Due to the somewhat surprising arrangement of conference talks, there was nothing on except paid tutorials today and so an extra day of tourism has taken place. This morning I spent mainly wandering around the Union Square area and eventually settled into a shopping centre which offered free Wi-Fi to upload the last two days of blog postings. It seems remarkable that the shopping centre, not being directly paid by any customers and several coffee shops, being paid fairly little by their customers can provide free internet acces when a high priced hotel like the Hilton cannot.
After wading through three days worth of email and various other internet jobs, a brief walk around China town and a look at a map, we caught a surprisingly cheap and pleasant electric powered bus out towards the Golden Gate Bridge. A change to another bus (but without having to buy a second ticket) was required but this second bus deposited us just outside the bridge's own cafe and gift shop. It seems today was a remarkably good day to see the bridge for this time of year as it was clear enough to see the whole bay which is normally hidden in fog. In some ways it seems hard to believe that I have really seen this legendary bridge and the fact that I was there taking photos hasn't really sunk in, it's something I've wanted to see for years. Soon enough however a good selection of photos were taken and the return bus was caught.
Instead of returning directly to the centre of the city the trip we took went to Fort Mason, an ex-army base for pacific operations. It seems to have been converted into part art gallery, part conference centre now, but as today was Labour Day the whole thing was shut up. Walking out along one of the quays however gave an excellent view of Alcatraz, possibly the best that can be had from the mainland. I think that's the closest I'll get to see it, certainly on this trip anyway.
The bright sun was somewhat of a problem today as I've ended up a little pink in places. It was hard to notice how much sun you were getting as the cool wind meant that it was uncomfortably cold in the shade.