In January 2013 I had the pleasure of visiting Further Confusion with friends. Because this is a trip to quite literally the other side of the world, we decided to make it a 2 week trip, to see the sights. I have a lot of friends there I did not see for years, some even over 10 years. I am glad it was a 2 week trip, each day was filled to the brink with activities, and still I had not enough time to see and do everything I wanted. But nonetheless, this was a trip to never forget! I travelled together with a group of about 10 friends.
2013 – 01 – 14 – Monday
It is almost a tradition that my holidays start out less than optimal. For starters, my creditcard did not arrive in time, and of course, the morning of the flight several companies deducted a hefty amount from my account, making sure a lot of my reserved money blew off in the dust. But all got fixed in the end. It was just a rocky start.
After a relatively okay, but cramped, ride in the train, we arrived at Schiphol. Our first stop would be London to switch planes to Dallas and San Jose being our final destination. It was quite cold that morning, and was wearing my Torchwood coat. When we got on the plane, my friend next to me showed a piece of plastic from the plane itself, wondering if this should come off. I quickly asked him to place it back. Upon arrival we were delayed a bit because of the gate being broken. They drove in some stairs, but those were uninsured. After 30 minutes we could finally leave the plane. British quality and efficiency at its finest! Then again we are picky Dutch people who travel the cheapest way possible. Can’t expect an Airbus 380 for that money.
The trip to Dallas was a nostalgia trip, hinting back at the 80’s, where airplanes were cramped, the inflight movie forgettable, and the airplane food was deliciously bland. In Dallas we had to switch planes, and had to handle our luggage. After several checks, scans, X-ray scans, and handing over our ESTA (which is not a visum, it just works like a visum, smells like a visum and tastes like one) and promising we are not terrorists we just had to seal our extremely dangerous 100ml bottles of hand wash in protective zip-loc bags to contain possible radiation, diseases and other nasty stuff that might emerge from it, we were allowed to board our final flight to San Jose.
Now, all planes were having a contest of ‘who can annoy the passengers the most’, and the last one was a clear winner! It was a night-flight, thus all chairs were unfit to be adjusted properly, causing a very nasty cramp in the neck. But 4 hours later we landed in San Jose, and after a small cab ride, we arrived in our hotel: The Hampton Suits & Inn. A lovely little Hotel in the outskirts of San Jose. Unfortunately my suit, Thabo, got stuck in Dallas and arrived the next morning.
2013 – 01 – 15 – Tuesday
If you ever plan to stay in San Jose, I can surely recommend the Hampton Suits & Inn on Old Tully road. Every morning they have a lovely breakfast, where you can make your own waffles. The choices are simple, but very good, and the people are nice in overall. After a simples breakfast I waited for Thabo to arrive. Granted, I was a bit nervous, and all sorts of spooky thoughts raced through my head of poor Thabo being ripped apart by evil TSA beasts from the gates of hell. But shortly after noon my suitcase arrived. Turned out Thabo had satisfied the TSA beast by throwing socks at him, since 5 pairs were missing. The meerkat fought valiantly, he was unharmed.
That evening I was introduced to the Panda Express, and we all watched some movies, and generally had fun together. We met up with more friends, and soon our group would be complete!
2013 – 01 – 16 – Wednesday
Today 2 more friends joined our group. When they arrived, we went to downtown San Jose. We already saw some signs for Further Confusion. Eventually we sat down to have a bite at Johnny Rocket; a fancy 50’s style restaurant. And here I was introduced with the true size of American menu’s! By the dogs, the portion sizes in the US are just too freakingly big! Throughout the entire trip I only have been eating the kid-menu’s, or salads. The portions at the foreign restaurants (I visited restaurants ran by Mexican, Portuguese, German, Japanese and Dutch people) were big, but doable. Plus I found out going to a local US chain store usually does things to my bowels I wish not to write about.
Later on we visited the ‘Grand Mall’, which was small by American standards ‘just’ 6 times as big as the grand mall we have here in Hilversum. I had 2 custom baseball caps made for me and one as a gift. Later that evening I went to Aqui-Mex, meeting up with an old friend from the Lion King fandom. We knew each other online for over 15 years, but we never spoke. It was the perfect ending of an excellent day!
2013 – 01 – 17 – Thursday
Today we had to move from the Hampton to the Mariott, the official Further Confusion hotel. Checking out was a breeze, moving our stuff from A to B was done in the car of 2 friends, we all went with mass transit ourselves. In San Jose and San Fransisco, mass transit is very well taken care off. It is cheap, reliable, and all the lightrails (trams) have free WiFi on board.
Later that day we went back to the Grand Mall to pick out our baseball caps (they took quite a bit to get made), we had a nice dinner at Dave & Busters; An arcade/restaurant combi. Lovely place, especially if you love arcade games, this is the place to be! After we had our fill with both food and arcade games, we dropped by at the local cinema to see the Hobbit. It was a very good movie, however the new techniques used made everything that sharp and focussed you get the idea you are staring at a stage performance, there was no depth of field at all! But that is another story.
2013 – 01 – 18 – Friday
The first night at the Mariot was not something I am willing to do again. We were overbooked, and I ended up in a room with way too many people. Very early in the morning I was literally pushed out of bed (I think my dream of being stacked in a toaster has something to do with this), resulting me being in a particularly faul mood. Fortunately later that afternoon after 3 hour power-nap and some rearrangements, everything was fixed. The convention was slowly starting up, and the hotel was slowly being filled up by critters! Time to suit up with Thabo. The first responses were awesome, and I even got a little rocket, a sign that they liked my suit! After a nice round, I got in ‘human mode’ again and socialized a bit with both old and new friends. After a quick dinner at Subways I ended up at a roomparty that lasted well into the night.
2013 – 01 – 19 – Saturday
This time I woke up feeling a lot better! Having slept for a full cycle of 6 hours or more is a world of difference. Thanks again to my roomies for being considerate. Saturday was a day filled with fursuit activities. During the gathering of fursuits (I have been told there were over 500 suits present at the time) I made some new friends, everybody was very helpful, and the atmosphere was great! We had a grand parade through the hotel. I am used to Eurofurence, where the parade goes through the city, but I can see the City of San Jose being a wee more difficult about this than the city of Magdenburg, can’t blame the con-ops for that one.
After the parade we barely made it in the for the fursuit photo because we got a bit tangled up with the smaller photoshoot. At the time of me writing this, the fursuit picture has not been released. I’ll be sure to post it here!
A little sooner than we expected, we started with the Fursuit Masquerade rehearsals and setup. The Masquerade is some sort of fursuit variety show/talent show. It was great fun taking part in this. Despite me and my partner in crime (A local possum named Patty) not having won anything, we had a great time! And I was glad to be a part of this all. In between the rehearsals we all had a lovely dinner at a Japanese restaurant. For once, I was not having issues with the American sized plates! Sushi is not something I turn down easily. But man I was stuffed afterwards! And according to convention traditions, the day ended with a roomparty. But after over 9 hours of suiting on one day, I was already half dead on arrival.
2013 – 01 – 20 – Sunday
While Saturday was mostly filled with fursuit fun, Sunday had just a bit of it. I partook in the Critterlympics, a fursuit gaming event. But I dropped out as soon as I got a bit worried about the strain it would give on my tail. While Thabo is a sturdy meerkat suit, built to last, I would not like to take risks. The remainder of the day was filled with drawing, and talking to fellow artists. before I knew it, the day was almost over! That evening I went to have some food with people I met during the fursuit roundup earlier that day and in the evening I was drawing more! I love what a convention like this does for your creative output.
2013 – 01 – 21 – Monday
As with all things, this convention eventually ended. Monday was the last day, quite some people were already packing up, and so did we. After a morning filled with packing, and saying goodbye to old, and new friends, we went back to the Hampton Suits & Inn to stay there for the remainder of the holiday. That evening I did return to the convention site for the traditional ‘Dead Dog Party’. I managed to get a hold of some people I had not managed to speak to during the convention, and the time, once more, went simply way too fast! And that evening my phone was buzzing all along, since my birthday started that evening, and everybody was poking me, wishing me the best. Thank you all! But I had to put my phone on silent. Darn you timezones!
2013 – 01 – 22 – Tuesday
While the rest of my group was still completely worn out from the convention, I decided to do something fun. It was my birthday and I would not spend it in the hotel room. With thanks to the possum I met and her boyfriend, I got a nice tour through San Fransisco, ending up in a very authentic German restaurant! They actually brought me there to verify it was genuine. And it was! If you ever crave Schnitzel in San Fransisco, the Suppenkuche is the place to be! And make sure to take a strudel afterwards. I cannot thank those two enough! It was surely a day never to forget.
When I went back to San Jose, it was a 1,5 hour train trip, I got off a stop too early. Fortunately the busses were a good alternative, and little before 1am I arrived back at the hotel.
2013 – 01 – 23 – Wednesday
Today I went to San Fransisco, but with the entire group. Basically what I did not see yesterday, we visited today: A nice ride in the famous cable-cars, a trip to the Fishermans’ wharf (where we ate some authentic San Fransisco crab) and to the Museum Mechanique (where I got to play Monaco GP, I felt like a young kid again!). Unfortunately we were late for the tours to Alcatraz.
2013 – 01 – 24 – Thursday
Today I was invited to Fremont, unfortunately my friend had his car broken into, thus I had to go by cab. We had a nice chat and lunch, later that afternoon he drove me back. That evening I attended a local furry meet. Many thanks to everyone who made this possible! It was a lot of fun.
2013 – 01 – 25 – Friday
As all things must end, so does this holiday. We said our final goodbyes, it was a wonderful holiday filled with wonderful people. The return trip home had little problems other than the TSA having changed the lock combination on my suitcase. It was mirrored! Fortunately that was resolved without too much hassle.
2013 – 01 – 26 – Saturday
…except for our arrival in the Netherlands. Thank you NS! But then again, it is the NS 🙂