I took a red-eye on Virgin America, which leaves from the international terminal at SFO. This meant that there was lots of crying as family members went back to their countries.
The plane, as promised, had mood lighting! The cabin was lit in purple. But the real star of the Virgin America flight is the Red Interactive system on the back of the seat. Like many airlines these days, it gave you the ability to watch TV and listen to music, but it was even better. The Watch menu also had a selection of music videos. You could order movies right there as well. The Music menu had radio stations of various genres (I listened to the Alternative/Indie one for a bit), but the coolest thing was that they also had tons of songs available to add to your very own playlist. They had everything from Brahms to Sigur Ros. They had a lot of Radiohead.
The best part, however, was that they also had games. You could pop out a control from your handset, and then...you could play Doom. YOU GUYS I PLAYED DOOM ON A PLANE. HOW COOL IS THAT. I collected health! I picked up armor! I shot some dudes! And then I got bored because holy crap, remember when that was, like, state-of-the-art?
Virgin America also has the best safety video I've ever seen. It's animated, and it totally makes fun of the fact that you're required to explain to people how to use a goddamn seatbelt. And then there was a little video about the Wi-Fi, and the owner of Virgin America or whoever totally joked about the Mile High Club! AWESOMELY INAPPROPRIATE, DUDE.
Finally, there's an Eat menu where you can order food! I ordered a Southwestern chicken wrap thing for nine dollars and swiped my credit card and they brought it to me like magic.
Oh! And you know how most tray tables are beige and plastic? These were glossy white and looked practically ceramic.
To my surprise, I wasn't actually sleepy for most of the flight. I messed around online IN THE SKY for a while, and then I popped in the unaired pilot of Dollhouse. (The seat has PLUGS, so I didn't even have to worry about battery life.) I slept for the last hour or so. Unfortunately, despite the neato amenities, the seat is still not that great. Not a lot of legroom or armroom, and the cool handset becomes a disadvantage when there's no armrest to, you know, rest your arm on.
Luckily, my room at the Sheraton Boston was ready, so I conked out in bed for a couple hours. For lunch, I headed to Legal Sea Foods for their amazing crab cake, which was just as amazing as I remembered it, if TINY. It was like the size of a macaroon! A macaroon made of delicious crab meat.
Next on the agenda is the Mapparium, which I had failed to see last time. Being a student in the School of Life, I paid a mere four dollars rather than six. The Mapparium is the only walk-through, stained-glass globe in the world. You walk inside, and you are basically inside a globe of the world...in 1935. Holy shit, Africa barely had any real countries in 1935.
It's a rather neat experience and a different perspective of the world than you normally get. For instance, I could see that India was basically right across the world from America. It made the world look very small and very large at the same time. The world is...kind of awesome, you guys. There was a little presentation that began with greetings from around the world, with the appropriate country lighting up, and it was such a nice reminder of the rich mix of cultures we have on this planet.
But possibly cooler than the world-related stuff was the fact that we were inside a glass sphere, which meant the acoustics were awesome. If you stood in the center and spoke, you could hear yourself in surround sound. It was freaky.
Afterward, I explored the museum exhibits. Mary Baker Eddy may be sort of nutty, but she was also a pretty cool woman. Not only did she found a religion, but she founded a respectable newspaperThe Christian Science Monitorat the age of 87. 87! Some people don't even LIVE that long, let alone found newspapers before then. When I'm 87, I'm going to be too tired to found anything. As for Christian Science, I am skeptical of an anti-medicine movement that sprung up when medicine sucked. There is a whole display about the fact that "regular medicine" in her day involved bloodletting and unknown tonics and random shit that people threw together...but, uh, modern medicine actually works. Diseases are real; they are not all in your head. The reason you didn't hear about dyspepsia and cerebrospinalmeningitis before your time, Ms. Eddy, is because they didn't know what they were. You were a great woman but a shitty scientist.
On my way up to my room, a hotel employee asked me how my stay was going. I said it was going well. She asked where I was from, and I said Oakland, and that was actually the answer she was looking for! She had lived in San Francisco.
In my room, I read in bed a little before receiving a phone call...from Nadia! She was jealous that I had gone to the Mapparium. If you infer that I called her after leaving the Mapparium, you are correct. We hadn't actually spoken since last year, so she caught up with me, and vice-versa. Apparently her baby is very entertaining.
Then I took a nap! This was a very exciting day, I know.
I made today Places I Ate at Last Time Day and had dinner at Chilli Duck. I was seated in the same booth Capitulation and I had had lunch in. For an appetizer, I ordered the Tod Mun, which sounded like Olivia Munn's half-wit brother but was a mix of ground shrimp and chicken and egg in a fried patty. It was sort of like a quiche. I also had the duck soup, which was awesome. It was soybean-based and brown and so incredibly tasty I drank every drop. And the duck was very good too. Hell, by the time my entree arrived, I was practically fully. I had the duck choo-chee, which was duck in panang curry. Very spicy panang curry. I couldn't eat much of it. A posted review had extolled the virtues of the mango with sticky rice, and I needed something sweet to combat the spiciness, but, again, I was so goddamn full I could barely eat a couple slices of mango and a few forkfuls of sticky rice (and I'm still not sure what makes it sticky, but it's sweet and not in a bad way). I got the rest in a bag. I didn't take the rest of my curry; a minute after I refused, I realized I could have given it to a homeless guy or something, but I didn't know how easy it was find a homeless dude in Boston. In the Bay Area, you can't throw a duck without hitting one, after all.
Back in my room, I watched a Dollhouse extra. I've brought my Dollhouse and Middleman DVDs for entertainment, which I am going to need in my lonely little hotel room.
I tried to go to Our House East for pub trivia, but they changed to Monday nights without informing the website. Dirty lying bastards. Maybe I will try tomorrow.
Since my stomach was a little less overstuffed, I wanted to finish my mango and sticky rice...but they had not given me a fork. Balls. I was going to go down to the lobby and see where I could get a fork, but then I realized that I could just CALL downstairs and they would solve all my problems for me because that is their job.
"Guest services, how can we help you, Mr. Patel?"
"I need a fork. How do I get a fork?"
"We'll have room service send one up."
MAGIC. (I want to try this with other things now. "I need an elephant. How do I get an elephant?")
The woman brought me a fork on a little plate. Aw. Second dessert time! (Second dessert, same as the first...)
And now to entertain myself until I go to sleep. Tomorrow, I learn about regulatory affairs! EXCITING!