Travel: Almost Entirely Pleasant

March 30, 2010

I’m going to go ahead and say it. The Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, Terminal C, architecture circa a long ass time ago when it was apparently in vogue to make things look and feel unpleasant (I think maybe of the Fluorescent Tube and Beige School, Low Ceiling/Concrete genre) is, for its size and class, the ugliest airport structure I have endured in recent memory. Of course, I’m not exactly an expert on the subject. But I know what I (don’t) like.

It has two qualities in its favor. One, free Wi-Fi (although my opinion is that Wi-Fi, like, say, indoor plumbing and an operational HVAC system, is not something to brag about so much as it should just be). Two, its days are numbered. 2A, unfortunately, its corollary, is that this airport, like every airport ever, all the time is under massive, stupid construction.

Arising at 4am to drive a Hyundai for several hours in Central California, while simultaneously plugging my brain with 3.5 hours of BBC Radio I (sat. radio) has left me with a significant geographical vagueness*. Now I’m waiting for my aircraft; I have a first-class ticket (miles), which is a folly since this terminal (analogy—San Jose Terminal C:Regular Airport :: Tent City/Hooverville:Monte Carlo) is a) without an Alaska hoity-toity freebooze lounge and, I swear this is true, I have to board my 737 via a seriously Gresham-ghetto ramp that people push around on wheels (emphasis mine). Seat 1A has lost its ring.

This past weekend has been almost unendurable in its pleasantness. Staying at my in-laws in Arroyo Grande, I woke each morning with a dumb grin on my face, bouncing against walls and windows like a terrier until I was allowed out to the beach or hillside. Two birds of paradise bloomed in the front yard. There were palm trees. Boing boing!

There is something almost tortuous about 75 degrees and calm-sunny. It’s like you just can’t be good enough for it, or appreciate it enough. The broccoli fields reeked because they were so healthy; the nearly year-round strawberry crops fill ponderous flat bed trucks. There are stands of eucalyptus that make your nose kind of vibrate. Surprisingly, small, historically-relevant towns maintain their own quaint identity. As you drive by you want to hug them. Fields are small enough that you could imagine a family tending them on their own. Please do not shatter my idealistic image. It goes seashore, wood-shrubs, farms, then the mesa which comes up abruptly enough to seem unrealistic. The hills, with live oak, are the color of chlorophyll this time of year.

It was warm there.

Sunset from the highest point on my in-laws' property.

Sunset from the highest point on my in-laws' property.

Look at that depth of field!

This washed up. Probably a bad day for someone.

Nestled mobile home park.

* Also, what is it with the Radio I accent? Mostly women, mostly awful. Can I pleaz haz oppressive/imperial/public school beatings BBC World Service accent back?

One Comment

  1. Emma says:

    i’m pretty sure the san jose airport has been in a constant state of construction since i started college. that’s almost 11 years ago. and the traffic patterns still seem to change every time i fly in or out.

Related Posts

Scipio the Computer has deemed that these might be similar in content!
Wonderful games with Caslon