Because of the shuttle model, the customers arrive at the counter in waves. Where once there was no line, suddenly there are 10 people, and the only reason why the first person is first is because s/he simply ran faster. Animosity is created immediately. That first person in line is led through a long series of questions about their rental. Each time, the questions aren't really complete, so the customer needs to ask follow up questions. For example: do you want a FastPass? What's a FastPass? It allows you to get through the bridges faster. Do you want one? What does it cost? $14... This goes on for a while, as the rep slowly explains that some bridges are slower than others and some don't accept cash, etc. So, by the end of it all, you get this picture that the bridges around SF are a complete nightmare only held at bay by getting the FastPass. Do you want insurance? More cross talk about how your own insurance doesn't actually cover you in their rental car, etc. Do you want to pre-pay gas so you don't need to find a gas station before you return the car? That sounds lazy, but the rep explains that the gas prices around SF are very high and finding a gas station in the knotted mess of streets and highways takes a person far more brave than any of us. At about this time, one of the slower runners behind you in line starts yelling about how long it's taking. Perfect. We haven't even gone through the 15 questions on the ATM pad yet. Eventually, we are drifting away from the counter, perplexed and confused. Our $200 reservation had blossomed into a $600 car rental. At least we had a car....
|not actual photo, but it was |
this big and this empty
SF, Albany and BART
Leveraging Google Maps, we easily navigated to my sister's place in Albany. Since she was also traveling, Boo and I had the afternoon to ourselves. We walked Solano Ave, checking out the stores and decompressing. We met my sister and grabbed boil-in-a-bag dinner from La Bedaine. The chef Alain, had catered the anniversary dinner a year ago, and we'd been spoiled for French food ever since. Amazing. Truly incredible food. We stayed up late drinking wine and laughing through old memories.
The following morning was our only full day in the Bay Area, so we hopped BART down to our usual haunt: Civic Center / UN Plaza. Or, the west entrance to the Tenderloin. In our case, it was really the east entrance to Little Saigon (what we'd been calling Thai Town). Following a trend of food, we hit Lers Ros Thai for lunch after a quick visit to some friends working at Adobe, south of Market. Lers Ros just seems to get better every time we go. So tasty. We walked off lunch with an uphill hike to Japan Town in a steady drizzle. After replenishing our incense supply at Kohshi, we headed back downhill towards the BART, stopping at Harry Harrington's Pub (corner of Turk & Larkin) for hapy hour. Drinks took us past rush hour, so we grabbed a somewhat empty train back to the East Bay. We arrived after my sister's favorite pizza place closed, so we got pies at her 2nd favorite place (the name of which I don't remember). The next morning, we hit The Sunny Side Cafe for brunch, effectively hitting every place we liked the last time we'd been in the Bay Area.
Next time, I'll cover our stop in San Rafael and Dillon Beach. Thanks for following along!