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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.
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Off on the Grand Adventure
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Halloween Party: Images 2005
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Friday, November 10, 2006
Return from the Grand Adventure
Whoa, sorry to take so long to get this together and posted up. I did indeed return safely from my trip to California. The wedding was small, but pretty nice. I wish the reception had been longer, but the bride and groom had to be off on their honeymoon. At least I got to make a toast. I'm told it was a very good toast, but I don't remember everything I said (as usual, I made it up as I went along), and it's the one bit of the wedding and reception that I didn't get on tape. Kind of a shame, but that's the way it works sometimes I guess.
I wish I'd gotten a picture of the car I drove. It was a Ford Focus, and really was a pretty nice car (apart from a few generic Ford issues, like not displaying what gear you're in on the dashboard and having the most annoying blinker noise imaginable). Especially the in-dash six CD changer. If I'd known I'd end up in a car that had an MP3 player, I'd have come with much more music that I did. *grin*
So after the wedding, I was off on my own, seeing the sights, and checking out all that exotic Californian cuisine.
I spent some time in Old Sacramento, but the only pictures I have were from the museum. The Sacramento Military Museum was really quite cool, but I didn't get any photos from it. I did get to go to Evangeline's, and see the all the Halloween costumes and decorations (the store is three stories tall, and the top two stories were devoted to Halloween stuff, due to the proximity of the holiday). Then I drove up to Chico, where I met one of my friends going to the University there. Man, that was a boring drive.
People talk about Nebraska being fly-over country. At least we plant trees near the interstate. It was nice to see my friend again, though kind of depressing to discover that she too is engaged, and getting married next year. Nothing like going on vacation to go to a wedding, then finding out a friend there is also getting married (she is, incidentally, two years younger than I am) to really drive the knife in. Especially since I know it's just a matter of time before my brother gets engaged too (and probably not all that long of time either).
But before I could mope much, I decided to road trip to San Francisco. The drive there was way more interesting. I didn't make it to the Golden Gate, but I did get to cross the Bay Bridge.
Now, my recommendation is this -- leave earlier than I did (you need all day, and a lot of SF closes pretty early), and plan ahead of time what you want to do. Admitted, there are advantages to my method, which consisted of finding the nearest Irish pub and getting the recommendation of the bartenders as to what I should do. I ended up at the Chieftan first, and got to try another Irish stout that I've never had before (Murphy's, which is much sweeter than Guinness). Plus, one of the bartenders was from Ireland (she said she came from the same county they brewed Murphy's in, actually). I've never met a real Irishwoman before. Makes my fake accent seem really bad in comparison (surprise,surprise, I know). So, on the recommendation of the bartenders, I walked up to Market Street and took a subway out to see the Golden Gate Park. While I was at the park, I went to see the Japanese Tea Garden.
The tea garden was breathtaking, but it would have been much better with someone else along. I helped a couple of tourists (probably from Europe, since they usually spoke to each other in a language that was not English) by taking a picture of them on their camera. When I got out of the tea garden, I decided I'd try walking up to the Golden Gate Bridge. While my logic was reasonably sound, I didn't realize that the Bridge was over a mile away. That's right, the Golden Gate Park isn't particularly close to the Golden Gate Bridge. So once I ended up north of the park with a batch of SF ahead of me and the sun startting to go down, I decided that wasn't a good plan, and headed back. I leave the park and realize that I have no idea how to get back on the subway and get back to Market Street. Fortunately, I spotted an Irish pub.
I soon found out that I was in the second oldest bar in all of SF. It survived the 1906 earthquake. In fact, there's a clock on the wall that stopped ticking during the earthquake.
At this bar, I was told I should wait at a nearby bus stop and take the bus back, since that way I could see more of the city. Of course, once I'm on the bus, I realize I'd forgotten one of the things I'd meant to do -- visit Haight street. Bugger. Well, that gives me an excuse to go back, I suppose. So I am back on Market Street and it's time to get something to eat. I decide I'll check out the mall, thinking that they might have something interesting. I am incapable of describing the enormity of the mall, Westfield SF Center. Each concourse (there were two) was like eight levels high, connected by escalators. Simply huge. I picked one of the nicer restaurants at random and went in to get something to eat.
Straits is a Singaporan restaurant, which combines the foods of everywhere around it, particularly Chinese, Thai, and Indian. I just asked the waitress for recommendations and went with everything she suggested. Hey, it was my last real meal in California, and I didn't want to waste it. I ended up with these pastry things for an appetizer and then I got my whole bass.
I finished the meal with a coffee (with natural sugar cubes that looked like they made them by evaporating the sugar instead of processing it) and then headed back to my hotel room. I got an hour or two of sleep and then went to the airport, determined to be early enough that I wouldn't miss the flight.
I needn't have worried. The thing that I thought would take the longest, getting my baggage checked and my boarding pass, took two minutes. I think they were just opening up or something. Then I went through security, ending up getting selected for the random check, and still had to wait over an hour before my plane was supposed to be taking off. That's right supposed to be. The flight crew had gotten in late the previous night, so we had to delay so they could rest for the legally required amount of time, and then one of the flight attendants was late on top of that. Once we actually got to Salt Lake City, they had us stay in the air for a while before they let us land. This turned an almost two hour layover into me running to the gate while they called my name over the airport intercom. But I made it back safe and sound.
The trip was pretty fun, but it would have been much better had I actually planned what I wanted to do. Oh well, this was my first solo vacation. I'll do better next time.
Soon to come: Photos from my Halloween parties.