Day 1 – Thursday, Sept 19th 3:25pm
Jean and I take off from Mission Viejo making the drive to LAX after she finished a mandatory meeting she had to attend for her work. We park at the Weston then take the shuttle off to the airport. When we arrived at the gate, there were a TON of folks waiting for the plane. Remember, Jean is flying standby – we had checked the available seats the night before; there were about 45 open seats so we thought there was going to be no problem. When we arrived, they had overbooked the flight by 24 seats – oh my.
We checked in, the reservations clerk said it was possible for her to get on but she would need approval from the pilot. They called my seat number and off I went, leaving Jean behind to hopefully arrange for her flight over to Rome or to hopefully get on the plane. I was praying she’d get on the plane as I really didn’t want to arrive in Italy alone! To my relief, she did get on the plane, but poor Jean, she flew on the “jump-seat” the whole way. You know that little seat the flight attendants sit on when the plane takes off and lands? Yes, that was her home for the next 11.5 hours…ouch!
We saw a bunch of folks we know on the plane – I knew Keiko Matsui was going as we discussed it at lunch after our TV taping a few weeks ago. We chatted several times – she is such a wonderful person. I also met Terry Wolman and his girlfriend; he had some trouble getting on the plane, seems they didn’t want to let him bring his guitar on as a “carry on”. He finally got it cleared but it was a lot of problems for him.
It was an uneventful flight, the normal turbulence, two meals and a some movies. I read a book my friend from high school wrote, “Graceful Battle” – what a great read about him and his girlfriend, who at 1 month before they were to marry, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I finished the entire book.
Arriving in Italy at about 12noon on Friday (remember we left Thursday, from LAX at 3:25pm), we breezed through customs, I was a little upset they didn’t punch my passport – oh well. We gathered up our luggage and took a taxi to our hotel; we had booked a hotel right outside Rome. It was really pretty, off the main highway and out of the way of the tourist area.
We didn’t quite unpack as we were only staying for two days, so we grabbed a quick nap – then headed off to dinner, came back and went to bed, exhausted as we had been up since Thursday morning at 6am, arrived Friday at 12noon so we lost a whole day somewhere.
One thing I noticed, is every guy is super good looking! So many handsome Italians going by – at dinner it was very apparent as many fire and police personal were coming in (this restaurant, from what I was told, is one they frequent to get their coffee for the evening). Something about a hot Italian in uniform….