Red Sox Win! Just for me! That’s the headline for Wednesday. It’s getting on for 5 o’clock as I begin to type this and so far it has been, as the title suggests, a pretty damn good day.
It was an early start, and if you’d like to hear why, please continue reading….
Having given in to mild exhaustion last night around 21:30, mainly due to my body still being on UK time, it was no surprise that I was wide awake by 05:30. In consideration for my neighbours, if nothing else, I put off getting up and going for a shower until after six, but it was still well before seven when I hit the street. I’d slept well, which is surprising given the amount of caffeine I’d had on the journey, the wide variety of noise outside (the downside of a city centre location, I’m not complaining – and besides the hotel kindly include ear plugs in their room amenity kit!) and the whirl my mind was in.
While ‘doing the block’ last night I’d seen Mel’s Drive In, a “typical American diner” round the corner from the hotel on Mission Street, and had quickly decided that would make a good breakfast venue. (The hotel had laid out free coffee and muffins, but that hardly cut it!). The place wasn’t busy and I took a seat in the window to watch the city getting going as I scanned the menu. The breakfast choice was, I have to say, a little limited but I chose “The Lumber Jack” – basically ham, eggs and pancake. When it arrived, I kid you not, there was so much it was served on two plates! I was so gobsmacked I Tweeted!
While I dined a few more customers drifted in. I think it says a lot for the area in that the snatches of conversation I heard floating through the room included words & phrases like; “tech start ups”, “wearables”, “software engineering”, “Google” (and not as a verb!).
Beyond breakfast, until time to head over to Oakland for the game, I had no firm plan other than to follow my nose. My nose took me north along Mission Street, pausing for many photos of impressive building old and new, and to the Bay. I walked out along Pier 14, which is simply a long narrow footway extending about 100m with a gaggle of men fishing (quite successfully, I noted) at the end. What it provided was a stunning view of the city skyline, the Oakland Bay Bridge, and the ferries shuttling countless commuters in to their work.
Sill only 08:00, I walked along The Embarcadero where you’ve got to have your wits about you with cyclists, joggers, skateboarders, push scooterist, Go-pedists and power walkers – all coming at you from all directions and without pity. The only tactic possible is to walk in a straight line, elbows in, and hope. I took refuge in Pier 1 Starbucks for a much needed caffeine top-up. I briefly flirted with the idea of sitting outside. The sun was out and, while I was moving at least, I felt fairly comfortable with a fleece over T shirt. A minute or so of sitting in the wind off the bay, however, changed my assessment a little.
Back along Market Street and, inevitably, into the Apple Store. The SF Apple Store, it has to be said, is not exactly a flagship store – at least currently. They are, I understand, in the process of renovating a landmark building on or near Union Square to replace it soon. It doesn’t help its cause in that the whole of the street outside is currently dug up for some reason – and when I say dug-up, I mean deep enough to actually build things under the road. In short, this bit of the city is a mess at the moment. Anyhow, my visit afforded me with my first opportunity to play with an Apple Watch and new the MacBook. My assessment; not-a-chance (still!) for the watch and a maybe on the MacBook.Not that I was tempted today. It was interesting to see that a handful of employees (and one or two customers!) were wearing an Apple Watch.
Back outside and continuing to follow my nose I ended up at nearby Union Square which was a very pleasant place in the sun. Apart, that is, from some fairly persistent beggars and equally persistent tour bus ticket vendors. Back in a northward direction along Post Street with lots of posh shops starting to open up as it was by then just turning 10:00. A bit more zig-zagging, past the ‘Dragon Gate’ entrance to China Town on Grant Street and up the hill over the Stockton Street tunnel (you know a street is steep when the sidewalk has stairs!). A pause for a few moments for a few ‘typically San Francisco’ shots of the cable cars.
Right, that gets us more or less up to the point where I thought about setting off for Oakland and now as I sit in a Starbucks without a power socket in view, my battery is on the way out. So I’ll post this and hopefully whet your appetite for Part Two of my day, later…