Greetings from San Francisco
Hello from San Francisco – it now officially feels like 5am here, but I am still awake since the clock only shows 9pm! Since my day began at 6am London time with the alarm clock, I’m coming up on 24 hours, with almost 12 of those spent on an airplane travelling across the artic (ironically, I was actually freezing on the plane even though I had two blankets!). After reading two British newspapers and a bit about San Francisco, plus watching three movies and doing some work on the laptop, I landed here with a beautiful sweeping view of the Pacific coast, and to 63 F temperatures with clear, sunny skies! Now, after a couple of hours of more work, plus a good dinner at the Cheesecake Factory overlooking Union Square from the top floor of Macy’s, it is time for bed.
First, though, I want to share a couple of quick thoughts. I exchanged some e-mails this evening with my Chinese colleague back in London, and he said “enjoy your stay back home!” That really got me thinking – that prior to the last year I would have said you were crazy to imply that California felt like home – it was the virtually unknown and strange (and possibly exotic) far side of the country, nearly 3,000 miles from home. Now, though, I have to admit that it does in some ways feel like home . I feel comfortable here, with familiar sounds and places (e.g. chains), and of course the fact that I’ve been here before. I find myself taking the lead with my British colleague, which is a bit of a refreshing change! I suppose this implies that it is all relative; of course, that is always true to some extent – London felt a lot more like home after I left and returned for the first time than beforehand.
Anyway, that’s just about enough waxing philosophical; I’m staying near Union Square, and I have to admit that there do appear to be a ridiculous number of pandhandlers and crazies around. The immediate area, between here and the Powell Street BART/Muni station, actually reminds me a lot of the area surrounding Penn Station. I imagine you have to get out into the more residential neighborhoods in the city to get more interesting and desirable environments.
With a couple of days of work coming up followed by 9 days of holiday here in California, I’ve got nothing to complain about, and its time for some sleep. So thanks for reading, and stick with us for more to come – both from the past (in that I’m SO far behind in the posts I need to do) and the future (SF, LA, and the Pacific Coast!).