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April 17, 2005

Day in San Francisco

Today I flew into San Francisco for the annual MySQL User's Conference, being held in Santa Clara. I've never been to San Francisco so I detoured north from the airport too see the city. To me it's always exciting to see things you've only heard about or seen in books, TV or movies. I'm a firm believer in experiencing things in person.

On the drive up I got a glimpse of Monster Park (formerly 3 COM and Candlestick Park), and my route into town took me down The Embarcadero, right along SBC Park where the Giants play.

The only place I really "visited" was Fisherman's Warf, which is interesting but I think I'd agree with the literature that suggests it doesn't really represent San Francisco, but feels like any other tourist destination filled with street performers (magic shows, silver robots, drummers, pan-flute players), souvenier shops, people soliciting you to join their tour boat or bus, a specturm of people unaware of how socially akward it is to pass them on the street, etc. I did find an In-N-Out burger joint, which I've always wanted to experience.

I walked the entire stretch of Fisherman's Warf down to Aquatic Park (stopping to look at Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge) and then walked south up Hyde Street. There was an open house on North Point St, I was tempted to take a tour and see what it was like but decided I'd rather be walking around outside.

After walking around for a few hours I went back to the car to start the drive to Santa Clara, but was too tempted and decided that after all the documentaries I'd seen on the construction of the Gloden Gate Bridge, I just had to drive across it. So I did. If I had been in the right lane as I was approaching from the south I would have gotten off at the park and taken some photos, but I was all the way in the left lane. On the other side of the bridge I got to the right side and was able to get into the north-side vista, which was more about the view of San Francisco than of the bridge, but I took photos of both.

Coming back I went through San Francisco on Lombard St and then down to Route 101 on Van Ness Ave.

The trip to Santa Clara was uneventful, but I did start to get a sense of what people mean by "the valley". More thoughts on that later.

Posted by mike at April 17, 2005 11:09 PM