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Back in the Bay Area - Chuck Fisher's LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
From Bay Area to Barcelona

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Back in the Bay Area [ Friday, 11 Apr 08 | 14:11 ]
ursine1
[Tags|]
[My Location |Alameda, CA 94501 USA]
[My Mood |busybusy]

Well, I am back in the Bay Area for few weeks. Now that my new grandson has settled in, it’s time for a visit. Another purpose for my trip concerns my immigration papers. When I’m not occupied with those items, Ruben has given me a list of things to buy. US prices are quite a bit cheaper than in Europe. It seems that many companies just change the monetary sign and not the number. Now that the euro is worth more than $1.50 USD, that makes a big difference. I plan to use my “la Caixa” card as much as I can.

This morning I was busy doing the last-minute preparations for my trip. I had decided to take an earlier commuter train from El Masnou to the Sants station in Barcelona where I had to switch to the line that goes to the airport. As it turns out, I was able to catch a train even earlier than planned.

Unfortunately, as the train neared the El Clot - Aragó station, it slowed to a crawl. And then it waited at the station for nearly 15 minutes. The rest of the journey to Sants was at normal speeds, but the damage had been done. As I was descending the escalator down to the platform, I got to wave the Airport train adios.

So even with my careful planning, I still ended up waiting half an hour for the next train to the airport. It gave me plenty of time to work on the Sudoku in the ADN newspaper. When I got to the airport, the usual overpass from the train station to the terminals was not being used. Instead, a bus shuttle had been set up.

Once I got inside the terminal, I mistakenly headed for the wrong set of counters. A few minutes later I had reached the Delta check-in area. Before reaching the counter, they weighed my maleta (suitcase), and it was three kilos over the 20 kilo limit per bag. So I was supposed to pay 50 € for the excess weight. After several minutes of trying, the agent couldn’t figure out how to print the transaction receipt that I had to sign. I had offered to pay in cash, but they only took plastic. So since I couldn’t sign, my excess three kilos got to fly for free.

Next I headed for the security check area. There was an agent who looked at boarding passes before preceding up the escalator. He looked at mine and said ”Va a Chicago” (you are going to Chicago). I said in an astonished voice “Chicago!?!” The agent laughed and said “Es una broma. No pasa nada.” (It’s a joke. No problem.) This is the first time that I can remember that someone in the security area has joked with me. Usually they are stern and humorless.

On the way to the gate I had to pass through immigration. The man before me had two passports and was asked to show additional identification and answer some questions. When it was my turn the official quickly looked at my passport, boarding pass, and me and stamped my passport with nary a word. I gave him a “muchas gracias” as I walked on to the gate.

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Comments:
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: ursine1
Saturday, 12 Apr 08 | 12:41 (UTC)

Thanks!

It really warmed up on Friday here on the island (Alameda). Supposed to be a nice weekend an cooler on Monday.

Meanwhile it has been wet in Catalunya where there is a severe drought continuing.

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Friday, 11 Apr 08 | 22:38 (UTC)
Hehe, lovely Renfe, isn't it? :)
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Saturday, 12 Apr 08 | 12:39 (UTC)

Lovely Renfe

Now I know why Ruben is paranoid about getting to the airport so early. On the other hand, I was treated to a BART delay on my way from SFO to Oakland. Vale. No pasa nada.

I have been surprised how much food prices have gone up here in California. Olive oil (Borges) was "on sale" for $19 for 1.3 l. And also their red wine vinegar was $4 for 35 cl. And this was at "Lucky" a large supermarket chain. Sure, these are imported items, but the "home grown" olive oil is often more expensive. I only buy food items to bring back that I can't get in Spain.

Of course electronics are another thing. Same price. They just change the euro to a dollar sign. No problem, I use my "la Caixa" card. Also, good prices on clothing at discount stores like Costco.

Oh, and gas is over $4 a US gallon. And climbing daily. It makes me wonder how much a "fill up" costs for all those huge SUVs on the road.

Chuck

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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Sunday, 13 Apr 08 | 10:46 (UTC)

Re: Lovely Renfe

You should bring some peanut butter!
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Sunday, 13 Apr 08 | 11:49 (UTC)

Peanut butter

Do you have a preferred brand? Do you like just peanuts and salt or with added sugar and/or hydrogenated vegetable oil (the most common style.) Smooth or crunchy?

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Sunday, 13 Apr 08 | 11:50 (UTC)

Re: Peanut butter

Bring your favorite... A small one, though
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[User Picture]From: urso
Saturday, 12 Apr 08 | 01:49 (UTC)
Will you have any time to hang out with Tom/tmaher and me on this visit?
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Saturday, 12 Apr 08 | 12:23 (UTC)

Hanging out

My tramites seem under control at the moment, so I should be able to get over to the City soon. I have a cell phone, but of course it has my Spanish number.

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: urso
Saturday, 12 Apr 08 | 19:02 (UTC)

Re: Hanging out

Our land line is 415.552.8060 and my cell is 415.867.9994.
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