A few months back I was thinking of when and where my next vacation might be. One of the ideas that popped into my head was to visit the Christmas markets in Germany, so I marked the week of 5-9 December as a vacation week on the calendar at work. That would be right at the height of the season for visiting.
As usual, I began procrastinating and didn’t really get too organized about the trip and certainly didn’t make any firm plans or reservations. Needless to say, I skipped the idea for this year. Still, I knew that I still needed to escape to someplace during this planned vacation week.
It wasn’t until Wednesday night (11/30) that I finally put some plans in place. Around 10 PM, I booked a ticket back to sunny San Diego for that Saturday, 12/3. Once I did, it was like, “Oh, crap. I’m going on vacation. I need to get some things done.” Silly little things like doing laundry or stopping the mail or getting some traveling cash or making hotel and car reservations.
Everything was in place by Friday night and all I had to do was finish the laundry and pack. Fortunately, my flight out was at 2 PM, so that gave me a little breathing room Saturday morning, too.
Delta Airlines used to have a nonstop flight between Cincinnati and San Diego, but seems to have killed it for some reason. My choices to fly out were through Minneapolis-St. Paul (snow!), Detroit (snow!), Salt Lake City (snow!) or Atlanta. I opted to avoid the possibility of getting stranded in snow by flying through Atlanta.
As I flew over Balboa Park, the place was just jammed with cars. It was the opening night of the annual December Nights holiday celebration and everyone in San Diego seemed to be there for the festivities.
I made the rounds to my usual haunts throughout the week.
One day was spent in Coronado checking out the Christmas tree and holiday decorations at the Hotel del Coronado; eating a corned beef and Swiss on rye at McP’s Pub; and visiting the spot where we scattered Mom’s ashes. I did manage to return to Coronado later in the week for dinner at Miguel’s and a little wine and cheese sampling at Eno at the Hotel Del after taking a long, reflective walk along the surf.
Another day was spent in the Model Railroad Museum and the Museum of Photographic Art.
At MoPA, there was a display of photographs from kids in the 7th and 8th grades that was pretty interesting. Each had to write a paragraph describing their photo and their inspiration, that reading those descriptions were almost better than seeing the photos themselves.
And my last afternoon spent in San Diego was atop Point Loma at the Cabrillo National Monument, basking in the sun and watching the sailboats glide up and down the channel.
The flight back was also routed through Atlanta and was rather uneventful until we landed at Cincinnati. The jetway at the gate was broken and we couldn’t disembark.
The pilot injected a little humor into the situation by saying that the “Jetway doctor” is on his way to troubleshoot and repair the issue. After about 10 minutes, the pilot announced that we’d have to move to another gate. I guess the doctor couldn’t save his patient.
But there was another problem.
The pilot had already shut the engines down and we were on ground power. He announced that just before landing we had a hydraulic system failure with the auxiliary power unit on the aircraft, and it had leaked hydraulic fluid all over the belly of the plane and ground. He couldn’t restart it to provide power to the plane while we were being relocated. He’d have to start one of the main engines again and that would require one of those carts that help start engines. We had to wait for that a little while longer.
But there was another problem.
The starting cart that they brought over didn’t work, either. They had to grab a second one.
Finally, after about 40 minutes of doctors losing their patient, clean-up in aisle three (or gate B20), and malfunctioning carts, we were able to disembark. As they opened the aircraft door, the pilot got on the PA system and said, “Run! Run fast! Get out while you can.” Everyone laughed.
For our inconvenience, Delta gave each of us a $50 voucher for future travel.
It was a balmy 21 degrees in the airport parking lot and my truck started on the first attempt after having sat outside in the cold for a week. An hour later, I was unpacking my bags at home at midnight.
Travel Dates: 3-10 December 2011
© 2011 All rights reserved.