San Francisco

January 27, 2002

A few shots & comments from our trip to down to San Francisco for IDEX (International Doll Exposition).

Wednesday: Travel down was not a problem at all. We arrived early at the airport, there was next to no line at the Alaska Airlines check-in counter, and there was no line at security (even though security had indeed been beefed up). As with many such trips...the shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel was probably the most nerve-wracking.

Wednesday was a long day, with travel and all, so we crashed in our hotel room, and left long enough to walk around the surrounding shopping area in downtown SF, and have dinner at "The Cheesecake Factory" (coming soon to Bellevue's great, lots more than cheesecake, but filling J).

Thursday: was tourist day.

Here's a shot, taken from the cable car of course, looking down the track towards fisherman's wharf. The picture doesn't really show how steep the hill is. That's Alcatraz in the background, by the way:

Here's a better shot of Alcatraz:

Pier 39 on the waterfront is full of shops and restaurants. Here's one little shop that got a fair chunk of Kathy's time and money ...

Off to one side of the pier is a place where Sea Lions evidently hang out. A fairly large herd of them:

That's Kathy in the pink vest, by the way. The seals, for their part were either basking in the sun:

or talking at each other. That's captured best in this short movie (1,305,324 bytes).

Here's a shot of a freighter leaving the San Francisco bay, heading towards the Golden Gate Bridge, viewed from the cable car terminus:

And at the terminus, the cable car operators turning a car around for the trip back to downtown San Francisco (and our hotel):

Friday: was IDEX day. We spent the majority of the day at the show walking and walking and then walking some more. And when we weren't walking we were ordering and talking and pondering and pondering and talking and ordering. You get the idea. No pictures, to speak of.

Evidently it was also "cross paths with stars" day, because while sitting at a table resting my feet, Richard Simons put his hand on my shoulder as he answered a question asked by someone across from me (note to self: wash shirt well), and while we were at dinner Lily Tomlin was seated at the booth next to us. Richard has a line of dolls, so was present for much of the show, but we're not sure what Lily was doing in town.

Saturday: Today began with a trip out to IDEX again for the keynote address ("Creating Growth in Today's Market" - we should've slept in, instead) and one seminar ("How to make the internet work for you and your business" - better speaker, a couple of ideas.) That was it, IDEX was done.

In the afternoon we took the light rail system out to a suburban mall which had a shop (collectible dolls, of course) that Kathy wanted to see. After that it was back to the hotel for some "down time" for our feet.

It's interesting to compare Seattle and San Francisco. Seattle has a homeless problem, and I don't mean to diminish it, but it's nothing compared to San Francisco. There are panhandlers all over the downtown area. In the half block walk from a local diner to the hotel the other night we were approached three times. Seattle feels a lot more comfortable in this regard.

The only thing we saw more than panhandlers was chocolate. Maybe it's because Ghirardelli's is here, but there's chocolate of all brands, sizes, shapes and forms everywhere.

San Francisco, on the other hand, understands pubic transportation. Seattle has busses and a $3,000,000,000 project to create a light rail line that will not quite make it to the airport. San Francisco has buses, two types of light rail, electric trolleys and of course the cable cars. The beauty of public transportation in San Francisco is that it works. Going to that mall this afternoon, for example, was easy, clean, cheap and fast. And, interestingly enough, the airport is not serviced by light rail. SF put their money into the daily commute. Seattle has a lot to learn.

Sunday: The plan was to be in Seattle by about 6 or so, but we were told it snowed in Seattle (snow in Seattle is a Major Event... even if only a couple of inches) and our flight was cancelled. We were rebooked n a 9:30 PM flight. That flight left around 10:00 PM. When we reached Seattle the car was covered with icy snow, and the roads were a little icy (quite a change from the sunny weather in San Francisco), and we made it home at around 1:30 AM.