Friday, September 06, 2002

Left my heart in San Francisco

Or was it my head? TOO TIRED. Killer flight. We should have done the red-eye but decided it was much more sensible to do the farewell party and then have three hours sleep so we could get up at 3.30am to catch a plane. STUPID IDEA! Would have been much better to get straight on a plane and head east but there u go, live and learn.

Nice flight but the second one was half an hour too long. My back decided it had had enough stress and I was willing the pilot to land the plane...anywhere....just get this damn thing out the sky!!! He did, San Francisco, the cold, foggy city....that was having a heatwave weekend! So much for packing the winter was supposed to be 10 degrees cooler than wasn't. First stop, after the hotel....Ghirardelli Square....where else? Chocolate...mmmm....Too many tourists (yes, I was one of them but I don't count!). Stressed me out a bit looking at the lines to get into the shop so I wandered round Aquatic Park and got some groovy views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. Then off towards Fishermans Wharf but got sidetracked by a band playing in the park so squatted there for a while and listened. FW....again incredibly busy. Guess that's what you get for going over Labor Day weekend. Couldn't take it and headed homewards.

First stop - the GG Bridge. Another beautiful day in SF with not a cloud in the sky or a hint of fog. Walked the bridge...well, I walked halfway and then turned back...after all, I still have a bad back and don't want to overdo it! Then got the bus down to the Golden Gate Park. Except I got off at the wrong stop - was aiming for North of the park but by the time I realised where I was, I was on the South I walked...and walked...and, it's a BIG park! Very nice in there though. Tried to sneak into "a la carte in the park" but they wanted $12 and I wasn't paying that to go in, get a burger and come out again! So, found somewhere else to get food and then wandered off to the conservatory so I could watch a Winter's Tale (Shakespeare). First act....not too thrilling, was thinking about leaving but thought I might as well hang around and see the rest of it. Second act...much better.....though it was really hot by then so I had to hide under the program in the search of some shade. Overdid the sun thing....gone pink :-( Met up with JB (my boss) that evening and checked out the Irish bar next to the hotel and then a very nice restaurant. We were impressed with the number of people out eating at 10pm on a Monday don't get that in Buffalo!

JB hired a car and we headed to wine country...wot else do you do on a Tuesday????! Stopped off at Lombard Street first so we could drive down the winding road. Very pretty but a bit late for many of the not as pretty as some of the pictures I've seen from other people. Then to the GG Bridge. Today it was foggy and the bridge was amazing....very spooky with the towers disappearing up into the fog. Dramatic! Drove past Sausalito, which looks lovely. He says it full of very rich people and I could believe it. Stopped off at the Neibaum Coppala winery (as owned by Francis Ford Coppola). The upstairs is an exhibition of his work. Downstairs the serious!!!! Mmmmmmm. Very pleasant. A little moment of entertainment when JB went off to pay for his purchases and I wandered outside. Have you seen my glass. Which glass? The tasting glass? You mean the one you're holding? Oh yeah, that one....ooops. I couldn't stop laughing and the tour leader for the winery thought it was quite funny as well.....four glasses and he's all over the place, so pleased he's driving!

Had lunch at the Culinary Institute. That was amazing. The building is from 1889 - large stone structure. Inside the restaurant is very modern but it's been done in a way that really blends in with the rest of the architecture. We sat outside and had a great view over the valley. Ate and drank far too much - so much so that we didnt actually have time to stop off at the other winery we'd planned. But it was worth it.

Then headed over towards the coast - went down the road that we thought we were meant to take - according to the map. Not sure it was the right road cos it turned into this little dirt track that wound it's way up and down the mountain. Worked out we'd just broken quite a few of the car rental drinking, no drugs, no off-roading.....luckily we weren't in any danger of breaking the "dont take this car outside the US" rule!!!!

To be continued once I've rescued the washing.....

Now where was I? Oh yeah, well we got back to San Francisco to find that we'd missed the wine tasting - not a big deal cos we'd done our own. Checked into the Hilton and then had to move rooms cos I didn't like the one I was in. Of course they were completely unhelpful about it....almost as much as when I turned the hairdryer on and it blew up!!! Luckily my hair escaped!!!!

Not sure if it was too much sun or the fact that I spent the day running between different conference rooms but, by the evening, my ankle had decided to balloon up totally! So attractive and painful...though, by now, I'm getting used to being in pain most of the day. Ducked out of going to watch the baseball and headed to Union Square for some shopping and food.

Final day of the conference (yeah, I was there for work, remember?)! Finished with a big dinner and Richard Jeni (some comedian that I've never heard of but who was actually quite funny) providing the entertainment. We got an award....can't remember what it was called exactly but something to do with most growth from entry into a new market. JB was pretty chuffed! Got a "trophy"....long glass pointy thing. Very pretty!!

So, there u have it - I finally made it to San Fran. Fab time although I don't think I could live there (the hills are too scary!). And I made a profit on the trip.....fantastic!!!! Now...back to reality.... :-(


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