So I awoke rather early for my trip to San Francisco after preparing for the trip rather expediently the day before. Paul drove me to CVG in time for my flight. As I entered the airport after checking through security I noted a video rental place and decided to rent a copy of "An Inconvenient Truth" by former Vice President Al Gore. I moved on to my staging area quickly and within about ten minutes ended up boarding the plane.
The flight was interestingly empty. It was, of course, a Sunday morning flight... but there were only twenty people on board. I was stationed next to the lavatory and was invited to move forward. I had been speaking with a beautiful young woman named Jennifer who was visiting someone up in Syracuse but was on her way home to San Francisco. Lucky her.
During the flight, which lasted roughly five hours, we watched the film "Little Miss Sunshine", which turned out to be better than I'd anticipated. The ranking has been reflected as four stars on my NetFlix account. I also took the liberty of reading a bit of Michael Crichton's latest novel (Next) even though I was only halfway through "The Harsh Cry of the Heron" the final Tale of the Otori by Lian Hearn.
I landed in San Francisco at roughly 11:00 a.m. Pacific time. It was sunny and warm. I didn't need my coat at all but left it on for lack of a place to put it. I quickly grabbed my luggage after mistaking a few other pieces as my own and caught a door-to-door shuttle to downtown. While on the shuttle I met another technology guy in town for training... although for another topic and with a different company than I used for my training. We talked a bit, he was from Louisville and worked with high-end copier systems connected to banking mainframes. I didn't know there was a difference, but apparently, the systems are automated to scan checks and the like into bank transaction and records systems, including those you might see when you log on to your bank's website.
I was dropped off at my hotel about 30 minutes later and paid the necessary fee. I failed to take any photos of the hotel but believe me when I say it was really neat. Trivantis had wanted to put me up in the Hilton a few blocks away but I wanted something to add to my experience while in the S.F. so I chose the Cornell Hotel. The hotel is owned by a man and woman and is one of the few independent hotels in the entire country, let alone in San Francisco. The Cornell has a four-star French restaurant downstairs and has a fantastic breakfast included with room cost which I found to be larger than I'd anticipated and quite delicious. More on this and the restaurant in later S.F. blog posts. The room was small, but large enough to hold my stuff. I had a queen size bed and a full bathroom. Normally I'd have said the room was cramped, but I wasn't expecting to spend much time in the room and anticipated a great deal of time out around S.F. exploring.
After settling into the hotel I quickly stepped outside and took a short walk a couple of blocks before heading back and discovering this interesting Japanese food restaurant called Tempura House off of Powell which is owned and operated by a group of Koreans. Not too surprising really, but kind of funny considering how much the Koreans hate the Japanese for the atrocities committed on them in WWII. Nonetheless, I ordered a Udon (Nabeyaki Udon) and was ecstatic when I didn't need to explain anything about my request for eggs to be cracked in the broth. The Udon was delicious, but it was time to try out the Sushi served here by an independent business of Japanese based within the same restaurant. The Sushi place was fun, and I had a fantastic conversation with the servers about Japanese and Korean pop culture and TV shows. I ended up in this place for almost four hours, using a HUGE portion of my first day in San Francisco for great conversation. Not at all a loss.
After eating I walked back up the rest of the hill to the hotel and played in my room answering a few emails and watching some local news on TV. There didn't seem too much interesting going on in my area yet so I wasted a few possibly productive hours of daylight reading more of Michael Crichton's latest and dreaming of the giant pop of Udon I'd eaten a couple hours earlier. I also called Doug and Mary Beth a couple of friends of friends to ensure we got together during the time I was in S.F. as well as messaged Adonis on Meetro for the same reason.
When it came time I set out for a pub to meet the locals and gain some insights into the area. I requested a good location from the owner of the Cornell Hotel and he kindly recommended the Irish Bank which is a pub and restaurant. I walked the couple blocks East down the hill to get there. I met fifteen or so people here and we had a blast telling jokes and parlaying banter back and forth. A few political discussions ensued. Out of everyone though there are four who stick out in my mind from this, my first evening in San Francisco. The Indian guy whose name I couldn't pronounce sober (and who works for Adobe so we'll call him Adobe), the Indian girl whose name I tried to pronounce but butchered and so came to calling her "Arie" (get it?) and her friend Lindsay who was pretty shit-faced. Adobe, Arie, Lindsay, and I spent several hours together singing Irish songs from a book, drinking, and telling stories. I had a fantastic time. After a while Adobe left and I was left with Arie and Lindsay to myself. We met a homeless guy walking by who happened to have a guitar and wanted some food. We were kind enough to provide some chicken fingers and as a thank you he played accompaniment to our horrible Christmas carols. It was a blast. The girls left after a while and I went back inside to have another drink (a Kamikaze). When I arrived inside I ended up speaking to this awesome shipmate. Before you ask why he was so awesome, I feel obliged to add that I knew he would be cool, but likely wouldn't have chatted with him at the time because I was feeling like leaving after my drink. He asked if a cell phone that had been left was mine or the girls who'd left and I said no (as both Arie and Lindsay had theirs out to check the time before they left... not that they could likely read the time they were so trashed (and I'm not kidding). Anyway, he and I ended up talking about Japanese culture and Korean culture for hours. He had to leave in the morning to head out for Norway to deliver a shipment of something (and here I thought ships were fully automated now - oops). I never bothered to ask what because it seemed insignificant to the tales he told of his travels on different ships.
To end this fantastic day I walked back to the hotel and slept soundly until 4:30 AM PST which is an hour later than the time I wake up normally given the time difference subtracts three hours. For the tale of the Second day, check the next post on S.F. Due Christmas weekend.