San Francisco

I am back in Australia! Its a typical summer day and what is this I smell on the walk to the Bridge! Gum trees? Yes eucalyptus trees everywhere many quite old – there must be a story to these exotic plants in America.

Super size me! It’s true. The macaroons are twice as big, the biscotti are twice as long. the doughnuts are as big as the rings around Saturn, although the hole is smaller!

There is a world computer Oracle java conference with apparently 50000 attendees from around the world. The hotel is seething with geeks : spectacles, beards, big bums, T shirts and backpacks.

Starbucks Coffee on every block at least one and often two outlets .

I rose early as I do have a slight jet lag, waking around 1 am then 4am, and caught the trolley car up the hill ( as depicted in the tourist promotions)!they are fascinating and operate to this day in the same fashion as originally developed.

As well the “trams” as I would call them as also unique as the city have actively maintained “veteran” trams from the 1920 through to the current day, as well as examples of trams from around the world, running on the S F tram lines. There is a veteran tram car from Melbourne.

Jake and I walked 17 km today across the Bridge. Cycling is an option and Jake has done this before and I did consider it, but on the day walking the bridge is better. Most people walk it so that on a bike, the path is so congested that one would spend most of the time concentrating on slowing down and/or avoiding the walkers. This detracts from actually enjoying the view which to appreciate in the full one needs to dismount anyway. Solution go for a ride but get off and walk bike across. We walked to Sausalito, a rather touristy sea side village on the other side and had a late lunch. I had calamari which to my surprise was not accompanied by chips, bread, a bun or indeed anything else other than two small dishes of commercial sauces – one red the other white.

We caught the ferry back to Pier 1 then caught underground back to our respective abodes. Both very exhausted and a little sun burnt!

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To America

All airports chaotic! This is not “chaos theory” this is proven! The UK papers when I was there at time of the Olympics, opined that post Olympics, Heathrow would again descend into constant congestion. It has. The trip across passed over Greenland and the pilot informed us of a unique spectacle. The sky was crystal clear, beautiful sunlight and the grey rocks, glaciers and ice fields of the coast line appeared before us in a spell binding panorama. A photo could not do it justice through the plane window.

Getting through immigration at SF airport took almost 90 minutes. I have had all 10 digits fingerprinted and a mug shot. It happens to everyone, not just me.

Waiting at SF for Jake and Guy, I watched the passing parade of people and huge off road vehicle at the pick up area. One “truck” had unique head rest covers on both seats – cow hide with fur and yellowish horns on each side of the head rest! Yes it was the head rest and not head gear of the occupants! Although from what I have seen briefly I am sure I will see such head gear. Given that Sweden have Viking hats, Dublin leprechaun hats, the America equivalent has a infinite number of possibilities.

Jake is staying with Guy in transit with his job so for the next 2 nights I am staying at the Hilton, then I move to stay with them in their apartment. Jake has a trip back to HKK then days off, so will catch the plane back! His own airborne “metro” and so cheap!

By the way he passed his First Officer exams with flying colours. Hours and hours of study with brain food – Tim Tams.

Last night I ate at an American “diner”. Spanish omelette 3 eggs (super size mw) but I asked for 2 eggs only. I felt like I was in a scene from “Happy Days”!

Not too much jet lag. Not a big time difference. So nothing definite planned but a day trip to Nappa Valley, crossing the bridge and I see from Google that the SF Opera have a current season! Possibly a Wednesday or Thursday night out!

There is always the Castro district!

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Last day Dublin

The day dawned, not surprisingly, sunny and clear on this my last day. Perfect weather until mid-afternoon, when it normalized to cloudy with a cold breeze.

Today I visited the national Library – less visited than the library of Trinity College and in some ways just as fascinating. For one it is free and has a reading room that is not quite as impressive as the Long Room of the Trinity Library, but almost. There is also a freje electronic genealogy area, with helpful staff, if your roots are Irish. The building itself is also of architectural interest.

I then spent some hours in the national Museum – Archeology. This is also an architectural beauty. Indeed the building and it’s interior is worthy of a visit just for this. The flooring is intricate Victorian mosaic tiling, a significant proportion being lost under the display cabinets. I would move the museum contents elsewhere and use the building to better purpose.

I also discovered the Dublin equivalent of Rundle Mall – so I was content! Seething with shoppers and all the familiar universal brand shops and food outlets. Buskers abounded, one could have one’s photo taken with a leprechaun. A delightful elderly Irishman, in costume, performed traditional Irish dances and jigs (tap dancing sort of) on a board no
More than one meter square.

I am at the Dublin airport, the queues are daunting but to give credit where credit is due, they move with great speed. The efficiency of the facility to check in on-line or at the kiosks in the terminal is detracted from by the need to then join a long line to “bag drop” which are manned.

I wondered why the planes to America always have a FedEx cargo plane parked adjacent! It’s for the golf clubs and buggies! Every american has twice the luggage of everyone else. Still I have taken my bike to Europe on at least one occasion, so “let him who is without sin, cast the first stone”.

In case you assume i did not enjoy Ireland please be reassured that I had a delightful time. It was so very different compared to Spain but that was part of the appeal. Riding in he rain I’d not enjoyable no matter where you are but that was only on one day.

San Francisco here I come!

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