Saturday 23/02/2002 and Sunday 24/02/2002
Today started in Holloway at 6am, and ended in San Francisco at midnight -- that is to say, 8am GMT. What can you say about a 26-hour day, except "ouch"? There is nothing nice about sitting in the back of a 747 for twelve hours, except when it ends. Oh, and if you have a window seat you can see the north of Britain covered in snow, followed by Iceland, Greenland and Canada ditto.
But here I am, in room 2001 -- yes, really -- of the W Hotel in downtown SF. It's a new and self-consciously modern place, with lots of dim blue lights, staff dressed in black with ostentatious radio headsets, and broadband in every room. I can do without the sub-Bladerunner décor, which would be nicer if the rooms themselves weren't just American Standard Hotel, and the staff are clearly disconcerted with a jetlagged old hippy in sandals and anorak (I refuse to wear confining footwear longhaul), but the ethernet is just plain miraculous. Within a moment of plugging the HiGrade laptop in, I had Radio 4 in reasonable fidelity: a few minutes more and I'd downloaded a few bits and pieces I'd left at home. I have secure access to my Cix email, I have my entire music collection with me, and I have the BBC. And I didn't need to configure so much as a dialogue box.
And the W Hotel further redeems itself by equipping the room with a machine that makes real coffee and tiny Sony CD/tape/tuner that has a line in socket, so I can plug the laptop in to reasonable speakers. Happiness.
The only insect life in the moisturising cream is the tiny Sony webcam I've brought with me. Despite downloading the newest and bestest drivers, it continues to crash in seconds when I try and send pictures of the Bay to friends shivering back in Blighty. Perhaps it's just feeling compassionate...