Sunday, September 28, 2008

City By the Bay

Another podcast series, as Leo LaPorte likes to say, is in the can, this one from Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) in San Francisco, which is where I've spent my last week.

OOW surprised me by its size - over 43,000 in attendance, according to reports. It was kind of like a Comdex, the super-technology show in Las Vegas which I used to work regularly in the `90s.  Blocked-off streets, packed sidewalks, hotel lobbies so crowded that it was hard to move through them.  This all in San Francisco, so outside of the influx of the 43K technophiles, you also had the early Fall turistas on the streets.  San Francisco is probably one of the best cities in the world to visit in the Fall if it isn't raining, and nary a drop did we see that week.  Weather was mild and in the mid-70s during the day, mid-60s at night.

I haven't been in the City for the past eight years.  In fact, I haven't been much of anywhere in the past eight years.  I've traveled more in 2008 than I have in the previous eight combined.  I was pleased to find that few of the personal landmarks I remembered had changed.  I was able to hit Napa Valley Wines and take care of our holiday wine needs in one fell - albeit expensive - swoop.  Vy's Jewelry was still in the same location in Chinatown, so Peggy got a present for being abandoned with two unhappy cats as I worked and played out west.  I went back to one of my all-time favorite sushi places, Sanraku on Sutter, and found a new favorite, Colibri Mexican Bistro on Geary, which I highly recommend - I had one of the best meals of my life there, undoubtedly oiled by two margaritas with blue agave tequila.

I didn't get to Kayo Books or Hunan Home, or John's Grill, which would have pretty much rounded up Fred's Cooks Tour of S.F., but given I produced and engineered a dozen podcasts over a four-day period, I was pretty pleased that I got in as much personal time in as I did.

I have a love/hate relationship with San Francisco.  It's one of the great cities of the world.  If you like walking around as much as I do, it's a perfect place to visit.  But, the armies of street people/homeless/bums/winos/panhandlers can get me down, especially when San Francisco is on the tolerant side of the pendulum, as it seems to be now, and essentially leaves them alone just as long as they're not aggressively scaring away the tourists. So walking can become similar to running a gantlet.  You shake the head and stare straight ahead, and hurt inside, trying not to wonder about their stories.

But that's the down side.  The up side was that it was a great trip - a good job done well in a beautiful, intriguing city.

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