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San Francisco Trip Report

A trip report in small (if numerous) bites: [FOGcon report here if that's what you're looking for.]

My TSA "pat down" was more like being petted. Kind of relaxing, actually.

San Francisco is the happiest, friendliest city I have thus far encountered.

I believe the lack of grumpiness must be because of the hills, at least in part. I myself got grumpy for a while, but after two hills I couldn't manage to hold onto it.

The near universal wardrobe of SF is this: blue jeans, practical shoes (usually running shoes), layered tee-shirts, and over it all a hoodie and/or shell, plus casual, unsyled hair. I finally found someplace I fit in. :D

At one point (due to Lenten fasting) I almost asked the person picking our dinner restaurant to make sure it had vegetarian options. Then I remembered where I was.

The Exploratorium is way neat and full of cool things to play with. The exterior is gorgeous and utterly incongruous with the interior.

The interior of the Exploratorium:


The exterior of the Exploratorium, otherwise known as "The Palace of Fine Art":


Inside the Exploratorium is something called The Tactile Dome. This is a large geodesic dome with an obstacle course-like route through it, which, after paying a small fee and getting an appointment, you and a small group of friends can try to make your way through. Oh, and it's in complete darkness.

Inside the Tactile Dome, I was convinced several times that my weak noodley arms were not going to pull me up the steep, slippery tube, or up the wobbly net, and that my giant butt was not going to fit through several narrow openings and twisty passages, but I made it through. Twice. With a lot of giggling.

Inside the triple-masted cargo ship Balclutha it smells like tar and salt and wood, which is not unpleasant. All the rooms and passages are as small as they can possibly be, and the stairs really are incredibly narrow and steep. By contrast, the cargo holds were huge. All the doorways are raised, so you have to step up and over to get inside, which totally makes sense, but I never thought of it.



Every member of Chris's family called or texted him on Friday morning to warn him about the tsunami. Like the city wouldn't have any provisions for that kind of thing, and we need notification from Illinois.

Thanks to my requesting (and paying a small amount extra for) an upgraded hotel room, and that upgraded room turning out to be the place where a contractor needed access to do construction, we wound up in the hotel's penthouse suite.



San Fransciso is not that architecturally interesting, at a distance, compared to Chicago. Still, we were consistently delayed an hour every morning as we got stuck looking out the windows.



You wouldn't think that I'd have one of my frequent "where the heck am I again?" moments while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, but you'd be wrong.

The Golden Gate Bridge is very pretty, really long, and full of deafening traffic noise. And there's nothing for pedestrians on the other side but a lookout point and some grubby bathrooms. Not even a vending machine. Like Gary Kloster (who walked with us) said, that's just un-American.



There was a huge concentration of hipsters going to and from the Golden Gate Bridge. Why? Posing for their indie band's album covers? I do not understand it.

If you're wearing frictionless pants, don't sit in the last sideways-facing seat on the bus. Between the jerky acceleration of the electric-powered motor, and the hills, it was a constant struggle not to hit the floor. Or that poor old lady's lap.

It is totally possible to write a complete story in an hour, and I have the notes on how to do it.

At FOGcon I got to play Ophelia in a Hamlet-themed LARP. And I won. :)

In San Francisco, things like "peace" and "love" were occasionally scratched in to sidewalks, but Oakland has the most impressive graffiti I've ever seen.

Made friends with a former fighting pit bull, currently in therapy. Was a mite nervewracking until she warmed up to me, but once she did, I felt really safe! *g*

Chris wound up on TV again, but at least this time he wasn't walking three four girls on leashes.

Chinatown was a fabulous juxtaposition of cheap tourist crap, utterly beautiful art and antiques, stores which look like they're selling herbs (but I'm pretty sure were actually pharmacies), dive-y little restaurants, and Chinese-esque architecture. I especially liked the Oriental-styled Wells Fargo.

One of the Chinese herb/pharmacies had a whole display which, well, I think those were probably roots of some kind, but… it sure looked like bushel after bushel of dried poop.

I was unable to find pandan ice cream, so New York's Chinatown still wins in that regard. :( I did find egg custard tarts, though, which makes up for a lot!

Was a fun trip. :)

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
j_cheney
Mar. 17th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
My TSA "pat down" was more like being petted. Kind of relaxing, actually.

::giggles::

I'm glad you enjoyed the city. ;o)
amberdine
Mar. 18th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
:D

I actually expected San Francisco to be full of grumpy people and to have a miserable time. (I always expect a miserable time, somehow. If it weren't for having to book plane tickets so far in advance I'd bail and never go anywhere.)

The Yelp restaurant reviews I read all had some one-star reviews complaining about bad service and cranky waiters, so I assumed that was common. But it appears that everyone is expected to be cheerful, and any deviation from that is shocking and deserves a bad review. Hah.
j_cheney
Mar. 18th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
I believe that 'sabotage reviews' aren't all that uncommon. So I don't take 1-star reviews all that seriously ;o)
februaryfour
Mar. 17th, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
It is totally possible to write a complete story in an hour, and I have the notes on how to do it.

Do share! ♥

Chris wound up on TV again, but at least this time he wasn't walking three girls on leashes.

... I really want to hear this story. The one about the girls on leashes, I mean.

amberdine
Mar. 17th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
I will email you the story-in-an-hour details. I have to get them off a different computer.

The girls-on-leashes were in Japan. (Of course.) Here's the report, with pictures. Scroll about halfway down: http://amberdine.livejournal.com/125934.html

Argh, it was four girls. I better fix that!

(Afterwards Chris was upset that he hadn't worn a nice shirt that day. Doug assured him that nobody was looking at his shirt...)
februaryfour
Mar. 17th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
Oh yay, thank you! ♥

*laughing so hard at that* OMG MASTER FOR A DAY. *giggling*

Edited at 2011-03-17 11:19 pm (UTC)
stevendj
Mar. 18th, 2011 04:13 am (UTC)
What is the victory condition for Hamlet?
amberdine
Mar. 18th, 2011 04:31 am (UTC)
This was the first and only LARP I've played, so I'm not sure what's typical, but each character had goals they were trying to fulfill. Mine were:
Get personal power. Don't lose control of your situation.
Figure out what really happened to your father.
Make the world make sense. By any means necessary. At all.
Sort out your relationship with Hamlet once and for all.

Through my special powers of overhearing conversations and emotional manipulation, I managed to achieve all my goals, so that was a "win." We also kept everyone but Claudius from dying (some injuries and insanity, though). I married Hamlet and became queen of Denmark after, yes, learning he'd unintentionally killed my father.

We managed a happy ending. :D
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )