Saturday, April 18, 2009

San Francisco, CA - Day 4/5

In April I travelled to San Francisco, CA for a research conference. I had two presentations to give and in my free time I got to see the city. Here is a narrative of my explorations, and a video montage of my photos is already posted.

Day 4:
So today I slept in (more or less) and then packed my stuff and checked out. I left my luggage at the hotel and hopped the cable car back to the waterfront/Fisherman's Wharf. From there I found my way to Ghirardelli Square. A little history: Domingo Ghirardelli founded his company in 1852 making them the 2nd oldest chocolate company in the US. He bought a whole city block on Fisherman's Wharf in order to build Ghirardelli Square- a series of shops and restaurents incorporated with the HQ of Ghirardelli Chocolates. It was since bought out, moved, and refurbished, but still cool. I bought some chocolates to share with people back home and headed to the Buena Vista Cafe. This was the home of the Irish Coffee in the US. The people at the Buena Vista Cafe wanted to recreate the Irish Coffee they had in Ireland and after countless trials and a trip back to Ireland they perfected it: Keep hot water in a 6oz glass until use, empty the water, add two sugar cubes, fill three quarters with coffee, fill up with Tullamore Dew, and top with lightly whipped whipping cream. I had one... pretty good, you can totally taste the whiskey, but not my cup of tea... bad pun...

So, from there I headed to my Segway Tour. Honestly, I looked like a complete tool on the Segway, with my safety vest and helmet... with 9 other tools. But whatever. It was fun to learn how to use a Segway, and then take it out on the streets and get a guided tour of the downtown area. One of my favorite trivia facts was that there was a shore-side holding prison for prisoners on their way to Alcatraz. The regulations were to have 5 prisoners before taking a boat to Alcatraz. Well, there were two people who were stuck at this hell hole of a temporary prison for a year and a half- oh red tape! Anyways, lot of fun in the sun... maybe... too much time in the sun? After finishing the tour I headed back down to the Wharf for some food before calling it a day and heading to the hotel and the airport. Soooo.... I stopped by Hooters. Now wait- there used to be a Hooters in Albany and back in high school we'd go there after volleyball games and I love LOVE LOVED their buffalo shrimp... mmmmmmmm. So, seeing the Hooters made me feel like I had to go. Hot buffalo shrimp and curly cheese fries. Amazing. Filled my belly and headed back to the cable car, the hotel, and then the airport via BART.

So, my flight was supposed to be on US Airways. So I follow the signs to US Airways. I try to self check in, and the machine says I'm not on US Airways- I'm on United. Um, what? So I go to the lady and she doesn't speak English and keeps telling me I'm on United. I read her the US Airways flight number and she keeps repeating herself. Fine. She tells me to walk to the other end of the terminal for United. Fine. I get there and its only for United First Class. Everyone else is in another terminal. Thanks. If I had known I was walking halfway around this massive airport I would have hopped back on the tram. Whatever. I check in, go through security, stock up on snacks for the plane, grab dinner, and wait for the plane. The flight is fine, I doze off, but wake up with some serious sunburn.

Day 5:
We land in Philly early Sunday morning and my arms are on FIRE. Apparently three hours in the sun on a Segway will do that. PAIN! So I get some breakfast and scour the airport for aloe. I find burn cream, which didn't help, so I kept looking. I finally found some in a "Men's Kit" so I had all this other stuff I didn't need, but whatever, I needed some aloe vera. Finally hop the flight back to Albany, collect my bags, back to the car and home with no problems. Except my arms! On FIRE! Thankfully Katie took a walk to CVS and bought some aloe vera cooling gel for me and I was able to relax.

In all, San Francisco was a pretty cool city. There were a lot of homeless people in the area I was staying at, but at least they were creative. The weather was warm, but windy, and I LOVED the Wharf and Union Square- I could totally spend tons of time at those places. But, there's no place like home!

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