Almost two years to the day of initiating a mask requirement in California public schools in March 2020, the school where my wife works went mask free. Four days later she came home on Friday with an illness starting to flare. This was her first sickness sincce the pandemic began. She did an iHealth Covid-19 rapid test to check her status on Sunday. Negative. A weekend in bed with lots of tissue and sleep had Kelley in good enough shape to go back to work on Monday.
Monday – 13 days before flight to Venice
I woke up that same Monday morning feeling I was coming down with her illness. I also had not been sick since the pandemic began. By the time Kelley arrived home in the afternoon I was walking around the house with tissue in my hand gathered from three strategic tissue box locations positioned in the kitchen, living room and by my bed with toilet paper in the bathroom. I set up a box next to bed to toss the used tissues.
Tuesday – 12 days before flight to Venice
Kelley left for work in the morning and I took the iHealth rapid antigen test for Covid-19 on a snotty morning. Negative.
Soon after I started vomiting. I had only eaten yogurt with chia seeds that morning. For the next 36 hours I vomited after any intake of fluid, even small sips. Forget about food.
Wednesday – 11 days before flight to Venice
By evening I was able to hold down some Vitamin water and a couple of crackers. My stomach and back hurt from two days of cramping over the toilet.
Thursday – 10 days before flight to Venice
Watching movie with Kelley where a female jockey has three days to lose three kilos for a race. I had just completed that feat.
Friday – 9 days before flight to Venice
Have not slept more than 3 consecutive hours since Monday. Managing only 4 to 5 hours sleep each day. Exhausted, but every time I fall alseep I wake up within two hours and can’t fall back asleep.
Saturday – 8 days before flight to Venice
Spent part of day cleaning out and setting up a bedroom for company arriving to stay on Wednesday. No energy and still hardly any appetite.
Sunday – 7 days before flight to Venice
Took my first walk outside in a week.
Monday – 6 days before flight to Venice
Start filling out EU Digital Passenger Locator Form required by Italy before we can check-in for our United flight and fly to Italy.
France, Italy, Malta, and Slovenia are the only EU countries requiring this form. I had trouble advancing through this form multiple times. Each section has to be completed before you are allowed to continue to the next section of form. I was stuck on the flights section since seat number is required and due to my basic economy ticket I would not have any assigned seats until check-in 24 hours before flight departure.
The Catch-22 of my predicament was no seat assignment meant I could not advance beyond the second section of the form. And I could not check in and get seat assignments until 24 hours before my flight.
The EU Digital Passenger Locator Form was something that cost me more loss of sleep as I struggled to get it completely processed. I was still working on Kelley’s digital form up to a couple of hours before departure.
Tuesday – 5 days before flight to Venice
Made a call to United Airlines when I noticed UA did not have my Aegean Miles+Bonus account on the record locator booking. Kelley’s Aegean frequent flyer number was on her record.
United Airlines customer service said “No problem! Just give me your Aegean frequent flyer card number.” She enters the number and tells me computer says no. “Your names do not match.”
At this point I see that United has my reservation name as GARRIDO/RICHARDDAVID with my first and middle names conjoined as one word. Not sure how this happened since Orbitz had my names separate in their reservations and even on my boarding passes I received in Europe from Lufthansa for the return flights my name was spelled as two separate words. Anyway, United Airlines Customer Service left me hanging with a record locator reservation and boarding passes that did not show my Aegean frequent flyer number or Star Alliance Gold elite status.
Wednesday – 4 days before flight to Venice
Slept all day, our house guest arrived in the afternoon.
Thursday – 3 days before flight to Venice
Go out to Alvarado Brewing Company and Bistro, Carmel for dinner with our house guest. Drink my first beer in 10 days. Try and pay for $98 meal and drinks with a $100 Alvarado Brewing Company gift card that has been sitting around our house several years.
“Sorry, we do not accept that gift card. This is the Alvarado Brewing Company ‘Bistro’. You are welcome to use your gift card at the Monterey location.”
Might be a few more years before I get back to Alvarado Brewing, in Monterey. This anecdote is not relevant to my trip to Venice, but readers from past years probably know beer, and particularly low cost beer, is important to me.
660ml bottles of Peroni on sale for €0.75 was one of my best buys of the week in the Coop market at San Giacomo dell’Orio in Venice some 15 seconds walk across the square from Hotel Aquarius.
Friday – 2 days before flight to Venice
I went shopping and bought a new $70 pink-gold hardside Samsonite suitcase at Ross. I decided it was time to upgrade from my 2015 $28 JanSport bag Ross purchase. The wheels had gotten a little squeaky and rough after logging 100,000+ air miles and dozens of pavement miles rolling across European cities.
Kelley was angry that I bailed on traveling with her to work in the morning to hang around for an evening party night with friends. I was focused on simply trying to gather the energy and stamina to survive an international trip.
Saturday – 1 day before flight to Venice
Check-in for our Venice flights opened at 8:00am on Saturday. Check-in did not solve my EU Passenger Locator Form problem since our boarding passes for Munich to Venice on Air Dolomiti still did not show seat numbers.
I eventually read through the 75+page EU Passenger Locator Form user manual to discover the way to get around not having a seat assignment is to write XXX in place of a seat number and the user can continue working through the other multiple sections of the form.
I finally got my form processed and accepted. The issue that holds me up with Kelley’s form is getting her passport image accepted in the weak light of a foggy Monterey morning. I pulled out the computer ring light we used for the year of online schooling she taught from home. Then it turned out I had to set up her iphone email. Hard to believe someone has a mobile and never checks email. That’s my Kelley. She finally needed email access on her phone to be able to retrieve travel documents when necessary.
I got her EU form and vaccination forms all set up on her phone, yet Kelley still managed to create a couple of dramatic situations during our trip with an uncanny ability to make her documents disappear from her phone just when we needed to show them to authorities.
Kelley loved the new Samsonite pink gold suitcase, so I got her $50 soft-side Samsonite I purchased in 2019 at Costco.
Packed our bags and ready for the trip Saturday night.
Sunday – Day of flights to Venice
Arrive at Monterey airport 7:20 and processed through check-in for 8:00am departure to San Francisco. No problem, despite the inability at the gate to get my Aegean frequent flyer number entered into my record again. Computer still says no.
United Club Lounge agent wants to know why my Aegean Gold status is not shown on my boarding pass. That’s my question too? I have an Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite digital card on my phone that gets us inside.
4 hours in the United Club lounge at SFO domestic terminal E gates and SFO international G gates eating breakfast, then lunch, reading news and watching video. I downloaded about 30 hours of Amazon Prime Video shows to my tablet. Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo is the story of Christiane F. a book from 1978 and film from 1981 about teen heroin addicts in Berlin in mid-70s. That series kept me engaged for the week in Venice.
I also had to pack a laptop for iHealth Covid tests to be taken online in a video conference the day before we returned to the USA. A negative Covid-19 rapid antigen test result the day before your flight back to the USA is a requirement to return to the USA. I packed two boxes of iHealth Covid-19 tests (4 tests) for our trip.
Line up at gate for our flight to Munich boarding at 12:30pm.
Then the real problems start to unravel United Airlines and cascade us into deep trip trouble.
It started with the catering truck…
(to be continued).
Venice Stairways and Canals (April 2022)