I got up this morning at 7am because I couldn't sleep anymore. So I just got everything packed up, and peered at the free breakfast in the lobby and was very much not inspired. So I walked down Santa Cruz Street in Los Gatos, and found Le Fleur Chocolate, which is a tiny French bakery. They had tiny, buttery croissants in chocolate, almond, raisin, raspberry, and cheese along with their larger cousins. They also had a large display case of pastries and chocolatey Yule Logs which looked absolutely fabulous and for one mad, mad moment, I contemplated what it would take to carry one on the plane.
I decided not to. *grin* Instead, I took one each of the tiny almond, raisin, and chocolate croissants. And, given that the heads for their espresso machine were lying on the rack, I took myself out of there and went to the coffee shop down the street that had a great selection of drinks and a good, hot machine and a terrible pastry selection. It's good to go to specialists for what they're good at, as the latte I got from there was rich and hot and lovely. I nearly burned my mouth when I sipped it. Sea level is good for heat, too. I then carried my treasures back to my room, and cheerfully read the newspaper while nibbling on the buttery, crisp pastries and sipping my lovely drink.
The walk had been cold and damp. There's a wind that had picked up and it had been raining pretty hard the last few days, so it was really humid and the wind cut quite well through my sweater. So I was in heaven. :-)
By the time I was done with breakfast it was nearly time to go. So I stuffed my suitcase until the zippers nearly wouldn't close, and then I put the rest into my backpack. I took all the heavy stuff down to the car, and then went to the checkout counter. There's a set of stairs between my room and the main desk that I really didn't want to negotiate with the damned suitcase. They checked me out in a moment, and then I was on my way to gas station at the corner.
Stupid SUV sucked up more than twenty dollars worth of gas to get me to Santa Cruz and Mountain View and then to the airport again. In three days I guess I did a lot more driving than I thought. *grin* But the car had a neat little arrow to tell me which way the gas door was, and i was set and on my way to the rental car return.
The best thing about being early is that I can take mistakes very, very easily. I missed a turn, and just giggled and took the next left turn lane and did a U-y and went back and was just fine. This early in the morning on Saturday there was NO one on the road. So it was easy and fast. The Hertz Return lady was there. I think I've been going to San Jose for years and years, from Seattle, before, and whenever I went for business and got a rental, it's always been this little wizzend Asian lady that does the pickup of the cars.
I love her, especially in the cold weather as she's all bundled up, but she's likely the most efficient person in the whole organization. I'm always impressed by how quickly she gets me set and ready to go.
So I nosed about the car a bit to make sure I had everything and then headed in. It wasn't a bad car, all in all.
The bus driver warned me from taking my coffee onto the bus, so I drank the last of it, and put it in the bin. Then I wrestled my stuff onto the bus and watched a big man wrestle four bags for a slender girl onto the bus. They had to sit next to each other on the bus, and I was bemused when they seemed a little reluctant and she was very stiff about it. But then the guy got off at Concourse A, and she rode on to Concourse C. Hm. My brain contemplates a story behind all that.
Ticketing was fast. Security was friendly, funny, and thorough but slow. They had one guy who was very, very detailed doing the liquids check at the front of the line. He even had the ID-check lady shaking her head at how complete he was about checking every single liquid in each bag. I was impressed that he just pressed on.
The check itself was interesting, as the guys there advised me on what to put into the bins (my coat), what to leave out (my boarding pass), and asked quite nicely if I had a laptop in my bag before I made the mistake of putting it through. :-) I think there weren't that many people going through, and they were just kind of bored. But I decided to compliment them on their thoroughness, especially when one guy had to take some lady's bag who said, "But the OTHER airport let me put my video camera through without taking it out." They did it friendly like, not threatening at all, as it was obviously not a dangerous situation. So that was very cool. So I said that I was impressed, and one of them gave me the card of their quality and security manager, said it would help if I sent her an email or something.
The coolest thing here are the desks and power strips for those of us a bit too tied to our computers. :-) So I took my card and made a draft of a thank you letter. It'll go when I get a real connection again. As much as there's wireless available here, it's pay and I can't quite get myself to do that.
But I'm happy I'm here and early.