The flight from SFO was uneventful but the boarding was indeed odd. While I was in the waiting area I saw a passenger ask the Virgin gate agent if he could get a ticket for NYC. He was apparently already ticketed on American Airlines but he didn't want to fly with them after all. He was carrying a plastic grocery bag with some newly bought clothing (T-shirts from Target, that sort of thing -- still had the hang tags) and a handful of greenbacks. I'd noticed him in the wash room and thought it odd at that time -- who carries their money in their hand as they go about? Gate agent says the ticket will be $474 and change and dude apparently has $470 in cash in that hand. He cards the rest and gets a ticket. Gate agent treats all this as perfectly normal - maybe that's just to say nice doggy why he's looking for a rock. Because, I mean, who would buy a ticket _at the gate_ these days? How do you get past security? Okay, fine, he had an AA ticket, but still, seems strange. Dude asked if he could get a refund for the AA ticket and VX told him it's between him and American. Dude then pulls the hang tags off the clothes, pulls a soccer jersey over the top of his shirt, and walks about the gate area. In one of his laps he decides to touch other peoples' luggage; I said this got weird. It was at this point I guessed he wasn't a sneaky terrorist but just a weird OCD guy or something, but patting random luggage was indeed strange. He apparently tried to board with the first class group, only to be rebuffed. I figured that was the last I'd see of him, but no, he later boarded and took a seat two rows behind mine. I heard some fist-punching on a seatback a moment later, then a woman in that row asked to be reseated. Another minute or two later and the pilot walked to the back of the plane, asked the gentleman to step off, and pilot escorted him off the plane. We pushed back and now, with all likelihood, there's 3,000 miles between us.
On the flight I finished Endurance and tested out my ear protection. The earmuffs worked amazingly well: they drowned out all the engine noise but I could still hear the PA. I could wear headphones beneath them and easily hear the TV when set even to only the first volume notch. Very nice. my only issue is that I can wear them for 30-60 minutes at a time and then the pressure of them against my glasses is too much. Napping with them worked fine, though.
I'm staying at the Gem hotel in Chelsea. The room is tiny - probably 9' x 9' - but it's serviceable. I miss the Four Points Sheraton - Chelsea but they were booked up for this trip. Oh well. I found my way to the Evolution store and was disappointed that most of their items for sale were more like trinkets than neat specimens. The second floor did have some nicer skeletons and such but I decided that a freeze-dried mouse or rat wouldn't be as neat as I had initially thought. But once in Soho I wandered around a bit. I ate three cupcakes Baked by Melissa on my way to Ray's Pizza in Little Italy. The pizza was alright but not amazing; sorry. I had a slice of spinach and slice of pesto. I do like using ricotta on pizza, though. Little Italy was having a street fair so I flowed with the crowd there for a few blocks. It kind of reminded me of the night market in Hualien, but maybe only because someone was making smoothies on the spot. I popped out and found my way back to the subway line and back to the hotel. Wanting some dessert (okay, in addition to the cupcakes, which were tiny) I found a New York Doughnut Plant along my route. $3 I owned a vanilla bean raised doughnut. Back at the hotel I sampled it - okay, but not The Most Amazing Doughnut Evar. I prefer my doughnuts misspelled and in baskets, and my desserts to be more rich (like cookies or hot chocolate).
Tomorrow's plan: rise early, check out of the hotel, possibly stop at the Starbucks one block from the hotel, and head in to work. Tomorrow's the offsite so I need to be there in time for a 10a bus ride. I'm not really tired yet but I could kind of be convinced it's after 9p already.