Guest-article: a California Wedding

In early September, my friend Ming-Teh asked if I would be able to come out visit him in San Diego sometime at the end of August. It turned out that the reason for that visit would be the occasion of his wedding. We’ll get to that.
In order to get to that, I need to get to San Diego. This is how it goes.

I’ve got tickets: shuttle, plane, ferry (we’re going to an island!).
I’ve got tickets for two, as it turns out. My brother Tom is coming along.

Tom and I arrive at IND (that’s airline speak for Indianapolis international airport) at just about the same time, 6:30AM, on Thursday, 26 August. Why so early? Well, the shuttle schedule from Bloomington (where I live) and West Lafayette (where he lives) doesn’t cut us much slack, and I’m not terribly interested in arriving just in time to miss boarding by 5 minutes.

In order to get to the airport, we both got up around…3:30AM. We’ll be travelling for almost 7 hours by air, 2 by land, and another 1 by sea. 10 hours travel on 2 hours sleep!

Here’s Tom and the interior of the airport:


That’s the only airport pic that I’ve got, but no big deal; we all know what they look like.

It’s transpired that the best man at Ming-Teh’s wedding is me. I found this out at about 8PM on the 25th. Needless to say, that changed my choice of clothes for the trip. In particular, I’m now packing my suit.

My suit even fit! That’s a bit of a surprise (pleasant, however) since I wear the thing about once every 8 years. Philosophers don’t dress up. Frankly, we don’t get paid enough (nor paid enough attention to) to justify dressing up very often. My shirt however…well it’s gone AWOL. That’s OK! Tom’s managed to leave his tie at home, but brought a spare shirt.

Next, to the ferry! Well, to the ferry by way of the car rental counter in San Diego International airport, anyway.

You see, Ming-Teh’s going to get married on Santa Catalina Island (also called Catalina Island). It’s a great place, with a website with maps and everything.

The ferry for the island leaves several locations, but none of them are in San Diego, the terminal that I booked into is in Long Beach. When Ming-Teh invited me out, and told me when and where the wedding was to be, he said that he’d probably be able to give us a ride up to the ferry. Well, that didn’t happen (but through no fault of his!).
I scheduled our flights to overlap with a lecture of Ming-Teh’s. Those darn lectures last all afternoon, and the ferry stops running at 5:45, so Tom and I will just have to get there on our own.

Easy, just rent a car, and head out.


We engaged a very nice guy from an airport shuttle service to drive us up to Long Beach. No, it’s no rental car, but it saved us from driving in afternoon traffic in the “inland empire” (whatever that is…I just heard the phrase on the radio in the van). Tom was fighting the good fight against sleep, but it was a losing battle.

At last, the ferry terminal is found. We’re in plenty of time, and collect ourselves for the next leg of the journey; we’ve got about an hour on the ferry to the island.


The long beach ferry leaves the harbor past the hulk of the Queen Mary. It’s a bit morbid, really. The ship looks somehow desolate in real life, seemingly trapped, stuck to the land rather than free at sea.

Queen Mary

Anyway, we reach the island and search for the Catalina Island Inn.

We find it fairly quickly, with the help of a cartoonish map and a quick check of the hotel address. Home sweet home for the next 4 nights! It really is “cozy like a cruise-ship cabin!”



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