yacht Delivery Company covers my travel costs, but all the direct flights to SF we’re sold out, so I had to fly through Seattle. Flying through Seattle to get to San Francisco seems a little ridiculous. As soon as you take off you need to land again. I don’t really understand why people fly YVR to Seattle, because by the time you go to the airport, wait for your plane, fly, and then drive from SeaTac, which isn’t conveniently located, you could have driven to Seattle. Anyway…

On the flight down I realized that I hadn’t bought travel insurance for the US. Every Canadian's worst fear is to get sick in the US and have to pay exorbitant medical bills. I texted my dear sister, who got BCAA on the phone after a lengthy wait, and they said that they couldn’t insure someone who had already left the country. They did give her a number for me to call tomorrow through, once the office had opened. Forgetting to buy medical insurance for the US was a dumb-ass move on my behalf. I knew I needed to do it, but completely forgot. Very frustrating.

I made it to SF and took the SuperShuttle to my hotel. I was staying in the Nob Hill Hotel. I had read the reviews for the hotel on Trip Advisor and was a little wary of it. Some said it was in the Tenderloin, which is where I had lived before, for a month, when I moved to SF, and is a super not-nice area. But it was cheap and seemed decent, so I decided to go for it.

First, the hotel is nowhere near the Tenderloin. San Francisco can have some dodgy areas, and it’s easy to get mixed up, but the Nob Hill Hotel is in an entirely decent area.

The hotel had a wine and cheese going when I arrived, which was a nice touch. Not good cheese, and cheap wine, but fine. And the lobby area and exterior were fine. The room on the other hand was a little nasty. It’s what can be expected for a cheap hotel. (Which honestly wasn’t that cheap. But relative to other SF options it was affordable.) The plaster was coming off the wall. The room was barely big enough to contain the bed. There was no chair or desk to sit at. The armoire had big chunks that had come off of it. And the rug was thick enough that it was creepy to touch. Who knows what was left in that deep shag. The room also had a dorm room mini-fridge with a microwave stacked on top of it in the least classy way possible. And the bedding, which seemed clean thank god, didn’t have a cover on top of the duvet. And I’m not thinking they clean the duvet after each guest. Ick.

But that’s the room I had. I’ve had much worse in my life, so it wasn’t going to kill me. And it was just for sleeping, so that was going to be fine.

I spent the evening trying to get my mobile phone sorted out. Apparently my Koodo pay as you go plan doesn’t work in the US. I had gone to Walgreens to buy a SIM card. Getting a proper SIM card was a lengthy process and was pretty frustrating and fairly uninteresting, so I’m not going to recount it here, but in the end I got a big SIM card that didn’t fit my phone. The guys at AT&T had told me to just get some scissors and cut it down to size. I didn’t think this would work, but gave it a shot. I used my Koodo SIM card as reference and trimmed the plastic bits down to fit my iPhone. When it appeared about right I tried to put it into my phone. It was a little too big and a tight fit, but it went in to the card slot, and when I slid it into the phone it got an AT&T signal. It had worked! But I was worried about the large size and whether it might get jammed, so I took the card out again and trimmed a tiny bit more off. When I put it back in it didn’t work anymore, and no amount of trying would get it to work. So I had cut too much off. So frustrating. I should have just gone with it when it worked the first time.

One more comment about the phone – I couldn’t decide which network to use for the phone so I checked various online forums to find out which network was best for use off the West Coast. I didn’t really get a clear answer, but AT&T seemed to be referenced the most, so I went with them. We’ll see if that was a good decision in the coming days.

I’ll have to hit the actual AT&T store on Market in the morning and get it done right.

So that was my exciting day today. Big thanks to my sister for driving me to the airport in the morning. It's good to be back in San Francisco. I do love this city. 


RN said...

Too much telco pitching, my friend! Was excited to see some new posts pop up on here - our annual summer drive to Fraser Lake next Friday so I'm going to save the rest till then. Great to see you while you were here, safe trip!

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