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"The Princess"

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21 March 2006

The problem with traveling is that I have to sleep. If I didn't have to sleep, things would be just great.

Lynn and I piddled around the house yesterday. She had a presentation to prepare on the computer, so I helped her with that. Then there was packing and showering and loading the car and getting money and filling the gas tank and finally around 3:30 we were on the road headed to San Francisco.

Sunday traffic into the city can, at times, back up from Davis most of the way west, especially after the kind of snow we had this week which would inevitably bring lots of skiers into the mountains for the weekend, so I chose to avoid the freeway as long as possible and to drive out through the countryside instead, a beautiful drive, since the weather was so glorious. We actually didn't hit "traffic" until we got to nearly Berkeley. Then it was bumper-to-bumper, 10 mph hour traffic for most of the way onto the Bay Bridge. But we were in no hurry, so we listened to "Says You," Lynn napped a bit, we enjoyed the scenery, and we didn't stress out about how slow our progress was. We had no deadlines to meet, so why worry about it? And in due time, we arrived in The City.

We are staying at Lynn's conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency at the Embarcadero. For those who have seen the movie High Anxiety, the hotel will be familiar, with its large atrium and inside glass elevators. All floors have balconies which look out over the central atrium.

Our room is on the 9th floor, overlooking Drumm Street (not the most scenic direction to face), but as I sit here I can look out the window and see the buildings on the hills near where I grew up. Off to the left are the tall buildings of the financial district.

We settled in, got familiar with all the "stuff" in the room. Lynn immediately set up a place for her ironing board and I checked out a place for my computer, which perfectly explains the difference between the two of us!

I have to go down and pay a deposit in order to use the telephone, which I haven't done yet. The problem with these damn upscale hotels is that you get nothing for free. Local calls are $1.50. I expect to do a lot off line and then try to maximize my time on line so I can get by with very few phone calls...hopefully I'll not be charged by the amount of time I spend on line. (I really need wi-fi!) Lynn checked the price for room service. A pot of coffee is $9. I don't think so!

For dinner, we wandered around the nearby Embarcadero Center, which was dead as a doornail on a Sunday night, and no open restaurants. We ultimately took a cab to Fisherman's Wharf, where we had dinner at The Fransciscan Crab Restaurant, where I wallowed in half of a "baked whole crab" while Lynn had a different fish dish. The whole thing was perfect, if more expensive than I intended to pay.

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were both exhausted and it was time for bed.

Bed. My nightmare. My nemesis.

I always get into a hotel bed--or any bed, really, with high hopes. Maybe this time I will be able to sleep. But the familiar stabbing pain in my back ultimately woke me. I had been sleeping so deeply, I thought that it must surely be nearly time for Lynn's alarm to go off, so I tried to find a comfortable way to lie in bed (unsuccessfully). I finally checked the clock and discovered it was 1:43.

Expletive deleted.

I got out of bed and went to the chair, sliding down so that, with my feet up on the bed, it made a quasi recliner, but the chair has a low back so though I was able to sleep a little, my head bobbed around and it was stabbing pains in my neck which woke me up next.

So then I switched to sitting up straight, which allowed me to nod off a bit, but not for too long.

It was "TV star" night though. I dreamed Matt Lauer was a doctor and I was trying to find a piece of paper to write a "happy chanukah" message for him, and then it was Patricia Heaton, whose part in my dream I can't remember any more.

Finally, after what seems like forever, Lynn's alarm went off and it was morning. But I've had very little sleep, and only in brief spurts. I sorely (pun intended) miss my recliner. It makes me so angry because this is the situation whenever I stay anywhere. It makes "travel" something I begin to dread, knowing that unless I can find a recliner or a couch, I won't get much sleep at all until I return home.

Lynn has headed off to her conference, where she will be occupied until 5 p.m. (I write this at 7 a.m.). It is predicted to rain off and on all day, so I may just sit in the room and read. It's not like I'm a tourist in my own city and there's nothing in particular I want to do while I'm here. Tomorrow I'm driving over to spend the day with my mother.

Tonight Lynn and I are going to check out a Moroccan restaurant, which should be fun. And then I'll have to come back and try to sleep again. Sigh.




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