All pictures are
thumbnails so click them to get the blown-up version especially
the welcome graphics above to see who Ed Mara was pulling
along the San Francisco Bay..
DO YOU KNOW THE WAY?
by Ebee Fernandez '71
to unplug the earphones off my ear, rather grudgingly. I didn't
understand why passengers had to shut off all electronic devices
before landing. Does anyone really believe that a CD player could
affect cockpit's navigational instruments? Besides, what was
there left to navigate? We had just entered the Houston aerodrome
and was about to join the traffic pattern. For some reason, this
FAA rule is really imposing. Pag nainis ako sa kanila, mag-dadabog
ako! I may be in Houston now, but after finding my way to San Jose,
I'm not here.
Southwest Airlines takes you to San Jose. We left Ontario International
Saturday a.m. and it was on time. I sat confidently in a window
seat, Ariel was with me, behind was ma fren Edmar and Stan. Still
way behind was Bobby L and Benson, his son-in-law. After the
flight attendants had gone through their usual, the jet engines
roared like nobody's business pulling 100 or so paxes into a clear
southern California sky. As it rolled halfway along the active I
turned my head back and signaled one index finger to Edmar. He understood
that perfectly. He pretended to be my co-pilot. One finger is for
velocity 1 or V1. A few seconds later, I signaled two fingers for
V2. He smiled, he knew it was take-off velocity and moments later
we rotated and lifted off the ground. I knew when to raise the gears
so at about 50 feet off the runway, I threw my thumbs up. This
time Ed was smiling sincerely. Ah yes, little did they know, the
last of the real trojans, the kings of C47's and C123's are here.
I have never seen San Joaquin valley at 29 angels and the day was
clear like it was made to order. Below was the sprawling agriculture
which nurtured California and the rest of the world. The aqueduct
shimmered with a dark teal color against a noon-ish sun, cutting
across the valley like an aorta linking the heart of the Southland
with the mountains of the north. I couldn't help but thank father
god and the corps of engineers for scooping that water out of the
Sacramento river and hurling it down at nature's pace to L.A.
and San Diego. Without that water, Southern California would be
nothing less than the Mojave, desolate and barren, no intelligent
life, no pizzazz, no ana-ana. The I-5 provided a trunk line of cars
and trucks zooming at termite speed. From above, it sketched a north-south
straight line over a green carpet of vegetation. I could see the
I-90 divorcing the I-5 as it headed its northeasterly way to
Fresno. "Somewhere out there is Porterville", Ariel nodded.
He just came from Porterville for a fun day of grape-picking.
The straight and level flight lasted for just a few minutes, but,
it was enough for me to wonder with awe the gold in this golden
state. I seldom fly north-south. My weekly route is east-west over
the Colorado river, above Phoenix, wheeze over White Sands in New
Mexico to El Paso, then to the Texas plains. I felt a slight deceleration
as the engine noise abated from a roar to a whisper, either that
or my ears were clogged. I did a slight valsalva as we entered a
smooth decent. The beautiful lady attendants were busy collecting
trash, yet my eyes were still glued outside. In front of me was
the fabled Silicon valley. I knew prices of real estate had gone
down due to layoffs and recession, so I started mapping out where
to buy my next property (joke only). The valley had more greens
compared to the brown brushes in So Cal. I was thinking of moving
up north, but Geynz is already there. We have to spread out snappity
I saw Geynz as soon as I rushed out of the gate. His eyes were rolling
like the dickens as if he didn't recognize me. Tatakilin ko sana,
you know my usual m.o., but I had a change of heart. Archie
and Rolly McClean were there and I knew Geynz caught on as
I greeted Archie first, then him, then Rolly. We were all so happy
greeting each other that we started a little commotion. So what!
I haven't seen Geynz for about 25 years, Archie for 5 or so
and Rolly for 20 years. Sipin mo na lang the galak I felt when I
saw them. They haven't changed a bit, very lax pa rin (lol). LOL
means "laughing out loud", hindi "ulol" like
some of you might think. I was impressed by Archie's familiarity
of San Francisco, o liko tayo dyan, o kanan dyan, mamya andon na.
We billeted at the Woodfin, 2 adjoining suites picked by ariel.
I had a couple of Heineken before we checked in. Archie was busy
handing out beer while in the van. There were two cases of beer
and one hard, plus cashew nuts, peanuts and cornicks (?). George,
Geynz' brother was on the wheels. I heard he was supposed to join
'74 but declined after knowing EdMar was there. You should have
seen him when he was a yearling, ha? George was very nice and polite,
he took care of the short cuts and the dog legs to the Embarcadero.
The day was spent strolling at the Fisherman's Wharf in a balmy
weather. The coats and jackets came in handy. We had lunch at a
very nice restaurant by the sea. The waitress was very friendly
I thought she was from Texas. I forgot what I had, but the Zinfandel
was smooth, just enough to stir around some heat molecules. It had
been years since I was in SFO and before coming over, my plan was
to take the bay cruise. I insisted on taking the cruise as opposed
to a mile hike across the golden gate. Besides, my diabetes convinced
me not to take it lest it be cured. We took the last scheduled cruise
of the day.
The sun was about 20 degrees above the western horizon and it shone
over the city like a soft spotlight over a lusty model. Her hills
glimmer in the sun like platinum, they were never golden. Tony lied.
The boat inched its way across the bay until it reached $9.00, roundtrip
was $18.00. On the edge of our conquest was the golden gate bridge.
It loomed like a giant moment graph (ME 411) about to give its summation
of forces. We looped under its lengthy span and started our way
back passing by Alcatraz. The joke is if one immigrates from Europe,
one is processed in Ellis, but, from Asia, Alcatraz. The rock was
closed to everyone except to a few park rangers maybe. The birdman's
bird had flown and Sean Connery had no plans of returning.
We docked and the sun was still up. We took the van and headed for
Sausalito. I forgot to buy dungeness crab, SFO's delight. My excitement
overrode my sense of care, Ching loves dungeness. Along the way,
we stopped to take some pictures, George came in handy. The bridge
had its usual dump of traffic heading for the city so we took the
outer freeway until we hit Emeryville. And Shacs was there with
Menchu visiting their daughter in college.
Early night was spent bolahizing and gulping Heineken until we all
felt hungry. We rushed to a classy place and ended in Chinatown.
I always love Chinatown, any Chinatown. We have a good Chinatown
here in Houston. L.A.'s Chinatown is excellent as well. The secret
is ordering the right chinese food, so, we had boiled shrimps, steamed
fish, pan fried noodles Hongkong style with seafood, hot and sour
soup, steamed rice. We stayed away from meat, kasi nga, old farts
na e. After dinner, we hurried back to the hotel and the bolahizing
continued. The Heineken consumed, the doughnut masticated and Shacs
came back from dinner with his daughter and the bolahizing continued
until everyone died.
After reveille and police call, we headed downstairs to check out.
I was ready for a Continental breakfast, but, it turned out to be
a full one. Orange juice, coffee, fruit tray, rolls, scrambled,
bacon, links. What more can you ask, steamed rice? They had
that too. Shacs and Menchu came down and joined us. After breakfast
was a photo shoot. Menchu was the kodaker and we were the kodakees.
We passed by Freemont on the way to San Jose. Our flight was Ontario-San
Jose-Ontario. Jack Tan refused to wake up. He must have had extra-curricular
activities the night before. Finally, he came out staggering, hilo
pa yata. He recognized me right away, although it was 15 years.
Man, the guy has a sharp memory, pero, Cebuano pa rin. And there
was another photo ops. Menchu was the kodaker and we were the kodakees,
you must have memorized that by now.
Rolling home, rolling home. By the light of the silvery mo-oo-on.
Happy is the day when the soldier gets his pay. As we go rolling
It was a smooth landing. MD-80's are always landing spot smooth,
parang ako, di ba ma fren? Continental flight 422 landed in
Houston amidst a flooded 26-R at 12:15 pm, Monday. It had just rained.
The day was dark and humid, a far cry from the SFO WX 2 days
ago. Matter of fact, it was only a couple of days ago when we landed
in SJC. Imagine, we actually found the way to San Jose.
not from san jose
no way jose
not 25, 52
hinai-hinai lang bai!
un yeah que eddie