Unlike last trip to San Francisco, when I had a free day before the course started, the free day was on Saturday after the course this time. So nothing spectacular (well, except for the course :-) happened in the first couple of days. I spent one day in the San Francisco office, re-meeting friends and colleagues like Amanda and Kimberly of the RMA team and Carson and Matt of the IT Support group. After that I sat and exchanged ideas with the TAC team. The good news for my productivity was that until Friday afternoon I wasn't aware of a The Adams Family pinball machine on the fifth floor kitchen/relaxing area, I surely would have spend more time there if I had known.
The course itself, the Advanced Steelhead Configuration and Troubleshooting course, was great. It was about 25% new stuff for me, after all I've been supporting these devices for the last one-and-a-half years and I have had the course materials about a year ago, and it put everything into perspective. Since it was 30% theory and 70% lab, I made sure to make about every mistake there could have be made (unvolunteraly!), so that I know about all the issues which could go wrong with it and how to spot them.
On Saturday I rented a bike and cycled over the bridge (again) towards Sausalito (again). It is a nice way to get the wind through your hair and get your brains cleaned up. It was the first bicycle trip after my flu-attack three weeks ago and I felt it in my legs.
It was a french day: In the morning I had breakfast at Cafe de la Presse and I went to to the Museum du Automatique, which is a collection of old mechanical amusement systems, varying from "simple" (but at that time high-tech) dancing puppets to fortune tellers to giant replicas of farms and amusements parks. Also old videogames were there, like the Atari Battle Zone, the Star Wars flying game, an original two player Galagah-table and of course pinball machines like the Indiana Jones and the Adams Familiy ones.
On the way back I visited Fort Point, under the bridge, which is an old fortress from the 1850 - 1900 era.
The hotel I stayed in, The Triton Hotel, is a very colourful hotel: Lots of bright colours of paint, lots of modern paintings on the wall, paintings in the rooms. No guest-laundry though, and no waterboiler in the room for tea or coffee.
So, how is San Francisco rated this time? It was as warm as it was last time I was there, which was in winter (Or like Mark Twain said: The coldest winter I experiences was summer in San Francisco). The amount of homeless people and beggars seem to have doubled or gotten even higher. Starbucks has free Wifi internet access now, and still has hot white chocolate milk. When walking on the street, people don't see each other; Well, they do spot each other but don't look at each other.
Today (=Sunday) I went on the CalTrain towards Sunnyvale where I will hopefully meet up with Jos Backus (again), former colleague at Atos Origin. The CalTrain smells the same as an airplane smells :-) Right now I am on my way through famous names like Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale! In Sunnyvale it is about 23 degrees Celcius, warmer than in San Francisco but still not making me want to take off my singlet from under my shirt.
If you are on holiday in San Francisco, crossing the Golden Gate bridge is a must. You can drive over it with a car (well, you didn't need to come to SF for that, you can drive with a car whereever you want to) or walk over it (always exciting, but what are you going to do on the other side of that bridge?). Third option: You can cycle over it! Being a dutchman, I of course chose for that option.
Hiring bicycles in San Francisco is very easy when you're in the tourist area (i.e. near Fishermans Warf). From US$ 7 per hour for a simple bike to US$ 15 per hour for one with 3 / 8 gears plus air-suspension. Throw in two more dollars and they will pick you up when you have a flat tire. As long as you are back before the shop closes you can have it!
So, now for the trip: It is a trip between Fishermans Warf (North San Francisco) to Sausalito: Past the beaches, over the bridge, through the National Park (optional) and then to Sausalito for lunch and some drinks. And then everything back, but the National Park is optional again. See the Google Map for details, it is nearly complete except the places you go up and off the Redwood Highway: You have to go under it to get to the bicycle path on the other side. Just keep following the beaches and the signs for bicycles and the bridge.
What are the highlights?
Total length: About 30 kilometers because you have to cycle back.