Back From the Coast

When we left our story, I was tucking in for the night at the Pan Pacific Hotel in San Francisco.

The Pan Pacific is an expensive hotel — rooms are regularly in the $200+ range per night. I found a $149/night rate through their website, and this was my impetus for staying. The hotel’s expense, however, isn’t in things that I value: a stunning atrium, a television in the bathroom, with marble on the floors, a two-line speakerphone. In other words, it’s all about prestige and feeling important, rather than utility. The bed was vaguely uncomfortable. The staff, while capable, didn’t exceed my expectations. The soap was mediocre.

All of which suggests to me that vacuous “business class” hotels are best avoided, in favour of smaller, cheaper, more lively hotels. Ironically, like the King George down the hill where I spent the first two nights, and where my happy colleagues at silverorange remained. Live and learn.

Tuesday morning was consumed with various in-room business activities — a spot on the CBC with Matt about Super Tuesday, a conference call with Yankee, answering some email — after which I checked my bag and headed out into The City for my last day in the sun.

Tuesday was an amazing day, weather-wise. Probably 18 degrees at its best, sunny and cloudless.

I caught the Muni Metro (San Francisco’s other subway, the one that’s not BART) down to Irving Street and, by complete coincidence, ended up across the street from the oddly-named Tart to Tart, the place where Oliver and Sophie and I had cake and WiFi on Monday. I grabbed a bagel at Noah’s, a juice at Jamba Juice and then walked around the neighbourhood, which was a nice mix of business and residential, much in the same style as Mont Royal in brother Steve’s Montreal neighbourhood. I grabbed a quick (and delicious) burger at Darla’s (with very good iced tea, and world class service) and then walked up through Golden Gate Park to the Haight.

Walking up Haight to Ashbury, I encountered a peculiar sort of cabal: groups of young people, many with tough looking dogs at their side, roamed the streets. My assumption was that many of these kids stepped on a bus in Boise or Butte or Burlington with a one way ticket to the San Francisco, headed to Haight and Ashbury, and, once there, had no idea what to do other than wander around looking for enlightenment. I wish them luck.

I walked along Haight to Castro, down to Market, and then stopped in at Flax for a refill of superfluous art and design gear. While I was checking out, Daniel, broken off from the silverorange pack during their driving tour of the rich and famous of Sunnyvale, phoned to invite me to dinner, and we rendezvoused shortly thereafter for another try at Thai Ginger.

A short final wander around the Apple Store and environs, a walk down Market to the Ferry Terminal Building and a trolley ride back, a quick glass of wine and we headed down to the BART to ride to the airport.

As timing had it, taking BART would have seen us arriving in the suburbs of the airport at 10:00 p.m. for a 10:20 p.m. flight, so we hightailed it out of the BART station and hailed a taxi, which got us there in under 20 minutes.

We tracked down the silverorange mother ship, checked through security, and then settled in for a long night of air travel.

As luck would have it, I was assigned a seat with no neighbours, so I was able to stretch out and almost sleep (it’s hard to sleep on three uneven and vaguely objectionable seat cushions, but I did a pretty good job nonetheless). We arrived in Toronto at 6:01 a.m. (planes aren’t allowed to land there before 6:00 a.m., which forced us to delay departure in San Francisco), wandered around catatonic until our flight to Charlottetown and arrived, beaten down and sleepy, around noon.

I spent the following 18 hours in variations of sleepiness, and now, two days later, appear to have fully recovered from jet lag.

End analysis: warm is better than cold; snow has no redeeming qualities; San Francisco is a nice, comfortable, manageable city; I need more Thai food in my life; the silverorange boys are good travel mates. It was good to spend time with Johnny and Jodi (soon to be Islanders) and with Oliver and Sophie (soon to be North Carolinians). And it’s good to be home.

I’m due in New York City in April to do some RedHat Linux juggling; we’re planning a family convoy to Yankee in July; and, with luck, by fall we will have passports again, and will head off somewhere for more maximum fun.

My how I do love to travel.


Cody Swanson's picture
Cody Swanson on March 8, 2004 - 19:21 Permalink

As part of my work I regularly travel to the Sunnyvale/Mountainview/SantaClara area. Our IDC is located off java drive two blocks from the yahoo campus and Juniper networks. A drive though the industrial areas of sunnyvale is definatly something any nerd should do. Too bad you guys weren’t there a few years ago when it was booming, before the .com blowout, there was a lot more money in the area. The yahoo campus is impressive to say the least.

As for hotels, my company always provides them for me, they usually find good deals on One time I stayed in the Double Tree down there (regular $350 USD/night) for $35 a night!! Most of the time I stay in the homestead suites, they have those apartment style hotel rooms and they are quite nice. We usually find a good rate on priceline for them.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on March 8, 2004 - 19:43 Permalink

Cody, we actually stopped for coffee on Java Drive.

Cody Swanson's picture
Cody Swanson on March 8, 2004 - 23:21 Permalink

At the Java Cafe? Their lunch food is always excellent and reasonably priced. I usually stop there on my way to work and get a coffee in the mornings and then go there for lunch. The best part is the staff, usually I am greeted with a “Hey Canada” from the Cook’s booming voice. :-)