15 February 2009

Seeing the Pacific

I spent the past Friday gallivanting around the city of San Francisco and seeing what I can see within a day. The thing is, we scheduled to arrive in San Francisco two days before the conference, and the conference started yesterday. Because you never know, it is winter, and something might happen that would delay us, and so we had the extra precaution of arriving two days earlier. If something happens, there's still another day, if not, then there's an extra day to see the city. We figured that is the right move since both of our talks were on the first day, yesterday. Because if we didn't make it in time for our talks, what is the point in going?

Anyway, I won't give a travelogue of what we did because I sent a couple of postcards to family and I would not want to spoil the suspense. Still, there are a few observations to be made.

This is the first in eight years for me to see the Pacific Ocean up close and personal. The last time was in Guam, when we had those night swimming activities with the family. San Francisco Bay was very picturesque, a bit chilly, but otherwise, dear old Pacific was there. There was a qualitative difference between this ocean and the Atlantic, which I have bumped into as well a few times, when I was in New York City.

Golden Gate Bridge is not golden, but rather, painted in international orange. It also is one of the most popular places to commit suicide. We never got to go up close, since the clouds decided to rain on us late afternoon, but we saw it nonetheless.

San Francisco's hills are awesome. There was this neighborhood near the Palace of Fine Arts that had cute little houses lined next to each other. Every unit had perhaps two or three unites inside, and they were painted in different pastel colours. It made me want to live there. Perhaps there's an open position in UC Berkeley's Psychology Department?

The seagulls are huge and not afraid of people. While riding the ferry (this should give readers a clue as to where was our primary destination in the morning), the seagulls were riding next to us, and their wings were just unbelievably wide. And perhaps, since I have ornirhypophobia (which was further reinforced to me when a rather sad incident happened to me while listening to an open concert in Rome), I was always watching the top of my head, seeing whether there were birds flying on top of me. And guess what, it did happen, but I was able to dodge it.

While in the bus, I experienced a little cognitive dissonance, when I heard a bunch of kids calling me. Or rather, someone with the exact same pronunciation as my name.

So there, that was my first taste of the West Coast. Pretty good so far.

(The Chancery of Greece, and the Embassies of Georgia and Turkmenistan, from my Embassy Row Series)

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