Travel Notes 1: SFO to NYC

Nancy Friedman
6 min readNov 2, 2022

I hate flying, which means I don’t travel very much, at least not the way some people I know travel. Before last month, I’d flown a total of five times in fifteen years, all on bare-bones, single-class Southwest Airlines, which flies out of conveniently located and modestly proportioned Oakland International Airport. Whenever I can, I take Amtrak. Or I drive. Or I stay home.

But pre-Covid I’d planned a really ambitious (for me) trip, and after a two-year delay I finally took that trip. Because I hate flying, and because I am the poster child for jet lag as well as every other sort of parasomnia, part of the trip involved crossing the Atlantic at a stately pace on a very large ship. More about that in the next installment of this saga. (The original plan also involved crossing North America by rail, which I still want to do someday. But corners had to be cut.)

A lot has changed in the travel industry since 2020. There no longer are direct flights from Oakland to the New York area, so I flew out of San Francisco International, an airport I hadn’t seen in more than twenty years, and which is even more daunting than I’d remembered. It’s huge and exhausting, perennially under construction, with no one around to offer information or assistance. I’d been warned to arrive two hours before flight time, and that turned out to be sound advice. Getting through the security line took 45 minutes. (I refuse to pay for TSA upgrades. I figure that since I fly so rarely, it would be a poor investment.) While I waited I roamed around looking for stuff to photograph.

This sobering sign was on the inside of a women’s-restroom stall. Its audience, I assume, is human-trafficking victims. I wonder how many respond to the message, and by what means.

“Are you feeling safe? Are you being forced to work for little or no pay?”

Andalé is a chain of Mexican restaurants.

That accent over the E in ANDALE pisses me off. The accent should go over the first A in ándale, which means “come on!” — in Spanish, accents indicate stress, not pronunciation. But some copywriter must have thought, “We gotta plop an accent on the E to let Anglos know that it’s three syllables!” Feh.

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Nancy Friedman

Writer, name developer, brand consultant, idea-ist, ex-journalist. @fritinancy on Mastodon, Instagram, Bluesky, Threads, and elsewhere.