Picking my friend up at the airport wasn’t as much fun as we both thought it would be. Thanks to the customs, I had to wait for her for two hours before they let her go – and she was completely exhausted and probably terrified of all American officials for another few weeks to come, if not longer.
Anyway, after we gave each other hug and I stumbled as I spoke Czech for the first time in a while, we finally made it to the car, I gave her the snack and drink I brought for her to survive the last stretch of her long way across the ocean and we set off on our way home – and by that I mean my current home.
Leaving the airport building, I heard her saying: “Wow, that’s… not at all different from Brno, except the palm trees.” with her face looking like if she was completely bored. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ella – the girl who you never know if she’s just joking or being serious.
I don’t know why – probably to make people pay even more for parking – the Oakland airport parking is the most confusing one I’ve ever been to. It’s super quick and easy to get in – but getting out is a whole new story.Even when following the signs as they just lead you three or four times around in different directions, instead of turning left immediately, they make you continue straight and then turn right and right again… It’s a mess there. We spent good twenty minutes just trying to get out of there! That’s about two more dollars or so! Yes, Oakland airport surely knows how to get as much money as possible with minimal or no effort.
Even when following the signs as they just lead you three or four times around in different directions, instead of turning left immediately, they make you continue straight and then turn right and right again… It’s a mess there. We spent good twenty minutes just trying to get out of there! That’s about two more dollars or so! Yes, Oakland airport surely knows how to get as much money as possible with minimal or no effort.
Spending another twenty minutes stuck in the traffic, we made it home! And Ella had the first taste of the Vietnamese culture in its full potential.
The whole house smelled really bad from some fish dish our grandma cooked, while she was wildly discussing something with her husband – an almost deaf man. The singing-like Vietnamese was so loud in her attempt to make our grandpa hear her, that nobody else could hear themselves so they were almost screaming at each other too just to make any conversation possible.
On the counter, there was a fish head ready to be somehow included in the dish, with its eyes wide open, it looked really terrified. A pork blood waited there for my poor friend to ask me about it and then, after she learned what it was, to just walk away from it quietly like if nothing ever happened just to meet some raw tentacles, still moving a bit.
In my attempt to save her from the shock that was inevitably coming, I gave her some apple juice and helped her to move her suitcase to my room.
After a hot shower, she looked much better and even her is-it-joke-or-not way of communication came back to her.
We sat down and finished the final touches on our program for the short road trip and ended up with our newbie-travel plan. None of us has ever done a road trip before. What we came up with looked a bit like this:
Day 1 – Monday – Yosemite
Leave home at 4.15am
Get to Tuolumne Meadows, get a campsite at Tuolumne Meadows Campground.
Then drive to Yosemite Valley, hiking to Vernal (and Nevada, if we have time and energy) Falls.
Back to Tuolumne, go swimming at Dog Lake
Day 2 – Tuesday – Yosemite/Lake Tahoe
Leave either in the morning or, if we like Yosemite and want to see more, in the afternoon.
Visit Tallac Historic Site and Valhalla at South Lake Tahoe.
If we have time, hike around and go to a beach.
- if we leave Yosemite in the morning, we would do this stuff on Tuesday if we leave in the afternoon, we would go straight to our hostel and do it the next day
Day 3 – Wednesday – Lake Tahoe/Lassen Volcanic
Either do stuff we didn’t do yesterday at Lake Tahoe and leave in the afternoon or continue on our way in the morning in case we left Yosemite early and did everything at Lake Tahoe on Tuesday.
If we leave Lake Tahoe in the morning, drive to Lake Butte Campground, get a campsite.
Hike to Cinder Cone.
Maybe swim in the lake. Too cold probably.
Day 4 – Thursday – Lassen Volcanic/home
Visit whatever we didn’t see yesterday, then drive home.
Day 5 – Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate bridge
Point Reyes Station
Pt Reyes Lighthouse
And our little adventure could start. Little we knew what was about to happen and that our plans did and at the same time didn’t work out perfectly!
The following article, actual hitting the road, is HERE.
And have a day full of adventures! 🙂
(Also, if you feel like it, you can follow my blog so you won’t miss any of the following road-trip articles!)