Back the same day - barely
Up early, finished packing. Actually had to re-pack because the way the hotel laundry had folded my things made them too tall to close the suitcase.
I left behind a few presents. The transformer was a waste of suitcase space — all my chargers are dual voltage, there were plenty of outlets in the room so all I used were my adapter plugs. Also left behind the antiseptic spray and the cuticle oil. And the fanny pack with the twin water bottle holders which I never used. And I threw away the uneaten 4/5th of a "dark" 47% chocolate bar I'd bought on the cruise ship, local milk chocolate is excellent but they suck at dark.
Breakfast was light — I was not hungry at all.
Back at the room and wasted as much time as I could stand on FB, where so many friends don't understand that no amount of crying or protesting ever stops prejudice. As the line from Lake Wobegone says, everyone wants to believe "all our women are strong, all our men are good-looking, and all our children are above average." We all believe we are superior. Those who don't believe that are the ones who throw themselves in front of a train, slit their wrists, etc.
Checked out of the hotel way too early, around 10, and of course BofA denied the charge on the no-exchange-fee card though they had promised they wouldn't, so I had to use my Chase card, which cost me an extra 3%.
The trams were running, despite the misinformation from the con about them being part of the rail strike. Irony here, since I had so much time and the #9 doesn't stop near the bus station, I walked downhill about half a mile. Of course as soon as I came in sight of the Finnair bus, it was pulling out.
No worries, they run every 3o minutes and the ticket is good any time. Ticket is a Qcode in email on my phone.
At the airport by about 11, did not see the Starbucks, assumed it was on the other side of security. The passport reader at the kiosk failed. But when I checked in my bag, they said it actually had registered.
Through security, my belt made the machine beep. I had forgotten to replace the buckle on the metal-free belt with the metal-free one. :-(
Looked all over, could not find the Starbucks. Asked directions from a couple of tourist helpers, and they said to go all the way to the end of the hall, the other end of the terminal. I saw it, but it looked like I needed to go through passport check and get back into Finland to get there. I asked the official helper guy at the passport check line and he said yes, I had to go through the line. Long wait, but I had nothing but time. The guy who stamps the passport gave me a hard time, but stamped me anyway. Finns can be really troll-like.
And there it was, about 10 feet past the security point.
I bought two mugs, Finland and Helsinki, 30 euros, and a mocha, 6.30. That was about half my remaining cash.
Fired up the laptop and ate up an hour or so, then walked through the duty-free store right back into the terminal, no security check. Turns out the official helper was wrong, I did not need to go through passport control after all. Grrr.
The gate there is 60, mine was 53, not so long a walk. I bought a soda and three chocolate bars, ate one of them. Eventually plugged in my phone and headphones to charge.
Finnair check-in was a total clusterfork, everyone was checked in at once, the minions totally ignored the announcements of group numbers. I was in 4, no problem checking in as they announced Group 1. Probably 80% of the passengers had small children with them, which made a mockery of pre-boarding.
A full flight, but lucky for me when the fairly small man who was supposed to be in the aisle seat next to me arrived, he looked at the seat, grabbed his head and made noises about how it was way too small. I'm twice his size, he would have fit easily, but no, it wasn't his livingroom recliner so he wasn't sitting there. He came back a few times, and delayed our taking off by about 15 minutes because there were no acceptable seats for him. I think 1st class and business class were also full. I have no idea what became of him, but lucky for me, I was able to get out to use the loo whenever I wanted.
He was right, though, for a Finland airlines, those seats are way too narrow.
It was a long flight, what with all the crying, shouting, screaming children. At one point a young man came up to me and asked if the seat next to me was free. He said someone in his family was having trouble sleeping, back a few rows. He thought my row had less engine noise. He was wrong, my seat was just behind the engines. He aid it was an infant. I laughed and said no. Most of the times I went to the WC after that, he or his wife was in the aisle holding the baby. They were only 2 rows behind me, the lavatories were the only thing between his noisy seat and my quiet one. Idiot.
This flight the headphone jack worked well, I watched the latest James Bond, Spectre. Daniel Craig was, IMHO, a mediocre Bond, none of the women in the cast were up to Bond standards, and while I thought M and Q were pretty good, and Naomie Harris as Moneypenny was a vast improvement over previous ones, Andrew Scott as C was Just Plain Annoying. Just as he was in Sherlock.
Listened to the Thai audio track, which had too much rap, switched to the Hong Kong one for a bit, finally ended the flight pairing BT to my tablet and playing some of my own tunes. Audio quality on my tablet was much better than what the plane was feeding.
It was a clear flight over Greenland, I got some nice photos on the phone which I will share later.
Deplaning as orderly, kind of a miracle. A short walk to passport control, no line for the Global Entry kiosk — it didn't want my stolen card, just my passport. 5 minutes or less and I was waiting for my checked luggage. That took half an hour, maybe more. :-(
Again, breezed through the GOES line, no customs check. Never needed the card I'd filled out on the plane.
Texted Janice that I was ready to be picked up. She texted back that she only dropped me off, I was on my own.
Grr. Back into the terminal, cashed in my euros at a horrible exchange rate so I could pay for the supershuttle. It was an hour to wait. $35 plus $5 tip plus a very long ride because the driver's GPS gave him the longest route to Stanford ever, then to Mountain View, and a longer than needed Hwy 237 entrance to get to my place.
Home at about 10 pm.
Spook came out of hiding and yelled at me. She ducked when I tried to pet her. She had plenty of food, water and greens, and the litterbox light said she had used it in the last 20 minutes. She was antsy all evening.
Unpacked as much as I needed. Took some nyquil and shot up. Checked email, set the PC to autostart in the morning, had a Marie C roast beef dinner & lactaid ice cream. Watched some of the news, then to bed.
Plans for today:
Bank — cash a check
Unpack the rest of the way
Download all the photos