The Bun Squad Goes North:

The entire reason that I am in California and not Europe this summer is because Jessica and I decided to attend our annual One Direction concert in California. Europe is always preferable — especially Paris, of course — but California was very nice to me. I like it more than Jessica does, I’m sure, but we both had a nice time in Los Angeles. It was time to move on, though, to a city that I fell in love with two years ago: SAN FRANCISCO! Oh no…it’s happening:

We were only going there for a minute, though, since the concert is in Santa Clara…even though it’s advertised as San Francisco…and even then, it’s on the border of San Jose. It’s all very confusing. We decided to take the Amtrak up because the views of the sea are so beautiful and because for some bizarre reason I was able to book a room for two people for less than two coach seats. I think about this strange deal often and it still makes absolutely no sense to me. We were provided with two free meals each, a private lounging car for first class guests, a wifi connection that sporadically worked, and the comforts of an exclusive section for next to nothing. I’m going to have to assume it was some kind of computer glitch that allowed me to snag the tickets, but I surely wasn’t telling anybody.

It was a bit of a disaster getting to Union Station, though. Our bus passes didn’t work for some idiotic reason. They are valid for seven days, and this was the seventh day, but it wasn’t letting us on. The driver didn’t take credit cards and forced us onto the street! In a huff, I called an Uber and we were quickly to the station and comfortably in our private train room. Comfortable is perhaps not the right word, though. The two seats directly face each other, so the entire time you are dueling for foot space. This would be fine if you were traveling with a civilized person, but I’m traveling with Jessica who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to stretch everywhere, throw trash everywhere, and take her pants off. I don’t understand how we have the same DNA. One of us was surely switched at birth.

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The train trip from Los Angeles was long and sometimes painful. I have a hard time relaxing, as I’ve told you before, and there’s not much to do but relax when you’re on an eleven hour ride. There’s no cellular service in many of the desolate areas we passed through so we couldn’t browse the Internet. You can only drink so many gin and tonics. You can only read so much before you’re exhausted. Napping isn’t easy in the full sunshine. It wasn’t a terribly unpleasant journey, but I’ve had better times. I did enjoy my perfect bun and the sea view:


And drinking this horrible beer:


I had to get it for the logo, though! As an amateur Egyptologist, I will procure anything that has anything to do with Egypt.

We had two meals on board, the first was unmemorable as we were sat beside an old man who wouldn’t stop muttering about pelicans and another man who clearly had a terrible hangover. They were lame. The people we had dinner with (for you are guaranteed to make strange new friends on the Amtrak…remember Leslie, queen of the train to Los Angeles I met a few years back who was dueling with a reincarnated Aztec princess for her boyfriend’s affections? I have a weird life…) were incredibly more interesting.


Jessica, as usual, was pissed. She had heard the couple chattering in the parlor car earlier and had taken an instant dislike to them. She hates everybody, so this wasn’t an exceptional development. Happily, her opinion quickly changed as we all started talking. The Australian woman used to do security for club venues, had sang with Prince on a piano, and was a good friend of one of Simon Cowell’s ex-wives. She was a delight and gave me a few tips on where to do quality celebrity stalking on my next trip to Hollywood. She was fascinated by our fascination with One Direction, asked many excellent questions without mocking our adult passion for a boy band, then demanded shots from the waiter. He never did bring shots, though. He did bring out the entire crew to sing Happy Birthday to Jessica, which totally delighted her. It was surely one of the stranger birthdays she experienced.

The train was forty minutes late getting into Oakland, and then the bus took ages to make its way to Pier 39, but eventually we made it to the hotel we were crashing for the night, the Sheraton. I HATED IT! I never hate hotels, but this one was truly awful. It was somewhat pretty, but in that horrible modern way, and I HATE MODERNITY. Why not have some elegant moulding? Why do they hang panels of shiny turquoise wood on the wall? I didn’t get it. There was no wifi. There were no microwaves. Well, you could rent a microwave for $20. Yeah…that’s a thing. I just loathed everything about that hotel. You get better service in a Microtel in the middle of Nebraska.

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