He'd taken the letters of his indoor sign down the day before, but he allowed me to take the pieces of the logo out of the box so I could see them in person, which was very kind of him.
At the post-facility, I saw the reef tank! I have been curious to see the reef tank, and the sacrifish, and all the curiosities inside it, for almost a year now. I was not disappointed, and used Level Head's digital camera (the battery in my own needed re-charging) to take several pictures. The sacrifish were camera-shy, alas. But they had been through a lot, so I can hardly blame them.
After the tour, we returned to the house, and I packed up while the others made arrangements for lunch. Then I proceeded to make everyone late for our lunch reservations by insisting on running around the grounds, taking pictures of places and flowers and people. They tolerated me well. Poor makovette wanted to take some pictures of with the Lady and Level Head. I suggested we do it after eating, so we wouldn't be any later, but we never did get around to it. Ah well. I'll just have to come back some time. ;)
Lunch was at a lovely French restaurant named "The Beau Rivage", if I recall correctly. By this time, I'm afraid I was visibly flagging. I don't think I actually snored at the table. But I wouldn't be surprised if I did in the car. Everyone was quite tolerant of my drooping eyelids and other eccentricities, in any case.
After lunch, we headed for the airport. Even thought it was Sunday afternoon, traffic was thicker on the drive there than it had been on the way out. I think Mako commented that it was worse, then corrected himself: "Oh, that's right -- it had been worse in this direction."
I said, "Yes, we're going the wrong way for avoiding traffic. You have to head the other direction."
Level Head added, "I couldn't agree more. I can turn around right now." :)
But somehow we wound up at the airport anyway. The gentlemen carried my bags as we all trooped inside, and everyone kept me company as I waited to check in. Finally, it was time for me to go through security and leave them. I extracted two rounds of hugs from everyone (I owed Mako seconds, you see. And I wouldn't want anyone to feel left out). My last sight of them was waving goodbye from the bottom of the escalator.
There was an additional bit of fun in store for me from the airline. My ticket said my plane would come in at Gate 38. As I arrived at the gate, I heard the tail end of a gate announcement: "confusion on Emerald City and Minneapolis. Flight 790 to Minneapolis will be leaving from Gate 37A."
I spotted an empty seat between two people, and asked if it was taken. "Go ahead," the woman to the left of it said. "My husband's decided to use the floor." He looked rather comfortable there, in fact, sprawled out with a book and his back against a bag. I sat, and asked the lady if she knew what the situation with the gates was. "They've been confused about it for the last half hour. Apparently there are flights leaving for Emerald City, Ruby City, and Minneapolis, all at the same time, and they keep changing the gates.
A moment later, an airline worker emerged from the tunnel at gate 38. "This plane is going to Minneapolis," I heard her tell the gate attendant.
After a moment, he announced into a microphone, in a tone that suggested he was not entirely convinced, "The flight for Minneapolis is at Gate 38."
At this point, I decided to check with the large knot of airline employees gathered around the desk at gate 37A, and see if I could glean some intelligence on what was going on with the Emerald City flight. As I approached the desk, I heard one of them say, "The plane for Emerald City is at Gate 37A."
I returned to my seat. "Right now," I told the pleasant woman beside me, "Minneapolis is at 38, and Emerald City is at 37A. This may change, but I think that's the best they know at the moment." She was going to Minneapolis. We shook hands, and hoped not to see each other on the plane. "On the bright side," I said, "if we do get on the same plane, at least we'll know that one of us is going to the right place. Well. Assuming we don't get that Ruby City flight."
A moment later: "Flight xxxx to Ruby City is leaving from Gate 37A." *pause, hurried whisperings* "I mean Emerald City! The flight to Emerald City is leaving from Gate 37A."
The two flights boarded almost simultaneously. As I got on, and several times thereafter, flight attendents repeated the announcement: "This is the plane to Emerald City. I know, you've heard this already, but after all the confusion we just want to be sure everyone's on the right plane."
As we taxied away from the gate, the flight attendent came on: "Please turn of all portable electronic devices, and we hope you enjoy your flight to Minneapolis."
Altogether, the experience was much too funny to be annoying. :) I listened to the rest of disc two of 1984 as we reached cruising altitude. The plane was mostly empty, and I had all three seats to myself. I stretched out across them, and slept the entire flight home. (Hurrah for non-stop flights!)
Lut was waiting for me just outside the gate in Emerald City (an even bigger hurrah for Lut! Mmm. Lut. :D ) and we went straight home, after which I went straight to bed.
All in all, an absolutely delightful trip. As we were headed to the airport, Lady Anne apologized, because I'd come all the way out to their city and not really seen the city at all. But I am very well satisfied with that. I travel to visit people, not places. I do enjoy doing the occasional touristy thing, seeing sights and local attractions. But spending a lazy Saturday in a hot tub, with good friends and good conversation ... ah, that's much more my style. It was a whole lot of fun to surprise Level Head, and to get to know makovette and lady_anne better. The hospitality of the Lady and her dragon is, by no means, overrated.
And as for seeing the city ...
Well, I suppose I'll just have to come back some time. ;)