For the first time in five and a half years, I finally got to leave the Northeast. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve really gone anywhere! At 8:10 AM this morning, I hopped on Continental flight 548 to San Francisco. While technically this is a business trip and I’m here for Macworld, it’s like having a free vacation. My company is picking up my airfare, hotel for five nights, transportation, and food. And I don’t have to use any vacation days. Sweet!
Somehow, our flight got in to SFO an hour early, but no complaints here about having to sit on the plane for an hour less. I was actually surprised how quickly our plane got off the ground. In the past, I’ve always flown out of Philly, this was my first time actually flying out of Newark. All of my flights from Philly involved sitting in the plane waiting for a line of other planes to take off first. Not the case today, there was no wait. It was great.
I also was surprised that I didn’t get stopped every ten feet in the airport like the last few times I’ve flown. Maybe I’m looking less terroristy these days?
The flight was pretty calm and I got lucky that there was no one sitting next to me. I was hoping to get a lot of reading done, but I didn’t get as much as I wanted since I didn’t get much sleep last night and kept fruitlessly trying to take a nap.
By the time we got to the hotel and checked in, it was still only about 1pm so we had plenty of time to get out and about.
I wanted to go down to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 so we decided to venture on the public transportation system. I was pretty surprised to find out that they don’t use any electronic type of system for the fare. The booth that we went to only accepted cash (I find this crazy in this day), but we got a week long pass. The pass is just a card that you have to scratch off the month and days for which you will be using. It’s like a lottery ticket!
We hopped on a streetcar which was a pretty neat experience. The cars are really old, but they’re fun! Unfortunately for us, we got on in the wrong direction and didn’t realize until the end of the line. In the end, we spent quite a long time on the streetcar, but we did get to see a crazy guy walking around with a microphone–not actually plugged into anything–get on and start singing into it. That was interesting. We also got a pretty scenic ride through the city as well.
We got to Pier 39 and walked around for a bit before going to Pier Market, a seafood place. I had the Cajun Blackened Salmon, which was very good, and a cup of “the best chowder on the pier.” I did, however, get slawed though. The menu clearly stated that the meal came with cole slaw, but I figured that it would come in a little ramekin that I could put off to the side. It did not. It touched my salmon and I nearly had a slaw freakout, but I staved it off. While we were eating, we had a nice view through the window of the bridge and some sea lions.
Then we walked around a bit more and looked out at the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz from the end of the pier–I’m hoping to find time to see both of these this week. It was a really great view. We walked down to the Wharf and then we watched a street breakdancing show as we turned around and started heading back.
Rather than take the streetcar back, we decided that it would be fun to walk the two miles back. We wanted to see how hard it was to walk across the city going up and down all the hills. It really wasn’t that bad actually and we took a few extra turns to go up some really steep streets. I thought it was a lot of fun!
San Francisco, so far, is a really nice city. It’s got a lot of pretty structure to it and has a nice feel. The streetcars also add a nice historical aspect to it. It’s also relatively clean when compared to New York City or Philadelphia. The people seem relatively nice, but I always forget when I leave the East Coast that every thing and everyone just moves a bit slower in the rest of the country. I really am used to the fast paced life in New Jersey.
Tomorrow is the first day of Macworld. I’m really excited for it. It should be a good time and I can’t believe that I’ll actually be sitting in the audience for one of Steve Jobs’ keynotes! I’m definitely not an Apple fanboy, I don’t even own a Mac, but seeing Steve do the keynote should be quite an experience. We walked by the Mascone Center and looked in. The banners all say “There’s something in the air…” I wonder what it could be?!?
I’ve got a lot of pictures so far, but I’m just going to post them all at the end in one big slide show. So sit tight!
Edit: I added the slideshow!