San Francisco day 7-7.5: Friday and Saturday

Last updated: Sept. 10, 2011, 8:54 p.m.

With the conference all done and my flight not until Friday afternoon San Francisco time, a last chance to be a tourist in the city by the bay was at hand. We caught a vintage 50s "train" (I'd call it a tram because it runs down rails in otherwise normal streets but they call it a train) from down town out to the heavily touristified Pier 39. The pier itself seems to be a collection of low-quality souvenir goods purveyors clustered with some restaurants. The views of Alcatraz and the bridge were more impressive. The cloud shrouding the top of the bridge was quite a significant difference from when we visited on Monday. Unfortunately my camera was already packed in air-safe carrying mode so I didn't get any pictures.

Further north on another pier (I forget which one) there were a couple of historic naval vessels (neither of them nuclear wessels however). More interestingly to me however was the free museum of arcade machines behind them which had little information but a huge collection of mechanical and video based arcade games. These are well worth a look if you are in the area, in fact they were recommended to me by the London hackspace member I met at Noisebridge on Tuesday.

Tourism completed I headed for the airport. American airline security didn't seem much worse than the UK, certainly not as bad as I was expecting so I got through reasonably quickly. I realised, once through though how enormous Heathrow airport really is, the facilities air-side were minimal compared to what I'd seen on the way out. The whole flying through the night thing was a little odd, effectively skipping the eight hours I was meant to be asleep. I managed to get a couple of hours sleep on the plane but the general environment was not pleasant. Long haul travel could be so much improved by banning selfish people. The sort of people who find it more comfortable to sit with their feet in the back of the chair in front, or who simply can't keep their elbows to themselves.

In summary it has been a very interesting and fun trip, only slightly upset by selfish people on transport and the not very well organised conference that we were actually there for.

San Francisco,
Star Trek


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